A HERO'S SPARK: the final book in the Wicked Women series!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Are we as women really that TSTL?

Good morning!

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is a radio bit on Thursday afternoons called "Who's Getting Blown Off?"

This is one of these deals where a person, typically a woman, calls the radio station and asks them to call another person, typically a man, to find out why he hasn't called her back after a great first date.   It's great listening for a person like me who's been out of the dating scene for nearly three decades (if, that is, I was ever in it) because I listen to what these women do on first dates and then I listen to the guys' reason for never wanting to contact them again and I realize something: 

Women, I'm starting to think that we are breeding a gender that is simply TOO STUPID TO LIVE.

"TSTL" is a term authors, especially romance authors, use to describe a character that does something so incredibly stupid, they shouldn't be allowed to live.  Authors are not allowed to write a character, especially a FEMALE character that is TSTL.  For example, we aren't allowed to write a female character who gets pregnant out of wedlock because she didn't use birth control of some kind.  Birth control must be given a nod in all love scenes.  Getting swept away in the moment and then winding up pregnant is decidedly a TSTL trait. While it may happen in real life, we authors aren't allowed to write a heroine who does that.  A heroine can wind up pregnant, but there has to be some reason behind it that doesn't involve forgetting to take proper measures.

Today's romance heroine is not allowed to rely on a man to rescue her.  Nope, she's gotta figure it out for herself.  Oh, sure, the man can be there to help  (check out my next post where I ask the question:  "Have we marginalized romantic heroes right out of our books?")  but today's romance heroine needs to be in control and if she's not, she's got to figure out how to get in control. And that's fine.  It's okay for women to know what we want and if we have to get to that point without a man helping us, we have that opportunity.  But in romance novels women have to reach their goals with some sense of decorum, morality, and class.  Otherwise, who wants to read about her?  

The woman on yesterday's edition of "Who's Getting Blown Off?" was definitely NOT romance heroine material.  This young lady spoke glowingly of a romantic dinner at a sushi place where she and said date partook of far too much saki.  After the saki, they decided to go back to his place where she had sex with him and spent the whole night and then had to do the walk of shame the next morning.

All this she revealed on a very popular radio station.  Without any hint of embarrassment.  She thought it was the best date ever.  And she could not figure out why on earth her knight in shining armor wasn't texting her back.

So the radio station called said gallant.

Mr. Gallant answered a few innocuous questions and then the radio guy got to the meat of the call.  Mr. Gallant paused for a moment and then said, "Would you want to date a wooly mammoth?"

This was not the response the radio guy was expecting, and apparently not what our pristine princess on the other line expected either.  After a few more questions, the radio guy managed to get the romantic hero to reveal that he wasn't calling our damsel back because, and I'm not making this up, she hadn't groomed her lady parts enough for his liking.

This got a loud, fairly guttural protest from our dainty lady.  What then followed was a five minute argument between these two lovers about who was more stupid:  The man, for expecting his lady on the first date to be perfectly groomed for his love or the woman, for not grooming completely in preparation for a first date.

The woman then, THEN, said she was embarrassed.  Oh, I can see where having to tell everyone you didn't trim your lady bits for a first date because your roommate used all your razors is a bit mortifying.  How about admitting to the world that you gave it all away on a first date because you drank a gallon of saki and you didn't have to pretend to laugh at the guy's jokes?  You're embarrassed that a guy you slept with on the first date told the world you don't snip and trim your bikini area enough to please him?  That's what makes you blush?

We as women have spent generations trying to prove we are equal.  We've made a bit deal about opening our own car doors, about picking up the check, and about working at the same jobs men do.  And, in our romantic lives, we feel we can be as randy as any man.  It's an equal world, right?

No.  All that's gotten us over the years is now we have to work harder, we have to pay for more stuff, and we have to open our own doors.  Oh, and we have to do it in high heels, with make up, being thinner and younger looking than men, and we still have to have babies.  And now, this blushing bloom of delicate womanhood is in an argument with her love about whether or not she's date worthy because she didn't take the time to groom every inch of herself.  FOR A FIRST DATE!

She did launch one attempt at a good argument...she said, "Hey, you weren't any better groomed down there."

His response said it all:  "Men don't have to groom down there."

They continued to argue that point, clearly both of them have slept with enough people to have a good cross section sample of the population, but I got lost in the idea that this was a topic of conversation.

I go back to the novels of Jane Austen, Margaret Mitchell, and Emily Bronte.  Would Mr. Darcy have breathed one word about Miss Bennett's female parts?  NO!  Did Heathcliff, arguably literature's most evil hero, chide Catherine ONCE for not shaving?  NO?  Did Rhett Butler leave Scarlett O'Hara  (possibly literature's strongest feminist) because she was a touch fuzzy?  NO!

Why not?  Because, as female authors writing female characters in books women were going to read, these authors wanted their heroines to be someone women aspired to be.  They wanted the heroes to be men of class, men who were heroic in one way or another.  They wanted their men to be men we'd fall in love with.  And we have.  These books are part of the foundation upon which romance novels are built. 

Real men are awkward, thoughtless and clueless, this we know.  It's why we write and read romance novels, especially historical romances, because in romance novels men talk to us the way we want to be talked to.  Men buy
flowers, men cry, but men are strong, men fight battles in our names, men ride off on horses, willing to risk their lives for us and all we have to do is give them a hanky or a hair ribbon.

But ladies, really.  Have we become so shameless, so into being whatever we want to be that we as a gender are willing to give up all femininity to argue ON A RADIO STATION about whether or not our genitals need to be groomed for a first date?  If we're truly willing to go to that point, and we have NO IDEA why men won't call us back, then we are truly, truly TSTL.

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