Romance for Realists

Sumer-LovinGuest Blog by Nicole Chardenet, author of Sumer Lovin’

Dementri’s eyes raked Ranciella’s semi-naked form and heaving bosom. At least she thought his eyes raked her with wanton lust, it was hard to tell behind those Trailer Park Boys goggles he wore. Sweat broke out in the scant stubble on his pointy chin. “You, uh–” he began nervously, then licked his lips and swallowed so hard his Adam’s apple bobbed like a cockatiel at the sight of a new toy. Ranciella’s chest continued to heave as she realized she’d forgotten to pack her electrolytes-laden energy drink and she’d just run 10 kilometres. “You, uh, look, uh, so, uh–” he began again, in a high-pitched squeak, but then he turned and ran back into the office.

Crap, it had happened again. Ranciella tried not to cry as she turned away and wondered why yet another man had fled from her like she carried ebola. Was it because she needed a few good hits of post-exercise Axe, or was he put off by the fact that she didn’t possess a heaving bosom so much as two quivering mosquito bites?

Hot, ripped, muscled heroes. Heaving, half-revealed bosoms á la Maureen O’Hara overcome by John Wayne’s overwhelming masculinity in The Quiet Man. Yes, this is the stuff of romance novels, because let’s face it, no one wants to read a story about a dorky middle-age software developer and his obsession with an ectomorphic mortgage refinance administrator. In a small town in Nebraska. With cows.

Or do we?

Remember the novels of our adolescent years? Judy Blume, S.E. Hinton, I Was A 98-Pound Duckling, Heads You Win, Tails I Lose, Sweet Valley High? We read them to learn more about boys and to see how other girls handled romantic situations. Because boys were inscrutable, right?

Well I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned males are inscrutable at any age.

And let’s face it, you’re not the Scottish 18th-century buxom red-headed goddess on the cover of Haggis Heat and whoever you’re currently dating, married to, or secretly pining for probably looks as much like Fabio as that Gangnam-style guy. You probably don’t have a glamourous job in marketing or advertising in a glamourous big city like most chick-lit heroines, and the object of your wanton lust has probably never wrestled a steer or fought off a Pict invasion in his life.

And furthermore, if you’re like most people – and you are – you’ve both got enough baggage to travel to the International Space Station and back. So how do you negotiate the labyrinthine romantic obstacle course of failed marriages, loser relationships, mommy/daddy issues, and that hideously embarrassing tequila thing in Cancun on spring break that anyone old enough to run for President must deal with?

What you need, girlfriend, are dysfunctional romance novels.

Novels about normal people like you and me who have boring-ass jobs and who shoot themselves in the foot again and again and again because they think with their purses or ovaries and the men all still think with their you-know-what. Novels with really normal-looking people like you and me and that guy on the second floor in the insurance brokerage firm you’ve had your eye on. The characters can be attractive, but not drop-dead gorgeous because how many of us are that awesome-looking? I mean really, what good does it do to learn how to nail a suspiciously steroid-ripped 15th century Viking when you’re not, in fact, a beautiful spitfire Irish lass with bewitching green eyes who no man can tame?

No, you need help nailing Mr. Sort-Of-Vaguely-Cute-Insurance-Guy who may or may not have noticed you, it’s hard to tell, you heard he’s married but he’s not wearing a wedding ring and then you heard he’s been divorced for awhile, and one time at an after-hours party he acted like he was about to kiss you but then he didn’t, and you’re not sure why, or if he’s gay, or seeing someone, or is maybe messed up about that horrible embarrassing tequila thing that happened in Cancun when he was in college and—Oh my God. Oh no. Oh no no no no no. It was him. That guy dancing on the bar at Wormy’s on the beach! Oh shit, does he recognize or remember you? Does he realize it was you who–

See, girlfriend? You’ve got one big-ass honking romantic problem. You like a guy that you just realized you did 28 tequila shots with back in 1994 and shagged madly on top of that Mayan pyramid only to discover that it wasn’t, in fact, closing time, and that you just performed the wildest show that tour group from Fargo, North Dakota had ever seen. And then there was the knife fight in the Mexican jail where you hurled on the drug-smuggling hit man—

What are you going to do?

You need dysfunctional romance novels. With love handles. And mordida payoffs. And AA meetings.


Author Bio: Nicole Chardenet is a humorous fantasy fiction writer whose romantic subplots are pretty much always dysfunctional. Hey, write what you know, right??? She is an American and now minty-fresh dual Canadian citizen living in her Toronto den o’ debauchery with her evil henchkitty Belladonna.)

Nicole Chardenet
Web site:
Twitter: @nchardenet

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