05/09/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT
He may play the Man of Steel, but being Superman, says Dean Cain, the 27-year-old star of ABC's Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
, "is a pain in the ass." For one thing, the flying hurts. All those wires attached to his hips, all that dangling over the soundstage. But worst of all is the blue-and-red Lycra suit, the kind you need a shoehorn to get into. "Too many beers and it shows!" he says. "You can't let your gut sag." So it helps not to have a gut or any other detectable flaw. (To stay a sleek 190 pounds, the 6-foot-tall Cain has to lift weights and live on steamed chicken and veggies.) He has, says Lois & Clark
creator Deborah Joy LeVine, "a smoldering sexiness. Like Clark Kent, he's a mild-mannered guy, but behind it, boy, are you in trouble."
Dean grew up raising Cain in Malibu, was a football star at Princeton (where he dated Brooke Shields
) and planned to play pro ball until sidelined by a knee injury. Back in L.A., he made a splash in the summer of 1992 as Brenda's 90210
beau before speeding on to Super stardom last fall. The show, he says, leaves no time for romance (he broke up with Baywatch
babe Pamela Anderson
in January), but Cain is taking a scientific approach to the problem. "I've picked the wrong type in my past because I've such a weakness for beautiful sexy women," particularly, he admits, for those with "long, slender hands and big, rubbery lips." His solution? "I'm working trial and error on this."