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The Trouble with Romance

I struggle with formulaic Romances because they focus on the falling in love part. Falling in love or lust is easy. The endorphins kick in and distort thinking and mask the storms that await. Desire is a feral beast that operates on need regardless of the consequence.

Fairly tales and romance novels have programmed princesses to expect princes on white horses who will sweep them off of their feet and be everything they need and want them to be. They expect to live in a castle and be eternally adored. Princes expect princesses to be beautiful, kind, smart, and never annoying or boring.

Romances stop film at the exact moment where couples are blissfully happy because disappointment and pain are right around the corner. The truth is, the ride after the sunset is hard, rough, and smelly. The couple falls off, has to get back up, dust off their butt, and start over. Castle are drafty and cold and too immense to be a home. Princes live in them so they can hide for days on end.

Neither princes nor princesses are what they are cracked up to be. Princes and Princesses should be stopped at the border, questioned thoroughly, and strip-searched until the bare bones until their souls lay open for inspection, for they can quickly turn into antagonists.

Princes piss on toilet seats, belch at the table, and fart in bed. They are rough with fragile things, like feelings. They make mistakes but cannot admit to them. They cannot find anything as simple as the mustard. They become little boys in the face of tears. They are completely lost in a grocery store and refuse to ask for help and come home with everything but what the princess asked for then pretend it was intentional because they did not like her menu for the week. 

Princesses can be whiny and expect the prince to read her mind. They talk too much and ask for opinions they don’t want to hear. They have more needs and wants and thoughts than any one prince can tolerate. They are easily hurt and often passively resentful of sins the prince didn’t even know he committed. They are moody and hormonal and project emotional battles from the past into the present with no hope of a resolution. They are hard to please and can’t always express what they mean.

Romances don’t address the hard part where the prince and princess have to acknowledge their faults and learn to communicate and compromise. These things are too real. They do not make good copy. So we are fed over and over again the first part of the story. 

Literary love stories are more realistic. They explore how relationships are built, broken, and repaired. They analyze and dissect the human foibles that work against a peaceful resolution. They make us cheer when the prince and princess overcome great obstacles to work together as a cohesive team having realized their mistakes.

I prefer literary love stories because they teach us how to handle life after the sun sets instead of promising us rainbows. The world could use more literary love stories.

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