Nov 7 2013 4:00pm

Deconstructing the Cowboy: Why They Work So Well as Hero Material

Texas Tango by Cynthia D'AlbaToday we're welcoming author Cynthia D'Alba to Heroes and Heartbreakers to talk about a subject very near and dear to her (and our!) hearts: cowboys. Cynthia's latest book, Texas Tango, is the second in her Texas Montgomery Mavericks series, and includes a fake wedding, a doctor who doesn't want to settle down, and a cowboy with a dream. Thanks for being here, Cynthia!

Hi all. Cynthia D’Alba here. I’m thrilled to be here talking about my favorite subject…cowboys! When I was a young girl, all the stories were about knights in shiny armor who rode in on a white horse to save the fair maiden. Today, not so much. The fair maiden is as likely to save the knight as he is to save her.

And let’s face it, you just don’t see that many knights wearing shiny armor these days. So who or what can replace that brave knight? There may be lots of options (Navy SEALs, doctors, cops, FBI or other government secret agents) but to me, nothing quite evokes a brave knight riding in as well as the modern day cowboy. So what makes the cowboy work so well as hero material? Let’s start with the physical attributes.

Instead of a helmet, cowboys wear sexy hats. Have you ever had a cowboy hat tipped to you or a cowboy touch his brim and nod a greeting? Or even just lift the hat slightly off his head as a sign of respect? Such thoughtful gestures can send a lady’s heart pitter-pattering. Maybe even evoke a sigh. And better than the knight’s helmet, we can actually see our hero’s face.

Sure, the knight in shining armor has to have strong arms to lift his lance or sword, but have you studied the arms of a cowboy? Big “gun” biceps that pop when he flexes. Forearm muscles that bulge when he rescuing that runaway calf. We love all that popping and bulging because we know those impressive muscles came from hard work, not time spent under fluorescent lights pumping iron. He got those lifting a baby heifer that needed a little help. And pulling that cow stuck in mud back onto dry ground. And chopping holes in the ice that formed over the pond during the winter so the cattle can get water. We love that strong body because we know he’s going to be strong enough to hold his woman against a wet shower wall when getting clean involves getting down and dirty. But we also swoon when we see those guns pop out when he bends over to pick up his child.

We can’t overlook a cowboy’s long, powerful fingers. Fingers that have developed strength from holding the reins of a galloping horse or picking up a bale of hay to toss into the back of a truck. Fingers that have the ability to rub his lady’s tired feet or massage the knots from her shoulders. But fingers that can evoke a sigh when he traces a gentle stroke down his lover’s face or press a baby next to his chest.

Where a knight has to wear rattling armor, a cowboy in a well-worn pair of jeans that cup all the right places can steal the breath right from a woman’s lungs. Put a pair of chaps on top of those and watch the gals melt. Of course, a pair of chaps sans the jeans can also produce interesting reactions. A pair of well-worn jeans can put emphasis in all the right places. Thick thigh muscles are showcased when he walks. Back pockets that ride just right on a set of buns made tight and luscious by hours in the saddle. The zipper area is made to cup his assets in such a way as to make ladies’ eyes drift lower. And during that slow dance at the country barn fling? Oh yeah, those jean back pockets are at the perfect height for his partner to slip her hands into to hold him tight on the dance floor.

Now our cowboys are not without their shiny metals. How about those large, silver buckles that seemed to be designed to draw the eye to the cowboy’s…um, let’s say jeans. A bright silver belt buckle, ideally won riding the wildest, meanest bull in the rodeo. It’s big enough to catch a lady’s eye, but not so huge as to be in the way during that slow dance. And when it comes time to unbuckle it for more fun riding than on a bull, that buckle will come undone with a flick of his lady’s wrist.

So we can all agree that a cowboy processes all the physical traits we want to see in our romantic heroes. But what about other aspects? What is it that cowboys have that women want in a hero?

  1. Dependability—A cowboy’s animals (and other cowboys) have to depend on him to get the job done. His cattle trust him to provide food, meds, water, whatever they need to grow. Whether your cowboy is the boss or one of the ranch hands or even a rodeo star, there are people around him who rely on the cowboy to be where he says he’ll be and do what he says he’ll do. Heroines like a heroes they can depend on, a man who’s word is his bond. He promises a heroine a boot-kicking good time, she knows he’s good for his word. He’ll do what he needs to (or has to) to get the job done.
  2. Protective—A cowboy protects what he sees as “his,” including his woman. We all know woman today don’t need to be “taken care of,” but try telling that to a bullheaded man. Still, there’s something oh-so-sexy about a man who claims his territory (or woman) and is ready to protect it from invaders, be it a coyote after his herd or a city-slicker after his woman.
  3. Caring—It takes a caring man who can save a calf during a snowstorm, then bottle feed it. I saw a picture of a cowboy who’d brought home a newborn calf into his kitchen to bottle feed it and then fell asleep with the calf on the floor beside him. Tell me that wouldn’t melt your heroine’s heart. Or how about when your rough and tough cowboy holds his first born child and cries. Or when he carries his two-year-old on his hip while he sorts cattle? Cowboys are tough on the outside but can be as soft and loving on the inside.

So I’ve given you a start on why cowboys make such great hero material. What have I forgotten?

Learn more about or order a copy of Texas Tango by Cynthia D'Alba, available November 5, 2013:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes



Is today the first time you’ve come across Cynthia D’Alba? Maybe you’d like to know a little more about who you’ve been reading today: I was born and raised in a small Arkansas town. After being gone for a number of years, I’m thrilled to be making my home back in Arkansas living in a vine-covered cottage on the banks of an eight-thousand acre lake. I started writing on a challenge from my husband in 2006 and discovered having imaginary sex with lots of hunky men was fun.

I love love loveto hear from readers and there are lots of ways to find me. Online, you can find me most days at my website or my group blog.

Follow me at Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Goodreads or Pinterest, or email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

To send me snail mail, write to: Cynthia D’Alba PO Box 2116 Hot Springs, AR 71914

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Shadow
You forgot assless chaps!! lol I agree with your three! There also strong, loyal. I love cowboys! There definitely a different breed of a real good way!! :) Thanks for sharing!
Cynthia D'Alba
3. CynthiaDAlba
Hey Ladies! Sorry I'm late responding. Been one of "Those Days"

Oh Shadow! Assless chaps...hee hee you are SO bad... LOVE it. YES! Strong true but I should have thought about Loyal!

I agree bn. Cowboy boots are HAWT.

You two will enjoy this...I was at my doctor's office today and he was asking me about what I write. When I told him, He suggested his name was perfect for a cowboy! HAHAHA I told him I'd try to work it into a book.
Marcy Shuler
4. Marcy99
How about their swagger. I know it comes from riding horses, but still. LOL You never said what your Doctor's name was, Cynthia. I'm so curious to see what he thought was perfect for a cowboy.

Cynthia D'Alba
5. CynthiaDAlba
My doctor's first name is Wade. I told him that would work great for a Cowboy
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