Life Is Like A Romance Novel
You know what’s sexy? A romance novel. What strikes me as funny though is just how unlike life a romance novel is.
I refer to all underwear of any gender and style as unders. For example, “I’m going to the store for some new unders and socks. Do you need anything?”
Sometimes I look at my husband across the room with dread slowly choking me. My eyes grow wide with fear and I ask, “You’re going to want dinner tonight aren’t you? I just cooked yesterday. Can we just have some cereal and be done with it?”
Someone told a girlfriend and I that “Marriage is like a sleepover with your best friend that you get to have every night” and my friend and I laughed and laughed. The person that said this is – if you couldn’t tell – single.
My husband has never braided my hair, put on a facial and gossiped about boys with me as is typical with sleepovers. Once I had a gnarly case of food poisoning and after stepping in some vomit, he helped me clean the bathroom for three hours. Oh, did we have some laughs! I could feel us bonding with every scrub. He can make the funniest gagging sounds. You should have been there! That sleep over was a barrel of laughs!
I’m also a rather graceful person. I once fell down the stairs and my husband still to this day remembers with awe in his voice, the way my body became rigid and I tobogganed down the staircase. (My mother also witnessed this and she burst into tears because she thought I was dead but not my husband. “Like a bobsled,” he rasped out in between hoots of laughter while lowering his arms to his sides and locking them in place, mimicking the way I slid down.) I was fine, by the way.
I’m cool. I’m good!
And once, while I was having a scary allergic reaction, my husband gallantly assured me that I was normally quite pretty, just not at that particular moment.
My point is that life is not like a romance novel. Perhaps that’s why we read them – because they aren’t filled with annoying neighbors, bouts of food poisoning and allergic reactions. They don’t have clumsy moments or unsexily folding unders on laundry day.
But it’s important to remember that life can always surprise you.
Not every man is a Prince with a billion dollars, is driven half crazy with his undying love for you and an immortal life span to prove it. Likewise, not every woman is an insipid barbie doll who spent her whole life dreaming of her wedding day and her only goal in life is to find a man.
Real life romance is different than that. When you’re say, recovering from a bad car wreck, he’ll help you shower and get into your pjs. When your father is dying in the hospital, he’ll sleep on a hard folding table in the family surgical waiting room with you and go broke paying for city parking every day. When you tell him that you want to be a writer, he doesn’t laugh, he never blinks, and asks about what you’ll be writing.
I suppose this all influences the stories that I write. I write suspense because life is suspenseful. Okay, fine. I’ve never been a covert government agent. (Or is that just what a covert government agent would say?) But still, it’s a roller coaster ride. Accidents, injuries, life or death, we live with suspense every day.
And we live with romance every day. Flirting at the bar with a cute stranger whose name we don’t care about or laughing with our spouse about the hilarious incidents of the ridiculous. That IS romance.
We have faults. People snore. The say the wrong thing. They fall. They get hurt. They have goals and dreams that don’t revolve around their love interest. Flannel pajamas ARE comfortable despite what romance novels and men in general say about them.
I think my characters reflect a bit of that. They’re not perfect. They’re far from. I think that’s what makes them “right” for each other. It’s their quirks, their faults that let them grow together and compliment each other. It’s not about solving someone’s problems with your limitless bank account. Love is getting down on the floor and scrubbing up their vomit with them. Love is sleeping on a folding table. Love is helping someone up when they fall and supporting their dreams. It can be gross and it can be challenging, but that’s love in real life. It can be love in a romance novel, too.
Of course things are a bit glammed up in novels – that’s why we read them – but I like my romance to have some real in it.
Who’s with me?