And You Should Pass the Chocolate
By Bethany Maines
The ads for that certain holiday have started already. You know the pink, frilly, and frequently scantily clad ads I’m referring to. They also come in diamond and/or chocolate covered versions, but they all say pretty much the same thing: buy, buy, buy and if you don’t buy, or someone isn’t buying for you, then your life sucks. Number one, I generally have a problem with ads that try to make me feel bad about myself. And number two, I think it’s possible that I was born with a genetic disorder referred to as Lowdramatitis. For the record, problem number three is that I think it’s rude to show someone chocolate without instantly providing some.
Anyway, back to my genetic disorder. People suffering from Lowdramatitis have a tendency to say things like “Seriously?” during key moments in dramatic films, snort loudly at just about anything teenagers say, and exist in a state of incomprehension during a friend's monologue about their dating life. (Apparently, “So… you can’t just call him?” is never an appropriate question.)
So every year, as the hype of Valentine’s Day rolls around, I also find myself rolling my eyes. Which is why I thought for years that I suffered from Lowromantitis. I thought my impatience with the stupidity of others was an indication that I didn’t like romance. This, my friends, is not true. I like romance. I like it when my guy brings me flowers and says sweet things and what-not. I quite enjoy the what-not. What I don’t like is when the girl trips in a horror movie simply because someone wanted to put in that piece of music where the string section goes eeeeee-eee-eeeeeeeeee. I just hate inconsistent character development, if nothing else.
Along that same topic, I recently read a blog about the ratings system for Romance novels. (If you’re dying to know… It’s Time to Revamp our Sensuality Ratings) It was an interesting glimpse into a genre that I rarely read, and that hinted at the genre politics boiling away over there in the Romance section. Which is always funny when you write for another genre and not in the least bit funny when you do. But it got me to thinking that while I rarely read romance and I get seriously impatient with adult characters that act with all the impulsivity and sanity of teenagers (Yes, Three Weissmans of Westport, I’m looking at you), and I’m not sure I want to read books that need a rating system on a regular basis, I really do prefer books that have an element of romance in them. Which is probably why I write genre benders that mix in a little mystery, action, and romance all at the same time. I could try to explain why I added humor to the mix, but we’d probably be here all night and someone would have to call Freud. What they would call him, I don’t know, but they could call him.