Slow Dancing with Myself…

I think romance novels have ruined me for men. I’m not making it up. There is a study about this. Google it. Here is my story…

I picked up my first  novel at sixteen, a historical by Catherine Coulture. The plot was pretty typical for the genre but the hero… Well, he was dreamy just as all heroes should be. Sixteen is critical time in a girl’s life. The time where she develops her ideas of how men should act and what romance should be. And there I was reading romance after romance, seeing hero after hero saying beautiful things, doing wonderful things. It was then I began to think that sixteen year old boys were…. kind of dumb. And they were. My standards of what a man should be grew higher and higher. As I got older more things got added to my list. He should be tall, at least six feet, with a college degree and a solid Roth IRA. A six-pack also wouldn’t hurt. And then I was looking for that moment. That time when you see the man of your dreams across the room, your eyes lock and BAM! Kristan Higgins refered to it as Kablammy in one of her books. I wanted that. I was hoping for that. I was depending on that moment to start my happily ever after.  But has anyone really ever had that moment? Really? I thought I experienced it an early age. I was seventeen and working  as a cashier at a rest stop on  I87 when a state trooper walked in.  He was tall. 6’3 or 6’4 , with skin the color of a Hershey Kiss. He was built with biceps that could crack a walnut. He wore a gray uniform and a gun and his job was to protect and serve me. He smiled at me. Sigh. Boom. Bam. Kablammy. I was in love and it rendered me mentally handicapped because I could not utter two words in his presence. I can still remember the look on my coworker’s face. Never. Going. To. Happen. Sadly, she was right. But that man set the bar for what I thought all men should be.

Surprisingly, I didn’t find my dream man in college either because men in their early twenties can be… just as dumb as sixteen year old boys. And maybe, my standards were a little out there. It was then I started to write. Jennifer Cruise’s Bet Me caused me to fall in love with her hero and want to write my own. So I wrote about men who were good and sexy and successful. Men who had flaws, but the flaws were so gosh darn adorable no sane woman would care. Men that I would sell my mother to get all while my own search for the perfect man continued on in vain.

My mother hates romance novels(Gasp), says they give women an unrealistic view of love. She says the books that I love never mention anything about the gas that he passes, or the toe nail clippings that never seem to make it in the garbage. That they never detail all the real life mundane stuff that happens in a real relationship. She also tells me that the real reasons people fall in love are far different from those in a book. Friendship. Companionship. Trust. Mutual Respect. Support. She says it’s never all Kablammy and fireworks. She right. I hate it when she’s right.

Romance novels are an escape. In real life half of the world is divorced, spouses cheat, men clip their toes nails in bed.  Real life is real life and romance novels are romance novels. If all men were like that we wouldn’t have a need for them. So I am going to keep writing about men that any woman could fall for and develop crushes on the ones my author friends have dreamed up for me.  As for me personally, I’m recovering although, still secretly  wishing for that Kablammy. I’m learning that Mr. Right doesn’t have to be Mr. Perfect and if I want to perfect man I can just make him up.

Question.( I always give homework.) Have any of you ever experienced that romance novel kind of love?

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6 thoughts on “Slow Dancing with Myself…”

  1. I too remember my first romance novel. Ahhhh. Lost Lady by Jude Deveraux. In retrospect Travis wasn’t really all that dreamy – this was back in the early years of the genre when good girls didn’t say “yes”, they were content to have their “no” over-ridden. Of course there’s something seriously wrong with that (I’m pretty sure it’s a crime!) and thank Heaven the genre has changed.

    My Hubby and I had some Kablammy back in the early days. I can still remember the first movie we went to see, I couldn’t pay attention ’cause he smelled so good! And even though now most days his smell is a combination of Dorito-sweat and hard work, and he sometimes wears socks to bed in the winter (never the sexy rainbow toe socks, though, just regular dingy white ones), I’m pretty sure we’re living HEA. Not that life doesn’t come with new challenges. We overcame the early challenges and I guess now we’re living our sequel. But since it’s still a romance, I’m confident that we’ll finish out the series in the Senior Romance subgenre, HEA.

    Hey, we’re writing a will this year, maybe I’ll add that to it. Our distant-future tombstones should read “And they lived Happily Ever After.”

  2. McIrish was the big kablammy, it’s true, and we’ve been married for 20 years. But no, he’s not perfect, of course, and there are times when I wish we lived in different states, because it would be so much more romantic than listening as he clips his toenails (though mercifully, not in bed, because that would lead to a divorce, I’m pretty sure). Romance novels are, 99% of the time, about finding The One. Living with The One…that’s a different novel. :-)

  3. Great topic Jaime.
    My current husband is my kablammy and my prince charming. As Kristan pointed out, they aren’s perfect, but when you are with “the One”, you overlook those adorable flaws and love the man underneath. There are men worthy of hero status in this world. Keep your eyes open, they don’t always appear on a white charger.

    I fell in love the second I saw him when I met my husband when I was twenty-one. He later told me the same was true for him. He was twenty-six–and married to someone I worked with. Yes, this led to heartbreak and drama of epic proprtions and we all parted ways. I ended up marrying someone else several years later(disaster), and didn’t see my lost love for fifteen years. Not a day went by in those fifteen years that I didn’t think of him and miss his smile or his beautiful green eyes.

    Until one day, a week before Christmas, I was in the mall and who stepped into line behind me? We stood and exchanged pleasantries, each of us as nervous as cats, and then he walked away. My heart cried the whole week. I was also in the middle of a scary divorce.

    Christmas Eve a week later, I was back at the mall to pick up a last minute gift, and who do I see walking toward me through a crowded mall? He smiled and I was a goner all over again. We sat and talked and it turned out that he was also going through a divorce. Destiny, Kizmit, Serendipity–yes! Six months later, we went on our first date. We’ve been through rough patches in the eleven years since, but we are living our happily ever after. He is the hero in all of my books.

    So until you meet Mr. Sweeps-you-off-your-feet, hang onto the “hopefully ever after” and keep reading.

  4. The thing about the Kablammy is that you can’t go looking for it, my Young One. Because it’s a surprise. But there’s kablammy, with a lower case “k,” and “Kablammy,” with a capital. Sounds like your breathtaking State Trooper (yeah, having some palpitations here) was the “k” sort. Meaning the attraction was huge and overwhelming, but you weren’t able to get to know the real person behind the gun and handcuffs (!) (yet! Read PJ’s story above. You might just meet up with him again when you least expect it! In fact, I hope you do, for your own sweet sake and because I’d like to get a look at him :) ). But the Capital K Kablammy, the realization that this is The One, happens in your heart, not just your (ahem) other parts, and it might happen over time. That’s the one you need for the Happily Ever After. And I’m blessed to be living my HEA too.

    That being said, I will tell you that pre-HEA, I once felt the kablammy for a guy I danced and talked and drank with in a tourist-y bar one night, and never saw again after he walked out the door of the Monticello when it closed. He was so beautiful — gray eyes, and a head of thick, glossy black curls. He drove a motorcycle and wore a leather jacket, even though it was summer, and he didn’t sweat! He was Canadian. His first name was “Clive,” and he had two middle names, one of which was “Darcy.” I kid you not. If he’d asked me that night to ditch everything and get on the back of that motorcycle and go back across the border with him, I would have done it, that’s how strong the k was, and I still wonder whatever happened to him. Clive may just find himself immortalized in one of my novels someday :)

  5. Jamie, loved your fantasy and your passion for what was it, men, romance novels? Great subject, either way. There is such a thing, a perfect man. I know, b/c his name is Tom, and he is mine! Everyone has their own perfection interpretation. What is yours? My list is long and Tom fills every item on my list. And, guess what, he loves reading romance novels. He reads them, and passes them my way, telling me which one is the best.

    Keep on trucking girl. I enjoy your writings. Gail Ingis

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