Lately, I’ve lamented the demise of romance in general and romance stories in particular. So-called “romance” novels are nowadays filled with explicit sex, graphic violence and cocky, arrogant men with bad, bad manners. Sex has replaced love and romance (um…they’re not the same thing. Not even close.). Gone is the deliciousness of sexual tension. Instead, stories are filled with explicit sexual encounters that are contrived, add nothing to the story, and often commit the cardinal sin of jarring the reader out of the story. Additionally, “romance” novels now often include graphically violent plots told in far too much grisly detail.
Is this really what people want to read?? The prevalence of such novels on bookshelves suggests that it is. Must we continually up the ‘shock value’ to reach an audience? Yes, apparently.
It’s a sad, sad commentary on society. What in the world has happened to good old fashioned romantic love stories, told with metaphor and innuendo that leave the specifics to the reader’s own glorious imagination? That is sexy. Spelling it out in porno-graphic detail is a complete, eye-rolling, close-the-book-and-don’t-bother-reading-further, turnoff.
The most disturbing trend in the “romance” genre is the “paranormal” romance story – in which the protagonist or his/her love interest is some sort of sub- or non-human creature-zoid. People are having rampant sex with vampires, demons, werewolves, and a host of other un-dead or non-living entities as though it’s business-as-usual at the neighborhood hookup bar. Okay, I readily admit that pickins’ in the human realm can be pretty slim sometimes. It’s bad enough having to weed through the smarmy drunks with beer bellies and receding hairlines and their cliché come-ons…now I also have to worry about whether they are actually human? That adds a whole new layer of complexity to dating.
I have a rather extensive ‘laundry list’ of qualities I seek in a man. I am willing to negotiate on some of them. But if it’s too much to ask that the guy in question at least be human, I’m screwed.
Until the world comes to its senses, I suppose I’m going to have to amend my list of dating criteria to account for the possibility that a suitor may not be entirely…well, human.
- I am a lady and expect to be treated as such. No uninvited groping, kissing, biting, or showing of fangs. Now, maybe you and your Therapist attribute these tendencies to the evil influence of your psycho-undead-creator-mentor, but from where I stand, behavior like that means your mama just didn’t raise you right. I’ll have none of it.
- Please don’t be part of a Special Ops team who has pissed off some underground demon faction. It’s a real downer when our waiter at the restaurant shape-shifts into a banshee and comes at us with the salad tongs.
- Eat normal food. If you order a glass of O-negative or a side of brains (thereby forcing me to add this restaurant to my “list of places I can’t go back to”), you are NOT getting a second date.
- Practice full disclosure. I don’t wanna find out you’ve got a forked tongue, fangs, scales, or any extra body parts after I’ve invited you home for a nightcap.
- If you can’t go out in the daylight without spontaneously combusting, walk beneath the full moon without morphing in to something wolfen, or walk past a church without convulsing, our dating options are severely limited. You’d better at least be able to cook because we’ll be staying home a lot.
- Maybe money isn’t necessary on YOUR alternate paranormal plane, but it comes in pretty handy down here, bub. You’d better have your own ATM card; I’m NOT paying for everything.
- You WILL learn to drive, hail a cab, and navigate public transit. I am not FLYING anywhere with you.
- The fact that your parents are dead doesn’t bother me. The fact that you still want me to meet them does. I politely decline.
- Please don’t be offended if I don’t pet your doggie. It’s not that I don’t like dogs. I’ve just never seen one that has three heads and breathes fire. As for YOU; please stop looking at my hamster like it’s some tasty exotic appetizer.
- I don’t care how many cool supernatural powers you have. If you can’t fix a leaky faucet or unclog a toilet, you’re of no use to me.
Too restrictive? I suppose I could loosen a few items if you’re particularly charming and good-looking. Having a sense of humor (especially after having the life sucked out of you and being condemned to an existence of half-living) will also get you huge bonus points.
Mostly, I’m just looking for the same thing everybody else is looking for; the chance to live happily every after with somebody who won’t run at the first sign of conflict – whether it’s arguing about the position of the toilet seat, who folds the laundry, or who walks the three-headed hellhound.
Is that too much to ask?