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Mr Perfect Meets Miss Virgin

Meeting Mr/Ms Right

The subject of this post was suggested to me by a rant – or rather, a considered complaint – by wattpad author PJ Malone, who pointed out the following:
‘Most people don’t get swept off their feet by some hot thing, and I’m tired of reading about something that makes me want more than a happy normal relationship where you meet, you fall in love, you fight, you make up, you fight again, make up, start a family, and repeat the fighting/making up thing, get old and fat and both of you look beautiful to the other because of your soul, not your face.’
The debate this sparked was very interesting. Some pointed out that if you spend $7 on a book, (or £7.99 in my case) you want it to be hot, and that is absolutely fair enough. When you read something for fun, you don’t always want it to mirror real life. Escapism is just that – a way of retreating into a world where anything can happen, where belief can be suspended in the cause of something light and mindless, a tale you can get lost in. Others agreed that they were tired of the Mr-Perfect-Meets-Miss-Virgin type stories where the odds of meeting said Mr Perfect are unrealistic in the extreme. I suppose Fifty Shades is a case in point. Then again, how likely is it that said Mr Perfect is also a sparkling vampire? 
Speaking personally, what I love are the warts-and-all stories, the tales of after the Happily Ever After, and the realism within the romance. Perhaps that is why there have been several attempts to create life after marriage for the Darcys, from Sharon Lathan and other regency romance authors to P. D. James. Everyone wants to know what happens after the curtain falls. 
 
 The first book that springs to mind where neither He nor She are angelic and perfect and made for each other is Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre
Plain Jane with her many faults and the brooding, self-proclaimed unattractive bachelor with a sordid history are still the greatest players in the best warts-and-all romance I have ever read. I think this is the tale that has inspired me above all others when writing romantic relationships
My description of The Faustine Chronicles in response to PJ Malone’s questions was this: 
 
My MC is considered freak-show standard ugly by the standards of her society and as she’s had that for all 21 yrs of her life she finds it hard to accept that anyone would think differently and owns her ugliness. The other is Vlad the Impaler on steroids, pretty much, and he is a womaniser and has got one dead wife and several dead mistresses and one betrothed who killed herself to his name, so there’s a reason why he is currently available. I wanted the bad guy to get the girl, and I needed the girl not to be too moralistic. So Miss Virgin (too much self-respect to pay for sex, although she saved up once) is a pragmatic, hardcore survivor who isnt afraid to get her hands dirty. And he tries to be better, although his idea of doing something nice for her involves poison, manipulation, blackmail, theft and then silencing the witnesses. All of which she knows about and ends up being complicit in as the ends justify the means. There’s a bit of redemption for the pair of them, but only after a few tragic soul-searching moments. I promise no one that they will live happily ever after… and you can imagine what their kids are like.
 
The Book of Fate is not the end of the story – there is also The Book of Time, The Book of Chance and, ultimately, The Book of Death to contend with. The relationship is never perfect nor does it ever pretend to be, and the brooding ‘bad boy’ certainly isn’t changed fundamentally by the love of a good woman. It’s not that he doesn’t try, it’s just that… well… he just isn’t wired that way. 
 
Even my romantic subplot in Black Gables, a murder mystery set in 1955, does not have two smoking protagonists. That’s a subtle, slow-burning development which occurs under the surface and between two people who are probably not conventionally attractive. 
 
What do you think? When it comes to romance, how do you like yours? 😉
  

4 thoughts on “Mr Perfect Meets Miss Virgin”

  1. As you know I have already stated my opinion on this subject, but I will add to it.Sometimes I really enjoy reading about how love truly conquers all. Although, personally, my stories never are like that. Love brings out the worst in my characters, like jealousy and anger, and even worse characteristics at times. Sometimes I wonder if I am even capable of writing a Mr. Perfect meets Miss Virgin story, but I have given myself the challenge to try to do so.It may beg the question, is my view of love so distorted that I can't appreciate fictional characters' perfection?As a counter argument (with myself, nonetheless),I'd say, do these stories give me to high of expectations that I can never be happy with a slow simmer, rather than the heat of a rapid boil, and have built a disdain towards them for giving me such hope?I can't even answer those for myself.

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  2. I'm not too fond of perfect love stories either; sure, they bring some feeling escapism, but this very feeling tends to challenge my suspension of disbelief too easily. I prefer when things aren't perfect, when the protagonists both have their flaws, and when things aren't so black-and-white. I also quite agree with you regarding “Jane Eyre” (which is one of my favourite novels, by the way); and its ending is far IMHO from hinting at a perfect future life (the power she holds over him and how Adele is treated, for instance).I've come to realize that the “romance” I write in my own story is often flawed. First, I rarely find myself with characters who are “meant to be together”; then their relationships often contain a couple of weird elements, sometimes bordering on the twisted kink. I'm not sure what it reveals about me, but I'm not even sure writing vanilla romance is something I'd actually enjoy. There must be flaws for me in it.

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