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?