Disclaimer: I know that there are exceptions to every rule, and I’m not calling anyone out. I just want to discuss common tropes, some of which I think are overwrought.
- Trope V: She’s a virgin (very sexually inexperienced) he, however, is a legend of sexual prowess (Dick Slinger of the West)
**Let me also exclude historical romances at this moment because I get that it is based on a time when society had different views and women did not have many rights.**
Let me get to the brass of why this one peeves me, at the heart it is the inequality. I don’t fancy myself to be an expert, and I don’t think that I only know loose women. I have a myriad of friends of each sex and orientation. I feel like trope V continues the thought line that women have to be pure and men can f*** whoever into our romance.
I’m not here to slut shame or virgin shame, I’m here to shine a light on the fact that I think a lot of what I read today does that.
Why are there never inexperienced men? Cause let me tell you, in real life they are out there. Just bumping along with no one ever telling them “two inches down” or for that matter the virginal male? I guess that might not be sexy to some, but I why is the men teaching the women any better? Eroticism to me is an individualized thing between each couple, and part of that is learning each other. Not “Baby let me show you what your clit can do”
Why do some writers shy away from letting their women be real women? Or for that matter, men be real men? Cause the philandering dick slinger is not one of the guys I’d put in my cart. And the only semi interesting thing about him would be meeting the woman that informed him he’d been two inches off this entire time.
- Trope A: Your MC is an asshole (ladies can be assholes too, equality, remember?)
Let me start this portion off by saying, I’m the kind of audience who likes my villains with some substance. Yes, he’s evil, but WHY does he want to take over the world/slice off his victims noses? That aside, the winning asshole is just too much for me. He gets the girl, the money, the world. Her love heals all the broken bits inside of him.
It might be just me, but I need some character development, I need people fixing themselves not relying on others. It’s one of the reasons I loved The Scale and Need You Now, Mika made her characters become self-aware and then move from there to becoming people worthy of being in love. Falling in love was not a cure all, only lithium can do that. 😉
I don’t like characters that are jerks and the reader/other characters have to dig to find any redemption inside of them. I’m going to call this character trope The Grinch: his heart grew ten sizes when *insert inciting incident happened*
It takes effort, awareness, and dedication to change something about yourself. If your heart is going to grow ten sizes (seek a doctor outside of this metaphor) then you’re going to have to build it up over years of hard work. I’ll take this growth in a montage, but I need to know it happened.
- Trope F: We hate each other, then we love each other
The F is for fickle
I’ll admit, the very first time I met my husband, I thought he was kind of an asshole. I was like “F*** this dude” and not in a fun I might sleep with him later kind of way. However, it only took one actual interaction for me to realize that while yes, he was a sarcastic kind of guy that can be taken as an asshole out of context; it was something that complimented my own personality. I still think he’s kind of an asshole sometimes, but it’s the kind I can live with. I would like to note, that until I got to know him better, sexual attraction did not commence. I cannot feel things for people I think are douche-y. I can’t overlook personality fails to get my freak on.
So, I find it very hard to relate to characters who f***ing hate each other for like 6 chapters, but there is this sexual tension that they don’t realize/admit to, and then they fall in love. Sure, initially we get false impressions of people, but not for 6 to 12 bloody chapters.
And sure, maybe some people find hate to be an aphrodisiac, but what’s with all the denial? Fickle much? I guess after reading it so many times, I feel like it’s a ploy to build tension, to fatten out the story.
Before I go, I just want to mention:
- Trope T: for Too Freaking Late
MC realizes at the WORST possible moment that the love is real and they have to go for it. It would be selfish to keep something so monumental to themselves right? True love is the most important thing, and it can bloom no matter the circumstances. Marrying someone else? Whatevs, you don’t truly love them cause I’m your soulmate and I was just unavailable.
Seriously, it’s no biggie, the only thing of merit is that you know my love is the real love. And even though you have shown zero signs of being anything but happy, let me just shit on your contentment.
Let us all transcend the tropes or give them a new life with meaning. Let us douse our characters in substance and purpose. Let’s forget one true love and embrace the love that is right for me at this point in my life.