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Sexy Isn’t Sexy: My Take on Romantic Development in Books

Let me preface this by saying that I don’t have romantic experience. All I know is what I’ve seen from family and friends, or goodness gracious the media. If I’m looking at the family and friends aspect, I almost have hope. If I decide to take my cues from how the media displays romance, I’m screwed before I even get started. Between both, I’ve started coming to realize that I’d almost rather not enter the arena, no matter how much I want to know what it’s like to have a boyfriend/relationship.

That being written, I remember a couple of years ago I wrote a blog post about how I had lost my desire to read romance novels because I found them unhealthy. All sex, no substance, basically. Hormones and chemistry with not much more. I didn’t forget that I wrote it, I just decided to try and discard said opinions. Lately, I’ve been reminded as to why I had them to begin with. I’m basically at the banging my head against the wall stage and considering alcohol even though I don’t really drink due to a few recent reads.

Several other things have influenced this coming to my senses. For Valentine’s Day, my pastor preached on society’s idea of love versus the Bible’s version. If you don’t wish to ascribe to those notions, that’s fine. I’m saying that they influenced my own opinions. It’s about choice every single day over the euphoria that comes from a new relationship. There’s even a post I found on Pinterest supporting this, no biblical connotations needed. Hm. Even psychology supports that love is a choice rather than emotions.

The second is that while on vacation, I had a delightful talk with my aunt. Okay, multiple talks. One is about how people are eager to get in each other’s pants that they don’t get to know one another, so things happen. I’ll skip the venereal diseases portion of that talk. It was disgusting yet interesting at the same time since she included pictures! The other talk is about her marriage to my uncle. They always seem like a well-oiled couple. They are, but they’ve had their bumps over the years. And something that I have never really thought about is the same grandma that raised my mom raised my uncle. Yeah, I am an adult who never quite pieced that fact together. Or the fact that my uncle might have some of the same issues that my mom has because of that, come to think of it. It gave me a new, appreciative perspective, on how the two of them have worked together over the years.

The third thing is the strange aspect to this. I spend many an hour on Pinterest. I’ve seen a lot of those Tumblr posts about what consenting relationships should look like. It’s weird (though weirder than it should be), but I happen to like the ideology behind a lot of it since I’m not the touchy huggy feely type and prefer to be asked before being touched in any capacity.

Between these three things, I have recently begun scrutinizing the relationships I’m finding in books. I’m left horrified and disappointed at what I’m finding. If the books can’t do it right, how is life going to work? Why even bother?

With all of this being said, I should probably get on to the books that have provided these feelings of anger and displeasure.

  1. To Love and to Cherish by Lauren Layne. I won’t lie, I liked this book. As far as a romance goes, it was better than most. Then, I started looking back on it. Two particular scenes stick out on this book. The first belongs to that kitchen scene. The… couple had recently begun their romantic relationship. After coming back from sexy times while on vacation, they’re assuming that they can go back to being normal friends. Um, wrong. So wrong. He legitimately just walks into her kitchen and they just start screwing. No words, he basically grabbed her and they were rearing to go. No asking, just doing. Does that sound remotely romantic or even consensual? *Pinches nose and shakes head in despair.* Moving on to the proposal. The guy bothers to take them to their original meeting place. They imitate their original conversation. Sweet, right? Until he doesn’t get down on one knee to propose because of peanut shells. Huh? I get that he’s an uptight British man who cares about his clothing, and she probably understands him so she doesn’t mind. But seriously? That’s romantic?

I’m out on that one. Then the next book on this list appeared which surprised me with the contents. Goodreads ratings are high. People rave about this romance. I honestly don’t get where people are getting this from.

  1. Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I honestly don’t know which part of the relationship bothered me more. They were on a dangerous mission in the woods. Ehhh. Not my favorite scene, but the whole getting close on a mission thing I can kind of buy into. It’s a good trope that can work well. It’s the other aspect to this relationship that had me wanting to gouge out my eyes. Friends with benefits: another good trope that can be done well. For me, it wasn’t. The two characters came to some sort of an agreement. She’s not looking to get married. He’s fine with that and not actively looking to change that stance. Okay. Not what I think of as a good relationship, but everyone has their goals. It’s the end that got me, though. They have a discussion about how their relationship doesn’t need to be defined. They are what they are: lovers. They’ll get together when they get together. They are free to stop seeing each other if one of them finds someone better suited to his/her tastes. No one need understand this reasoning since they understand it.

I sure don’t. Who is okay with this kind of relationship? This sort of reasoning? I know I’m not. This is also the first time a relationship ever felt unnatural and forced for me. Why bother having a relationship at all if it will be defined like this? Why bother if there’s not really a definition at all?

I don’t think that sort of relationship works in any capacity but since others seem to be enjoying this, I’ll just get out while I can. Now I can go and try to get this book out of my head.

Wait. It was overrun by the next one on this list.

  1. Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas. This just sounded cute. Two pen pals who end up meeting and discovering that who they knew on paper weren’t who they were in reality. First off, Misha kept his identity a secret for months on purpose. That will never go well, just saying. It didn’t here. But that’s not entirely what made me feel the need to throw up or consume alcohol. Actually, I’m not entirely sure if it was the why or where that got me in this book. Is hate sex really a thing? You don’t even like someone so the appropriate response is to get your hands on them whenever you can? Huh? Never mind. It’s definitely the where that disturbed me. At a school late at night while being chased by security? In a pickup while at a drive in? Early morning, hoping mom and sister don’t walk in? Yeah. Those all really happened.

Did I mention these guys were 18 and seniors in high school? No? It made everything, creepier, honestly. I’m half convinced I would have liked it better had they actually been in college, even though that’s probably a lie.

Am I saying that all romances are bad or even horrible? No. Of course not. It’s actually kind of insane how much shipping I do. I’m just saying that there are healthy relationships and unhealthy ones. These are examples of ones that I find to be unhealthy, no matter what the masses are saying. I am honestly baffled as to how these books have received such high ratings on Goodreads.

I should probably stay away from the romances, then. I know this, and I keep crawling back because I seem to like the idea of them, but not the execution. I should have learned by now. I guess I like to do things the hard way.

In the meantime, I’ll go back to shipping Karris and Guile in the Lightbringer series because I have high hopes for them. See? I’m not completely anti-romantic. I’m just anti unhealthy relationships.

I hope you enjoyed my reviewing relationships in novels. I hate that I got the point where I did this, but it was needed, for myself. I might have even had a bit of fun, letting the sarcasm slip through.

Was this useful? Any fun to read? Am I off my rocker yet? Let me know in the comments!

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