Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Romance in Books

Despite the fact that I'm really, really tired, I feel bad because it's been a while since I posted. I figure I'm doing pretty well posting about twice a week and I don't want to do any less than that, since that's about the minimum that would keep me interested in reading a blog. I'm rambling, but I think that this post is going to contain a lot of that.
I wanted to touch on the subject of romance in books/movies/etc. (whatever "etc." entails in this case.) In short, I usually dislike it.
I totally think it's because I'm asexual. I feel like so often the character's romances change them and they stop being an interesting independant person and start sighing over their love interest. This is very boring to me. I love reading books where the main character can handle their problems by themself or with the help of friends- without their hormones coming to life in the middle and the author sticking in a romance just because there should be one, or just for a plot complication.
Now, that isn't to say that I dislike all romance in all media. I have to confess here, I actually do find it cute sometimes. What I dislike is romance as a subplot, just to give the character something to be angsty about. Examples:
I like the romance in 'A Very Long Engagement' because it's the whole point of the movie- that Matilde is in love with Manech and is determined to find him if he's still alive.
I dislike the romance in the Harry Potter books, actually, because I didn't like how neatly everyone paired off at the end.
I liked the romance plotline in 'A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag' (one of my favorite books!) partly because Sean is so unlucky with the girl he likes and partly because it's not at all angsty and dramatic- on the contrary, even their eventual kiss is very funny.
I dislike the romance that they stick in the last few seconds of 'War of the Buttons', because I thought the kids, who are no older than about 13 at the end of the movie, didn't need their future romantic lives mentioned. (Also it's the most frusterating ending ever, because the female narrator, speaking of the two male leads, says that "I married one and the other was our best friend- but I shan't tell you which is which." Argh.)
I liked the romance in 'The Raging Quiet' because it came about slowly and naturally and there was no blushing and sighing over the love interest.
I disliked the romance in just about any of the Tamora Pierce books, because I loved the strong female main characters, and didn't like it when they got whiny about boys. It felt unempowering to me, as a girl who doesn't get whiny about boys.

Now, like I said, I connect that to being asexual. I think that, because of the way my sexuality works, I view relationships pragmatically. Which is not to say that I wasn't upset when my last boyfriend dumped me- I was, but I didn't spend a week sitting around sighing. That's why characters whining over their love interests annoys me. I just don't see how that's mentally healthy and it bothers the heck out of me when actual real life acquaintainces do much of it. Being upset because your relationship didn't work out, sure- you get my sympathy. Sighing and whining because you have a crush on a boy you've never even talked to? Oh for heaven's sake.
Secondly, I dislike when characters are made to look incomplete without a partner. That's why I didn't like when J. K. Rowling paired everyone off. I thought it should be okay for somebody not to get married or something. At least not to the obvious character we'd all known since Book 1! This is also why I dislike gratuitous romance scenes. If your character was okay before, why do you have to have a love interest to make them complete? If they weren't okay before, why is it that only a love interest can make them complete? Newsflash! Single people are complete also!

On that note, I'm going to bed. I think I've said all I can coherently say and I'm making more typos than you can imagine. Goodnight, all!


  1. I hate it when romance gets thrown into a book at the last minute, seemingly at random. If it's a legit part of the plot, great, but it's pretty obvious when it isn't.

    Have you seen the movie "Muriel's Wedding?" I like that one because (sorry, this won't make sense without spoilers) instead of being married at the end, she's with her best friend. I don't like when every last person always pairs off, either. How about a little variety!

  2. Definitely going to see that movie now. :)