It’s not every girl’s dream to be rescued, or to have a White Knight ride in and take her away (I won’t even talk about slaying dragons, since I’ll just get myself whacked upside the head for that! ). But that doesn’t mean Romance doesn’t appeal to all women, no matter the size, shape, age, or sexual orientation… And certainly no matter how much one might protest or claim otherwise.
Some of us are quite capable of solving our own problems, tilting at our own windmills, and facing our own demons. Some of us kick ass when it comes to taking care of our business, and we certainly don’t need another person to step in and save the day. We’ve got it well under control, thank you very much. And you’ll rarely know if we don’t.
But does that mean we want to spend our lives alone, or facing an existence built on something dull and lifeless, or even frightening? Of course not.
Every girl dreams of being a princess (even if some of us are more Xena than Sleeping Beauty). Not literally, of course, but at least in the eyes of someone else. We want to be special, to be seen as someone beautiful, awe-inspiring, and beloved. We want to feel as if we’re the most important person in someone’s life, and to know that they compare every other woman they meet to us, and find those others lacking.
It’s hardwired into us to crave grand gestures of love and affection – some symbol that tells the world just how special we are to someone else. For a lot of women, that’s what an engagement ring is all about. It’s what lavish weddings are all about.
Plenty of people (women included) scoff at romantic fiction. They call it trash, written porn, smut, etc, etc. I can promise you this – none of those people have ever actually read a romance novel, without allowing their preconceived notions of the genre to color their reading.
Are there novels that are explicit? Of course there are. But then, there are Horror novels that are graphic about blood and terror. There are adventure and action novels that are over-the-top with violence. Crime novels that are almost too ghastly and grisly with their details, to read (I should know… I write them!).
So, what is it about Romance that sends people running? Could it be the unwillingness to face their own deeply buried desire to be truly loved? Perhaps it’s that they’re stuck in our prudish society’s mindset that anything involving sex should be shunned.
Personally, I think it’s the former. Porn is a billion-dollar industry for a reason… People don’t have a problem with sex. People have a problem with love. The idea of facing your own emotions, of admitting that you want more, that you’re looking for something spiritual as well as physical, is something that sends a lot of people (both male and female) running for their lives. They’re afraid to want, for fear they might never find what they’re looking for.
Romance novels are about more than sex. They’re about connection, about love that’s true, deep, and abiding. About the emotions that are tangled up inside of sexual desire, and about letting go of the desire, to get at one’s heart and soul. And they make us face our own wants and needs – make us step up and say, “Yes, I do want more from life than just sex.” They’re not about perfect people, or larger-than-life situations. They’re about ordinary people who discover the most extraordinary gift of life – the ability to love and be loved. In short, Romance novels are about every girl’s dream come true – not the perfect man or woman(after all, there’s no such thing as a “perfect” person), but the perfect match of two hearts and two souls.
So the next time you have the opportunity to pick up a Romance novel and read it, I suggest you do. You might just learn something about yourself, along the way.