Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's Okay. Really. Men Can Like Snuggles, Too.

My boyfriend is a snuggle whore.

Do I have your attention now? Cool.

I'll admit that here lately I've been a bit fixated on the topic of male characterization and writing a believable story from the male POV. So shoot me. Once you write from the POV of a guy for several months on end, you tend to get stuck in that mindset. Hell, I haven't been able to enjoy a Kesha song in forever because my inner Daniel just really doesn't like her sound. I'm honestly surprised I haven't grown my own set of balls yet ... but that's getting a bit off topic.

Yesterday, I was poking around the RT Book Review site when I came across a really interesting review (you can read it by clicking here): Apparently, a couple reviewed three different stories in the Ellora's Cave new line of erotica for men (which I've always been particularly interested in as I myself have a series due to release this year that I'd like to think could be enjoyed by both men and women. Because I'm just awesome like that). But some of the comments made by the male reviewer really struck a chord with me. So, today I'm going to talk about overcoming stereotypes. Because this is my blog and I can do what I want to!

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to bash Ellora's Cave or its writers. It is simply my opinion. If you don't want to hear my opinion, you are free to turn back now. It's not too late!

Okay, now it's too late.

First off, I'd just like to say that I am very much a woman. I have tits. I have a va-jay-jay. I shave my legs and do my hurr and put on make-up when I damn well feel like it. But I hate shopping. I hate driving tiny cars. I can go to the bathroom all by myself like the big kid I am. I don't have a bunch of "girlfriends." I hate gossiping. I hate getting pedicures. I don't watch The Real Housewives of whatever. I don't keep up with celebrity gossip. I never thought Orlando Bloom was attractive. I watch a shit load of porn. And I don't need a Prince Charming to make me happy. Right there I just listed several female stereotypes that I do NOT fall into. But I'm still a woman, right? Of course I am! Everybody's different.
But most days I don't feel like doing my hurr or putting on make-up.
So then why do female writers, on average, feel the need to clump male characters into one of two stereotyped categories? They're either the strong (yet sensitive!) alpha male whose entire life revolves around the heroine (rendering him as a flat, boring character who never does anything for himself) or he's the asshole who only cares about getting his own jollies, taking everything the heroine has to give while giving nothing back in return (but he's still sexy because he's a bad boy and we all love bad boys, right?)

Men are people, too, and being people, they're all different. Look around you at all the men in your life.  Are they all the same? I sure as hell hope not.

As for the men in my life: My brother hates it when girls wear clothes that are too tight/translucent/low-cut/short. "Ugh, there goes another skank," my brother will say when we're out people-watching. (Actually, it's usually more along the lines of, "Damn. If that skirt were any shorter, she'd need a hairnet," or "If she sneezes, she's going to bust right out of that top," but you get the idea). My boyfriend detests "jeggings" (the leggings-jeans hybrids that have been popular here lately) because they're too tight and look slutty. He also prefers snuggles to sex.
Jeggings for men. Some things just can't be un-seen.

My boyfriend is also one of the most considerate people I know. So I've had a horrible day? He's right there with my favorite chocolate. I've been sitting at my computer all day writing? He rubs my shoulders for me because he knows I always get a knot in my left shoulder after hunching over my laptop for a while. Or maybe I've been running all over town and my feet are sore? You guessed it. He'll give me a foot massage.

And I never ask for these things. He just does them. Because he's a nice, thoughtful guy. (Did I mention he bought me a Kindle for my birthday?) But he's still a guy. He isn't macho - he's a computer programmer. He's not perfect and that's okay, because nobody is. He has his own life, hobbies, and friends and I like it when he gets to spend time with those friends when I'm not around.

Okay Ana, stop rambling and get to the point!

Okay, okay! My point is that every story you write is going to require some amount of research. Are you going to write a Regency story without first researching the time period? No! (Or at least I hope not, though I've seen countless historical romance novels that were so far off-base, I doubt the author did anything other than skim a Wikipedia article on the subject). So why would you write a story geared towards men without first researching the topic? Observe the world around you with a pair of unbiased eyes and ears. Talk with your male acquaintances. Read books they like.

And for the love of God, a penis is a penis, a dick, or a cock. It is not a warrior, a schlong, a Johnson, a crotch rocket, or a monster. I'm just sayin'.
Ana Hart is a writer of erotica, romance, and everything in between. Having written from a male POV since she was only eleven years-old, Ana used to amuse herself by posting her writing up on the Internet without ever verifying her real-life gender. Most people simply assumed she was a man writing about manly things.

Haha. Suckers.

Stalk Ana on TwitterFacebookGoodreads, and Google+. 

Read Welcome to the Inferno by Ana Hart in A Wicked & Wanton All Hallows Eve or read A Fair Exchange (for free) in Just One Bite Volume Four.

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