LAURA SNYDER: 'Trashy' Romances Are Her One True Vice
It's my one vice -- the one thing that my husband would change about me, if he could.
I don't drink, I don't smoke, I've never tried an illegal narcotic, and except for an epidural during my third child's birth, I never take prescription pain medication. My one vice is trashy romance novels.
Not the really embarrassing ones that make you blush even when you are alone in the room; just your moderately erotic historical romances that curl your toes and make you hunt down your husband on a warm summer evening. Yeah, those are the ones.
I'm addicted to them, but I'm not sure why. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with them while they are pretty much indifferent to me. My biggest beef with them is that the hero and heroine in these stories do things in their everyday lives that are nearly impossible in my life.
Nowadays, you can't get it on with your "significant other" under an oak tree in a quiet glade. The attempt would get you arrested, not to mention the annoying presence of acorns jabbing into your backside.
They never parked their carriage on a bluff to watch the non-existent submarine races. There weren't any submarines to not see back then. They never had a constable thrust a torch through their carriage window when they were half-naked and tell them to "Take it somewhere else." No, all of their fantasies come to exhilarating fruition with none of the frustrations of real life.
I'm convinced that romance writers must not have children. Or if they do, they don't know they do. How could you write about the romantic exploits of a pirate and his lady when there is a small fry tugging on your sleeve begging you for some cheese doodles? Does real life ever enter the romance writer's realm?
I have never read a romance novel where the heroine's love-child (the hero, of course didn't know it was his child) was blowing into his elbow, making gaseous noises, and giggling in maniacal glee.
I have never read a historical romance novel that even mentioned how an outhouse was employed in the 1700s. I always wondered how the women got those huge gowns into a tiny, little outhouse. And if they managed to stuff all their skirts in there, how did they "refresh" themselves properly without being able to see the "target?"
After an exhausting sword fight after which the hero always emerges victorious, perspiring, and mostly unscathed, he rescues the heroine and takes her into his arms. You never hear her say, "Oh, disgusting! Did you use your deodorant today?"
The hero is always immaculately dressed and groomed. His bedroom is always spotless -- due to the maids, no doubt. There is never a poster featuring a half-naked woman hanging on the wall. There is nothing hanging on a doorknob.
There are never little mounds of change, receipts, and used toothpicks lying around as if a giant accounting bunny made a visit in the middle of the night and did his business on the armoire. And the heroine never looks at the room and thinks, "I think some sheer curtains and a calla lily motif would look nice in here."
The worst thing is that either the hero or the heroine is always rich. Sometimes they don't know it until the end of the story, but there is always money involved. You never read about a nobody, who fell in love with another nobody, they married, had little nobodies, and stayed nobodies, happily ever after. Tell me that wouldn't make for a good night's snore.
On the other hand, perhaps it's actually the lack of real-life situations that makes me so addicted to historical romance novels.
Reading one is like taking an inexpensive trip to another place and another time without having to hire a babysitter. A place and time where cheese doodles, telephones, and toilet bowl brushes do not exist. And where all bad habits and body functions are suspended -- except the ones you need for a love affair.
Whispering Pines writer Laura Snyder will be trying her hand at reviewing some of these novels in upcoming issues of The Pilot. Contact her at email@example.com.
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