May 2 2011 2:05pm

A Billion Wicked Thoughts About Romance Hero Professions

MediaBistro notes the upcoming book A Billion Wicked Thoughts, co-authored by neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam who analyzed 15,000 Harlequin books to discover the most popular professions for heroes in romance novels:

Alpine Doctor by Rose Burghley

1. Doctor
2. Cowboy
3. Boss
4. Prince
5. Rancher
6. Knight
7. Surgeon
8. King
9. Bodyguard
10. Sheriff

Then EvilReads, “a humorous website and blog dedicated to publishing news and gossip,” asked its Twitter followers which professions were the least popular for romance heroes:

Dental Nurse At Denley’s by Marjorie Lewty

1. Dentist
2. Political Lobbyist
3. Assistant to the Regional Manager
4. Lawyer
5. Business Mogul/Reality TV Host
6. Accountant
7. Olive Garden Line Cook
8. Urologist
9. Comcast Cable Man
10. Carny

On hearing this news, H&H's Senior Manager, Liz Edelstein, immediately asked if the professions came with comparative pay scales, Megan Frampton, H&H's Community Manager, Romance, wanted to reimagine a world with Sexy Dentists, and Heather Waters, H&H's Production Associate (aka redline_), wanted to know where one could sign up to find her king (a knight in shining armor would do also, she agreed).

So—any guesses as to what the Most Popular Profession for a Romance Heroine would be? How about the Least Popular, Heroine-wise?

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Myretta Robens
1. Myretta
That's a tough question. As a Historical Romance reader I'm going to go with Governess near the top of the list. As a Historical Romance writer, I can hope that writer is right up there. :-)

Least popular? I'm guessing that any of the least popular male occupations would apply to the ladies as well.
2. wsl0612
Sorry, but I don't count prince or king as professions. For the women I'm going to pick nurse - of course this goes back to all those Harlequins I read decades ago :-)
Schoolteacher (or is that too close to governess?)

Least popular for women?
Olivia Waite
3. O.Waite
I would disagree with Evil Reads, much as I love them: lawyer is a pretty common hero job, imho.

As for the heroines, Myretta's hit it on the nose with governess in the historicals, and for contemporaries journalist is pretty popular.

What if we look at paranormals? Does "kicker of supernatural butt" count as a profession? How would you list that on your W-4?
Laura K. Curtis
4. LauraKCurtis
As I commented on the original article, it seems to me that those researchers must have spent the majority of their time reading Harlequin Presents. Where else do you find kings and princes featuring so strongly? (Though one wonders why, in that case, there are no billionaires or sheiks.) They would have come up with more accurate results, IMHO, if they'd also gone outside HQ for romance.
5. EvangelineHolland
Considering that dentists can make much, much more than doctors, I am left to assume that saving someone's teeth isn't seen as romantic as brain surgery, lol.

The Most Popular Heroine Professions:
1. Mommy
2. Governess
3. Debutante
4. Mistress
5. Artist

The Least Popular Heroine Professions:
1. Prostitute
2. Servant
3. Criminal
4. CEO
5. Athlete/Celebrity
Rachel Hyland
6. RachelHyland
If we're talking PR or UF, then clearly the most popular female profession is private detective, and variations on that theme. As O. Waite said, kickers of supernatural butt. But with business cards.

For the male professions, I can't believe "knight" trumped "landholder". They clearly looked more into historical bodice-rippers than Regencies... unless, as wslo612 wisely points out, they don't consider hereditary lord and master as a "profession."

Yeah, and lawyer is totally up there.

Surely one of the most popular heroine professions is journalist? Also, although this is more prevalent in older school HQ and the like, secretary.

I remember once reading an awesome romance where the heroine was a truck driver...
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