Monday, January 9, 2017

Writing: Romance


I have trouble writing romantic scenes.  And by romantic, I don't mean sex.  I have no problems writing those scenes anymore.  I'm not very good with romance.  I try and when I re-read it it sounds fake.  She's always giggling or pouting or blushing or something else that a pre-pubescent girl would do in front of her crush, and he's rich and handsome and buying wine and ordering dessert and adjusting his trousers.  It doesn't sound normal when you write it down and I hate it.

"Romance" in books and movies doesn't exist in the real world.  That's probably the main reason some people read romance novels and watch Lifetime.  It's fictional.  And that's great, but I can't write it.  I can put my characters in fictional situations, but usually they're going to act like a real person.

For example, I have several -- SEVERAL -- stories about a hot, rich executive.  He's a CEO, or CFO, or COOMG!!!  He could have it all!  Models!  Yacht!  Trips to Abiza that he actually paid for and didn't win on Wheel of Fortune!  But he doesn't ever go.  He works; he networks when he has to; he donates shitloads anonymously to charity; he stares out his skyrise condo bedroom window looking over the city below contemplating his lonely existence.  Why?  Because some super-hot blond bimbo who was once his assistant/fiance/college sweetheart with major league funbags broke his heart and stole his money and ran off with his former business partner/a Hollywood producer/her sleezeball ex who promised to take her to Paris/make her a movie star/help her save 15% on her car insurance only to have them both die in a brie/cocaine/Michelob Ultra-fueled parasailing accident.  Or some crap like that.

Moody. Little. Bitch.

Instead of bouncing back or getting over it or going to therapy, he broods.  He broods and eats microwave-cooked freezer meals between power lunches with far happier millionaires.

Then one day, he decides he needs to hire a new assistant.

She's brunette with soft curves and a softer smile.  She's calm, cool, and has a high Microsoft Excel proficiency rating.  She doesn't care what he does in his personal life, but between the hours of 8 and 5, her job is to serve and protect the man who signs her paychecks.  She will do anything -- anything! -- to make him the best C-whatever-O the business world has ever seen!  Or, at the very least, re-educate him on the importance of the well-balanced home-cooked meal.

Seriously? Do you know how much sodium is in those Lean Cuisine Chicken Enchiladas?

After weeks of working together and getting used to each other (and even a little fun, harmless flirting), he's asked to attend a conference in Maui at the last minute.  He agrees and offers a chance for the assistant to go with him.  It's currently winter in the Northeast, so of course she's going to go to Maui!

The conference is necessary but long and boring.  His fellow businessmen are a little too inquisitive about his assistant's relationship status.  The bagels are stale and rubbery.  Dinner with the other execs was overpriced and understaffed.  And as the hot exec and his beautiful assistant retire to their suite for the evening, he apologizes for his colleagues and she gives him the tidbits of gossip she picked up along the way.

They laugh.  They sigh.  They look longingly into each other's eyes.  As they draw closer, both wonder the same thing...

Was that your stomach that just made that noise or mine?

The question is answered when the hot exec darts into the bathroom which will bare witness to his 36 hour bout of food poisoning.

*Sigh* "I told him not to order the duck."

His assistant will pity him, care for him, wipe his brow, change his shirts, switch out trash cans, ask the concierge for more toilet paper, order carafes of hot water from room service, beg the cleaning lady for more towels, force him to drink lots of water, find a football game on his iPad for him to watch, cancel their flight, extend their hotel stay, reschedule the next day's appointments, and tip the bellboy handsomely to go buy a box of Imodium.  The one thing she will not do is probably the most romantic thing of all --- leave him alone.  And as much as he hates her being there to see him in the most vulnerable and disgusting of states, he's falling in love with her more and more every second.

Yeah.  That really happened in a story I wrote.  And if you're wondering how in the hell is that romantic, ask yourself --- at your lowest point in your life, think about who was there to pick you up and see you through it.  At some point, did you turn to that person and say, "I love you for this."  And maybe it was a spouse or partner or parent or sibling or best friend or the cop at the State Fair who kept your ass from falling face first in the parking lot.  But it was still love and you meant it.

Any jerk can buy a bottle of wine when you're having a good day.  Any lush can screw a guy in an Armani suit after a lobster dinner.

But when she's in pain from having had a mammogram that day and doesn't want to see him, but he shows up and makes her frozen daiquiris anyway?  That's romantic.  And maybe the motor on the blender starts to smoke and it sets the curtains on fire and his plans to be her hero have gone to hell. But she doesn't care because he looks cute in the kitchen and she never liked those stupid curtains, so they eat the strawberries and do shots while watching a hockey game.  And never once does he try to grab her sore boobies.  That's romantic.

Him: Hey doll, I loaded the dishwasher, turned on the coffeepot, and scooped the cat litter. 
Here's a heating pad for your cramps. You sleep in this morning.
Her: You are totally getting a blowjob tonight.

Sometimes it's nice to dress up and go out and be treated to the wine and candles and dessert.  There's nothing wrong with that.  I just don't think it's romantic.  Not unless she's a chemo patient who's lost all her hair and he wants her to understand she's still the most beautiful woman in the world to him.  Now that's romantic!

Romance happens at the least likely moments in your life and makes them a whole lot better.

Or maybe that's beer.  I get the two confused.