Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Men Reading Romance? My kind of Guys

A few years ago Romance Writer's of America conducted a study that found nine percent of romance readers were men. Hmm. Interesting. I honestly didn't think the numbers would be that high because it has been my experience that most guys just roll their eyes about women who have a heavy-duty romance reading habit. I've never actually understood that because you'd think with all the sexy stuff we read, the fellas would be all FOR that. Still we've all heard comments about how romance books give women unrealistic expectactions, keep us living in a fantasy and basically are a waste of time. That being said, men love their spy/secret agent/going to blow up the world stories. Unrealistic much? But I digress.

Men could learn a lot about women, life and relationships if they'd only pick up a romance novel or ten. Seriously. Despite what many might think, women know the difference between fantasy and reality. No we don't really believe there are handsome dragon-men out there who are dying to bed us. What men could learn from a good romance are the varying ways to communicating with a woman...both in the bedroom and out of it.  Along with that, they would most likely find action, adventure, fantasy, or a good mystery. Sounds like that might be something a guy would like, huh?

We should all try to convince the men in our lives to try a romance novel just once. Hey, you never know. I've been working on the guys in my life (husband and son) for years now with zero luck but I keep trying. Still there are men who read romances. They might be in the closet about it but they are out there and I suspect the women in their lives are heaving happy sighs about that. If a guy can't appreciate the thrilling adventures, surely he can appreciate the one-thousand-and-one ways to 'please your lover'.

I still remember that awesome scene from the movie Romancing the Stone. Joan Wilder, a successful romance novelist, heads off to Columbia for a 'real' adventure as she searches for her missing sister. She hooks up with a wildy sexy guy who refuses to take what she does for a living very seriously. Cue lots of eye-rolling and snorts. But when they come face to face with a surly group of 'bad guys' and it looks like they are in big time trouble, one of the bandits recognizes Joan from her picture on the back of her romance books. A heavy sigh rolls through the group when they realize they are meeting their idol. The ornery hero suddenly takes his partner-in-adventure just a little more seriously.
Self-help gurus and relationship experts talk constantly about the importance of communication in a relationship. I agree. In the end, I believe if we could get our fellas to read romance, the world might be a kinder and gentler place.



21 comments:

Mia Watts said...

I completely agree. Although, I've noticed the last couple of years, that when I go to that section of the bookstore, there are almost as many men as women scoping the shelves.

Go us!

Nevea Lane said...

Great post. I know there are some men 'closet' romance lovers, just as some of us women like things that go BOOM. There are some of us that wish more men would at least comment or give their input, but just knowing there is a small percent out there that do read is good enough for me! The fact that you mention Romancing the Stone has me taking a look down memory lane. It was because of that scene that I wanted to do what I do... I wanted to be 'sighed' at and after... Great job again!

Regina Carlysle said...

I'm terrible in that I haven't been to a bookstore to actually shop for some time. Yes, I'm addicted to the ebooks but I'm soooo glad to hear that, Mia. I know there are some really good male romance writers out there but I just keep hoping the readership among the guys gains momentum.

Regina Carlysle said...

Thanks Nevea! Yeah, that scene stuck with me too. Those men just LOVED her work and weren't the least bit shy about letting her know it. I saw a comment late one night when I was trolling the internet and WOMAN called romance trash. With those kinds of comments coming from our own gender, it's no wonder men often turn their noses up at romance. They don't KNOW what they are all about, of course, they are just guessing.

Dalton Diaz said...

I've always felt that way about guys learning from romance books. If your partner reads them, the answer to all of those "guy" questions sits right there on their keeper shelf.

Regina Carlysle said...

Exactly right, DD. As an author, it's kind of cool let the husband in on how you think about things. Sometimes stuff is too deep and hard to discuss. A man can get a deeper understanding of how his spouse's mind works, I think.

Kenzie Michaels said...

I'd forgotten about that scene!

Waaaaay back when I was writing my 1st book, a guy who was interested in dating me showed me the 'bodice ripper' he was reading 'to get some insight to what you're writing'. I'll admit, I laughed at the time and told him to read Danielle Steel.

He chose to read something else, and when I found out on the 3rd date he was actually into S&M, I stopped going out with him!

Allie Standifer said...

I have to share my proudest moment. My father flies all over the world, generally reading the blow 'em up type books or newspapers. However I received an email from a flight attendant working Korean Air or something like that. She said my father was one of her first class passengers and every time she passed him he had a book in his hand with the cover flashing a half naked man. Finally she couldn't stand it anymore and went over to ask him. My dad, a good old Texas boy boots and all, held the book up to her and said "My daughter wrote this and she's damn good."
The attendant wrote she had to buy my book (Poseidon's Prophesy) after that. She's never seen a man read romance much less read one so proudly and blatantly.

Some men are more secure with themselves, I guess. My brother, on the other hand, would rather poke out his eyes than be caught reading a boobie book.

Men, can't live with them and can't open the pickle jar without them.

Marie Rose Dufour said...

I think the world would be a better place if men read some romance novels instead of just rolling their eyes. I caught my hubby reading one that I left in the bathroom. I know that he was secret reading it because a bookmark kept changing day by day. LOL!

Anonymous said...

I am soooo with you, Regina! I've been telling my hub along with others of the male species, that reading romance books would be a FAB educational experience. Of course none have bothered. I was reading a book a couple years back and came upon a smokin' hot scene. I took it to hub and said, "Read this section. It's hot, maybe you could learn a thing or two." I think he thought I was joking, but he read it anyway. His response? "Men are visual creatures, babe. This does nothing for me. Is this crap you read when you stay up at night?" Can we say typical male. Don't get me wrong, he's super supportive of me starting to write and thinks I'm extremely talented. He's never actually read anything I've written, but he'll tell someone how great I am or to bleep off if they give a snide look. It's sweet, but I wish he'd keep his trap shut until I actually get published. LOL!

Big kudos and major brownie points to those men who do read them! It can only make them more in tune to why women read them. And probably make them a better man. In every way! ;0D

Elece

bearaboo said...

My hubby and I read some romance books together. He also reads some romance books on his own! Thank goodness he now has an ereader as he destroys books when he reads them! LOL!

Regina Carlysle said...

hahahhaha. That's funny Molly! What? You didn't want to date the bdsm guy?

Regina Carlysle said...

Allie, your dad is PRICELESS.

Regina Carlysle said...

Toooo funny, Marie Rose! I would loooove to see more guys read romances. No doubt, they'd understand their ladies better.

Regina Carlysle said...

Elece, we've always heard men are visual and I believe they are but then they read porn. I don't get that. What's wrong with sex that is beautifully written and involves emotion and a story too. I think that's incredible!

Tell ya what. I can't WAIT to read your first published story. You'll get there. I'm just so happy your husband is so supportive.

Regina Carlysle said...

bearaboo, you are a fortunate woman! :-)

Janice said...

My husband actually read my book, and the sex scenes twice.

Janice~

Molly Daniels said...

In my defense Reg, I was 21 and pretty sheltered at the time...

Eileen said...

I agree with you that it would be nice if more men read romance novels. After almost a year of reading them myself, my husband has picked up a few off of my nightstand and started reading them. It's funny how he'll go for the paranormal/sci fi romance and not the contemporary ones. I doubt he'll admit it to his coworkers that he reads them but that's his business. All I know is that we both enjoy the post reading fun!

Harlie Reader said...

My hubby doesn't read them at all. In fact, he makes stories up and says them out loud to me. Of course, he uses purple prose...I will say that he is appreciative of me reading them...

Elle D Hayes said...

I wish my DH would pick up a romance novel but he just doesn't get the appeal. Hoping now that I'm writing he'll take more of interest in the genre.