What might you expect from a panel discussion about the male point of view?
Suggestions for men ruminating in silence punctuated by grunts and glares might be all too cliche, but there are definite differences in the way men and women emote–or not.
Gallows humor, half back slapping hugs and inappropriate laughter might be closer to the truth. Lack of psychological sophistication and metacogition may be the apparent purview of men, but that does not make their very real emotions any less intense.
Stacey Kade, K.E. Mills and Linnea Sinclair moderated a workshop titled “Boys Don’t Cry, Or Do They?” Thursday April 7th at the RT Booklovers Convention in Los Angeles. A lively discussion entertained participants, laughter often present, but at the end of the day every attendee walked away with a clearer feel for the very real differences, even the nuances between men and women.
“Your six foot five alpha male would not–unless he has five sisters or a beautician for an auntie–tell his girlfriend that she left her ‘scrunchie’ on the kitchen counter.” Guys just don’t have the language or interest in such feminine matters. “That hair tie thingie” would be closer to likely.
“Lots of authors write their men like soap opera characters—way too emotive and verbal.” While many of us love to escape into our soaps, most male characters there are paper cut outs of what women might like to see in their men. It is entertainment after all.
So how is a romance novel so different from soap opera?
We as popular fiction authors have the mandate to entertain, but readers today tend to crave more realistic complexities in character and plot. Savvy readers bath in the believable, the visceral they can feel down to their toes. Romance is as every great work of fiction, a captivating story populated by characters so real they might be our neighbour or on the five o’clock news.
Readers want to believe.
No caricatures needed.
Today’s romance reader knows there are wonderful men out there in the world. Chances are she is girlfriend or wife to one. No point in trying to convince her otherwise. We love our men just the way they are–flaws, foibles and passionate, if rare displays intact.