>> Thursday, March 25, 2010
A surprisingly large portion of my favorite books, from classics to all genres, involve a measure of romance. Not just romance, but romance the way that I define it.
Sadly, in my opinion, many romances, at least today, have lost sight of that same romance.
See, when I speak of romance, I mean loving someone more than yourself. Not letting yourself be destroyed by them, but willing to sacrifice yourself on their behalf, which is something different.
Most of today's romances have heroes that demonstrate their love by losing control of their lust, even raping, with a woman, no matter what the consequences to her and/or tossing her aside with prejudice at the first hint (however meager) of infidelity or betrayal. Female protagonists seem to either be a male version of such a scumbag or a limp doormat ready and willing to be kicked around by the hero because she's set on fire by his touch (no matter how intractable she is otherwise).
The notion, central in my opinion to true romance, of making sacrifices or adaptations for the well-being of another, including restraining one's own lustful urges if they will do harm (as they frequently do in romances) seem very much the exception and not the rule in today's romance...and more's the pity. Romance means trust. Romance means working for their happiness rather than obsessing on your own jealousy. Jealousy is not romantic. I will note that at least two of the most successful romance authors ever write true romance the way I see it.
That should say something, if only I'm not the only one out there who is more enchanted by love between partners, where sex is friendly, consensual, and even foregone if it will do the other harm than I am "love" that is basically unstoppable, even brutal, sex in graphic detail between two people who do nothing but hate each other when not in the sheets together (and sometimes there, too).
I love love, believe in it, live it. Nothing makes me fall in love with a character like being truly romantic (per my own definition). Nothing makes me shut a book faster than sacrificing your lover to your own selfish interests.
There, I said it.
Now I feel better.