oyceter: Delirium from Sandman with caption "That and the burning baby fish swimming all round your head" (delirium)
[personal profile] oyceter
General disclaimer: I mock because I love. Well, actually, I only partially mock because I love. The other part mocks because I want to love, but I am angry and constantly irked about gender role stereotypes in romance novels and even more irritated that many romances that step out of said stereotypes end up being lambasted as "unromantic."

And hey, please feel free to comment and add more rules!

General:
  • You must have black hair. Blonde is a very distant second. Anything else is right out.

  • You must be handsome as sin/the devil/Satan/Lucifer. Just plain handsome is not good enough. You must be so devilishly handsome or even beautiful (as long as it is sinfully so) that the very sight of you makes the heroine weak-kneed and inspires thoughts of Eden and temptation and actions "as old as sin" or thoughts "as knowing as Eve."

  • Eye color is optional, though supernatural jewel tones or metals seem to be quite popular.

  • You may never have the same hair or eye color as the heroine.

  • You must radiate masculinity and manliness; as such, you must be at least a head taller than the heroine and your hands on her waist must immediately evoke comparisons of how dark and hairy you are and how your giant paw makes her waist look tiny.

  • You must be perfectly dressed, but not enough to be foppish, or ruggedly ragged, but not enough to be truly dirty.
    • Your clothes must never hide your manly, muscled form.

  • You must be willing to give the heroine several lessons in Sex 101.

  • You must never allow the heroine to give you a blow job.
    • If you are weak and relent, you must never let her swallow.

  • You must always stay in control during sex scenes.

  • You must always give the heroine the best sex of her life.

  • Any frustration felt due to denial of said sex must always be the heroine's fault for being so attractive; you cannot be held responsible for your own
  • You must perpetually confuse your libido with your heart, meaning that whoever inspires you to lust as you have never lusted before is your One True Love.

  • When you find your One True Love, you must let no obstacle stand in the way, including her own protests, no matter how reasonable. Your role is to steamroll any objections and forcibly carry her off against her will if need be. She will not be your One True Love if she finds this objectionable.

  • You must deny all emotional attraction. Acceptable reasons are:
    • You hate women

    • You were betrayed by a woman

    • You think all women only want you for your title

    • You think all women only want you for your money

    • You think all women only want you for your body

    • Your mother was evil and whorish

    • You were abused as a child

    • You are so battle-weary and hardened that you think emotions are weaknesses

    • You are so cynical and hardened that you think emotions are weaknesses

    • You are relatively well-adjusted but you think emotions are weaknesses anyway

    • You don't want children because emotions are weaknesses and said children will only be killed anyway

  • You must never trust the heroine.

  • You must always assume that "no" means "yes."

  • You must have an angsty past. To deal with said angsty past, you must screw around as much as possible and disrespect woman.
    • After falling in love with the heroine, you will continue to disrespect all women but her, as she will be the exception that proves rule.

  • When a woman betrays you, you must automatically assume that every woman is evil. If a man betrays you, you may only blame the individual man.

  • You must exude power so that the heroine can feel small and feminine.

If you star in a historical:
  • You must be handsome, but anachronistically so. No powdered wigs, no handlebar mustaches, no overgrown sideburns.

  • You must be the most eligible bachelor ever, despite your rakish reputation, because you are devilishly good-looking and have oodles of money and a lovely title.

  • You must have scads of people pressuring you to have an heir.

  • You must never go into Almack's so that you can prove your undeniable attraction to the heroine by going there for her despite all the matchmaking aunts.

  • You must waltz.

  • You must hide your heart of gold by treating the servants nicely.

If you star in a contemporary:
  • Your choice of professions are:
    • Business tycoon

    • Any profession with a uniform
      • Corollary: This means you will be in a dangerous situation. The One True Love will inevitably get in the way of your doing your job.

    • An artist/writer/bohemian type person

  • You must conveniently forget about birth control for fear of ruining the mood

If you star in a trilogy/series:
  • You will find yourself showing up with a baby and/or a pregnant wife in the next few books, despite all previous comments about not wanting children or having a lifestyle singularly unsuited to children.

  • You and your brothers and/or friends will each be the most testosterone-laden, manly men the heroines have ever met. God help you if you all get in one room, as the manly man competition might kill everyone involved.

  • If you are in a trilogy, you and your brothers/friends will each be one of these types:
    • Drop-dead gorgeous as sin alpha male

    • Ruggedly handsome, less finesse but more testosterone-laden alpha male

    • Slightly dandified (but not enough to cast doubt on one's precious masculinity) and sly alpha male

    • These categories may be difficult to distinguish between, but they are necessary so that the heroines of the series do not get confused by all the sinfully handsome, raven-haired, testosterone-oozing men. You will not have a problem distinguishing among the heroines, as they will all have different colored hair and be either sexy, intelligent/practical, or kind.



  • Previously seen on my LJ:
    Rules for Romance Novel Heroines

(no subject)

Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 07:22 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] stakebait.livejournal.com
I know! And why don't romance heroes ever jerk off? I'm not saying we have to see it (although I wouldn't mind) but they go for weeks having their judgment and concentration destroyed by searing, building, unslakable lust when anyone sane would take matters into his own hands and then have a nap. If you still love her when you're not horny, THEN procede with the courtship/conversation/kidnapping/whatever.

The anachronistic heroes' and heroines' looks drive me nuts sometimes. If I ever write a Regency romance, my heroine will be short, plump, and pale -- a picture of period loveliness. And she will in fact wear a corset, which were less common but hardly unknown. Also gloves, hats, and no drawers, unless she is a hussy.

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Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 07:45 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] telophase.livejournal.com
I nominate the mid-to-late 19th century males of the Western world for the World's Worst Hair EVAR. Admittedly the Chinese Manchu gives the Western world a run for the money, but the sheer variety of awful 19th century hair and facial hair in Europe and America makes it win, I think.

My mother points out that mid-to-late 19th century styles were created to look good with hats on, but boy howdy did they look horrid with the hats off.

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Posted by [identity profile] telophase.livejournal.com - Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 07:07 am (UTC) - Expand

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Posted by [identity profile] telophase.livejournal.com - Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 11:52 am (UTC) - Expand

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Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 08:06 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] graygirl.livejournal.com
Hmm...I think one of the heroes in Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series masturbated... I read so many of those in a row, I can't remember which one, though!

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Posted by [identity profile] oracne.livejournal.com - Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 07:53 am (UTC) - Expand

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Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 12:22 am (UTC)
ext_6283: Brush the wandering hedgehog by the fire (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] oursin.livejournal.com
And in spite of all the build-up of erotic tension, there is never a premature conclusion to their best-sex-ever with heroine.

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Posted by [identity profile] shinyobject.livejournal.com - Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 11:44 am (UTC) - Expand

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Posted by [identity profile] stakebait.livejournal.com - Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 08:14 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] susanw.livejournal.com
(Hi--a friend directed me over here because I'm an aspiring romance writer and persnickety, particular romance reader. Hilarious list, and so true!)

And she will in fact wear a corset, which were less common but hardly unknown. Also gloves, hats, and no drawers, unless she is a hussy.

Actually, my understanding is that all (or almost all) Regency women did wear corsets--the point wasn't to nip in the waist, but more to push up the bosom. You couldn't get the high-breasted Regency silhouette without wearing stays, so women wore them and took them for granted.

And I'm pleased to say the hero of my work-in-progress violates many items on the list. He does, however, have jewel-toned eyes (amber brown, because I thought it would look good with his rare-in-a-hero auburn hair), and is ruggedly ragged but not enough to be truly dirty, because A) that's just HAWT, and B) he's a Peninsular War soldier, so ruggedly ragged is the most realistic choice.

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Posted by [identity profile] stakebait.livejournal.com - Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand

Congratulations...

Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 10:41 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] diannelamerc.livejournal.com
Image (http://www.livejournal.com/community/metaquotes)

Re: Congratulations...

Posted by [identity profile] stakebait.livejournal.com - Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 06:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Posted by [identity profile] roseredathena.livejournal.com
I ask myself that all the time when reading those novels. It even happens (or rather doesn't happen) in most contemperary novels. And yet in fanfic? Take for instance X-Files. All. The. Damn. Time. There's even a subgenre called Mulderbation. Why is it so much more acceptable in fanfic/internet writing than on the printed page? Meh, it probably has to do with nervous publishers and their even more nervous legal and PR departments.

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Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 08:10 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] minnow1212.livejournal.com
Wheeeeee!

>You must always give the heroine the best sex of her life.<

Ha ha ha--huh. I sort of start feeling sorry for the hero at this point. Oh, the pressure to awaken her womanly desires and fulfill her despite the fact that she is often virginal and has been told little to nothing of sex OR has had only awful, brutish experiences in the past.

You made my day with this.

(no subject)

Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 08:15 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] livinglaurel.livejournal.com
You must never allow the heroine to give you a blow job.
If you are weak and relent, you must never let her swallow


((dies))

SO TRUE.

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Posted by [identity profile] loligo.livejournal.com - Sun, Jul. 3rd, 2005 10:15 am (UTC) - Expand

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Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 08:23 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com
You are relatively well-adjusted but you think emotions are weaknesses anyway

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!



(no subject)

Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 08:31 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] nestra.livejournal.com
Heh. Directed here by [livejournal.com profile] minim_calibre, and I'm wincing and laughing at the same time. (Wincing because of the brain hours I've wasted reading bad romance novels.)

On the subject of kids in contemporaries, the rules seem to be:
* Heroines always want children, especially if they have an infertility problem that makes them "less than a real woman."
* Heroes can be indifferent on the subject of children, although it's also acceptable to want to see the heroine "pregnant with his child."
* If there is an infertility problem, it will magically disappear by the epilogue, where the miracle of love will have made all things possible.
* Very rarely, couples are allowed to adopt instead of having their own children, although they'll generally adopt vast numbers of children in order to compensate for not having their own. And because of the boundless maternal love that's been denied an outlet by nature.

Thank god for Jennifer Crusie.

(no subject)

Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 10:52 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] minim-calibre.livejournal.com
Amen to the Jennifer Crusie thank-godding.

And man, the Magical Fertility Fairy pisses me right the fuck off.

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Posted by [identity profile] yhlee.livejournal.com - Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 12:45 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Thu, Jun. 30th, 2005 04:47 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] steanne.livejournal.com
here from [livejournal.com profile] metaquotes.

there's a good chance that any miracle pregancy will be twins. but not triplets, that's too much.

(no subject)

Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 08:53 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] tafkarfanfic.livejournal.com
Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series breaks most of these rules. Which may be why I like it.

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Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 11:17 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] shortypenguin.livejournal.com
Reading that series right now!!! So absolutely amazing!! :D Claire=my hero!!

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Posted by [identity profile] shinyobject.livejournal.com - Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 11:46 am (UTC) - Expand

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Posted by [identity profile] delle.livejournal.com - Sat, Jul. 2nd, 2005 11:06 am (UTC) - Expand

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Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 09:45 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] fiveandfour.livejournal.com
Can't stop laughing. It's all so terribly true.

There's this book I love by Anne Mather where the hero is blonde, physically similar in size to the heroine, has been in love with her since his early teens and shows it, has been through a drug addiction, he's younger than her, he doesn't give her much pleasure the first time they're together...he breaks all the rules and yet is still strong and admirable and lovable. My problem with the book has always been that I detest the heroine: she's a self-pitying twit and she's not worthy of him. If not for that I'd pronounce it the best romance book, ever. Authors take note: it CAN be done and we of the reading public would sure appreciate it if you'd at least TRY to be original once in awhile.

::Sigh::

PS I loved Outlander, too. Just a fun, escapist read. I think it's the first time I've ever read of the heroine deflowering the hero and I swear I'd recommend the book just for that alone, but thankfully it has a lot more going for it than that.

(no subject)

Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 12:55 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] miladygrey.livejournal.com
Good Lord, I think I remember this one. It had some ridiculous wistful title (Snowfire, something like that), and I spent half the book yelling at the heroine. "He's young, hot, and obviously adores you! Get over your issues!"

Addendum to the list: If the hero is titled (as so many of them, especially in Regencies, are, his title will sound masculine and vaguely dangerous. The Earl of Stonecrest, the Marquis of Devellyn, etc. Or something with some variant on "Raven".

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Posted by [identity profile] lots42.livejournal.com - Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 03:24 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 11:03 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] greenygal.livejournal.com
You must always give the heroine the best sex of her life.

I remember picking up a Jayne Ann Krentz book that starts with the hero and heroine giving in to their undeniable passion...and the sex is *awful*. I was astonished; I thought surely that must be breaking some sort of natural law.

Of course, every encounter *after* that is the best sex they've ever had. But it was a nice moment, still.

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Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 11:44 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ladyelektra.livejournal.com
I'm here via [livejournal.com profile] metaquotes.

I love romance novels, and you definitely speak the truth. For every bullet point, I was thinking of examples I've read. It's so ridiculous, and yet so funny when they can be read all in one place like this.

Now I'm off to read about the heroines...

(no subject)

Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 12:48 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] starcat-jewel.livejournal.com
Visiting from [livejournal.com profile] metaquotes. May I mention a related pet peeve as regards romance musicals (including opera)? I am so sick and tired of the hero always being a tenor and the heroine always being a soprano!

If I had the skill to do so, I'd adapt Heyer's The Nonesuch into musical format specifically for the purpose of making the hero be the baritone/bass and the heroine the alto. The ingenue character (who, in contravention of all norms, is a spoiled brat and the closest this book gets to a villain) can be the lyric soprano and her sweet, pious friend the mezzo. There's no real "bad guy" in this one, but there's a meddler who causes problems for the hero, and he's an awful fop; he can be the tenor, and the hero's nephew who marries the sweet, pious friend gets to be the high baritone.

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Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 12:54 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ms-pie.livejournal.com
Here via [livejournal.com profile] nandamai

Read both lists, and simply said: LMAO! I read a lot of romance novels, and I'm always so excited when someone does something unexpected (and usually unexpected = realistic, which is kind of sad)... Anyways, thanks for the laugh!

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Wed, Jun. 29th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] avrelia.livejournal.com
I am not sure whether I want to laugh, or to kill this perfect hero with my knitting needles (very feminine)

My suggestions:

You Must be at least ten years older then heroine.

You Must never admit your love until the last pages.

You must have the crucial physical quality of gas (as a state of matter): you always fills up all available space around the heroine.

I haven't read romances in a while, but those points always bothered me a lot.

(no subject)

Sun, Jul. 3rd, 2005 10:27 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] loligo.livejournal.com
You will not have a problem distinguishing among the heroines, as they will all have different colored hair and be either sexy, intelligent/practical, or kind.

Hee! When I got together with [livejournal.com profile] sophia_helix I mentioned that I had two younger sisters, and she asked "One blonde, one redhead, one brunette? With three different personalities?" Alas, we are not the heroines of a trilogy... unless you want to write a series about three tall blondes, one dorky, one enigmatic, and one high-strung. Ah, I can just see the cover now, with the title in swoopy gold letters: Viking Isle: The Dorky One Who Makes Faces... :-D

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