I recently ran across a great reference book for characterization. Shaunti Feldhahn's book, For Women Only, What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men is a resource of how men think and view their personal relationships with the women they love.
The author decided to interview men she knew for insight into a male character for a book she was writing. The more she learned, the more she wanted to learn. Professionals helped her develop a personal survey, and she did personal interviews of men from all walks of life: friends, strangers, married men, singles and different ages.
The information she garnered makes up the book. One chapter title is "Chocolate, Flowers, and Bait Fishing". This chapter discussed a man's idea of being romantic. As I read the various chapters, I was surprised to learn things, that in spite of being happily married for forty-five years, I didn't know.
Men, according to the author, wish women knew these things, but they don't know how to explain them. The agreement on issues from a wide-range of men of different ages and professions gives creditability to her findings.
My particular edition also came with a study guide at the end for possible use with a discussion group. When I concluded the book, I thought this would be a great resource for writing more realistic male characters instead of our feminine view of men.
I found this book in a box of donations for a sale. I gladly paid my dollar to keep it for my own shelf of reference books. If you want to write better male characters or just understand the man in your life, you need to find this book. It's an eye-opener.