I’d hoped to be taking a lot of nifty pics in Boston this weekend, but alas we’ve canceled our trip. Ironically, I also finished my revision of The Body Gift, which had been consuming my thoughts and energy. So I don’t even relish my suddenly free weekend to work on it.
I am, however, going back to the novel I started before Christmas, which I think I’ll call The Middle Princess for the time being. No, I don’t always do three-word titles. Sometimes I do one-word titles or, in a salient example, an eight-word title.
At any rate, I’ve been thinking about male/male romance.
What – you didn’t follow that transition? Keep up!
For those of you living under a rock, m/m romance is a huge trend these days. These are essentially traditional romance novels, except that the hero and heroine are a hero and hero. The novels are largely written by women and read by women. There’s all kinds of debate about whether or not the stories are accurate depictions of male homosexuality, and if they should be. Every once in a while someone will produce an article where gay men make scathing comments about the romance/sex/level of realism. And they speculate about why women want to write and read this stuff.
The astute women ask why hetero men like to watch girl on girl so much and leave it at that.
It would be kind of amusing to see an article about girl on girl porn scenes, asking lesbians about the level of realism and whether these scenes accurately portray a lesbian love-affair.
So, I read one of these books a bit ago, partly to broaden my horizons and partly because the book received such a good review. I enjoyed it, too. One of the characters was more dominant, a business-man who wasn’t openly out of the closet. The other, flamboyantly gay, “never topped.” The dynamic felt familiar. One man was more ambitious, busy and closed off, the other more emotional, who loved to cook and read.
Some conflict revolved around being out together in public, with the one being so flamboyant, dealing with family and similar issues that this less-acceptable sexuality brings. But the main conflict came from the balance of power in the relationship, vulnerability and intimacy. As the more flamboyant man sulked, threw fits and struggled emotionally, I realized that a lot of that behavior would have annoyed me in a female character. It was as if, by being male, he had license to behave as outrageously as he wished. In some ways, his emotions were more valid to me, than they would have been in a female character.
So, this is one book and I’m not a sociologist. Still, I’ve grown up in a culture where women’s emotionality is considered boggy ground. As professionals, we’re expected to behave more like men emotionally. In relationships, being too emotional is considered cheating. I wonder if the m/m romance gives more room to explore the love relationship without bringing up those damming triggers.
When I brought this up with a group of writer friends, though, the ever-saucy Darynda Jones blinked at me and said, “I just think they’re hot.”
There you are then.