Stock (noun): 1: a archaic : stump; b archaic : a log or block of wood; c (1) archaic : something without life or consciousness (2) : a dull, stupid, or lifeless person 2 : a supporting framework or structure . . . (Merriam-Webster) Call this a lament, a topic for comment, a rant, or what have you. But those of you who read romantic fiction, have you noticed how wooden and one-dimensional the male main characters so often are? The authors keep having them do inexplicable and even obnoxious things, the motivation for which is seldom revealed, but you're still expected to believe that the female POV characters find them so irresistibly attractive and will be deliriously happy with them once they say "I do." Any sensible person can see that the guy is a jerk, maybe even a sociopath, but the heroine takes his opacity as a blank slate to write the tale of her own desires upon. In these stories it seems like the hero doesn't develop or grow (except at some point suddenly deciding, for some unknown reason, that he loves the heroine), he just stands there like a dead stump while the female MC twines her growth around him. And/or he's a one-trick pony, and that one trick is usually hard sex. (I'm thinking of one novel, where the "hero" spends his time contemptuously ignoring the heroine or else insulting her, then next thing you know he's got her alone in a closed room, starts ripping off her clothes [ruining them, if that matters], forcibly takes her, and the heroine interprets that as proof that he really caaaaarrrres!!! I mean, huh? ) Why are stories like this so popular? Is it because they give the author, the POV heroine, and the reader (usually all female) the satisfaction of thinking they know what the male love-interest needs, wants, and should think better than he does? Do we like to identify with the heroine who's The Only One Who Really Understands Him and Can Make a Civilized Man Out of the Brute? Is it because a lot of women think that, when it comes to love, men are senseless and illogical anyway, so you can get away with having them say and do whatever you want simply to mess with the FMC's heart and (supposedly) to forward the plot? I'm asking because I realized I had fallen into the same trap in the novel I'm revising. In my first draft I had my MMC say something to my FMC that she could only take as romantically and tenderly meant, but just yesterday I realized there is no way he would say something like that to her in this stage of their relationship. None, not if I want him to be a real person. So as much as I liked that bit of dialogue, it had to go. But maybe I'm over-conscientious. Everyone else gets away with it.