Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What Makes a Hero more than a Sandwich?

There is nothing better than a hero in a romance novel. The guy is always smokin' hot. He's never leaving the toilet seat up, kicking off his shoes at the front door, using your kitchen knives to work on the car or asking you to sniff the noxious results of his bodily functions. 

Heroes in romance novels always say and do the right thing. They're perfectly dressed, and if they aren't it's sexy anyway. Every other woman on the planet wants to be you as you sashay around town on his arm while he looks at no other boobs but yours. And whenever you need him he miraculously appears with a bottomless supply of strength and patience topped off with what must be either stellar credit or a serious trust fund. 

So why can't real guys be like the heroes we novelists are always creating? 

Because real guys don't follow a script. They don't do what you want or say what you want because they have brains all their own that don't seem to function in any semblance of sense. They talk when they should be silent and then clam up when you want to talk. Their personal habits rival those of some zoo animals and sometimes the diet of hamburgers and taco salads results in an increase in pants size. 

In fact, some marriage counselors believe that romance novels are doing damage to women's sense of reality. They claim that women are unable to accept the the shortcomings of real life men because they constantly feed their brains images of perfect heroes doing heroic deeds and never screwing up when they separate the laundry or fold the towels. 

I think women deserve a little more credit than that. 

We aren't deluded. We know our guys will never be hot vampires or sexy werewolves. We know they aren't cowboys or time traveling knights and lords. Most of the time they don't even qualify as the cute guy next door type. And really, most of us probably don't even wish that they were. 

Why not? 

Because they are our guys starring in our stories. And since life is really just what you make of it, why not pull out your favorite hot romance novel and read a few of the spicier excerpts to your guy and see if he doesn't put down the sandwich and become a hero.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

To Pube or Not to Pube...

How many of us have significant others, whether they be spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, fiances, whatever, who do things that leave us with our mouths hanging wide open in horrified shock? I'll go out on a limb here and say everyone. It's a fact of life. In fact you cannot share your life with another human being and not find yourself in that dumbfounded state at least once while you watch your beloved do something that leaves you without words.

I'm not talking about drinking out of the milk container or forgetting to flush the toilet. I'm not even talking about putting a red stocking in with your tightie whities or putting your delicates in the washer on permanent press. 

No, I'm talking about the disgusting stuff. Those vile personal habits that ensure a gross out of epic proportions. The ones that really violate the boundary between amusing and "Ewww!"

Which brings me back around to my significant other's recent transgression. My dear, loving husband of thirteen years who still acts like a high school boy bent on grossing out his latest crush. And succeeding. 

Three days ago as I'm blow drying my hair after a shower, he asks me how his hair looks. Now, it's been ten years or more since that man has had enough hair on his head to even consider the need for styling. But I wasn't thinking about that when I turned around to find him running my hair brush through the hair growing in the general vicinity of his groin.

Unlike some people, I'm perfectly willing to admit that I have a few hangups. I'm a little bit on the OCD side though I don't think I'd go so far as to claim a Type A personality. For the most part I'm fairly easy to get along with. I don't like clutter, (who really does?) I constantly redecorate, re-accessorize, and rearrange my space, and I have a serious vendetta against germs.

Now I'm not a germaphobe. I'm really not. I do not carry a hip holster full of antibacterial gel. I don't wash my hands after every possible bit of contact with the outside world. And I certainly don't wear a mask. I'm a chronic horse lover! There are tons of germs in a barn and there is most certainly more than 'just dirt' on my boots at the end of the day.

But barn germs aren't people germs. Most especially they aren't the type of personal hygiene germs that drive me insane. Which brings me back to the violation of my hairbrush.

I was outraged. What woman would not have been outraged? The man was using my hairbrush to comb his pubes. And I don't know. Maybe I overreacted when I threw the offended hairbrush in the garbage amid a whole page worth of angry dialog aimed in his direction. But I didn't want to imagine brushing my hair and tangling his short curlies in with my long straighties. There is just something so wrong about that visual picture. 

The bottom line is that he has now officially declared my reaction to be an overreaction. And considering some of my personal hangups, maybe it was. So help me out here. Tell me if you think I was overreacting. Is there any coming back from a hairbrush that was once used on pubes? And whether or not you think I was out of line, I'm sure you've got a tale to tell about someone who stepped over the line in your life.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Neighborhood Stress or Spice of Life?

Growing up in the Southwest involved a lot of traipsing around through ancient Native American ruins and climbing up and down canyon walls to visit ceremonial 'kivas' or to gain a vantage point which allowed a birds eye view of the Anasazi's primitive neighborhood layout. I can vividly remember pacing off what remained of their tiny square rooms and thinking that it must've been awful to live practically on top of your neighbor. 

While wheeling my trashcans out to the curb this past week it struck me that most modern people live out the same close quartered existence as our ancient ancestors. In fact, if you fly into almost any American airport during daylight hours you can see the same neighborhood layouts today that many ancient communities exhibited hundreds or thousands of years ago. 

So given all of the irritations of living out our lives in close quarters, whether they be laid out in the subdivided form of urban neighborhoods or stacked like blocks in apartment complexes, condos or trendy lofts, why do we do it? 

I must admit to being someone who almost daily professes to harbor the desire to sell my tiny piece of subdivision and retreat to the seclusion of the country. I long for wide open spaces, neighbors who live too far away to voice an opinion on my children's behavior, the position of my pets in my household or the color of my mailbox, and a sky where I can see the stars. Yet beneath all of the chaffing that goes with sharing my property lines with various families who have kids, pets and mailboxes of their own, is the realization that I would miss them if they weren't there. 

A great many country dwellers find that they desire a return to urban or city life. They miss the action, the diversity, the drama, the conveniences, the shopping and the extensive choice of pizza places that deliver. The truth is that human beings were made to be parts of a community. So perhaps instead of grumbling about so-and-so's ugly landscaping or choice in yard ornaments, combine resources with your other neighbors and buy so-and-so a gift certificate for new landscaping. Then sit back and enjoy the results while knowing they're likely to be even worse than before. Or instead of freaking out when that dog owner down the street lets her beloved pet poop in your yard, just pick it up and deposit it in her yard for her. 

My point is that we should enjoy the little dramas that make life interesting instead of letting them stress us out. After all, most good books had their start in some real life drama which played out in front of a particularly observant author...

Friday, October 9, 2009

What's in a Blog?

So a friend says to me, "Hey, you're a writer, why don't you have a blog?"

My first response was something like this: "Why would I have a blog? What could I possibly have to blog about? And what is blogging anyway, really?" 

I'm sure most of you are shaking your heads or rolling your eyes. After all, who in this day and age does not understand what a blog is? So ask yourself, what is it really? The definitions are out there. An online journal of events, a running commentary of personal thoughts, the modern version of letters to the editor, or any number of things which all relate back to one main idea. Communication. Blogging is just the next evolutionary step in human communication. It's a way for all of us to become writers, because if you blog, or respond to a blog, or comment on a blog, you're writing. That's what writers do, we take a thought, develop it, nurture it, and then arrange it on paper so we can share it with the world. And perhaps that's too simplistic a view of what a writer does, but the basic idea is there. We have ideas that we want to share with others. And maybe that's what makes blogging and other various forms of modern communication wonderful and horrifying all at the same time. After all, not everyone will get a publishing contract and have their story available for everyone to read and comment upon, but just about anyone these days can post their writing on the internet and ask for feedback. 

As for me, I'm going to have to tell my friend that he was indeed correct, I am a writer and I do have stuff to blog about. So if you have thoughts on the evolution of human communication, the purpose of blogging, or the relevance of an online journal, go ahead and knock yourself out. I'd love to hear about it!