While I’m generally an avid lover of Happy Ever Afters, I don’t really believe that when opposites attract there’s much chance of a good ole HEA. But, oh, how we love the possibility that there might be! It’s the otherness that attracts us, I think. Who doesn’t want to know what it’s like to be different, other than we are? We all want to know how the other half lives, even if that other half is vampires, shifters and demons. There are a million stories written about our attraction to that otherness, to that which we know we can’t have and to what we, ourselves, most definitely are not. I think that’s why billionaire stories and prince charming stories are always so popular. I could add to that list paranormal stories, spy stories, star-crossed lovers and cross-cultural romances. While we’re in the heat of the moment, they’re captivating … but then what?
Tell me honestly, can you even imagine an HEA with James Bond? At the end of a Bond movie, when Bond is fucking the costar on a slow boat to China, we know it won’t last, nor do we want it to, because there’s always another movie and another love interest to be seduced. But we most definitely expect the HEA with billionaires and princes and movie star stories.
I quite often struggle to believe the Happy Ever Afters offered up in otherness attraction stories, though I might buy a Happy for Now ending. Go for it while you can, 007 chicks, cuz it’s all you’re gonna get! I’m a practical sort of girl. I’ve never believed that love can overcome all obstacles. For me there comes a point when the otherness that was so attractive in the early days of chemistry and mad passionate sex and obsession becomes more of a hardship, more of a minefield for misunderstandings, than a sexy adventure. Then the logistics, the reality of what that HEA, all tied up in bows and ribbons, will actually cost becomes more work than it’s worth. I’ve ended several otherness relationships because I couldn’t get past the “what happens next” phase to really believe that love could conquer all. Bottom line: I just didn’t want to work that hard. A relationship is demanding enough without the incredible challenge of that opposites attract sort of otherness.
When I started writing erotica, part of the appeal was that I could explore the heat of the moment when opposites attract and the inevitable happens. I could put people who could have never made a relationship work in the real world together for nothing more than the fucking, for nothing more than the chance to see what that otherness would feel like skin to skin. In erotica, there’s always the expectation of sex, but the expectation that the sex will lead anywhere beyond a fabulous orgasm or three is optional. Erotic romance is another animal entirely, but the erotic aspect still allows for a little more suspension of belief resulting in at least an HFN.
Having said that, writing the consequences of what could actually happen when opposites attract, and then upping the stakes makes for great fiction of a sexy but different type. I’m thinking Fatal Attraction or The Hunger. There are often serious, even terrifying, consequences when opposites attract and that attraction is allowed to play out in a much darker way. The plot can be terrifying, heart stopping, sleep depriving reading or watching. The truth is that otherness interests us all, whether it’s Romeo and Juliet or Buffy and Angel. We want to know the whole story, and we can’t get enough. But the one thing we’re always certain we won’t get when a good dose of consequences is added to the mix is a happy ending. Ah, fiction! How we love you! You allow us to toy with that otherness any way we choose, and our only real consequences for doing so is the time it takes to read, write or watch. I’m good with that.