Longterm readers know I’m not a very romantic person, so it may come as a shock to you to hear that I’ve started reading romance novels.
My role models growing up had warm, healthy relationships, but my parents were far more likely to walk around the neighbourhood picking up trash as a “date” than they were to do traditionally romantic things. The only time I ever know of my dad buying flowers for my mom is when she found out she was pregnant. Somewhere there is a picture of her beaming as she holds them.
They loved one another very much, but they rarely if ever expressed it the way people in romantic books or movies did. Love in my family was shown in practical, thrifty ways: fixing cars, unclogging sinks, defrosting our vintage refrigerator, cutting out holes in the walls of dark rooms in order to install a window, hiding money behind picture frames for a rainy day, stocking up on a favourite food when it went on sale if there was extra money in the grocery budget, telling your spouse (and kids) how much you cared about them.
So when I became old enough to develop crushes I was mystified by the behaviour in the romance novels my friends read. None of the adults in my life acted anything like the men and women in those books. The idea of my father sweeping mom off her feet after she came home from a long, hard day taking care of patients was, well, kind of silly. What she really needed was a peaceful house, a hot dinner, and as little sweeping as possible. She had to go into work the next day after all.
My personality also played a role in it. I value simplicity and quality time and think what you do is way more important than what you say. There’s nothing wrong with other people enjoying flowers, chocolates, and jewelry, but those aren’t the things I look for when I want to know how my spouse feels about me. Our idea of a fun date is pretty non-traditional. Like my parents we do a lot of walking and talking.
Earlier this summer a story came into the queue at the book review site I write for that immediately piqued my interest. The only problem was that it included a romantic element. All of the other subplots touched on issues that I normally love mulling over. I wondered how I’d react to a mixed-genre story and decided to give it a try. In a worst case scenario I’d hate it and ask for another reviewer to be assigned to it.
I’ll admit it: I changed my mind. If there are other genres swirling around the subplots I don’t mind a little romance in the books I read. In the future I suspect I’ll remain picky about the types of romances I request, but I’m also picky about other genres. There are certain themes I’ve never learned to enjoy…and that’s ok.
But I’ll still keep an open mind about it. 😉
What have you changed your opinion about lately?