Everywhere you look today you’ll see celebrities behaving badly. You must remember that you are not a celebrity, you are a romance hero, which is considerably more difficult to manage. Take, for example, the 2007 story of Fabio’s encounter with George Clooney, wherein—according to TMZ

… several women who had won a dinner with Fabio were sitting at his table snapping photos of the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” hunk, when Clooney apparently thought they were shooting pix of him — and gave them the finger!

Other sources have Clooney using decidedly inappropriate language for such a nice restaurant.

Now, lest you misunderstand, Clooney does many admirable things. This is merely an example of one way in which it is tougher to be a true romance hero than to be a celebrity.

Obviously, romance heroes do lose their tempers—they’re only human—but when they do it isn’t because they think the world revolves around them, nor do they get nasty or violent in front of innocent bystanders. Particularly (though not limited to) women.

Some people seem to believe that “respect” and “protect” don’t go together. After all, they say, if you respect a woman’s strength, shouldn’t you believe she can protect herself?

Well, yes and no. This is one of those difficult questions posed to romance heroes. Take, for example, the heroes of romantic suspense novels. Inevitably, situations will occur in which the hero will have to physically rescue the heroine. However, just as often, the heroine is portrayed as rescuing the hero. In fact, in the best romantic suspense, they rescue each other.

But respect is far more than acknowledging someone’s physical strengths. To be a romance hero, you must listen to your heroine, and to women in general. That means if she says “I can handle this situation,” you back off. (It goes without saying, I hope, that if she says no, she means no, even if you think she “really” might mean yes. Remember: no means no. Maybe means no. Only yes means yes.) The ability to listen—and to remember what their lovers tell them—is probably the number one quality of a romance hero.

Jack and Angela on the swingsTake, for example, Jack Hodgins on the television show Bones. This guy is not what you would think of as a romance hero…at first glance. Oh, true, he’s a millionaire, but he’s basically a nerd who spends his days looking at bugs dug out of dead people. And he’s a conspiracy theorist. And a UFO fan. But Jack Hodgins gets the girl. And why does he get the girl? Not because he buys her anything fancy with his millions or takes her to fancy restaurants. No, he gets her because he listens. When he asks her out on their first date, he remembers that she said she misses the feeling of being a child on a swing, so he takes her to the park and swings with her.

Besides, listening to women will teach you about women, which means you are far less likely to make a misstep in pursuit of your heroine. Once upon a time, when men and women lived basically separate lives, it was very difficult to for one sex to see inside the lives of the other, but that is no longer the case. I’m not saying stalk women, here, just listen. Read some blogs, follow some women on Twitter or Facebook, talk to the women in your place of work. See what kinds of things interest them, and what pisses them off. This will vary from woman to woman, naturally, but it’s a start.

So watch, listen, respect and protect. Do that and you’ll be well on your way!