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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Last night my husband and I were watching a unique, charming romantic movie called "Getting Married in Buffalo Jump," It had two very handsome thirty year old protagonists, and was set in the starkly beautiful outback of Alberta ranch country. At the first dark moment, my husband turned and said "This is just the usual woman's bull****!"

It was not the romance he was objecting to, as he uses his handkerchief regularly during sad or romantic movies. When asked for clarification, he said, "This is all about whether he's good enough for her, and/or what his motives are, but what about her? What do we know about her, about HER skeletons?" He felt the heroine was (a) jumping to conclusions (b) not revealing anything about herself. He thought she was just as culpable--at least in messing up their budding relationship--as the hero was.

I replied that learning about each other, building trust and understanding, and the ups and downs thereof, is a big part of the genre. He said he understood that after years of me on about whatever I was writing, but he was ticked off nonetheless. He said it was out of character for such a strong and independent woman to have shown the guy the door without any further discussion. Moreover, if there was something in her past which made her jump to the worst possible conclusion, he thought we ought to already know this.

I keep thinking about this. Is this an intrinsic difference in how men and women see romance? Or is this just a plotting or characterization problem? Do you think heroines are more easily seen as "virtuous" than their heroes? And/or does this seem instead to be a characterization problem, or, perhaps, a plotting problem? BTW, up to his complaint, I had been thoroughly drawn into the story, and had been entirely willing to believe the heroine's outburst of anger and uncertainty.

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