Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And then what?

Ahhh love. Sometimes it sucks but we in the romance industry have made it our business to sell it with flowers and tender sentiment have we not? Have you noticed how most mainstream romances carry a story of the hero's and heroine's trip to the altar and then stop? How once they get married, the story ends? We get them there and then it's up to the characters to make it work. And just like life we offer them no instruction manuals. In fact, I think we kind of chuckle maniacally, sit back, and see what happens. Or maybe it's that we are panting so hard from getting them to that milestone we give up and say, "You two take it from here."

In real life-pretty sure I don't need to tell you this, but anyway-the music doesn't swell when he kisses you the first time. Sure there are those lovely butterflies which have been sprayed with Raid by the time you hit ten years together. Romantic love turns into something more sustaining, we are told. He scratches more or you no longer know what it's like to go to the bathroom without someone following you in. You have set up routines and none of them involve saving a loved one from a bad guy, going undercover in disguise, or time travel. Those have been replaced with cleaning the toothbrush cup and emptying the dishwasher. No deep, searing kisses goodbye, quick groping feels when no one is looking that make you two drop to the kitchen floor and forget all else, no tongue wars. We know what the other likes and hopefully strive for that. Sure we might spice things up and those butterflies may try valiantly to give one last beat of their wings, but basically the thrill is muted.

Why don't we write about that? What happens to Bob and Susie when they have rugrats slamming the front door to get to the school bus and today, today Bob gives Susie "the look" which gets her hot and makes her throat dry? When Bob rips his tie off and says, "Screw work, I'm doin' my wife with overtime." Are we there? Are we capturing those moments in ink?

Sometimes I think we ought to. We should carry the story beyond the nuptials in more than a sequel with secondary characters. We should offer hope to the men and women who divorce 50 percent of the time. I heard one woman complain that she'd been married three times because after the first few years, the tingles went away. I thought it sad. They are supposed to go away. They are supposed to develop into something deeper, stronger, more important than a flit and flutter but a security in knowing this man is here in your life FOR YOU for the rest of your life. That this man wants to wake up to you every day and no matter how fat you feel, how bad you complain about the weather, how PMS'ed you are, he wants you. Only you. And you know what? You want his whiny ass too. Sure that gut is getting bigger but when you look in his gorgeous green eyes and they sparkle cause he just saw something he KNOWS you are snarking at internally, you connect and it becomes a warm hug pressing the inside of your breastbone.

Yeah. That enduring thing is different. It's not outright sexy and may not make you damp or hard or weak with need but it's strong. It's what keeps you coming back to one another. It's why he hugs you when you're cooking dinner or waits til you're on the phone to cop a feel. Why he swats your butt when you walk by and why you snuggle up to his side at night, your head on his shoulder as you fall asleep. Romance changes. It matures and spreads its fluttering wings into a stable, sure cocoon around you two. It's what happens next.

Scott and I are celebrating 13 years on July 1st. It's a few weeks off. And I do have my moments where I want to drop kick him though I'm pretty convinced he has those moments about me as well. And yet, here we are, two stubborn people wholly committed to each other. You don't find that kind of commitment very often.



  1. All true. Except I'd agrue that the flutter surfaces just for a moment every now and then, if you're paying attention, just to remind you it's still there, underneath the solid reality you've built. And those moments--grab on tight!

  2. i once wrote a short story about an encounter between a couple with grandchildren mainly because i was tired of all the scenes i ever came across being about young people with perfect bodies who knew nothing beyond the initial physical attraction and early levels of passion.

  3. Well, the flutters are there. They surface more when the kids all leave home and there's not so much distraction. All you have to do is wait it out...

    Excellent blog, Kelly!

  4. great post, Kelly. And you are absolutely right, you don't find that kind of commitment very often. :D

  5. I tend to think people are really lazy these days. They don't work at a relationship. Don't want to. Maybe they think it's easier to divorce and search again for the "flutters". Silly. Anything worth having is worth working for.

    Great post, Kell and happy anniversary (almost).

  6. In India they have a saying "when poverty enters through the door, love flies out of the window"

    I guess the word poverty could be replaced by the word "house work" in the US :D

    Yea...I guess we all notice that when what once belonged to the temple fall down to belonging to the marketplace with the word commitment, things begin to turn somewhat dry...

  7. Good points. All of them. It's interesting to see what we're made of when it's all said and done. Do we stick it out, looking for the flutters as icing on the cake, or give up? How much work is too much in a relationship? And remembering why we married them in the first place. It's like a check on ourselves to keept he practise of the relationship going.