As Sarah noted yesterday, the fine folks at Romancenovel.tv posted a video of the two of us talking about romance novels. (WHY do I look and sound like a chipmunk whenever I’m recorded? It’s enough to drive a girl to drink. And I’m allergic to alcohol, which means I end up chugging chocolate milk, which really doesn’t do much for my romantic image. GODDAMMIT.) (Also, in case this wasn’t clear: the people at Romancenovel.tv did a great job. I’m just the least telegenic person ever, with the exception of Carrot Top.) Anyway, if you ever wondered how high-pitched and squeaky I can get when I become excited talking about something, this is an opportunity.
So I meant to write this long, thoughtful post about the evolution of the category romance and the differences in style between American and British/Australian category releases to go with the video, and I was outlining it when I realized, no, what I REALLY wanted to do was post a Top 10 Things I Learned from Category Romances and a very silly comparison table. Screw erudition! Capsule summaries are full of win and awesome!
Top Ten Things I Learned from Reading Category Romances As a Girl
(In other words: Most of these cover old-school category romances.)
10. It’s entirely possible to be somebody’s mistress while remaining a virgin.
9. Billionaires who regularly date actresses and supermodels will find your mousiness and awkwardness refreshingly real and promptly fall in love with you.
8. “No” means “Kiss me more punishingly.” Remember: punishing kisses are a sign he’s actually in love with you.
7. Child support? Who needs child support? Real women raise their babies alone! And conceal their existence from their fathers!
6. Australia sure has a lot of Greeks and Italians.
5. And so does England.
4. Sheikhs are never devout Muslims.
3. A traumatic sexual past can be fixed by fucking your boss.
2. It’s entirely possible to be the mother to a secret baby while never having had sex, even if your name isn’t Mary and you’re not a native of Nazareth.
1. OH MY GOD ORAL SEX IS REALLLLLLLLLLL. (Again: Thank you, Anne Stuart. You changed my life.)
Key Differences between Category Romances in the American Mode vs. Category Romances in the British/Australian Mode
|English/Australian Category Romances||American Category Romances|
|Fetishizes swarthy men, but only if they’re rich (Italians, Greeks, sheikhs) and stripped of most of their cultural trappings, with the exception of their accents and their machismo.||Fetishizes redneck men, but only if they’re rich (cowboys with their own ranches, NASCAR) and stripped of most of their class trappings, with the exception of their accents and their machismo.|
|The meek shall inherit the earth–and by “meek,” I mean “secretaries,” and by “inherit,” I mean “marry,” and by “the earth,” I mean “their billionaire boss.”||The meek shall inherit the earth–and by “meek,” I mean “incredibly spunky owners of independent businesses,” and by “inherit,” I mean “marry,” and by “the earth,” I mean “the forceful captains of enterprise who are trying to buy out their companies.”|
|We love our virgin boardroom mistresses.||We love our virgin amnesiac cowboy brides.|
|We <3 doctors!||We <3 military men!|
|Dude, where’s Canada in all this?||I know, right? When was the last time you read a category romance with Canadian protagonists?|
Have your own Top 10 list to contribute, or more differences to note? Let us know in the comments.