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on vulnerability & the reluctance of reading romance

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

we've all walked through a mass market superstore like Walmart and wandered our way over to the book aisles in hopes of finding the next all encompassing read and have been greeted by a lustful couple wrapped in a longing (and possibly shirtless) embrace...

and while most were flocking to Fabio and his pecs, I searched to find the latest suspense or thriller to keep me warm.

I mentioned in my last post that I found myself "not cool enough for graphic novels and ... too cool for romance" and I wanted to see if I could explore that a bit further. I have always been a lover of the macabre. in college I preferred my gothic literature over my victorian literature (sorry Dr. Luhr; I loved your class though!). Growing up, my favorite books were those written by Mary Higgins Clark (starting with Daddy's Little Girl). I collected and devoured as many as I could and those books led me to vow to work in publishing (but more on that some other time).

Mysteries felt like home for me. they kept me alert and engaged and determined to be the smartest person in the room (the room where I sat, alone, reading and desperately trying to figure out whodunnit).

I was never afraid of who the killer was. Mary's heroine would figure it out and she would save the day. in the end, it was the romance that might have frightened me.

there is vulnerability in romance. true, earth shattering, gut-wrenching vulnerability. one that a monster wielding a knife in a dark alley can only scrape the surface of.

and i wonder what is more scary… the vulnerability or the romance? or maybe it’s both. maybe, to me at least, they’re one in the same.

i dont know if i’ve had much experience with romance outside of one very long relationship and many very short “flings”. does that make this a fear of the unknown?

and so, in an effort to confront and fortify my “weak spot”, ji and i decided that this year we would try to include more romance into our lives. so far, it has been really fun and i’ve been really surprised by how much i’m enjoying some of these books. it’s nice to have something that makes you smile before bed. what a concept!

as a result, my dreams have been full of soft intimacy. holding hands with a faceless someone while walking around town…. i think these are the things i miss most. the little moments in between. the intimate moments. the little pockets of time shared with someone else.

i guess it’s no wonder why i’ve been craving these things. as i intimated in my very first post, i was in isolation for all of last year and continue to be in isolation now. but hopefully, that will be over soon.

but anyway… enough about this for now. it’s late and…

... now if you'll excuse me, I've got some reading to do.

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