Friday, January 15, 2010

A pinch of romance never hurt but a fistful?

I was driving today and managing not to hit another errant motorcycle on the road, when I thought of something. On a side note, I always found myself hitting a motorcycle. Some are my fault, some are totally theirs. Damn it la, bile kereta bagi signal can you see that we are going into it and not prone to braking  semasa tgh membelok. Somewhere out there, there is a probably a voodoo impersonation of my car and me and someone is sticking a needle or playing dart with it.


Mari start semula. I was driving today and somehow my mind flashed towards Mills & Boons. Girls would probably know it. Guys , some probably do. To those who don't...

Yeah. Those books. The covers that always have some ripped muscled men, with waxed chest. I meant those chest are waxed y'all but in the books, the guys are suppose to be macho? Whatever.  Back when I was in high school these books were hot! Girls brought them to schools in exchange for other titles of M&Bs that other girls might have. The schools administration kept on confiscating them too saying it is morally corrupt because of the quite descriptive sex scenes. No worries, we exchange our M&Bs at religious schools then where there were less 'spotchecks' .

After a few months of reading those M&B books I grew tired of them. It is always girl meet boy, misunderstanding occurs AND (little rant here) the misunderstanding is always because of the girl fault. ALMOST ALWAYS. And the misunderstanding ALWAYS happened just after a very hot sex.. Then there some hot making up to do with an equally hot make up sex scenes or at the very least a PASSIONATE KISS.

Because I am extra rajin today, I deign to make a flow chart of the usual M&Bs plot lines flowchart. Click on the image for a larger picture if you are squinting to read it.   And because I am not Effi, nor does this computer have or capable of running a Photoshop, I used MsPaint to illustrate my point. +1 Microsoft point?

So I turned to Judith McNaught, whom one of my high school mate when I was in SAKTI introduced to. She was obsessed with them. Now Judith McNaught stories are more interesting (usually the historical romance one) and she have more flair with words than the usual authors at M&Bs. But after reading some of her stories, I got a little bit, disconcerted as you might say. The cliches of the M&Bs are there but there is another thing. That is the hero is sometimes a complete jerk who can act violent towards the girl. Yes, in some M&Bs stories I read, the guy is somewhat violent and a jerk, but to my recollection they had never actually be violent towards the girl he is in love with.

In one of her book Whitney, I Love You, a hero got so angry when he thought the girl he wants to marry had lied to her and gave her virginity to another. So what the 'hero' did was that he practically rape her. To punish her. Right. In the scene, he seduced her into bed then before any warning, he forced himself on her. Then got horrified knowing she is a virgin. Ok, was. If it were me, I would kick him on the nuts and tell him to piss off. But no, the girl went all weepy on his arm. Gah!

Then if that is not terrible enough, the poor girl marry him because she 'wuvs' him or some nonsense like that. Then she got pregnant and the dumbass 'hero' husband suddenly thought that is not his baby and his wife was impregnated by somebody else. So he got all angry and violent and refused to see his wife leaving his wife brokenhearted. I don't know what to say to that except if she was raped by you earlier, I would say she deserved the right to go bone any gentlemen or peasants.

Then in another book, Double Standards (also by Judith McNaught). I can't remember exactly what happened but I did remembered that hero finding out that the girl, he is in love with is actually a liar and a schemer. So in a fit of rage he seduce her and then push her against a table painfully.Which the heroine then believed she totally deserved. Gah! Why the submissive attitude towards violence?

After that book, Judith McNaught books kinda lose their appeal to me. To be fair some of her other books are somewhat entertaining and devoid of violence. At least with these new sudden burst of chic lits authors, no matter how pathetic their heroine can be, I must say none of them would abide violence.

Though I do have to ask, why does all of the heroes I encountered in books must be at least 6 feet tall. ? Why, why, why? Okay, I have to admit that I myself have preference over tall men. But that is because I am short. So I would like to balance my offsprings DNA a bit. Which is why in my sadly pathetic novel-in-progress which is still in Chapter 6 after 2 years, I featured a 5 ' 5 hero! I mean, a relatively normal average height guy could be your Prince Charming! So don't discriminate authors and authoress! Let the short people have their adventures too!

Bah. I want to go home now


dz said...

hahaha...gila rajin siap bt flowchart..

Dils said...

aku memang rajin mende2 ngarut camni. Hahaha

taqiyuddin bakir said...

a hero at 5'5"? i'm sorry, but your book does not conform to the required spec.

also, i read somewhere that, in those M&B romance books, the hero MUST be a brutish man, so much so that he is capable of raping the heroine. and that the heroine is totally dependent on the hero not to rape her. that is also part of the spec.

lets take a modern example. twilight. the story would've met the spec we discussed if not for the vampire dude did not have sex/rape bella.

and we see that bella is totally dependent on the vampire dude to not rape/kill/eat her. (the fact that the vampire dude could kill/eat her on top of raping her makes him more attractive than any M&B brute hero!)

since the vampire dude never did rape/kill/eat bella, the book remains tween friendly and that is why twilight is successful marketable.

Soraya Zainal said...

Dils, I fall in love reading English novels when I read Judith McNaught's Once & Always in Form 4. Haha... not M&B or SVH.

I collected all her books, and kalau ade yang hilang aku sanggup beli again just to make sure that I have all her collections.

Sebab tu sampai sekarang, I am still waiting for that 6 feet tall, rakish but romantic man...

Sile salahkan Judith McNaught please :P

Dils said...


You are right! I think your theory correlates with the theory of girl like bad guys, which is why the obsession with vampires. Especially bad guys who like to do bad things, but would protect the girl/does not see the girl hurt or that kinda shit, but the girl yang push herself to get involve in the danger. Gah!

Hahaha. Aku suke Once & Always. That one is her best book. Die punye heroine pon tak annoying and terlalu weepy. I think. Dah 10 tahun since I read the book. Huhu.

I am obsessed with Julia Quinn for historical romance though now. Heroines die ade spunk skit. Maybe you can look into it. Heroes maseh 6 feet tall, no worries. Hehehe

[re-arrange] said...

Dils...5 ' 5 such an asian standard of hero. Sounds interesting. If your novel-in-progress ever made it to completion, send me a copy!

*haha, aku biased kerana sendiri adalah pendek. cis.*

Dils said...

Hahaha.. by the time complete tu , agaknye dah bercucu dah aku. TAPI FRANK MCCOURT pon start menulis bile dah retired, there's still hope for me. Hahaha.

Tapi kesian kan. Jarang nak jumpa hero pendek. Hahaha

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!

Disqus for Dils Stop