I found on the ‘Road To Romance’ website a workshop on Beta Heroes posted by Michele R. Bardsley.
She says Beta heroes are better suited for romantic comedies because their personalities are more capable of handling crazy circumstances and outrageous events…The reader laughs WITH the beta hero.
Examples of Beta Heroes From Movies
• Jack (Bill Pullman), the nice younger brother, in "While You Were Sleeping.”
Example: He's playing cards with his comatose brother and says, "Whoever gets the high card, gets Lucy." (No direct confrontation.)
• Shane (Keanu Reeves), the kind-hearted ex-quarterback, in "The Replacements"
Example: He steps in to protect his deaf teammate from the insults of the team’s former quarterback. When the quarterback hits him, he takes the punch then says, "Had enough?" (Protects his friends; Wants to avoid confrontation; attempts to defuse situation with humor.)
• Robbie (Adam Sandler), the heartbroken romantic, in "The Wedding Singer"
Example: First clue he's a beta—he's wedding singer. He takes an underage kid who's been drinking at the wedding outside to puke in the Dumpster. (Taking care of others who he perceives needs him.) This is when he meets the heroine, Julia. Sense of humor to deal with situations: "No one could puke more than that kid. I think I saw boot come out of him."
Examples of Beta Heroes From Novels
• Peter, the lovelorn tongue-tied doctor, from GOOD IN BED by Jennifer Weiner
Example: He offers constant support for her without demanding a thing. He doesn't even make his feelings known until almost the end of the book. (Patience, kindness, putting his own feelings/needs aside to meet the heroine's.)
• Ross, the bad-boy wanna-be, from BRIDE IN TRAINING by Michele R. Bardsley
Example: He's a wanna-be bad-boy … so he's already someone who doesn't fit well in the skin of a Harley-riding, leather-jacket-wearing hard case. He takes care of the heroine after she falls ill, despite the fact she doesn't him like him much.
• Race, the thief with a heart of gold, from RACE AGAINST TIME by Justine Davis
Example: The heroine leaves out food for the anonymous burglar who's been stealing food from the homes of people living in a small mountainside community. In thanks, he picks wild flowers and leaves them on her dining room table.
She says a beta hero:
© Is kind, responsible, decent
© Doesn't enjoy confrontation, but won’t back down on an issue he wants resolved
© Is always available to the heroine or to others who need his help
© Is an extrovert or an introvert
© Is practical, down to earth, assesses situations before making decisions
© Has a great sense of humor
© Tends to be Mr. Nice Guy/Everyday Joe
© Is the kind neighbor, the best friend, the good Samaritan
Another site said beta heroes are “kinder, gentler heroes, the kind of men who will change your flat tire, open doors for you, help your kid with his homework, and bring you soup when you are sick… These are the guys we all want to find in real life.”
But are they the guys we dream about running away with?