Dear Romance Novels, I think we should see other people for a while.
Dear Romance Novels,
I don’t think we can go on this way. It’s been coming for a while, and I’m pretty sure you felt it too. The rift started simple enough: an eye roll, a muted cackle, an under-the-breath passive-aggressive dismal of your perfectly noble intentions. But as with a leaky faucet, little drips add up in time. Suddenly what seemed like a puddle we could step around yesterday, became a tidal wave that threatens to destroy us today. And possibly call upon Arnold Schwarzenegger or the Rock flying in a helicopter to save a beloved dog in the nick of time while disobeying official government orders. I don’t know, I might have gotten lost in the metaphor right there. Damn it, I’m screwing this up. Let me try again.
It’s not you, it’s me. I know that’s one of those cliché break up lines, but it’s true. You’re a perfectly good genre, and despite what some snooty academics or self-important literati think, you do a lot of good in the world. No one should fail to recognize that you’re the highest selling genre in the world today, or that you have more variety and craziness than a tropical fish store mysteriously located next to a sushi bar in a strip mall. Your characters encompass every archetype known to man, and your cooking offers dishes that appeal to every palette, from sickly sweet, to sweetly sick. You even have the occasional potluck, complete with dish passing and Swedish meatballs. As a genre, you pretty much rock.
The truth is, I want to love you. I do, I swear. There have been moments in our past that you have held me when my world turned cold, whispered sweet nothings in my ear, and made me believe tomorrow would be a better day. You’ve shown me heroines of incredible passions, intense intelligence, and with breasts that could be used as a flotation device in the event of a water landing. You’ve given me heroes that earned billions, wrote poetry, spoke French, and put down the toilet seat. You’ve made me care about people who I would have sworn I’d hate, and showed me how anyone – nay, everyone, deserves love.
But there’s been problems. Come on, we both know it, and we’re only going to grow if we admit it. Too many times, I’ve said to myself that given every thing that had happened in a relationship, there’d be no way the couple could ever find happiness, only to see those little buggers curl all up and pretend they hadn’t been asses to each. You made me think that any problem can be solved with talk between mature adults, a little compassion, and possibly really hot sex. And about the sex- you led me to believe that men care about a women’s experience, and that they actually see the act as something emotional. And don’t get me started on the whole virgin bleeding/”he pushed slowly until my body recognized him”/the first time a couple has sex, everything is like a dream and there’s no awkwardness thing. It’s always awkward, okay? No matter how much two people love each other, when they decide to gyrate their giblets together for the first time, there’s going to be something that gives at least one of them pause.
But I’m getting off topic. Let me sum it up: I’m not saying we should go our separate ways forever. I’m just saying that, as a reader and a genre, I think we need to go a little sideways of each other for now. You deserve better than me, and I need something other than you. If you need to blame anyone, we both know who’s really at fault, don’t we? The bottom line is, I want you. I want to believe in you. I want to be inspired with you, to identify with you. And I just can’t right now. And that fact is the most painful thing of all, and the reason why, for the moment, I just need a little space.