What is the place of the romance novel in ‘polite’ society? I know this question has been addressed before, by people far more articulate than I, but this is MY story, my view, my experience… for what it’s worth.
I’ve been told most of my life that romance novels, even the clean ones, are nothing but trouble, setting unrealistic expectations and destining you for disaster. If that’s true, then why is it that at the height of my ‘trash’ romance reading days I was actually quite happy with my real life Love-Match, and much more accepting of his need to be, well, a guy, in ways that our culture tends to put males down. (I, for reasons of not causing a Sister to stumble, have toned down my personal reading list since then, but I still love the genre as a whole—obviously, or I wouldn’t write them!)
So explain why I’ve learned more about My Man, and what it means to be the Conquering Hero in a world of instant everything, from romance novels? Explain why I’ve come to learn that (when I stop trying to remake him) he’s actually more like the heroes in my own novels than I realized? Or how about a man’s perpetual need to go-out-and-conquer coupled with a woman’s ever changing-personality and her need to be conquered over and over again? Yeah, I learned about all that from romance novels. Recently, I’ve gone back and reread some of the novels I have written, and realized, to my shame, that my heroines are far more respectful to their Medieval Men than I am to my Love-Match? Wow, what a blow that is to my ego! Subconsciously, I knew that this deep regard my damsels have for their White Knights is a critical part of the man/woman dynamics.
It’s time to take a lesson from the romance genre. These heroines know how to treat their Men. And since some of them came out of my subconscious mind, I must… somewhere in the recesses of my twelve-browser-tabs-open-at-a-time head, know it too.
What’s your two-cents, ladies and gents? It’s worth far more than two pennies!