Would you even want to? Why?
In my experience -- mostly reading historical romance -- romance novel heroes come in great variety, but there are a few general types that appear again and again.
There is Emma’s Mr. Knightley: steady, sensible, generous, and kind. That doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But his feelings for Emma run deeper than it first appears, and most of all he understands her, sees the good in her despite her frequent mistakes. What could be more appealing than to know you are understood? He is the kind of man your probably ought to marry, though the constant advice might grow tedious.
In contrast there is Heathcliff: violent, passionate, and single-minded. His love for Cathy is closer to obsession. The wrongs he suffered as a youth have made him unbalanced. But Cathy herself is rather unbalanced, which creates a certain pleasing symmetry.
Sweeter by far is the childhood friend. Love may come slowly. There is nothing glamorous about him, but he has a store of courage and devotion which come out during a crisis, and he is far more dashing than he appears.
Perhaps most familiar of all is the rake. He drinks, gambles, makes reckless wagers. He keeps a beautiful mistress — usually an actress or an opera dancer — and dallies on the side with sexually adventurous widows and sexually unsatisfied wives. All this until he meets the heroine and falls in love, after which he becomes to all appearances a model of fidelity.
Next we have the brooding man of many secrets. His past is a mystery, there are skeletons in his closet (or perhaps a mad wife in his attic), but he sees something in the heroine that nobody else sees. Plain and poor though she may be, he knows her true worth and recognizes her as his soul mate.
Less often found is the absent-minded scholar or scientist — but then he cultivates solitude, preferring to be left to himself, his books and his experiments. He is rather good at problem solving but explaining the nature of the problem can be something of a trial, for he sees the world in patterns the rest of us can't see. Chronically abstracted, it takes a special woman to catch his attention, but once she does he makes a loyal husband.
Of another sort is the haughty aristocrat, the Mr. Darcy: arrogant, judgmental, apparently humorless. (And yet Darcy falls for the witty Elizabeth, who is almost perpetually amused by the foibles of those around her. Also, she has a family that would even embarrass a far less fastidious man.) Darcy is responsible for what might be one of the worst marriage proposals in all of literature, and yet there are self-proclaimed “variations” on his love affair with Elizabeth being written every day. Kinder than he appears, like the childhood friend — who he otherwise resembles not at all — he is a good man in a crisis.
Then there are the spies and soldiers who come home from the wars scarred in mind or body: cynical, disillusioned, prone to nightmares or tempers. Some become recluses, others spend a few seasons playing the rake, though in truth they are far less heedless. They misbehave simply in order to forget.
Finally, we have their fellow officer, the man who returns to an inheritance he doesn’t want, a mountain of debts, an estate he can’t sell to clear those debts because it is entailed, a decaying mansion, and tenants living in squalor. He may, perhaps, have a dependent family as well: a mother or stepmother, a younger brother with expensive habits, and a host of much younger siblings or half-siblings. His dilemma is whether to contract a betrothal to an heiress he scarcely knows, in order to save them all from ruinous poverty, or to marry the dowerless girl he loves.
Which of these are your favorites? Have I left anyone out?