Heroic professions : why not a plumber?

Lately, I’ve been involved with various tradespeople — the plumber, the electrician and so on — following a number of domestic …er… difficulties.

Technology seems to have been ganging up on me, these past few months. Weird electrical faults that don’t repeat themselves when the electrician is on site.
And incidents with animals.

Don’t believe me?

The dog ate my homework?

dishwasher not working, plumber needed

Dishwasher image by FotoRieth from Pixabay

Well, a mouse ate my dishwasher, for starters.

No, I kid you not. This is not a “Please, miss, the dog ate my homework” kind of fabrication, even though it may sound like one.
It happened.

I live in the countryside.
There are mice here.


Cute, maybe. Welcome? Absolutely not!
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

The mouse chewed a great big hole in the inlet pipe so it sprayed water all over the machine’s innards. In an attempt to maintain some green credibility (even though said dishwasher was 10 years old) I engaged a repairman to replace the inlet pipe. A week or so later, he did. Heroic plumber #1. Ran a successful rinse programme.

Job done.
Sigh of relief from would-be green homeowner.

green world needs repairmen (and women)

Green World image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The dishwasher worked again…   except that it didn’t.

It ran, but it didn’t heat the washing water or dry the dishes. Sigh of despair.

Heroic plumber #2

Another repairman requested by despairing homeowner, this time to replace the element.
Another week or so later, he came, new element under his arm.

plumbing pipes by plumber

Plumbing image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

He looked, he turned the dishwasher on its side to access the element, he frowned. Elements didn’t usually fail, he told me, straight-faced. More likely, the water spraying out from the holed inlet pipe had damaged the electronics. That would be expensive to repair. He was kind, and very sympathetic, but he was shaking his head. Another sigh from me, but deeper.

Oh and, by the way — bless him, he was trying not to laugh by then, I think — the mouse had also chewed holes in the sump which probably couldn’t be replaced in such an old machine. Better to cut my losses and replace the dishwasher?

Sigh turning to scream? And to cap it all, I’d have been handwashing dishes for about a month by the time a new dishwasher could be delivered and installed. (And I hate washing up.)

Not a total disaster, though, in spite of the washing up. Because I learned something about some of the repairmen who solve domestic problems for hair-tearing householders like me.

My plumber was one of the good guys. Not only because he didn’t laugh but because he didn’t charge me a penny for that second visit.

why can’t someone like that be a romantic hero?

What makes a hero heroic? Why not a bald plumber?

male head in question markRomantic heroes are so often tycoons or heads of huge international conglomerates — the kind of enterprises that many of us hold responsible for a lot of the ills of our planet. But the billionaire tycoon is often presented as the ideal hero. Why?

Specifically, does a hero have to be rich?

Does he have to be powerful?

I’m wondering if it depends on the kind of romance we’re reading? Many, many contemporary romances published by Harlequin, for example, not only have billionaire heroes, but announce his presence proudly in the book title. Take The Billionaire’s [adjective] [noun] and fill in your own words, the absurder, the better. The Billionaire’s Ugly-Sister Odalisque, anyone?

Duke of Wellington

Wellington, a REAL duke, not a proliferation

And how many of the heroes in historical romances are rich, or nobles [ie powerful], or both? Lately, dukes seem to be proliferating and, again, announced in the book titles.
Full disclosure — yes, I’ve written quite a few titled heroes myself, I admit, though only one duke. So far.

Perhaps you have favourite heroes who are plumbers?
Or electricians? Or otherwise non-powerful good guys?

I think I may be reading the wrong kind of books.
So do please share your favourites.
I clearly need help here…

Joanna Maitland, authorJoanna

PS In case you were wondering, I do now have a new dishwasher. It works fine. There are no holes in it. There is, though, a largish hole in my bank account 😉

10 thoughts on “Heroic professions : why not a plumber?

  1. Elizabeth Bailey

    Setting aside your domestic horror story which drew every vestige of sympathy from me, I fear the biggest problem with your plumber hero is the name. I mean, “plumber” just doesn’t cut it in the romantic stakes, does it? The word does not conjure quite the same images as, say, fireman or racing driver.

    A skilled novelist might manage to make something of an extremely enticing rear end sticking out from under the sink, but that’s about as heroic as you’re going to get, I suspect. He might manage to hold his own for a short story, but I can’t see him parading the pages of a full novel and getting away with it. Unless – erotic tangling on the kitchen table, anyone?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks, Liz. You did make me laugh. Sadly, you may be right about the unromantic nature of the word.

      And thanks for the sympathy, too, but now the problems are solved, my mouse story just makes me laugh.

  2. Liz

    Sympathies, Joanna. When we lived in Wales, a mouse chewed a hole in the water pipe that fed my washing machine and flooded the kitchen. Country life has its problems. I fondly remember Love Hurts, a TV series in which Adam Faith, as plumber was the hero. But even here, he owned the company.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Ah, now I hadn’t remembered Love Hurts. But of course, owning the company puts him into the boss category. Don’t think I’m winning on this one. And my non-laughing plumber was lovely.

  3. Sophie

    Actually, I think a hero plumber would be a great relief from all those billionaires. Maybe it’s something to do withThe Orange One. Love him or loathe him, he’s not really romantic hero material.

    Though, to be fair, lots of the aforesaid billionaires in novels are self-made and have got there because they know how to fix things. Generally IT rather than plumbing, though, I have to admit.

    In the RNA Archives there’s a record of a talk by Brenda MacDougall, then Editor of Woman’s Weekly, having been promoted from Fiction Editor. Someone asked her whether heroes all had to be rich. She said they thought about that from time to time and had come to conclusion that their readers were looking on the hero in the nature of a long term investment, sort of like buying house. Bottom line: if the heroine were going to have children with him, “he has to be a good provider.” I’ve always remembered that phrase!

    But also, she said, he had to have character. An arms dealer probably wouldn’t make the cut, no matter how successful he was.

  4. Helen

    J L Merrow’s plumber’s mate series of m/m thriller/romance novels, and Talia Hibbert’s romances all have ‘ordinary’ heroes, and great writing.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Apologies, Helen. The system decided your comment was spam. Thanks for the suggestion. Will follow it up. And welcome to Libertà too.

  5. lesley2cats

    Made me laugh. And think. And if it was a romantic COMEDY it would work. I’d got half a plot line by the time I finished reading… But then, I don’t (can’t) write romance.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Glad you laughed, Lesley. ‘Twas indeed mine intent. You might have a point about romantic comedy too. Have you thought about collaborating with another author to produce your plot as a romance?

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