Romance is for women, right? Men wouldn’t touch the stuff, right?
Oh, naysayers, I am shaking my head at you! Why? Because you’re wrong. There are men out there who regularly read romance…and not because a book with a sexy cover happened to fall into their hands. They seek it out.
Don’t believe me?
This past week, I received a lovely message from a reader on Goodreads. I won’t post his message here but I was tickled pink when I read it. This young man reached out to let me know he was a fan, that he had read the majority of my books and was looking forward to following my series as they continued. You can imagine my delight (thank you, Jay Jay!)
Is this reader alone in his reading preferences? Is he like the mythical unicorn, wonderful to contemplate but entirely imaginary? I don’t think so. I’ve had reviews on my books from other men before. The readers aren’t the only ones devouring the genre either. There are also male romance authors out there. Some do quite well. I assume these men actually read what they write.
Why is there still such a stigma surrounding men reading romance? Are men not allowed to love or explore the theme of love in literature? I thought it was pretty much universal.
Of course, we can look to our literary history. Romances have always been considered frivolous and fluffy…you know, very much what women have been considered by some men. I recall reading an article some time ago about male romance authors with Mills & Boon who had to write under female pen names in order to get their romances published. Sure, this was years ago, decades even, and yet the stigma remains.
I see the general derision in my library work sometimes. When romance novels pass the circulation desk, some male customers curl their lips. Heck, some women take the same stance as well. That’s a whole other post and I won’t get into that now. There’s really no need for this scorn. I just know in my heart of hearts some of these customers have dog-eared romances tucked into their bedside tables, where no one will ever find them.
What would you really think if, on your commute to work, you started seeing men reading romance novels out in the open? Would you honestly do a double take upon seeing a dude reading the latest scorcher on the subway? What sort of judgment call would you make, if any? Would you assume his wife made him read the book or that he was eclectic in his tastes? Would he seem any less masculine?
There are so many things in this life that divide us. Let’s not allow books to be one of them. We love what we love and no one should make us feel inferior for it.
LINKS TO ROSANNA’S BOOKS