As an inspirational romance writer, writing the title hurt a little bit. Okay, it hurt quite a bit. If you are in a serious relationship or married, you know what kind of pretty half-truths we romance writers love to employ to get you to melt into your chair and never leave it until gorgeous guy kisses beautiful girl in front of a glorious sunset. Just like the Masked Magician throws his fellow magicians under the proverbial bus by exposing the secrets of illusions, I’m about to reveal the top 10 “lies” romance writers use. So, just pretend you don’t see my profile picture on any of my social media outlets and play along while the Wrapped Writer (not so clever, but I don’t have time to come up with something else with fitting alliteration!) exposes the trade of selling romance.
#1: Man must be gorgeous.
Newsflash: not all men are hot; some aren’t even good-looking; some have a face only a mother could love. However, looks really are inconsequential when it comes to finding the guy that will make you happy. Looks fade away; personality does not.
#2: Every kiss tastes of something besides real life.
This one is my favorite, both to exploit readers and to be exploited by. But, if you have ever been kissed, you know the truth. Kisses, unless both kissers are prepared and have either brushed their teeth or chewed gum, taste nothing like romance books’ puckers. Here is a taste of real-life kisses: garlic, coffee, anything eaten for lunch (like tacos or salty fries), wine, and the mother of all tastes: morning breath.
#3: Two people must overcome battles to find each other.
I met my future husband on a smoke break. Nothing romantic, nothing dangerous (unless you count smoking as dangerous), no spies trying to kill us, no ex-lover trying to win back my or his affection. We just met, liked each other, and the rest is history. You, too, can have this simple, albeit boring romantic adventure. If your relationship requires high level of espionage or unpacked baggage, you might be in for a world of hurt when the relationship settles around “Hey, will you pick up some lettuce on your way home from work?”
#4: Female protagonist is petite and pretty.
This is a “lie” I try not to partake in as an author, but many romance writers succumb to this characterization ploy. Women come in all shapes and sizes and colors; a real man will look at personality and not the size on the label in a pair of jeans or the cup size of a bra.
#5: Female protagonist is outspoken and may occasionally throw something.
So, I sin with this lie. Here’s why. Because part of me, and I’m assuming other romance writers feel the same, wishes I could be like my female character. I wish I could speak my mind when angry instead of stew in silence; I wish I could be brave enough to smash a vase against the wall to show my frustration at times. And because I can’t/won’t/shouldn’t do these things, my character does. Bye-bye sheepish author lady, hello sexy vixen who knows just the right words to say just the right things.
#6: Muscles are in.
The only six-pack worth having, ladies, is a six-pack of your favorite beverage. Six packs are difficult to attain and even tougher to maintain, so unless your main squeeze spends all his time in the gym and eats a very specific diet, you will have to deal with some pudge and a slight love handle or two.
#7: Every time lovers touch, electricity happens.
Um…no. Just a plain, big, old, fat no. It may happen that when you hold your significant other’s hand, jolts of hormones and pheromones and whatever else race up your skin. But if this phenomenon does not happen, please, please, please don’t freak out. You are not falling out of love; you are simply being human holding another human’s hand. Don’t expect butterflies, lighting bolts, or whatever other metaphor we authors throw at you every time you touch your lover.
#8: Weather as a barometer of The Love Journey.
Authors use weather as a symbolic device. You will not experience rebirth or rejuvenation every time it rains; you will simply get wet.
#9: The end is the end.
The end is only the beginning. Where the author leaves the couple in a passionate embrace is where real life takes over. Oil changes, spit-up, diaper duty, household chores, honey-do lists, and life begin at “the kiss.”
#10: Romance is huge, planned events.
Romance is actually the opposite. It’s the little moments, the insignificant moments that add up to colossal romance. Late night grocery store missions, snuggling on the couch, a back rub just because, loading/unloading the dishwasher, getting the kids out of the house make up a true relationship. Don’t lose that for an ideal that literally only exists in fiction.
So, in closing, dear readers, please remember that fictional romance is exactly what it it: fictional. Read it, enjoy it, find escape in it, but then leave it and enjoy real-life romance as well. The real-life stuff is better anyway!