The Lure of the Cowboy
Looking at the sheer number of Western romances weighing down the virtual shelves of the Kindle ebook store on Amazon made me stop and think – just what is the appeal of a cowboy?
First off, when it comes to stating the obvious regarding female attraction to men, then the physical appeal of a cowboy is near the top of the list. Broad-shouldered guys with honed bodies and muscles in all the right places, wide-brimmed Stetson's and tight fitting jeans is enough to set any warm-blooded female pulse racing. Add to that a pair of twinkling eyes, chiselled features and a sexy smile, and we are captivated.
And then there's his horse. Archetypal cowboys are always depicted astride a magnificent animal, all sleek and swift with flowing mane. What a powerful image –the cowboy and his horse, so in tune with one another, moving as one. Of course, the cowboy would have complete control over the animal, and the notion of a degree of control applied to his romantic relationships is something else that appeals to us.
Putting a lid on the simmering sex appeal for a moment, let's look at other qualities too, because I don't want my cowboy heroes to be just a shell. There has to be some honesty and integrity inside there too. We all like a man who is protective and honourable, daring and brave, strong and reliable. Those qualities combined with a Stetson, leather gloves, spurs, and a pair of leather chaps, together with a soupçon of charm and a penetrating look has the effect of making countless women go weak at the knees.
Consider the whole environment – the great outdoors – acres of lush pasture, arid dessert, or rocky and rugged terrain. These wide open spaces are a typical backdrop for the cowboy romance novel and offer tremendous scope for detailed descriptions of location to further the plot and develop the resilience of the characters. I try to show my cowboys as being in synch with the natural rhythms of nature as they ride out purposefully on some quest, or apply themselves with physically demanding work in all weathers and conditions. They are a hardy bunch, these cowboys... that's all part of their allure.
Fiction and movies portray cowboys as heroes of mythical proportions - gallant men who do what needs to be done, intent on the pursuit of justice. Historical or contemporary, the western novel is here to stay. I find the myth of the West fascinating, and am planning a book with a historical as opposed to a contemporary setting as my next offering in the Love on a Ranch Series. It will tell the story of the adventures of the first Armstrong cowboy.
I have only scratched the surface in this brief ride through the factors giving rise to the eternal appeal of the cowboy. What do YOU think?