I’m not a big reader of romance. I’d like to say it’s because I find the genre lacking in any real substance or literary acclaim, but that wouldn’t be the truth. I know several romance writers who are wonderfully talented and their skills are quite evident in all their work. So, I have to ask myself why I have such an aversion for the genre. I believe the answer is a sad, but simple one – because I don’t know romance personally.
Being 42-years old, it’s hard to believe that a woman, a beautiful woman at that, has never really experienced romance. Unfortunately, it’s true. The part to this tale that’s even sadder is that I believe I’m a very romantic person. So, for those shaking their heads in disbelief let me try to explain.
Through life circumstances in my youth, I didn’t get to really enjoy a dating period. This is often where most people experience their first samples of romance. I wasn’t ignorant of it and saw it all around me; I just didn’t get to participate. At twenty-four I met my best friend who soon became my husband and father to our children. He was a good man, one I will always love and respect, but he wasn’t a romantic and we didn’t have what would be considered a romantic marriage. Even before we were married he told me, “I did all that romantic stuff like buy flowers, write poems, and be silly before with other women, but it didn’t work. So, why bother with it?” Over the twenty years we were married he never bothered. He tried on occasion, but it fell flat and felt awkward because it was a forced effort, not a desired one. He told me on several occasions, “It’s better to be best friends than be romantic. Romance fades, but friends last forever.” He wasn’t the first to say that to me, nor was he the last. I seemed to be cursed with finding myself always in the proverbial ‘friend zone’. Many of current friends are men who will only ever see me as a good friend, yet fall romantically in love with other women. I often wonder what those other women have that I don’t.
It is said that a writer’s best work happens when they draw from experience and from elements they intimately know. I can’t write romance. I tried last year during the NaNoWriMo. I actually finished the 65,000 word novel, but it’s severely lacking, because I couldn’t simply write a decent kissing scene (kissing is something else I’ve little experience). I’ve since tried my hand at erotica, and I have to say I’ve written a few good pieces, but even in that there’s a small disconnect. I would never pursue or write it professionally.
Whether you like Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James or hated it, there was something in it that my soul cried out for and was desperately thirsty to drink, and it had nothing to do with BDSM or sex at all. As I read it, the editor within me wanted to get out my red pen, but the woman in me cried inside the whole time. Christian and Anastasia had me at their first email exchange. There’s a lot the story lacks, but there’s an underlying current that resonates with women… women like me. We want - no, we need to feel wanted, loved and desired. Respect is wonderful. Trust is a must. We are more than just wives, mothers and partners. We are women, sexual beings, intelligent, loving and nurturing.
I can understand how and why the romance genre is as large as it is, even if I still don’t connect with the stories myself. I have to believe that one day I’ll meet someone who still believes in romance and will share their romantic feelings with and for ME. I’m foolish enough to believe I deserve to be the girl of their affections.
Till next time,