|Imagine yourself wooed for an evening by three handsome, charming, very different men, each dedicated to convincing you to choose him for your lover. Fantasy doesn't get much better than that!
This is the gist of the annual Vernal Night ritual, which I concocted for a trio of fantasy stories included in my latest book. These tales revolve around three men who over the course of three years participate in the ritual: Tibolt the Merchant, Frayn the Artist, and Arjent the Minstrel.
As different as these three gentlemen are, I found myself hard pressed to choose my personal favorite. I thought it might just be a problem unique to me-I did, after all, invent these guys to fit my taste, so I'm bound to like them all. But something happened that made me wonder if I had stumbled upon a more universal principle: I heard from a reader who found it likewise too hard to choose.
As Jennie put it, "The hero I liked best is...(drumroll please)...all of them! Tibolt is the solid and dependable provider, Frayn the wild and risky artist, and Arjent the soulful and lyrical musician. I appreciate every one of those qualities, and if these three were my Trio, it would take far more than one Vernal Night to make my decision!"
I began to give this insightful comment some thought, and realized that my three friends are a sort of triumvirate of archetypes that each meet women's needs in a crucial way. They are Man, Devil and Angel, and if there were a way one guy could be all three, I think he could have any woman on the planet.
The first type, which I call "Man," embodies the classic traits of the alpha male, the most essential aspects of masculinity. He is ambitious, aggressive, rational, controlled. He treats women with respect and a certain protectiveness. He is steady, reliable, master of his domain. He's the guy that makes you feel safe and secure, and appeals to the female's most primordial mating instincts.
That's Tibolt all over. While he isn't flashy or overtly sexy, his quiet strength is very apparent. In the first Vernal Night tale, "The Trio," the heroine Raisi finds appeal in both of Tibolt's extroverted rivals...but she is especially drawn to the shy merchant, because she senses his capability to be loyal, devoted and protective. She hints at this during an exchange between them in the story:
Tibolt is this sort: a guy who can meet your emotional and practical needs. He is wise, clever, a self-made man who has not only earned his own success but enjoys helping and guiding others. Coupled with the endearing fact that Tibolt is trying to conceal his passionate devotion to Raisi, these traits are pretty irresistible.
But then, there is the distraction of Frayn. Frayn takes the Devil role in this Trio. Don't worry, he's not truly a devil, but he certainly enjoys playing one. While the Man type makes a girl feel safe, the Devil type hooks her using the opposite tack, by making her feel pleasantly unsafe. In this scene from the second Vernal Night story, "The Infatuation," Frayn seduces young Crissida using this approach:
Frayn is the sort who makes you feel dizzy, confused and out of control. He charms you right out of the rational principles by which you normally make choices. His unpredictability and wildness run contrary to your mundane life, and it's exciting. He's even frightening sometimes. But like a scary movie or a midway ride, it's definitely the good kind of frightening: the kind that creates passion.
Way over at the opposite end of the spectrum stands our Angel, Arjent. Don't misunderstand his designation: The man who has delighted the "One Hundred Women" referenced in the title of the third Vernal Night story is no goody-goody. I call him an Angel because he personifies lightness and sweetness. He is spiritual as well as sensual, and the essence of his appeal is his goodness.
Having just described Arjent vividly here, I am tempted once again to pick him as my favorite. But that would mean having to deny myself Frayn's wicked sense of humor and his deliciously passionate outbursts. And just when I think Frayn is just too exhilarating to turn aside, I think again of Tibolt-his wry wit and elegantly steady temperament.
I end up like Jennie, simply unable to choose.
So think about the romantic heroes who have captured your heart. I expect you will find they very intensely embody one of these three types, and the best of them manage to incorporate elements of all three.
The erotic needs of the female are indeed complex, and I pity the man who takes it upon himself to try to fulfill them all. No real man can, which is why fantasy is a healthy part of any woman's life and why so many women read romance. We need the Man, the Devil, and the Angel, for in order to be completely fulfilled our needs are threefold: (1) to be utterly female and surrender to someone who will keep us safe; (2) to be adventurous and push beyond the edge of our comfort zone, and (3) to be transported by the sex act to new experiences of beauty and spiritual delight.
No one man can be all three, which is why I simply must keep all three of these fine gentlemen for myself. Of course that's not to say I won't share...
Diana Laurence is the author of the award-winning bestseller Soulful Sex: Erotic Tales of Fantasy and Romance, her first collection of "erotica with soul." The Vernal Night Trilogy appears in that book's sequel, Soulful Sex Volume II. Both books, along with Diana's novel Souls' Embrace, are available from New Age Dimensions Publishing. Read all about Diana at her website www.dianalaurence.com.
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