I haven’t been reading as much as I usually do…but now that I’m reading a romance by Eloisa James, Desperate Duchesses, I’m inclined to fall back on a memory of a man I once dated. A Casanova to be sure, he claimed that he learned everything he knew, about what women wanted, through reading romance novels. Purely for informational purposes I was assured.
Aside from mulling over his curiosity in a bestselling worldwide genre of books, I thought, ‘is that really what women want?’
Yes. At least to a point.
Since that fateful conversation, I’ve tried to coerce any man willing to listen into cracking open a romance, to really learn the mystery behind What Women Want-at least in bed that is. But which one would I recommend? From what time? A short harlequin? The Flame and the Flower? Gone with the Wind? A modern romance? The truth is, romance novels have evolved.
It seems that the century we live in is quite taken with history and bungling up historical figures to suit our own imaginations. A fact that is fine by me. So, from the perspective of historical romances (my favourite) one main theme that runs through more recent romance novelists is the idea of engaging in sexual intimacies (pre-marriage of course) usually pushed for by the virgin woman. However, the man, usually a member of the aristocracy, being so head over heels in love because of that one blissful encounter, demands to have her as his wife. Well, it’s either that or honour pushes him to do the right thing. In which case, the woman takes her due and makes sure, through words or heroic actions, that he loves her first. For what is a marriage without love? Of course, she gets her way in the end. And they live happily ever after.
The 70’s, those first turbulent spirited days of historical romances, honed in on a different side to women. This one, led by authors such as Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers, tapped into a more primal level. One which recognized arguing as an integral part of passion; one which showed a side to men including infidelity; one which allowed for human, especially the women’s, folly. But in the end, the rocky couple get married and live happily ever after. Usually with a baby neatly in tow a few months later.
So what do women want? For me, after reading a more recent author, I find satisfaction lacking when I reach the end. That’s not to say I wasn’t greatly disturbed and intrigued reading Woodiwiss’, The Flame and the Flower, either. A balance between the two maybe? Who’s to say? Each woman is different. But even a dimwit can’t help but notice the end result is always the same….marriage and maybe a baby….hmm…perhaps we’re not so mysterious after all….