As I matured (I think?) and my reading taste evolved, I found one major flaw with what I've been reading. It's something that has been bothering me for quite some time now and I'm not entirely sure how to deal with it.
Here's a little psychology lesson for y'all. Please bear with me for a moment. This is relevant, I swear. I'll get to my point in a moment.
Erik Erikson (cool name, I know!) is a developmental psychologist who proposed a linear progression of a person's psychosocial development. In it, he postulates that a person goes through EIGHT stages "through which a healthily developing human should pass from infancy to late adulthood."
And therein lies the crux of the problem for bookworms like me.
It's perfectly natural to have a set of preferences when looking for a partner/crush/boyfie/hubby-material. I'm going to take a wild guess to say that you even had them written down once in your journal or on a piece of paper tucked in your wallet or something. Nothing wrong with that. Us girls, we need to set ourselves some standards, right?
Wanna know what I am looking for in a guy? Here is my *partial* list (which I'm unashamedly sharing with you):
- broody but soft-hearted
- protective, alpha-male types
- confident but also down-to-earth
Now, do you see my problem? No? Let me tell you: THAT GUY DOES NOT EXIST. It's practically a description of of Abbi Glines' (P.S. Hi, Ms. Abbi Glines, I'm a BIG fan! Love love love West Ashby!) latest male protagonist. Heck, my dream dude is practically a combination of every new adult book boyfriend published within the last two years!
Reading romance novels is a death trap for swoony, single 20-something-year-olds with a tendency to become hopeless romantics. How do I know this? Because I'm living it. It's particularly horrible if you're like me and tend to be so immersed in the book that you're reading. When I'm in one of my reading binges, I think about little else besides the book I'm holding and the fictional world inside my head. It doesn't help that these amazing authors keep coming up with such swoon-worthy characters! As much as I love imagining myself in-love with these perfect specimen of the male species, I can't help but wonder if there are such guys IRL. And most importantly, out of all the men in the world, I'm bound to meet my real life book boyfriend, right? Wake up, girl.
I realized that falling in love with a character in every single book I read does nothing but fuel my highly unrealistic expectations of the opposite sex. And it only gets worse every time I meet another perfect book boyfriend. When will this madness end, I wonder. When you're out there in the real world and *gasp* socializing, you can't help but compare the guys you meet to the guys on your shelf. I'm calling this BOOKBOYFRIENDITIS, and it's real thing! It's a shame though because I've met some really nice guys and I feel real bad when I get disappointed that they're not quite what I hoped. It sounds really bitchy and arrogant, I know, and it's something I'm trying to work on.
As much as I feel let down when I put down my book and go through my catalog of the guys that I do know (sorry, dudes, but none of you can ever compete with Wes Michels in my book), I don't think I'll ever voluntarily stop falling in love with the characters in the books I read. Unrealistic expectations or not, they make my reading life more interesting and I'd rather have that than none at all.
So to all the amazing authors who lovingly creates such perfect men for girls like me to daydream about, thank you for continually providing fodder for our fantasies, haha!
And to that one REAL guy who would put all these book boyfriends to shame, I just KNOW you're out there and someone up above is still writing OUR story.