Wednesday, October 12, 2011

And now a word about romance novels

Or as I like to call them, fairy tales for big girls.

For some reason, ever since we lost power for six days, thanks to Hurricane Irene, I have been craving romance novels, specifically historical romance novels -- the kind set in Regency England. And, I am only somewhat embarrassed to say, I have now read around a half dozen such novels, by several authors (though not the two books whose covers I have featured here).

Now I know one shouldn't take these things (i.e., romance novels) too seriously, but I was shocked -- shocked, I say! -- to discover how incredibly fantastic (as in remote from reality -- though of extraordinary size would also be an accurate description, at least of some things, ahem) some of these tales were.

Herewith my shocking findings about historical romance novels (and, no doubt, more contemporary ones, too).

Fact 1: There are no flat-chested or plain-looking heroines (i.e., people like me getting swept off their feet) in most historical romance novels. While I may have thick, wavy hair the color of chestnuts and lovely green eyes fringed with dark lashes, my otherwise average countenance, diminutive breasts (which I have yet to hear described as "full, round, and luscious, ready to spill out of her gown") and sagging derriere, or buttocks (which likewise has yet to be described as "enticingly plump yet firm," at least anywhere I've heard about), I fear, pretty much disqualify me from being the heroine of, object of affection in, or cover model for any romance novel. (I am now throwing myself onto my settee, heaving tears of regret and longing.)

Fact 2: Apparently aristocrats had personal trainers back in the day and those dungeons were in actuality fully-equipped workout gyms. For how else could you possibly explain all the male heroes in these novels -- dukes, earls, and lords, almost all of whom are in their late 30s or early 40s -- having such hard, taut chests and fine muscular arms whose solid thighs (and, uh, other things) nicely filled out their breeches? (Unless they were gay. Which, come to think of it....)

Fact 3: There is no such thing as male pattern baldness in historical romance. (See "Women with small breasts and plain faces.") Not only have these forty-something pillars of masculinity been working out with Jack LaLanne, they are all clearly members of the Hair Club for Men, for how else can you explain the head of thick, luxurious hair which complements their chiseled jaws, green eyes the color of a storm-tossed sea, and six-pack abs?

Fact 4: To properly seduce a man, you must be a lady in public and a whore in the boudoir. (Actually, that one rings true, at least today.)

Fact 5: I am pretty sure snuff was the early 19th century term for Cialis or Viagra (at least in romance novels). For how else can you explain the ability of a forty- (or fifty-) something gentleman (who, more often than not, is no gentleman) to pleasure his lady, repeatedly, all night? Also, I find it amusing that in all of these novels, the "hero" knows exactly how to pleasure his lady, so that she is sighing with delight at the mere touch of his strong, knowing fingers. And, of course, he only takes his pleasure after she has taken hers. Uh huh. (On the plus side, I much prefer the term manhood to penis.)

So, what do you think, people, time for me to pen my first romance novel?


Anonymous said...

I just finished a book that I thought was more Historical than Romance that I got at the last book swap. PORN!!!! It was PORN!!!


Dave S. said...

I have no comment except to suggest an amending of one tag to "book nookie."

jjv said...

My sister is a model. About a dozen years ago I was in a supermarket and saw her on a romance novel cover being lifted on to a horse by a chiseled aristocrat. I called her up and said "wow, you sure were more endowed in the 16th century." So even the models are artistically enhanced!

Anonymous said...

I will freely admit to still loving romance novels though I don't read them as much as I used to. Authors like Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Mary Balogh and Lisa Kleypas usually manage to play with the conventions without getting too silly.

Though you may be interested to know that there's a little something to the "heaving bosoms" idea:

I can't find the reference online, but apparently it was not uncommon for less-endowed ladies to use a little padding in their stays to improve on what nature gave them.

- Mnemosyne