How many of you feel pressured to be romantic? I’d say most of you. If you’re naturally lovey-dovey, an expert at reading body language / minds, or have an ever-increasing bank account, then being romantic probably isn’t such a problem for you. Personally, when it comes to the ‘R’ word, I struggle. I know that sounds daft coming from a romance writer, but let’s face it – neither of my books are exactly mushy with HEAs (Happily Ever After), and before Seven Dirty Words & Four Letter Words, I wrote dark poetry and murder mysteries, so I’m not sure “romance” really covers what I write. Nevertheless, it is what category the books fall into.
If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you it’s like being married to a man with boobs. I’m not sure if this is a compliment or not, but it’s true. Even my two best-friends (who are both female) and I refer to our weekends away / nights out as “lads nights”. I’m rubbish with hints (give it to me straight, or not at all). I’m no good at being ladylike. My housewifery skills leave a lot to be desired. I’m allergic to high-pollinating flowers (although I’ll take the chocolate), and my idea of a romantic night is going to the cinema to see the latest James Bond / Hobbit / anything action-y film, followed by curry. So when it comes to being feminine and romantic, I do feel incredibly under pressure.
There’s a lot out there that tells us what romance is, and it all contradicts each other. Just look at the types of book that fall under the romance category: Everything from Mills & Boon to Fifty Shades of Grey. Where do you fit? Nowhere? Everywhere? It’s all so confusing!
Personally, I think romance is what you make it. Do away with the constraints of commercialism, ignore what media says romance is, and just go with it. If you want flowers, chocolates, and being proposed to at the top of the Eiffel Tower – then find someone who will do that for you. If you want to get married whilst bungee jumping – do it! Shrug off the pressure, and to be honest if you’re other half is the one putting the pressure on and you feel uncomfortable then you need to do some serious talking and decide whether you are truly suited to each other.