Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sex and the Single Girl

I spent a day this past week at the hospital. My sister had to be knocked out for a procedure and I had the role of chauffeur. But it meant waiting for the procedure to be done, recovery, etc. So, as I said, I spent the day there. Fortunately, I remembered to pack my laptop so I could keep on track with my word count for the WIP.

As I madly typed away (I was in the zone!) one of the receptionists came by and said "Are you getting an internet connection here?" Since there is no internet connection available in the hospital, I thought it an odd question, but I politely explained I was a writer and able to do my job even without an internet connection. She then asked me what I wrote, and I told her I write romance.

We romance writers have all faced the moment when we tell someone we write romance and they raise an eyebrow at us as images of bodice rippers enter their heads.
But in this case, her reaction didn't stop at the raised brow. She gave me the once-over and asked "Are you married?"

It took me a moment to process. Was she asking because without marriage there can be no romance? Or was she asking because romance dies once one does get married? Or did she believe there really was, as Ava Miles writes, a Nora Roberts Land, created by unrealistic romance novels and their authors and was blaming me for her unhappy life? Did she think I couldn't possibly know what I was writing about if I'd never been married? I didn't know which thought process to take, so I merely answered her question to the best of my ability. No, I'm not married and what's more, I never have been. But that doesn't mean my life has been devoid of romance.

She didn't seem pleased with my answer. But as I pondered her question, I thought about my romantic life. If I'd gotten married to a high-school or college sweetheart I wouldn't have been able to travel around the country and meet all sorts of men. I wouldn't have had the experience of being intimate with more than one partner. I would not have been able to have so many memories to draw upon when I write.

To prove my point, I moved to another waiting room for a long couple of hours and opened my WIP again. Sitting there, with a TV blaring Days Of Our Lives, three couples involved in different conversations and a receptionist who never put down the phone, I wrote an intense love scene. When I finished the scene, I felt a bit naked and, as I came out of the zone, hoped I hadn't made any accompanying noises while I wrote. I glanced up from the laptop and the three couples weren't paying me any attention, so I figured I had safely navigated the scene. But I was exhausted. Having sex in front of a crowd can wear a girl out.

And I still had to drive us home.

47 comments:

  1. Interesting post. I wonder what that nurse was thinking, though, when she asked the question. And I must say, that's not usually the first question people ask when I say I write romance, lol.

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    1. At least it kept me amused during my tedious day. Thanks for visiting, Katie.

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  2. I once had a reader (of my books) comment at a festival where we met that I wrote "soft porn". I'll admit, I felt a bit offended but smiled the comment away. One woman's soft porn is another woman's intimate, spiritual connection. At least I'm married so I guess I'd have passed the nurse's muster. Who knows what goes on in people's heads?

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    1. Thanks, Laura, for chiming in with your experience. All we can do is smile. To each his own, I guess.

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  3. Seems like the question says more about her and less about you. Now I'm curious if she's married.

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    1. Good point, Amity! I should have asked, but she kind of floored me at the time. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Oh goodness! I didn't know you had such a naughty side! Haha We all take different paths that lead us exactly where we are meant to go, whether that's married or not shouldn't even be a question. All of our experiences shapes our writing, even the ones we never have.

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    1. You made me laugh, Danielle! I'm in full agreement that our individual paths are part of what makes each of us unique and that uniqueness guides us to write in the genre we prefer and whether we write erotica or sweet.

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  5. What an odd question! You could have said that you're presently single, after burying three husbands...

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    1. Love your reply! Wish I could have been quicker on my feet. Thanks for stopping by today.

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  6. Great post! Weird question. I wonder if she would've commented in a similar way if you said you were out murder mysteries. I think fiction writing in any genre is like acting because one gets to experience many different lives through characters. But writing is so much better because the author gets to choose the words every character says.

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    1. Agreed. At least it livened up an otherwise boring day. Thanks for visiting, Charlotte.

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  8. I love this post! It's amazing how people lose their filters when a woman mentions that she writes romance. My personal favorite, from a family friend: "isn't that, like, book porn?" Um, no. My response? Level stare, no emotion. "So what if it is?" Cue lots of floundering. *Evil cackle* I'm impressed that you managed such a polite response to that nurse. How rude to ask if you're married, especially combined with the once-over!

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    1. I agree, Angie, on the rude bit. If she'd never stuck her nose into my business in the first place...
      Thanks for stopping by today.

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  9. I wonder if she thought your husband would object with you writing romance.? Such a weird comment. Enjoyed your post.

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    1. Or if I'd gotten his permission first...

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  10. Ha! I have had the same experience with writing a love scene in a crowded room--I always feel a little breathless and a bit surprised no one else could tell. And I agree--very weird question. No one has ever asked me that, and now I wonder why...

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    1. It'll happen sooner or later, Marin. Get your answer ready!

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  11. Cute post! I am married and have been since quite awhile before I started writing romance. I've never had anyone be as blunt as Angie's encounter, but I once unwisely told a newspaper reporter (in the smallish city where I live and my husband has lived all his life) that if you write sexy romance people make assumptions about your sex life and assume "you and your husband are doing it on the chandelier or something". To my mortification and my husband's and his family's, they put that in the newspaper! Indeed, I just had someone bring up the "chandelier thing" recently even though the article came out over ten years ago. At least you THOUGHT before you answered. I obviously didn't. Cheers!

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    1. I love your comment, and can imagine how the reporter would have chuckled as he wove it into his coverage. If you're still getting references to it years later, that's great. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  12. Loved your post! On the husband thing... My husband was so proud of me that he went to work and told everyone in his office I had just published my first novel. Several, including his boss, purchased and read it. I had been trying to get my husband to read it from the get-go, but he never did. His reading material is magazines, sports articles, and political non-fiction. Now, he knew my novel, The American Lieutenant, was a non-fiction historical romance, none-the-less he came home from work one day and said, "I can't believe you wrote sex scenes! Everyone is talking about it. My boss read that novel!"

    My reply? "And..."

    I think he was dumbfounded, because all he could say was, "He's my boss."

    Me, "Wow! Everybody's talking about it? That's great!"

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    1. Funny how we each put our own spin on things, isn't it? I'd be in your camp. Thanks for sharing. Made me grin.

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  13. Many years ago (showing my age) I asked a co-worker to help type my handwritten novel into the Wang Word processor. We split up the spiral notebooks, and over the course of several lunch hours I eventually had a typed printout of my first novel. She, evidently got the notebook with the love scene. As she handed the pages to me, she whispered, "Is that what it's like for you? Having sex?" I still laugh at the look on her face. Did she mean that in a good way, or a bad way? People are funny. Good post, Becky.

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    1. LOL, Connie. I had my sister read my first novel and she criticized my sex scene! Obviously, we've had different experiences. Thanks for sharing your story. And thanks for visiting today.

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  14. Great post. I once got the comment "My wife doesn't read "those" kinds of books" and my thinking was well...maybe she should and you wouldn't be so crabby.

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    1. Love your thought process, Sonya! Thanks for visiting the blog today.

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  15. Crazy question from that receptionist! I didn't think that was a correct question to ask nobody lol. Fun post and good reactions.

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    1. Thanks, Tanya. It certainly gave me pause for thought, and filled up a rather boring day of waiting around.

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  16. Oh Becky, I'm still chuckling and not just from your story but from all the comments--I had to read each one as they kept getting better and better. LOL. I too have some people scrunch up their noses when I say I write historical romance, others get excited and want a bookmark or whatever and then several have laughed and asked if I base my love scenes upon my husband. Good Grief! I just chaulk it up to they don't know what they are missing. Beautiful, heartwarming stories with love, laughter, and much emotion. Terrific post. And I just finished reading Dance with Destiny and it was awesome--didn't want it to end. Thanks so much.

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    1. I had hoped, when I penned this, that it would encourage folks to share their stories, and I'm so pleased that I've gotten such a good response. Thanks so much for your comments on Dance With Destiny. I loved writing that book.

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  17. I've been asked some weird things, like how much money I make, and if I "research" the sex scenes (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), but I've never been asked if I'm married. Why do people feel free to ask such personal and strange questions of writers? I agree with others who said the question says more about the receptionist than it does about you.

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    1. Hi Jana, and thanks for leaving your comment. You'd think, in today's environment, marriage wouldn't be a big deal, but to some, I guess it still is.

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  18. Fun post, Becky. I'm learning a lot about you recently. Next time we go on a trip I'll have to keep my eye on you. I know, it's research (wink, wink). Even though I'm not published, it's funny to see the facial reactions of people when you tell them what you do. Especially the men.

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    1. Ah, Barb, my wild youth is behind me, I'm afraid. Altho I do still appreciate a well-built man.

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  19. Enjoyed reading this! I haven't been writing long enough to get any weird comments, just some awkward silences. I never even thought about people judging one's ability to write love scenes on personal experience. Don't they know most writers have vivid imaginations? ;)

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    1. Thank you, LS, for taking the time to visit today and leave a comment. I agree about the imagination thing. It does come in handy, especially when writing love scenes...

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  20. Such an odd question. If you said you were writing a murder mystery do you think she would have asked you how many people you had killed?

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    1. Good point, Susan. If she hadn't blindsided me, I would have loved to play with her mind a bit.

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  21. Ha Ha HAHAHAHAHAHA!
    whoa!
    almost fell off my chair here!
    Isn't that the typical response from SOME people.
    Geez. Some people's children are such snobs.
    I think I would have told her, with a raised brow--(and I can get either of mine to go up pretty high) that ROMANCE was THE best selling genre of books; that I was CURRENTLY UN-married--
    BUT
    having been married 4 times previously, such experience made me an EXPERT in ROMANCE! and SEX!
    So there.
    Think she would have swooned?
    all the best...
    marylou

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    1. You brought a smile to my face, MaryLou.

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  22. I really enjoyed this! I bet she was jealous of your single life.

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    1. Or perhaps just having a bad day? Thanks for stopping by, Erin.

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  23. The only other writer in my little town refuses to meet with me. She writes Christian Inspirational.

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    1. You're making me laugh, Sandra! Thanks for coming by today.

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  24. Goodness what a terrific post! Well done, Becky. BTW I'm not sure I could do the intense sex scene while sitting out in public...but maybe I should try it.

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    1. If you even have a drop of exhibitionism in you, it makes for a great experience. I highly recommend it. Thanks for dropping by, Caroline.

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