I’ve been reading a new book this week – a romance – and once again, I’m a little disappointed with one minor detail. Or major, depending on how you view things. It’s sort of a pet peeve that I’ve mentioned in the past. The two main characters have declared their love for each other. That in and of itself is not the problem. The problem is they’ve only known each other for about three weeks. They met at the beginning of the book, there were some serious fireworks, and poof! They’re in a relationship. That’s also fine. Fast forward three weeks and they’re in love. In love? Really?
OK, like I mentioned before. I don’t have a problem with love at first sight. That’s not exactly what happened here in this novel, but it’s close enough. It’s just that I don’t find it realistic. I know some people claim it happens to them and that’s great, but I don’t buy it. In books and stories, I find it mildly to very distracting. Instead of enjoying the romance for what it is, I’m annoyed that they’re professing true and everlasting love after a day or a few days.
I know I’ve written it into one of my stories. Hmm. Maybe a couple. A Pair of Ice Skates is one example and even then, the romantic leads were all but inseparable for about a month before saying the words. In On Thin Ice, those two characters also confessed love for each other soon after ending up in bed together. That was a different situation though, where they’d been lifelong friends before trying a relationship. For the most part, I try to keep those three little words out of the story until it seems to be reasonable for the characters to say it.
I read the parts where people admit they’re in love with someone they’ve barely known. Inevitably that’s followed with some kind of dramatic blow-up or revelations of secrets that have been kept. I understand it in the context of most stories – it’s a writing tool, one I employ myself. However, when I’m reading sometimes, I find the quick I love you’s to be distracting. I suppose one could argue that you don’t read for realism. And I don’t. I read to escape, just like anyone else. I’m not a book snob, only reading what’s critically acclaimed or on Oprah’s Book Club list. I read romance, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, everything. I guess it comes down to me not being in the right frame of mind to accept the love at first sight thing. Or love in three weeks.
The main thing that bothers me about the quick I love you, is that it always seems to come before some great revelation that changes everything for the couple. Now, if you were really in love with someone, wouldn’t you love them because you know everything about them? If you really loved someone, wouldn’t they know everything about you? All the crap you keep hidden from the general public and your family? 🙂 To me, it’s not true love until you know all that stuff, until you know the questionable things someone has done or thought, until you’ve revealed the same about yourself to them. Maybe I’m just being naive in thinking that you can share all that with someone and still have their love. Maybe I’m right. Maybe not. Maybe I’m lucky enough to have found someone who loves me, including all my quirks and tiny madnesses, and I think everyone should have the same.
In the stories, so often, these people are confessing love and making plans for the future before they know all that stuff about the other person. So when the big shocker is exposed, they suddenly think they were wrong about loving them. Well, I hate to break it to you, but real love isn’t just sex and cuddling and quiet, romantic moments. Love is stronger than that and much more messy. It’s often loud, unruly and never, ever the way you planned it.
On that note, (the me-sounding-like-a-romance-cynic note) I’m going to leave you reading your romances and wondering if you can buy into the whole ‘I love you… Maybe… Let me get back to you at the end of the book…’ Let me know what you think or what common, often used romance novel mechanics that tick you off.
I am going to maybe bake something else, have some lunch, read a bit, maybe write, or whatever I can fit into my afternoon before the big game. That’s right, today is the 100th Grey Cup, the championship game of the CFL and one of the oldest championships in professional sport today. And MY Stampeders are in the game.
GO STAMPS, GO!!
Take care and happy reading.