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The Romance Disclaimer

I've talked about this a little bit before, but I figured I should have it all in one spot so I don't have to repeat myself every single time I read a book that has any kind of a "romance" angle to it.

The romance genre isn't one I tend to enjoy as a rule. The "bodice rippers" with Fabio clones on the cover are something I just do not understand. Physical attraction isn't something I grok. If people are talking about some cute new person at work or in a bar or wherever I have no idea who they're discussing. Once someone says something and then I look at whomever, then I'll maybe notice if they're cute/hot/whatever, it isn't something I notice on my own.

On TV or in movies I tend to be attracted to personalities, to attitudes, and honestly to geeks. Charlie on Numb3rs, Reed on Criminal Minds, Michael on Prison Break, etc... now, yes a lot of them (*cough* Wentworth *cough*) are also hot/cute but they're actors so they mostly all are anyway, and that tends to be very secondary. Aside from the geeks there's also those characters that have some kind of strength, an attitude about them. These tend to be the non-human guys... Superman, Duncan MacLeod, Henry Fitzroy. I don't start thinking about any of them as attractive right off the bat, it's something they become.

Reading sex scenes in excrutiating detail makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I don't want to know every little detail of who put what where. It is not hot, it does not turn me on. Similarly, I don't enjoy explicit sex scenes in movies and tv. It is more than enough for me to know it happened. If it simply must be there, keep it to a PG-13 level.

Every now and then I end up in a position where the story of a book intrigues me enough to pick it up even though I know it's a "romance" book. Or someone recommends something and I start it without knowing exactly what kind of book it is. Books in general have to be spectacularly bad for me to not finish them. And since I keep track of what I read I then have to explain why I've read something that I didn't enjoy!

So this is my solution, I'm going to list some examples or groups and then when I read things in the future I can just say "this falls under example 1" and leave it at that. If you click on the "romance" category you can see where I put which books.


Example 1 - These are the ones that I understand the least, there tends to be very little plot, characters fall instantly in love and are driven completely to distraction by each others' bodies. The purpose of the book isn't to tell a story, it's to write about sex. There is no way to skim past the parts that make me squicky because that's most of the book.

Example 2 - I think I would call this the "skimmable" category. There's an actual story and characters that can do things other than think about sex. However, sex still shows up a lot and when it is there it's quite graphic. Characters maybe don't fall in love quite as quickly as in Example 1, but still rather fast and inexplicable. These are books that I'll put up with if the story is good or interesting. I can skim past the stuff I don't like and just enjoy the actual plot of the book.

Example 3 - These are approaching what I'd consider a "normal" book. Still romance-y, but leaning more towards relationships instead of just physical attraction. Characters actually learn a bit about each other before hopping into bed. Not books that I'll seek out, but I'm ok reading them if I come across them.

Example 4 - And we've arrived at what I'd call a "normal" book that happens to have characters who have physical relationships. The focus of these is on the plot and characters, there's reasons for what they do beyond the physical. Sex scenes are kept to the afformentioned PG-13 level. We get enough details to know what happened, but it isn't explicit.

I think that covers most of it, I may expand this or change it a bit as I continue, but it should serve its purpose of keeping me from repeating myself every time I read something outside of my normal reading areas.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 5, 2008 8:32 PM.

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