What Is Romance?

I saw a cartoon in my morning paper today which made me think as well as gave me a good laugh over my coffee while I was waiting for the laptop to boot up:
Two men talking in a bar:

Guy 1: My wife wanted to put some romance back into our marriage, so she asked me to dress up and make love to her like they do in the movies.
Guy 2: Sounds OK. What did you do?
Guy 1: I put on a boiler suit, fastened a tool belt to my waist, climbed a ladder and waved at her through our bedroom window while she was getting dressed.
Guy 2: Did she let you in?
Guy 1: No – It turns out we like different movies

It occurred to me this is also indicative of the type of books people read and what individuals see as being ‘romantic’, and what they don’t. Some people like explicit sexual encounters and see these novels as contemporary romantic. It’s becoming the norm in the stories I have seen lately that couples meet, have sex, then, if they still find each other attractive the next morning, start to form a relationship. If not, they move on. No wasted time, emotions or recriminations.

I’m old fashioned enough to think there is another, better way to embark on a relationship. I write historical fiction and of course there is a set order in which a couple will progress their relationship. The circumstances can vary, i.e. unconventional meetings where they are not necessarily introduced by a social equal – daring eh?

A popular scenario is a chance encounter in a dramatic situation where the heroine makes an impression on the hero, and then disappears, only to be formerly introduced at a ball or social gathering, allowing them to pursue an alliance without loss of reputation.

Today's ‘twentysomethings’ appear to have broken most of those traditions. Sometimes, I wonder if this is progress and are relationships ultimately better and more committed because of a more casual approach?

Or are today’s singles more confused now about what’s expected of them because the ‘play hard to get’ and ‘don’t sleep with someone on a first date’ guidelines have been ditched? Could this also be why there is an increase in demand for romantic fiction because it’s lacking in real life?

Now back to NaNoWriMo,or I shall be guilty of being the hare who got a good start but let everyone else overtake them on the last stretch.....


Ginger Simpson said…
Hooray for authors who still see love as part of romance. I've never been the 'wham, bam, thank you ma'am' type, and I certainly won't write about something I don't feel. Writing comes from the heart, and your books are a great example of the romantic type that is Anita Davison. :)

Good luck with NaNoWriMo...I bombed after the first week. I just couldn't turn off that darn internal editor of mine.

Happy Holidays, Anita...and where is your holiday photo for my blog? I got Clare's today.


Lisabet Sarai said…
I like a romance in which the sexual tension is there at the beginning, but takes a while to grow and flower into a stunning physical conjunction that mirrors the emotional one.

Have a great holiday, Anita!
Augustina Peach said…
I was just thinking about this topic a week or so ago...after an agent turned down my manuscript because she "lost interest" when the "romance" ended and the marriage began (not exactly what she said, but what I inferred from her comments). Are we only interested in reading about infatuation? Do readers get bored when the flames of passion burn down into a warm, steady glow? Personally, I like to read books that have the give-and-take that marks a maturing relationship.

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