I was reading an article today that the local Romance Writer's chapter posted and one of the lines resonated with me. One of the most prevalent criticism of romance is that it causes unrealistic expectations. So is it unrealistic to expect a man to treat a woman with respect? I write clean romance, not because I think romantic books are bad - each to their own - but because I believe we should write the kind of books we want emulated in the world. I am religious and I would consider myself hypocritical to advocate virtues in my books that I don't advocate in real life. But I also believe that looking for love and that connection is core in our lives. Women are more likely to be murdered by a partner than by anyone else so picking a partner is literally life and death for women.
I've been thinking a lot about this idea of romance tropes as I'm writing a lust to love romance at the moment. I'm worried that my audience will think she is shameless to throw herself at the man. But in my head she is the kind of girl that knows what she wants and goes for it. She even gets married first. Yes, I know a little on the unrealistic side but also not. I have friends that got married after meeting their husband only a couple of times. He saw a picture of her and thought that is the woman I'm going to marry. They've been together over a decade now. So a sudden marriage isn't unusual in my own community.
This article was talking about expecting the basic equality in a relationship is often seen as unrealistic by men. They weren't talking about the guys helping with the cleaning or picking up their share of chores or picking up the towel from the floor. Instead they talk about the core of the relationship - the connection and the intimacy in a relationship. In plain speak - sex. Which I find odd as when you speak to men they want that connection and intimacy in a relationship just as much as women do. At a closer look really this cry about unrealistic expectations are from men who don't want a relationship, they want power. Who else wants power in relationships? Rapists and abusers.
Yes, some of the men in romance are over the top perfect but so is James Bond and Jack Ryan. No one expects people to be like Captain American but we can recognise aspects of characters in people and think, yes that's what I want in a guy.
Even the trope of the alpha male is about that. Having a guy that knows what they want and desires a woman so much they will prioritise them above all else. So for guys out there if you check out the tropes this is what women really expect from me.
- Show your feelings
- Desire a woman
- Prioritise her over trivial aspects of your life
- Listen to her
And that is it. If that is too high of an expectation from a partner we are doomed.