It’s time once again when the email queries of those seeking advice are answered by the power of Greyskull and the wisdom of romance novels.
Dear Smart Bitch Sarah:
I’m sure you’re going to bust my ass for this question, but I’m going to ask it anyway. You promised not to reveal identities so I’m holding you to it.
My wife reads a ton of romance novels. She loves them. I’ve got no problem with that, but my question is this: how is a real life man supposed to measure up to all the sexy men and incredible sex in these novels? How can I compete with that?
First, look in your pants. Look specifically at your trouser snake. Is it made of paper? No? Then you’re already ahead of the game.
You are not the first male to wonder if he measures up to the throbbing, turgid passions and the outlandishly rich and sultry heroes of romance novels. I can’t answer the unspoken question that I’m reading between the lines here, which is that you sound concerned that your wife is getting something out of these romance novels that she isn’t getting from you. I don’t know enough about your marriage to answer that. But I can demystify romance novels a little bit, since I’m assuming you haven’t read one.
First, romances are about relationships, conflict, emotions, and sex. Sometimes there’s a lot of sex. Sometimes the conflict and the relationship is based on sex. Sometimes there’s barely any sex and all the kissing is without tongue. So your wife is probably not looking in a romance novel for sexual action that you aren’t providing, because the sexual action might be very tame indeed.
I can’t tell you why all women read romances, but I can tell you why I read them: I like knowing there’s a happy ending, that I’ll be invited to empathize with the protagonists knowing that no matter how bad it gets for them, it’ll all turn out ok in the end. That’s pretty powerful reading for today’s average female. For me, it’s a wonderful break away from all the things I worry about.
It’s not always about the sexy men. To be honest, some romance heroes are fun to read about but would be candidates for an asskicking in real life. I’m going out on a limb to presume that you and your wife are relatively happy with one another, and that there’s not a larger issue working here, but I don’t think any woman who reads romance wishes her husband were the Greek billionaire with the overbearing mother and the moody, taciturn personality. Unless you are a Greek billionaire with an overbearing mother.
While the sex in a romance novel is most often outstanding, wall banging, bed pounding excellence, it’s also like that in movies and on tv most of the time. Realistic sex that’s sometimes silly, funny, goofy or passionate or awkward or emotional or mind numbing is an experience that books can’t really replicate.
You might want to ask your wife to recommend a novel she thinks you might like, if you like fiction. Romance novels aren’t that mysterious or scary. They’re awesome. Asking your wife to recommend one for you might really make her day.
But bottom line: do you tell your wife you love her, and that you care about her? Do you treat her as if she is valuable to you? Do you appreciate what she does for your life? And does she do the same for you?
That’s better than any romance novel. If all that is true, even most of the time, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Unless your trouser snake is made of paper, in which case, dude. Do not play rock/paper/scissors with her. Ever.