Month: February 2010

Love Stories

Fact. Harlequin sells 4 books a second.

That’s 240 romance novels, a minute.

Question. Who’s buying?

Ladies, please. Don’t act all feminist and cringe. The time has come to admit the fact that you’ve not only read a romance novel, but you also, secretly, love them. And for a variety of reasons. There are a few who loved the romance, few others the passion but most of us just love it for the extreme entertainment value.

Allow me to elucidate.

A typical romance novel is written in a tone which would expect me to empathize with the
heroine/protagonist, so that the more I read the book, the more I connect with the character and her trials, and well, feel for her. Incidentally, the typical romance-novel heroine is almost always a 5’9″ blonde with never ending legs, big brown eyes, curves to die for and a highly successful career, but oh my god, she has elbows. I have elbows too! Wow, I really feel like I KNOW this woman, almost as if we’re in a parallel universe. Freaky.

But there is no Love in her life. No Passion. No Romance. No mad monkey sex, even. And just when you think you can actually empathize with her, a sudden twist of fate makes her meet Mr.Man. The books get particularly hilarious at this point with their descriptions of Mr.Man. Here’s an example (Slow Hands – Lisa Kelley) :

She had not imagined anything like those shoulders, which were about the width of a small bus, or the bulked-up chest straining against the fabric of his tux. Nor the thick dark hair, cut short enough to tempt a woman to do some finger tangling while not drawing one bit of attention away from the slashing brows, the prominent cheekbones, the stubborn chin.

I hadn’t imagined anything like that either. But don’t fall off your chair just yet. It gets better.

The chest was, as she already knew, huge and strong. The throat tanned,the neck corded with muscle. His strong jaw jutted in classic male determination. His face was freshly shaved, she’d imagined, for tonight’s event, but already displayed a hint of swarthiness that would provide the tiniest frisson of roughness if their cheeks met.

So you really can’t blame our heroine for falling for him now, can you? The strong male jaw. The bus sized shoulders. BUS SIZED.

And this is just one example. There are a hundred different variants, all unique descriptions of raw male beauty, including phrases like “His crisp white shirt perfectly accentuated his rippling muscles”, “His shorts did less to cover the muscular shafts of his thighs” and “When he ate, food got stuck in his hairy mustache”. Ok, maybe not the last one, but you get my drift. Chuck Norrises, all.

Now is the time we must empathize most with our heroine. What would you do when you met a Man with a strong male jaw and bus sized shoulders? Would you –

a. Sleep with him, or
b. Have monkey sex

Such are the complex choices life throws at you. Sigh. And so, they do it, have heated passionate encounters which are described in great detail. I’d post an example, but please. This is family blog.

The books are just high entertainment from this point, and so completely crackpot, that they’re unputdownable. It makes you accompany the heroine right from her shuddering spasms to the ache in her loins and even the pain in her empty heart which was caused by Mr.Man who wouldn’t make her coffee in the morning because his parents died in a car crash or some sloppy excuse like that (the bastard!) and then finally the merriment and utter happiness that she experiences when she gets back with him.

There are no intellectual values to these books, let’s be honest here. No moral debates or male-female prejudices. It’s trash, and so completely fun, entertaining and ridiculous that we can’t help but read more. But most importantly, inside every one of these trashy, harebrained novels there is something that every woman wants – A happy ending.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

news

There’s a write up about me in the Mumbai Mirror! 🙂 Click here.

Mumbai Mirror today, New York Times Tomorrow!
or so we hope. 🙂