In my regular life, I happen to work in a field where I come across a lot of random press releases and news stories. I saw one the other day that made me think about the ways that romances seem to differ from real life.
The study found that in real life, women use ex girlfriends as a shortcut to judge the fitness of a potential mate. If his exes seem normal, attractive, and still get along with him, it’s a sign he’s a good mate candidate. If those stars don’t align, it’s time to head for the hills. Or so says the researcher. (You can read about it here: https://www.miragenews.com/track-record-predicts-future-romance-554422/)
This made me think of some of romances in general, and how heroines almost never follow this rule. They find men they can change, or they don’t ask questions about past romances, or they discount all those other women because they’re the one who he was meant to be with and the past doesn’t matter.
It’s inane for real life. I mean, really, looking at a guy who has left a string of broken hearts–or worse, a guy who can never seem to get close to anyone–is probably asking for trouble.
But that’s the thing that’s so great about romance. Even though our rational brain is telling us, this has no reason to work out, the story is so compelling and so immersive that it all makes sense. The brooding and deep seated trauma of childhood make our hero better–not totally f***d up and in need of years of therapy, as would be in real life.
And of course, I’m not saying that all romances of fiction lack reality. Many are normal characters who make normal mistakes and have serendipitous love. But, there’s also a whole bunch that would be doomed to failure were there not a deft author pulling strings from above.
When you read romance, what do you prefer–romance that veers toward real life, or romance that’s more fantasy land?