If you read any of my romance stories, you know that I tend to write as much humor as I do passion between the loving couples in them. Whether it is a bridegroom misplacing his bride on their wedding night and then being forced to patiently woo her (“Love is a Choice”) before he can love her, or the strange but true chivaree and other wedding night interruptus customs (“Thorin’s Dream of Love”), or even a feisty scrap of a young lady prizefighter slapping an arrogantly prideful man for insulting her honor (with his Mother making him sit in a corner to think about what he did wrong) on the man’s and the woman’s way to falling happily in love with each other (“A Magnificent Love”), it has all flowed from my fingers in typing up my stories.
And where, you might ask, do some of these humor filled romantic story moments spring from out of my mind? Well, my marital vows preclude me from divulging anything remotely concrete—marriage/romance nuances are often better kept than state secrets. Though in the modern day of selfies, Instagram, and other social media revelations, is anything sacred anymore? *grinning sheepishly* To quote the more uncensored countrymen of a certain British actor bloke, I admire, “Not bloody likely”. Ha!
But as a writer, I can extrapolate, embellish, and … just make up stuff. *wink* And my readers are none the wiser for wondering if what they are reading is a Grati semi-autobiographical moment, or simply my imagination at play? Case in point, the etiquette of making that first foray into lovemaking with your love partner.
I’ll admit that the whole sexual revolution passed me by—my husband is my only lover. But with so many other authors writing romantic tales of discarded clothing ripped off in the heat of passion as their bodies create a fusion of love–but in more anatomically detailed descriptions, as if navigating the various body parts was technically coordinated through microchip embedded GPS trackers–I can’t help wonder how myself and other nascently shy and hesitant folks would ease themselves into new/first time lovemaking. Not every takes to lovemaking quickly, becoming desired by all men and popping out babies left and right such that when she is asked to be a surrogate mother for her childless friend, she thinks that she is supposed to sleep with her friend’s husband (“Dibley Revisited”). Some of us are slow burns, that ignite our passions along our journey through life.
And golly! The film lovemaking beauty shot where all your parts glisten and glow (Strike Back, 2010, epi3, below left) and are shown to best advantage, gives mere mortals like us an insecurity complex because we don’t have special effects and lighting experts in our bedrooms. I swear that Shelley Conn with her character Danni Prendiville’s breast shown in tantalizing silhouette as Richard Armitage’s character John Porter in Strike Back (2010) makes love to Danni (Strike Back, 2010, epi 3, below right) had to be CGI’d–or it took hours to get the lighting just right. I mean seriously. How can real life compete with reel life like this? Then again, we are talking Richard Armitage making love on screen. Sighhhh! *blushes* But I digress.
In some of my stories, the clothing does not come off at all in the first or several initial lovemaking times for the lady—with gravity for the girls being a concern (“Love and Friendship”) —and fabric only discreetly moved out of the way as necessary. Perhaps polite requests made by the man to move the nightgown strap ever so slightly over her shoulder might be met by a Lady with legs that have been trained to stay shut tight– to an experienced casanova’s chagrin (“Mr. Romance”). Fort Knox would be easier to get into. No milked cows there.
And although one might have a notion of the general mechanics of lovemaking, the actual expression of it with a specific other person is quite unique. In particular, lovemaking on screen tends to happen much more quickly than in real life—no offense to the gentlemen, but film editors have to condense things for time’s sake. I suppose that on screen lovemaking might seem like time lapse photography of plant growth (below)–wherin a seed is planted, the stalk and leaves grow, the flower bud lifts skyward and opens, then closes its petals, droops at night time. And I apologize to the men out there for that analogy. I’m not saying that you … droop after.
I’m also a big believer in promoting responsible sexual behavior in my romance stories that I write. So my lovers talk about and use condoms. Who brings them, what kind, etc.? Years ago for my short story one act screwball comedy play “Handsome”, the story had a lot of sight gags, puns, and broad physical comedy built into it. And at one point, I needed to research different condom types/shapes. Yes, my knowledge on them was limited. Anyway, I briefly asked my husband, who was reluctant to share his wisdom on the matter with me. And I quickly decided that I didn’t want to know his level of wisdom gained prior to our relationship, either—especially if it veered away from what he had previously shared with me. *grins sheepishly* So I turned to my trusty girl friends in a private Armitage fans chat room. And through much giggling—on my part—they conveyed the necessary information to me. And when I wanted to create the notion of some uber condom for hinted at optimal pleasure for my short story, I decided to leave its attributes more nebulously described in my storytelling—thus allowing readers to use their own imaginations and to insert their own interpretations. And no, my word choice there was not an intentional pun. Ha!
And I also think that maybe I like reading/writing period/historical tales so much because of the dance of society’s etiquette, hidden feelings, and slowly developing loving behavior—almost at a glacial pace, often to the man’s consternation (“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”) . Ha! Stories that appeal to me as a reader and as a writer are where a woman is hesitant and cautious in deeming whether or not a man is worthy–either because she is shy (“Love in the Great Pine Woods”) , or because she is a strong woman who wants to control her own destiny and that is frowned upon in her era of society. Atta girl!
However, women still want to control their own destinies in modern times. And that negotiation of wanting to make an equal and equitable partnership love match is just as relevant for today. Yet having the balance of power upset in a story—watching a man bluster and growl in frustration for not knowing how to surmount the obstacle of an implacable woman–can be deliciously entertaining, with men finding that they gain far more with a strong lady love, than they supposedly give up. At least, that is the case in my own experience with my hubby and I. But reading about the learning curve of the man and the woman as they craft their lives together in romantic fiction is equally as humorous as getting a cramp at an inopportune moment, or knocking an unintended elbow to the forehead, or a lifting your knee up and innocently connecting with his jaw when … changing positions. *oops!*
But humor and love are the spice of life. So I’ll keep on exercising my funny bone—at lovingly awkward moments in my stories.