fiction has its fair share of heroes who dabble in playing the ladies.
Of course, the nature of Christian fiction doesn’t lend itself to
measuring sexual prowess by notches on bedposts, yet some of the more
edgy novels flirt with this truth, or at least skirt around it.
Casanovas, Lotharios, Romeos,
libertines, rakes, rogues, lady-killers, and ladies’ men find a place
in all genres and time periods. Expounding on the available research
will help you break away from the stereotype and create a more
believable, and even likeable, character.
1) Absent Father
Studies show that men who reel
in woman after woman typically grew up
without a father. Jed Diamond, psychotherapist and author of The
Irritable Male Syndrome, thinks that this failure to attach
to a father figure early on could make men insecure about how
acceptable they are. So playboys lure women as a way to compensate.
2) Ugly Duckling
If you were to peek into a
playboy’s high school yearbook, you might be surprised to find that he
wasn’t the Greek god he is now. In fact, he might have been quite
homely. These men who were sideline spectators in the game of love have
burst out of their drab, ordinary cocoons and into the limelight . . .
and they love every minute of it. They crave the attention and
adoration because it’s like a balm to their inner zit-faced,
braces-wearing caterpillar who still remembers what it felt like to be
3) Low Self-Esteem
A playboy hits on women to feel
better about himself. It’s an ego-stroking action that can become as
addictive as any drug. A woman’s starry-eyed stare validates him, makes
him feel important and loveable. Low self-esteem lies at the heart of
this type of overcompensation. Their confidence and charm might very
well be a mask for the deepest kind of insecurity. I’ve separated this
factor from the one above because even the most attractive man can have
low self-esteem. Counterintuitive, isn’t it?
Not all playboys fall into one
of the above categories, although #3 is pretty fail-proof. But writers
can take liberty in creating different circumstances that prompt a man
to seek affirmation measured by how long his string of girlfriends is.
To do so, a writer has only to learn what a playboy fears most.
a Playboy Running From?
1) Fear of Growing
It’s feasible to write a
Casanova who hangs on to his womanizing ways because it makes him feel
young and carefree. A universal sign of virility and manliness is a
woman on each arm, and the mental process might be that a man should
“get” while the “gettin’s” still good. Maybe deep inside, though, this
character really wants to settle down but is scared to lose face with
his playboy crowd. (Think Mel Gibson in What Women Want.)
2) Fear of Settling Down
Infamous self-proclaimed New
York playboy Paul Janka doesn’t think of his relationships with women
as dating. He just enjoys the hustle. It’s a game to him, with rules
and even a self-written manual. There’s something energetic and
exciting about still playing the field. It’s the unknown territory of
wading into the water and letting a girl in and sharing his life with
her that keeps him fishing on the banks.
3) Fear of Being Hurt
The chances of being hurt are
slim to none when it’s the man doing the lovin’ and leavin’. Perhaps
your character suffered an extreme emotional blow, like walking in on
his wife and another man. Or maybe it reopened a wound from childhood
when he was rejected by his father or mother or friends. Maybe this
wound bruised his ego so much that he never wants to risk opening
himself up to that kind of devastation.
Regular therapy should help a
playboy see past his insecurities and utilization of women to meet his
emotional (and physical) needs. But God—with the use of a willing
writer—can do a great work in the life of one of these fictional heroes
just by introducing him to a made-for-him heroine and making him face