Just another opinionated weblog

Do Real Men Read Romances?

Do Men Read Love Stories?

In preparing for an interesting topic for the editorial of one of my favorite newsletters, I entered a simple phrase into Google. ‘Do men read love/romance fiction?’ I found some answers, but I also found romance still isn’t considered serious writing by too many people.

Harlequin isn’t feeling the crunch other businesses are, in fact, their sales keep going up in these slow times. Nightline did a segment on the romance novel publisher Harlequin’s 60th Anniversary, and I decided to take a look.

Edited the link out because it is now dead.

Reading the short excerpt shown below the tube, I got the idea Nightline had little respect for the genre, and less for the authors and readers. If Comedy isn’t a sub-genre, they shouldn’t be laughing. I hope I’m mistaken, but their choice of descriptive words tells me I’m not.

You can watch the entire segment, about Harlequin’s history and how they’re Canadian and how the recession is only making their audience more hungry for bodice-rippers; but since this entire “news” report seems like just an excuse to show celebrities reading from ladies dirty books, I’m not sure why anyone would want to. [Oh, and insert old lady who loves Paul Rudd and romance novels and owns more than two cats joke here.

I’m interested in knowing whether men can enjoy reading love/romantic books openly. I know many read them and men even write them, but there seems to be a cloud of embarrassment hanging over their heads. Male authors hide their genre behind feminine pin names, and male readers deny the book is theirs. They dread being laughed at, maybe? That’s really sad.

Men complain they can’t ‘understand’ why women need to read romance. Being strong and protective, and always winning the woman of your dreams is every man’s dream. Strength isn’t limited to the physical muscles you may or may not have. Bet you didn’t know that. Smarts, values, brains and common sense go a long way in impressing a woman.

After reading a few romantic love stories, you’ll begin to learn how a woman thinks, and how she wants to be treated. I’m not talking about lust, I’m speaking of lifetime relationships – love. Learning the difference between romance and erotica is easy. Most women need romance, and they need a man who knows what romance is. It is gentle, strong, trustworthy, honest, loyal. Her Hero loves her. These are the traits women write into their hero characters over and over, because they are building the kind of man they want to spend the rest of their life with. They are telling you what they want; pay attention if you truly want to understand women.

Picture yourself on the cover of a love/romance; is the Hero you? It could be. And to repeat a fact from the top, romance is still selling big. You could try writing one; men need romance in their lives too.

Thanks for reading,
I’ll see you again next week. In the meantime, fall in love all over again with your SO by reading a romantic story together.


Comments on: "Do Real Men Read Romances?" (6)

  1. I guess I wouldn’t be opposed to a romantic story. I’ve watched romantic movies. Not all “chick flicks” are stomach-turning or dull. But, my romance stories tend to lean toward swift, fiery affairs/erotica. Yet, I cannot commit strictly to a love/erotic story. The erotica/romance is merely part of the “meal”. The rest is adventure, fantasy or an unusual mystery.

  2. Gry Ranfelt said:

    My old teacher was a sucker for Pride and Prejudice. He was male.
    Yes, the romance genre is looked down upon, the same goes for the chick lit industry. I have my share of prejudices.
    However, some of your advice here is bordering delusion, in lack of a better word.
    I agree that men could learn from reading romances – but not the commercial ones. You say women write the men they want to marry, but that’s not completely true. Even the stories not about lust can secretly be about lust (Twilight, which pretends to be romantic and to have a sweet and gentle guy but it actually sports a controlling stalker) and the men they write of are men they wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with long term. These days we see women “tame” men and dress them to be romantic, to bring chocolate and to go out with the trash, to stop playing video games and spend more time with them … More and more relationships break because men lose sight of who they are and because women suddenly feel like they’re not married to a “real man” anymore.
    Indeed we can learn MUCH from the romance genre, but we have to be aware that not ALL of it has educational value but is instead pure entertainment – which there absolutely should be room for as well, and there is.
    That being said I think it’s great that you’re highlighting the topic.

    • Gry Ranfelt–thanks! I don’t think I’ve ever been called ‘delusional’ before, not to my face anyway. lol You said:”are men they wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with long term.” If that’s so, it wasn’t a ‘romance’, it was a ‘Love’ story.
      Enjoyed your comment, thanks!

      • Gry Ranfelt said:

        Haha, I didn’t mean for it to be an insult 😀
        Actually I think it would be the other way around. I mean a love story would be about love between two people, which goes deeper than initally being IN love. A romance though is more superficial because it’s much more about the flirting and thus more about fetishes and what you THINK would be nice instead of what you NEED.
        Or was that what you meant? X)
        Keep up the challenging posts!

  3. Haha, no insult. Funny.

    I think you may have it reversed. What romance publishers used to say and insisted upon, though they may have loosened up a little by now, is: Romance uses a strict formula and anyone who wanted to publish a romance had to follow to a T.

    1 – boy meets girl,
    2 – boy loses girl,
    3 -boy gets girl back, and they live happily ever after. The romance is the main emphasis, sub-plots can be any genre to move the story along.

    A Love story does not follow a set formula and doesn’t have to have a Happily Ever After.
    The plot is the main emphasis with the love story for the side interest.

    Maybe you’re describing erotica genre?

    Thanks for the discussion…

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