Like it or not, Edward Cullen is the fictional hottie du jour. Never before have women been so enamored by a sparkly, lovesick centenarian torn between protecting his girlfriend and eating her for dinner. Despite Edward's edgy persona and "angelic" good looks, we're not convinced that he's the literary dreamboat that thousands of Twilight fans have made him out to be (our friends at lemondrop aren't convinced either, it turns out). What can we say? Book hotties of the past have set the bar pretty high, and we're not entirely signed on to the "being watched through our bedroom windows" fantasy. The Truth About Acting Out Your Fantasies
Before Edward Cullen swooped into our libraries and bookstores, we had these male literary characters to dazzle us:
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1) Gabriel Oak (Far From The Maddening Crowd)
Gabriel Oak, a young, humble shepherd, is the quintessential lovelorn best friend. His boss and love interest, Bathsheba Everdene, not only rejects his feelings, but she continually confides in him about her problems with other men. Despite (or thanks to) his loyalty, Gabriel quietly remains in the friend zone while Bathsheba toys with and is toyed by more exciting men. As a farmhand, Gabriel might not be the most glamorous guy in town, but in the long run, a guy who is trustworthy, dependable, and sincere trumps the volatile bad boy. Boyfriend, Best Friend... or Both?
2) Laurie Lawrence (Little Women)
He's rich, he's cultured, he's Harvard-bound, and he's the boy the next door. Unlike plenty of other male literary heroes, Laurie makes little effort to be manly or overly protective. While Edward is brooding and business-like, Laurie is just an adorable bundle of fun. Did we mention that he's Harvard-bound, as opposed to being in high school for eternity? How To Date A (Real-Life) Vampire
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3) Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables)
Who hasn't fantasized about falling for a former rival? As the old saying goes, there's a thin line between love and hate, and in Anne and Gilbert's case, that line is a job position he turns down because he knows that Anne needs it more than he does. Besides being self-sacrificing, he's tall, handsome, a doctor, totally in love with Anne, and – get ready – a longtime resident of the friend zone. If only all "platonic" friends were this dreamy.
4) Lord Henry Wotton (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Dorian Gray might have been impossibly, eternally pretty, but rest assured, his comrade and personal hero, Lord Henry Wotton, is the real hottie of the book. Intelligent, urbane, and coolly well-spoken, Lord Henry is seductive, if not shallow and hedonistic. Sure, he's as worldly as one can get, but at least he comes up with more charming phrases than, "Bring on the shackles – I'm your prisoner." As a bonus, Lord Henry was played by Colin Firth in the 2009 film adaptation. Romantic Movie Myths