I’ve had cause to read some mainstream romances lately–a genre I haven’t dipped into for years. Back in high school and college I couldn’t get enough of them, but they just haven’t been in my reading pile for quite some time.
I’d forgotten how unrealistic they are.
And no, I’m NOT talking about the romance. I’m talking about the FOOD.
Back in the day, I would have been thrilling along with each brush of the hero’s fingertips across the heroine’s cheek. Held my breath as they leaned in for the kiss. Sighed when things went inevitably wrong.
Not so much these days. I know the formula, so it’s harder to be swept away. But what these people EAT. Now that is pure, delicious fantasy.
The main characters are, of course, perfect specimens of human beauty. And yet they consume enough calories to keep a family of four satisfied.
One heroine, who is runway model tall and willowy, has a penchant for an over-the-top chocolate baked good. When stressed or upset, she goes to a local bakery and buys a box of sweets, then consumes several full servings. She does have the decency to mention–in passing–that she has a fast metabolism. I’ll say.
Another heroine wears a clingy, skimpy dress to a seven-course gourmet dinner, admits that she stuffs herself, and then has the gall to wonder if the dress might show a teeny bit of tummy pooch. Where’s your Spanx, girl?
Okay. I’m guilty, too. I feed my characters well. They enjoy big, family dinners and lots of country cooking. But I don’t go on and on about their stunning physiques. Shoot, some of them are pudgy.
But at least my meals are well-balanced. In one book, the main characters kept having meals together along the lines of an entire meat lover’s pizza with wine or country-fried steak with mashed potatoes. Give ’em a vegetable, please!
Isn’t it funny how your focus shifts as the years go by? I’m not looking for romance anymore–I have my sweetie by my side and kisses when I want ’em. But to be able to eat eggs Benedict for breakfast, a cheeseburger and fries for lunch, and a giant bowl of pasta with bread and wine for dinner? Now that’s the kind of fantasy I can get into.