In the joint review between Patti and myself today, Patti stopped me in my tracks when she mentioned that she abhorred that the hero and heroine failed to use a condom when they consummated their union(s). It was rather raunchy in my mind, I mean girl, I know you are on birth control, but when your raunch butt tests positive for The Clap don’t go crying to your OBGYN. But, frankly, it didn’t bother me – because I took it as a demonstration of the brain-dead aspects of the couple. Just a bad mistake of the couple in the book, not a failure of the writing. Much like if the couple were to say, rob a bank. That my friends, is a mistake the character makes, but I’m not going to enjoy the book any less. I like reading about stupid people and the stupid mistakes they make…makes me feel less stupid.
But that is me. It did get me thinking about what actions or attributes TURN ME OFF when it comes to romance. So, of course I came up with a list for today’s Dishing Junk.
The Ten Things That Make A Romance, a Bad Romance
Heroine is treated like a child. Biggest Turn Off Ever. The hero calls his new sexy-time partner things like “Little One” or carries her around like a baby. I read one romance where he strapped her to his chest, while they ran across the dessert or field – or some other nonsense – in like a baby carrier type thing. Of course this whole time she was naked and he was — well happily nestled. I couldn’t figure out the dynamics of that particular phase of the story (see item #3).
- Patty Hearst is my Hero. This happens all the time in Romance. Either the couple starts out as sworn enemies, or the hero or heroine is trying to do some major deed that involves kidnapping or killing their eventual mate. Sometimes it works, but where it usually fails for me, is when the aggressor doesn’t redeem him/herself in my eyes. If all it takes is an explanation to redeem an attempted murder…well there would be a lot less people in jail.
- How is that possible? Ever read a novel where the couple are engaging in sexual activity that you can’t even fathom? Like how is he licking her toes and titillating her female nubs at the same time? From the aforementioned baby bjorn episode to a scene where the couple was on a roof top and I think there was some rain and they might have been upside down…
- Ever heard of honesty? The couple loves each other, but for some reason they just can’t tell each other anything. They keep secret upon secret. Okay, you had a baby that you gave up for adoption. I understand that might be traumatic, but chick, you agreed to marry this guy – time to fess up. The dumber the secret, the harder for me to accept it.
- Plot stuck in descriptions. I understand you want to paint a picture. But, really, do you really have to spend pages describing the heroine’s kitchen. I might really really like adjectives, but sometimes there is a just a little too much.
- Monotony to stall. Most romances go to crap the moment the couple hooks-ups or really when they declare their love. So the author will schedule a series of stupid reasons the couple can’t be together or monotonous events. We might have to paint the floor — so she is too busy. Or maybe he just can’t commit right now. Television shows do this all the time, but in a Romance, where the whole point of the book is the love of the couple – crazy-not-cool.
- Menage Madness. I do understand that this is usually only in erotica fiction, but the menage seems to be taking off in that genre. I’m not any kind of expert on this (sticks fingers in ears and claims innocence), but I would think that an introduction to this type of lifestyle might be discussed a bit before it actually takes place, instead of said third party showing up while the couple is otherwise engaged in the moment. This was actually the first menage book I’ve ever read – which I didn’t realize it was this genre. The guy just popped up in the bed and it was about two-thirds into the book. A definite WTF moment. Another one I read was I believe, with triplets, where they kept switching and the chick on the reveal was like – “oh yeah, let’s all try it now.” She was also supposed to be in love with one of them. If my man did that…no way.
- Stupid Descriptions. This is my main reason I do not enjoy historical romance. I don’t like to read about throbbing members, mons, petals, cups…manflesh, or ripped bodices. How about some modern euphemisms please, or some new ones? Wang, Dipstick, Johnson…no just kidding.
- Insta-Love Time. The fate/mated couple, the couple that fall immediately in love even though they spend only 24 hours together. The made-for-you couple, the one that he is the only one that can touch her, because she has some weird pheromone problem that kills anyone (but him) that she comes in contact with. Drives me bat-shit.
- The Make-Over. The main character, usually the heroine, is rarely noticed. But, she either comes into her own (grows up one summer or moves back after years away) or gets a make-over and suddenly that guy is totally into her. Oh, you only like me cause I’m pretty? Ok. *rolls eyes*
I think that is enough. What do you think? What Romantic cliches, traps or tropes drive you nutty?
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