I was incredibly excited to be accepted as one of the new members of DIK. Three days of everyone having to listen to me? Awesome! But really I was nervous as heck too. I can barely manage to keep up my own blog sometimes. What on earth possessed me to sign up for this?!
For a while I had no idea what to post about. But then something happened to me recently that got me thinking. A friend of mine who didn’t know I read romance discovered I have a blog. The whole encounter went a little something like this:
Me: Um, yea, so I have a blog.
Friend: Cool! So what do you blog about?
Me: Mostly romance novels. I write reviews, talk about the genre, that sort of thing.
Friend: *skeptical look* You read romance novels?
Me: *getting ready to defend the genre* Yea I do. Have a problem with that?
Friend: No, but it’s… you.
Me: *confused, and slightly indignant* What’s that supposed to mean?
Friend: Nothing… except you’re like the least romantic person I know.
Me: *getting grumpy* Am not.
Friend: You hate romantic gestures.
Me: They’re overrated.
Friend: You hate being tied down.
Me: I’m not at a good point in my life for a relationship. (It’s true!)
Friend: You think men are interchangeable.
Well, at least I have some street cred as a player, I guess.
The point of the anecdote is that for some reason being a romance reader comes with a lot of assumptions. Apparently my friend thought that since I read romance I should like flowers and candlelit dinners and would be looking for “the One”, when really I’d probably be annoyed by those things.
I’ve gotten a lot of interesting reactions when people find out I read romance, so I’ve started sorting them into categories. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
1. The new prude. Oh, you read those kinds of books? I’m sure you can all imagine the person I am describing. They wrinkle their nose slightly in disgust. I think this can mostly be attributed to the “bodice ripper” covers of the eighties: Fabio’s hair streaming in the wind, shirts unbuttoned, and a dress mysteriously falling off. They would never be caught dead reading “porn for women”. Yes, I read those kinds of books. Books with sex in them. Shocking! Have a problem with it?
2. The literary snob. I always find these the most annoying. They’re the most easy to spot. Their bookshelves are lined with Shakespeare, Homer, Tolstoy, and Nietzsche. If it doesn’t have a Cliff Notes written for it, they won’t read it. I usually find that the literary snob is the quickest to make assumptions and judgments about romance readers as a whole. We’re less educated. We’re bored housewives. We live alone with our twelve cats. Clearly if only I had read Kafka instead of Kleypas I would have been saved!
3. The closet reader. You read romance too! Every now and again you meet someone who reads romance, but hasn’t quite “come out of the closet” about it (usually because of the new prudes or literary snobs). They’re happy to finally meet someone else who reads romance too.
4. The avid reader. They probably were never in the closet, and are happy to meet another reader. They hound you about your favorite authors, ask you if you have a blog, and are already arranging a book swap.
5. The shocked friend. This one is a bit of a wild card. It’s usually a friend or family member who has known you for a while, but just didn’t know you read romance. Their reaction could be anything really. Like my interaction above.
What was the most WTF reaction you’ve ever gotten? Prude, snob, shocked friend? Something I couldn’t even imagine? Love to know!
When I’m not fretting about what to post on DIK, I’m occasionally posting on my blog, The Romance Girl’s Guide to Fiction.