This is not a new topic for us—hence the word “more” in the headline. We’ve talked about heroes, heroines, and villains we never want to see again. We’ve talked about tropes we hate. We’ve even talked about the lack of diversity in the genre and secondary characters we hate. But the more we read (and we read A LOT), the more stuff we find that we never want to see again. (There’s a lot of great stuff, too, so please don’t message me and tell me how negative I am. We can talk about the great stuff another time, but that’s not what THIS post is about, m’kay?) That said, here’s the new stuff we’ve found to hate lately, so strap yourself in because this could get ugly.
She’s not like other girls
You know the romance heroine who is just so special and so fantastic that she can turn a total manwhoring a-hole into a great, sweet, caring guy? Yeah, I hate her. I also hate the manwhore who treats all women like complete crap UNTIL he meets this ever-so-special unicorn of a heroine who can turn him into a real human being. I’m afraid love just doesn’t work like that. Girls, if he’s a trainwreck of a person with other women, he’s going to be a trainwreck of a person with you, too. No one is that special.
Lack of communication as a plot device
People need to talk to each other in real life, just like they need to talk to each other in romance novels. If the only obstacle a couple in a romance novel needs to overcome is some stupid misunderstanding caused by a lack of communication, I’m going to DNF without mercy. I might even leave a ranty review. Because I want characters who TALK TO EACH OTHER LIKE GROWNUPS!
Slut-shaming female characters, but never the heroes
This one happens a lot. The sexually promiscuous female characters in romance novels are the villains—the women who are out to steal the hero away from our heroine. These are women we’re told we’re supposed to hate. And yet, we’re also supposed to be OK with the fact that the hero boned every woman within a ten mile radius of his town before he met the ever-so-special heroine who made him change his whoring ways? I say let’s just all put slut shaming to rest, shall we? People should have sex with whoever they want to have sex with.
I cringe every time I read about a former manwhore and a heroine having sex without condoms because they “don’t want anything between them” and they’re both “clean”. I hate to be skeptical, but you’re both just taking the other’s word for that? In the heat of the moment? Um...no. Imma need to see those test results. Only THEN would it be OK to not use condoms, especially with a former manwhore.
I’ve talked about all the virgins in romance and how the romanticizing of virginity sucks. But I failed to mention that even if a woman is a virgin after 19 or so, it’s unrealistic to assume that she would know NOTHING about sex. So in the rare cases that I’m willing to accept virgins in their twenties in my romance novels, they better not be completely ignorant about sex, because let’s face it, anyone over 19 will have AT LEAST watched porn and would probably have at least tried out a vibrator or two.
Lack of female billionaires and CEOs
I just read and LOVED The Mogul and the Muscle by Claire Kingsley. It’s about a female tech billionaire. That got me thinking: where the heck are all the other female billionaires in Romancelandia? You can’t swing a dead cat (it’s a saying...trust me) without hitting a dude who is a billionaire romance hero these days. I want more female CEO billionaires! (*Stomps foot angrily and waits impatiently for authors to write me more female CEO billionaires*)
Secret babies for no good reason
If a heroine hides a baby from the hero for no good reason at all, it REALLY pisses me off. I won’t name and shame, but for example: if you don’t tell your ex that you’re pregnant with his baby and purposefully keep him out of the child’s life just because he broke your poor little heart, then you, ma’dam, are an asshole. The only reasons I can accept secret babies are if the woman truly has no way of reaching/finding the man, the man was an abusive dick and she feared for her child’s life, or she was a time traveller who was sucked back in time before she was able to tell him about his baby. That’s pretty much it.
Speaking of pregnancies
And while we’re on the subject of pregnancies and babies...why is that every time a woman misses her period or throws up in a romance novel she’s always pregnant? Periods can be irregular. Sometimes you throw up because you ate two pounds of Twizzlers and a giant tub of popcorn with a gallon of Mountain Dew while sitting in a three hour movie. (Not that I have experience with that. Ahem. But if I did...I’d say that the movie Titanic still makes me nauseous to this day.) All I’m saying is that missed periods and upset stomachs do not always equal pregnancy. And if you find a man who will hold your hair back for you while you puke up Twizzlers, popcorn kernels, and Mountain Dew, well then, you’ve found yourself a real life hero. And there’s not much that’s more romantic than that.
I can usually overlook physical things I don’t like about characters while I’m reading. But I recently read a book where the main character had a moustache (no beard), and she just wouldn’t let me overlook it. She kept mentioning it. And in my opinion, unless you’re Sam Elliot, (or maybe Tom Selleck) moustaches should not exist. I definitely don’t want to read about them in romance novels.
I can NEVER love again...
When a character (male or female) decides they can never love again and/or that they hate/can’t trust anyone of the opposite sex because of that one time they got their heart broken, I get a little stabby. Pull up your big boy/big girl pants and move on, losers!
And that about does it for today’s edition of “stuff that irritates me.” But tune in tomorrow. I’ll probably have thought of more stuff by then...
11/25/2019 04:20:18 pm
Funny, but scary article. Writing to market sometimes means formula. I agree with all those annoying scenarios, however, male billionaires are popular and unless I want to go completely broke (or some might even suggest find another pastime) I will have to continue down that well-trodden (sodden?) path.
Jennifer, Romance Rehab
11/25/2019 09:43:25 pm
I hear you, but I reject the notion that if you don't write male billionaires, you won't be able to sell books. The series I mentioned about female billionaires is selling like CRAZY. I think if you write a good book with a fresh take on a popular trope, audiences will respond. The market is so saturated with male alpha billionaires right now that I think audiences will start getting sick of them--if they aren't already. I gave up on the male alpha billionaires AGES ago...
11/25/2019 09:54:49 pm
Female CEO billionaire: check out Sarina Bowen's Moonlighter. Heroine runs a tech company; Hero is a hockey player (slight crossover with her Brooklyn Bruisers series, but a standalone story).
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