Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Men Reading Romance

I've been kind of thinking about this lately. Zeek wanted some advice in one of her recent posts about convincing her BF that romance novels weren't porn. This isn't going to be about that. We all KNOW that is a ridiculous assumption. Then Jenster in a comment said she was trying to get her husband to read a Sherilyn Kenyon book but he balked at the cover. I imagine she would have had even less success is she had tried with an Avon book *g*.
Now in my case, Ron would never read them. He would pick them up once and while and do the half-naked man on the cover = porn thing too and I could never really explain in the right words I needed why it wasn't. I always wished he would try one, because while in so many ways he "got" me, in the very basic of ways he didn't. That old book title - Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus is really true. I think men and women operate out of different parts of their brains. I had always liked watching sports, but once I got married, I got into them in a big way because he loved them. It became such a big part of what we enjoyed doing together, that I still find it very difficult to watch baseball and I almost cry when I see how the Bears are doing this year. Ron LOOOOVVVEEEDDD the Bears. I still have all his Bears sweatshirts, ball caps, t-shirts etc. But while I entered a portion of his world, his passion for watching sports, he never entered mine, a passion for romance novels. If he had been willing, I think he might have gotten a glimpse into mine and other women's heads. The vast majority of romance books are written by women. The heroes are what we would like to see in a guy. And if you read them - it's not perfection. I don't particularily care for the perfect heros.
But in my way of thinking, it's an untapped gold mind, for men in getting clue into women's pysche.
So, I'm curious. Does anyone out there have a significant other who is open to or has read romance novels? Does it make a difference in him "getting" you? Is he tolerant of your reading them or does he wish they would all burn in a fire?

'til later


meljean brook said...

My husband won't even read my books, though he doesn't care that I'm reading romance (now. Three years ago, it was different, and he was always wondering how someone like me read books like that.)

My dad reads them -- he brings them home from the UBS by the bookload. Mostly categories, but of course everything from historicals to contemporary suspense is in there. He likes Nora Roberts but doesn't J.D. Robb.

But, uh, does it make him "get" women any better? Nah. I think he just views them as light, inexpensive entertainment. Not porn, though -- he's never called them that.

And, okay, I'll admit I've never asked whether he likes the sweet ones or the hot ones. That would be TMI for me. Bad enough that he's read/will read my stuff.

meljean brook said...

"bookload" should be "boxload"

Sigh. Going back to bed for a little while.

Kristie (J) said...

Meljean: LOL - but at least your dad doesn't consider them porn! That's more progressive then a lot of men :) And it's neat that he reads them!

Jenster said...

My husband started reading Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb about a year ago or so. He may try another Sherrilyn Kenyon book and he may try Karen Marie Moning. I think he would like the basic story line of their books.

I don't know if he "gets" me any better. I'm kind of a hard one to "get". lol And he's never minded me reading the stuff I do. In fact, he usually reaps the benefits so he's pretty encouraging.


Rosie said...

My husband has read some romances. He's read a couple of Brockmann's when I raved about a particular book. I've gotten him to read a Sarah McCarty western which is pretty steamy. He's also read a couple of stories out of an anthology when I thought it might appeal to him.

While we joke between us that the books are "foreplay" he's never called them porn. As for getting me better, I think conversations we've had as a result of a book either one of us has read has done that...added some insight to the other person.

Greg looks at my reading, and blogging for that matter, as my hobby. He thinks it's great I've found something that interests me and that I enjoy.

Of course, he is a reader too, maybe that is the difference. He's not a book snob...we've both met those. We both agree that reading is personal and should be accessible and an enjoyable experience. I actually feel pretty lucky to have him.

Tara Marie said...

My dad's a romance reader, more dedicated than my mom. Like Meljeans mostly categories, but will read other too.

I've started to convert my husband, he's read a couple of romantic suspenses (Nora Roberts and Tami Hoag), he's never going to read historicals or romantic comedies, but through in a mystery and he'll tolerate the sex--LOL.

My next RTB post tracks my husbands conversion, but it's not do until November sometime (I've already written it)

Mailyn said...

This is a very interesting question and I do think that more men shouldn't be such big babies and get to reading these novels. We read suspense, sci-fi, fantasy, etc so how come they don't read romance? Of course I always think it's because they think the subject matter isn't "manly" enough. I think it's society's fault in some way as they also expect men to balk at anything considered too femenine.

Who knows? Maybe they won't admit it to their buddies but, perhaps, when women are out of the house the men sneak a read here and there.

But they would never admit it. They are just too scared they will be laughed at to tell anyone. LOL.

Wendy said...

Does anyone out there have a significant other who is open to or has read romance novels?

Ha - he really won't read any novel regardless of genre. The Boyfriend just isn't a big reader. When he does read it's non-fiction (mostly philosphy, business, the occasional sports-related book), but the only time he'll read a novel is if he's bored (as in he's stuck on an airplane). But I've since bought him a personal DVD player, so I suspect his reading while traveling days are officially over.

Does it make a difference in him "getting" you?

Heck no. He "got" me before I even started reading romance.

Is he tolerant of your reading them or does he wish they would all burn in a fire?

Very tolerant, although he admits he doesn't understand why I read so much. This is regardless of genre. I mean, I could read nothing but science fiction novels and he wouldn't quite get it. His brain just isn't wired the same way - which is fine. Viva La Difference I always say.

Do I wish he was more of a reader? Heck yeah! Does it really bother me? Not really. It just ain't his bag baby....

Zeek said...

Bf likes to read technical manuals so you see where he's coming from. (Btw, he was upset that I posted that about him thinking it's porn. I had some splainin to do on that one!)

Anyway, ONE time he picked up a romance at a grcoery store and caught the love scene. Since then he's all about the "it's porn" thing, thinking it just a "titilation" thing.

I disagreed with him and I think THAT's what's bugged him most. Not that I disagreed, but that I must have dismissed it too fast and, as he said, "You didn't value my opinion". In other words, I hurt his feelings. (i'm telling ya, he's the woman in our relationship!)

I told him I value his opinion, I just don't agree with this one! I thought that's what you like about me? That I stand up to you! You want me to "yes dear" you all the time or something and not think for myself?

His reply:
"Now you're just going to the other extreme."


Now he's so entrenched in his original point he's shut down anymore input. sigh. Frustrating man THAT! (and stubborn too! BUT sexy! hee!)

whew. :::looking around::: he better not see THIS one, or I'm in trouble! heee!

Zeek said...

btw, he doesn't care if I read them, he just thinks it's porn! LOL!

Rosie said...

Zeek, I came back to see what everyone was saying and saw your post. That conversation with BF cracked me up.

Bookwormom said...

I don't know that my husband not being a reader has changed or affected our relationship much at all. He was a talented multisport competitive college athlete before being permanently sidleined due to a car accident. I'm a board ceritified couch potato whose knowledge of sports will fit on the head of a pin. Yet, we've been married 19 years. I've never managed to like sports & he's not really a reader. He watches & I read (or surf). It all works out.

If he understands me better it's because he works in obstetrics & GYN and is surrounded by women all the time. Not because he likes to read Emma Holly.

Dance Chica said...

Well, I don't have a significant other but I do think you made some very good points in your post! Most romances are written by women and the heroes do spring from what we'd like to see in a guy...I do agree with Mailyn that society plays a part, somewhat, in discouraging men from pursuing interests in genres considered too "feminine"...

Very interesting questions! ;-)

Kailana said...

You know, it everything everyone is saying is true, I am supposed to be a guy. lol I don't read romance novels at all. I don't mind if romance happens in a book that I am reading, but overall, I avoid it with a ten foot pole. The only thing that I suppose would count that I read is J.D. Robb...

Kyahgirl said...

I'm so impressed with those Dad's that are reading romance! Actually, when I think of it, my Dad would probably have too if I left one lying around. He was notorious for picking up any book and reading it and you were outta luck if you were in the mmiddle of it :-)

My husband doesn't read much. He's one of those people that nods of after one page so he keeps having to read the same page over and over and over.

He doesn't quite get why I read so much but he doesn't harrass me about it. Sometimes he can be the beneficiary of my favours when I've been reading something really hot so there's no cause for complaint there LOL. When the kids were really young I practically gave up novels because I was just run ragged. now, its important for them to see me reading so they know its a valued activity (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) so I've been reading more than ever.

I don't think he'd understand women any better from reading romance but I bet he'd just really enjoy the story if I could get him to read some something ike JD Robb. I have the whole 'in death' series in our closet...maybe I'll try to get him hooked!

nath said...

I don't have a significant other... yet (well, I'm hoping that I'll have one eventually.)Obviously, I don't find it necessary for my future beau to read romance :P but Mailyn is right... it's quite a society thing. After all, romance novels are mostly written by women for women, so I'd understand why I guy wouldn't want to read it. Same for me, I don't really like reading books by male authors... biased, hell yeah :P I don't think that men reading romances understand women better tho... Anyway, it's really cool to hear that some of the dads do read romance :D

Kristie (J) said...

What a lot of interesting answers! Ron was a real reader too - but not romance *g* And interesting about some of the dads too! Both my parents were readers as are my sisters and well me too. I don't know if my dad would have read romance or not. Somehow I think he might have been open to some of the romantic suspence ones although that would have been very odd! My mother, I don't quite see that :)