I know the qualities will be as individual as every person who answers the question. So I've thought hard about what does it for me. I think it's the every day ordinary things. Not the over-the-top grand gestures like skywriting his love, or hiring choirs and symphonies to persuade someone to love or marry him. And don't get me started about flash mobs. I'm not saying those are bad things. They truly are moving and wondrous. Heavens knows I've shed happy tears when watching some of these gestures played out on You Tube. Just lovely stuff.
But for me, the best romance happens in the simple, everyday things my hero does for his heroine. He might notice something needs repaired in the house, like oiling a squeaky door, and he takes care of it. Without being asked. Because he knows the sound is getting on her nerves. My hero would never hesitate to start a load of laundry when she get behind (he'd be a bigger hero if he also folded it, but we'll take what we can get, right?). Or running the sweeper over the carpets. He'll tell her it's because it has a motor, but she know it's because he understands just how much she hates doing it. And when he surprises her with flowers, it doesn't bother her that he's bought them at the grocery store. Because he was picking up something she forgot to grab earlier and needs for dinner. He's bought her flowers because he knows it bothers her to forget things. Another thing that curls my toes is when he does something deliberately goofy because he knows she's cross and his only goal is to make her laugh.
For me a toe-curling hero plays with the kids when she needs a nap. He's the dad who will to sit down to a tea party when he'd rather be watching the game. He's the guy who will hold a child frightened by a nightmare until the child goes back to sleep. He's the man who isn't afraid to teach other young men how important it is to treat his daughter like a lady. And, when he sends his children off to college, or walks them down the aisle, he'll be the one with tears, shimmering in his eyes.
Yeah - that guy curls my toes.
So tell me, what does it for you?