Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Missing Link

Some people subscribe to the “opposites attract” theory; and others do not, saying that you need a common ground to survive. Personally, I think as a woman who is interested in men, that is all the opposite I need. Honestly, I think men are another species altogether, and at times, not a very intelligent species at that. And finding common ground is getting more and more difficult for me.

There are days—weeks, even—where I marvel that men and women ever end up together. It’s got to be the sex. Sex is good, great—so sex has got to factor in for a lot of it. And there’s probably some laughter involved. I notice the moment laughter is gone, so is most everything else.

Saturday, though, I think I discovered the missing link between men and women. The thing that makes them so alike, it’s scary. Sin and I went to see Sex and the City 2. I’m not a Sex and the City fan. I find Samantha rather obnoxious; and I think Carrie has horrible taste in clothing at times. Plus I’m not a Sarah Jessica Parker fan. I caught an episode or two in re-runs and didn’t see the appeal of the show. However, at the gym, they happened to be playing the first movie, which I hadn’t seen, and I was drawn into the friendship of these four women. There was a lot more heart in the movie than I thought the TV series displayed; and I loved every minute of it. Any movie that makes me stay on an elliptical that long is a good movie.

As much as I loved the movie though, the thing I still didn’t get: the draw of Mr. Big.

I mentioned this to Sin as we went to the 2nd movie because we were discussing that in this movie, Carrie runs into Aiden—the road not taken—and they kiss. Mr. Big fans are pissed. Me, I was excited. I love John Corbett!

Hellion: Why is Mr. Big so popular? He’s a jackass. He has all the personality of a corpse.

Sin: Yes, but that’s not the point. His attraction is that he was Mr. Unattainable. The man you couldn’t get; and Carrie got him.

Hellion: Are you fucking kidding me? That’s his appeal? Because he couldn’t be had?

Sin: Yes.

Hellion: I see. And Aiden was Mr. I Love You and I Want to Shower You With Attention.

Sin: Exactly.

Hellion: I get it. Too beta.

Sin: Too beta.

Hellion: Women are as dumb as men.

Sin: Nothing worth having is worth having easily.

And there Sin summed up 10,000 years of mankind’s modus operandi: find the most unavailable person and pursue them. Then once you get them, screw up the relationship because attaining this object only means they aren’t really as worth having as you thought.

It seems to me pretty much romance novels are all about the thrill of the chase. It’s rare to read a book that talks about what happens after you’ve attained the girl (or boy). Granted, by the Happily Ever After, the reader is supposed to be left with the feeling that no matter what, they’ll be together, and yet relationships don’t really work that way, do they? That was part of the allure of this second movie: it was dealing with the relationship after the Happily Ever After.

Marsha Moyer’s books about Lucy Hatch deal with the relationship after the Happily Ever After—and I highly recommend them—but I can’t off the top of my head think of any other books that do deal with this predicament. Well, I suppose Eloisa James’ Desperate Duchesses might work here.

It’s given me something to chew on. The way that humans haven’t changed in thousands of years: we want what we can’t have; and if we can have something too easily, it must not be worth much. It’s so easy to take something for granted. I think a good portion of my book deals with these issues. These and many more, because I like to jam as many neuroses as possible into a tiny book. Hell, now that I think on it, all my books deal with this issue: wanting something you can’t have, and then once you get it, you wonder if it was as precious as you thought.

I must keep writing about it because I want to understand it and hope one day I will.

So my questions of the day are: what do you think men and women most have in common? What issues do you write about in your stories (or what kinds of stories do you gravitate to) over and over again? And do you also subscribe to the Anything Worth Pursuing Must Be Wildly Unattainable?


Marnee Jo said...

I think you're right about the chase.

I have no idea what is the greatest common link between men and women. If I did I bet I'd be writing that book. Inquiring minds want to know.

I do gravitate toward writing stories about people learning to accept themselves as a common theme.

Donna said...

I have never been a fan of Mr. Big, and was pissed when she went with him at the end of the series. He pretty much treated her heart as his own personal trampoline, and yet she kept going back to him. So that seems like more than just wanting the unattainable--although I do understand the allure of the unattainable. LOL

Maybe some people go after the unattainable in the hopes they won't get it -- they don't have the responsibility of having a relationship in that situation.

It's funny -- I mention "common ground" for men and women in my blog today. Looks like we were on the same wavelength!

Let me think about the issues in my stories. . .I'll get back to you on that!

Bosun said...

I watched most of the series and fell for Mr. Big too. He was the one for her, mostly because he got her. I loved Aiden too, I am the beta lover after all, but he wanted Carrie to be the picket fence kind of girl, and that's not what she was. I liked the first movie but haven't seen the second one.

I think the common ground with women and men is that we all want to know someone is there for us. Someone has our back no matter what. Trusting a person that much is hard whatever your gender is. Having that connection is what we all want, I think.

Hellion said...

Marn, I love books about people accepting themselves as they are--and others accepting them as they are. :) Your books are meant for me!

Yes, I suppose if we knew the secret of men and women, we'd make a killing, wouldn't we?

Hellion said...

Ooh, Donna, I like that--they go after the unattainable so they don't have to be responsible for a relationship. Of course, then it begs the question: what if you actually got the relationship you were going for? Surprise, surprise. What then? You dump her because she was too easily attained? Isn't that what Larry King does?

And I get that impression from Mr. Big. He looks like he enjoys a good trampoline.

Hellion said...

Bo'sun, I see. This will explain what Sin meant when she called Mr. Big "Ranger"-like, and I said, "Do NOT say that! Mr. Big is HIDEOUS! And he's an asshole." "Ranger's an asshole." "Yes, but he's not hideous! If you're going to abuse me, at least be good looking." (Yes, I am frightfully shallow.) Anyway, Morelli was a picket fence guy--like Aiden--and Ranger is more the "lets Stephanie be herself" sort of guy. Apparently though he looks a lot better doing it.

I like that thought--of someone having my back. It's sweet.

Bluestocking said...

I think the chase is something books, television, etc. tells us is important about relationships, so there is an inordinate amount of energy spent on playing into that idea. Then there's shows like the Bachelor, which is all about the chase/competition, and the man with the rose is just that, a placeholder of masculinity that somehow justifies all that came before. The notion of wanting something unattainable can be enormously destructive, and plays into the instant gratification that so many fall prey to. I don't think people should be settling in their relationships, but at the same time, I think the media creates unrealistic expectations for romantic relationships that no one - male or female - can stand up to. If there was more content out there dealing with the post-HEA you talk about, maybe there'd be more people out there less willing to jump ship when MR/Miss Unattainable strolls by.

Yikes, this turned into a bit of a rant, but obv your post was a compelling one.

Hellion said...

Hi Bluestocking! No apologies on this ship--you should hear the rants about Ranger vs Morelli. I agree about The Bachelor. That show is so far removed from being a show about finding the perfect girl--relationship--than it is a sanctioned Sorority party free-for-all. They just put the roses there to remind us all that hot-tub time is supposed to be romantic...and that he's getting to know the girl's hopes and dreams.

I think there is a big difference between being content and settling. And I don't think most people know the different--I don't think the American motto is to be content and it's definitely not to settle. Our motto is about forging new frontier! *LOL*

Donna said...

They should rename the Bachelor/Bachelorette shows "For All The Right Reasons". LOL

I don't watch the shows religiously, but sometimes I do get sucked in, and they ALWAYS use that phrase, and so seriously! LOL

Bosun said...

As much as Hellie teases me about watching reality TV, I WILL NOT watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette crap. First off, none of those people need help finding a date/partner. Secondly, who in their right mind would volunteer to compete with 24 other men/women to win the hand of some stranger? It's not like that show has a long standing record of HEAs. ONE. That is not a good record.

Hellion said...

Not win the hand of some stranger...but the hand of a stranger that's been feeling up the other 23 contestants in the bathtub when your back was turned. "Oh, no baby, I don't love Ali. I love you...."

Sounds like they have the same great record as The Biggest Loser does for keeping the weight off.

Donna said...

Not win the hand of some stranger…but the hand of a stranger that’s been feeling up the other 23 contestants in the bathtub when your back was turned.

Not if they're there for all the right reasons. :)

Hellion said...

See, I haven't even watched that show and it's already propelling me to violence upon hearing those words. It's Monday, Donna, do you really want to encourage me to stab people so early in the week? You're out of reach, but there are people, within striking distance, who are now in danger.

Donna said...

It's like I've got a remote superpower or something. Mmm. I think I like that.

Of course, I'll have to use it for. . .well, you know the rest. LOL

Bosun said...

I'm fully with you on that show making me want to stab people. You know he's making out with ALL OF THEM. WTF are you thinking?!

No wonder the return rate (as in "I'd like to return this fiance") on that show is so high.

Donna said...

Bluestocking, I wanted to say Welcome, and comment on your comment. :)

I think the unrealistic expectations from media, whether books/TV/movies, can be linked to humans' need for drama. That's what the entertainment is providing them -- drama -- not real-life relationship advice. LOL And some people can't seem to figure that out unfortunately.

Of course, TV is also confusing things by labeling shows as "reality TV" when they should be called "voyeur TV" -- it may not be scripted, but it's edited, to provide entertainment (and drama). About as real as silicone bazooms. LOL

Scapegoat said...

Hmmm...I'm in the "why the hell did she pick Mr. Big" camp. Always hated how he treated her and wanted Aiden for her, but that's just me.

Can't say that I've ever watched Bachelor/ette - and hope I never do. Something about that show screams sleazy to me.

For me, I like the chase in romance novels. That give and take of one character trying to win the other over, but I want it to be real not reality TV.

Sin said...

I love when Hells makes me look wittier than I am.

Scouts honor, why do you want to pursue someone who is easily attained? The chase is what most people look forward to in the beginning. It's like living in the wild. You see the one thing you want and you have to use everything in your arsenal to get them. Like Matt chasing me around for years only because he wanted me and I liked to deny him. It's a game. And girls play the game very well. Guys just haven't figured it out yet and the ones who have are jackasses about it.

2nd Chance said...

It's interesting! I remember...well, not really remember because I wasn't there... But once upon a time a woman said yes to whoever asked for fear that this would be the only choice she was given. She settled and considered herself lucky.

Now the big thing is not settling for who is there so...the trend is to pursue who isn't there. The unattainable and if you get that one, then you proven something about yourself, to yourself.

Whether he is actually the right one or the best's all about the woman. And her self-esteem. Things don't work later? Fine, that is what divorce is for!

But they can always say...I did it! I got him! Of course, once you get may not want him.

But that is an entire new kettle of fish!

And men do it...this fear of settling...always looking beyond what is right in front of you...

Thought provoking blog and I wish I had more time to think on it...but the new tire is one the car and now we can head home after being stuck out of town with a flat yesterday... Be back in a few hours!

Sin said...

I've always wanted to volunteer Mattycakes for the Bachelor.

Now THAT would make for hilarious reality TV.

Bosun said...

Sin - You made that a little tough when removed his "bachelor" status. LOL!

Chance - I thought you changed the tire! Had no idea you were still stuck there. LOL!

Settling. Such an ugly word. And one I know a great deal about. *sigh*

Sin said...

Yes, well I'd have to fix that first and we're the type of people that would do something like that for the helluva it. LOL

Hellion said...

Donna, I like your label better. *LOL* It does feel like voyeur TV, and never the GOOD stuff. The tawdry stuff! Probably why they didn't go with your label. Reality TV sounds more socially acceptable and we're less like peeping toms.

Hellion said...

Scapegoat, Yeah, another Aiden fan. *LOL* What gets me is that she behaves badly on this trip--even though I think he totally deserved it the way he was behaving--and then he rewards her by taking her out to dinner and doing some of the stuff she was bitching about. Clearly that's a real relationship--isn't that what we do? We act out, and if we really want the relationship to remain, THEN we start catering to what the other one wanted, even though we had no interest in it. And yet...doesn't that seem like a vicious circle to anyone else? No one is going to commit to doing that crap forever. You're lucky if it lasts into the next week!

It's just a vicious circle of acting out and getting rewarded.

Hellion said...

Sin, clearly *I* don't want to pursue someone easily attained. I would have gone with either the Brad or Bryan models and I chose not to. Clearly I have a problem with names starting with the letter B. Except for Bastard. I like that name--and I use it a lot already.

Hellion said...

I always like the implication that as a girl I know how to do the game very well--because I know I'm a girl. I'm the GIRLIEST of the GIRL, at least neurotically speaking, but the hunting and games I have no patience for. I feel like I have to simultaneously be strolling around in deer horns while carrying a's ridiculous.

Hellion said...

Aww, Chance, I'm always so honored when you stop by the blog when you're clearly supposed to be doing something more surgery or travel or visiting relatives...

Dude, I'm trying to think of who I would have ended up with if I went with the first proposal I got. None, actually, because the only marriage proposals I've gotten weren't serious. I used to get proposed to by girlfriends who were eating Gooey Butter Cake. They never counted. (Well, I think Deerhunter says his proposal once upon a time was serious, but I don't think so.)

Hellion said...

I am cracking up at the thought of Matty on the Bachelor. I would actually watch that TV. Gotta be at least as good as his porn.

I don't think any network could chance him though. Cinemax, maybe? He'd be so badly behaved.

Scapegoat said...

Hellion - now you have me thinking about that first proposal too. I was asked twice before my hubby asked. Wasn't even slightly tempted to say yes to the first two - thank goodness!

Thinking over those two, the only ending would have been a horrible mess. There's a HUGE amount to be said for not settling.

Scapegoat said...

Ok I killed the blog.

Hellion said...

No, you didn't. We simply haven't gotten off tangent or squirrelly yet.

I am reading The Royals which is about the Windsors, and it's making me very, very, VERY glad I'm far too common to marry into that family. What a bunch of nut jobs!

Bosun said...

I shut up because I said yes to the first nitwit who asked. So I had nothing to add.

Now, royal families. Talk about dysfunction...

Donna said...

I was out and about, enjoying the beautiful weather today. Looks like you wenches have been relatively peaceful today. :)

Chance, I didn't realize you were stranded anywhere! Not that I could have rescued you or anything, but still . . . the ship needs a bartender! LOL

Donna said...

I haven't said Yes to any proposals, because there haven't BEEN any. LOL Probably because I let everyone know upfront I'm not the marrying kind!

Hellion said...

The thought of marriage makes me break out in hives.

Hellion said...

This is not to say I'm not enjoying the book highly. They're just DYSFUNCTION PERSONIFIED. Also, I feel ever so much more accomplished than them! I may be some vulgar savage (which apparently Americans are) commoner, but I can at least pay for my own bills and live within my means (relatively speaking). And yes, this book shines a dark light on Diana, but at least she exposed her kids to NORMAL stuff so they're not as socially inept as the rest of their relatives. No wonder they're usually good in public.

Bosun said...

Me too. LOL!

Donna - You must tell the truth. A new hottie crew member asks you every week. You're perfecting the "coy" role on this vessel. ;)

Scapegoat said...

LOL- Good one Bo'Sun!

Ok, I'll do what I do best...go off on a tangent.

I've finally put on my big girl pants and launched my writer self a bit. I started my *writers* blog and posted the very first post today...includes a milestone for me. I'm pretty damn proud of myself C:)

If you want to check it out, it's at

Now, back to the topic at hand. :)

Donna said...

I'll go check it out! Although I might have some bad mojo right now -- I've been trying to figure out why I can't post comments to my own blog now! LOL I wonder if it's because I linked it to Twitter.

So Bo'sun, I was NOT being coy. LOL When a Hottie asks me something, it's NOT about marriage. :)

Bosun said...

I'm about to leave work but I'll check it out tonight, Sabrina. I've already added you to my list of favs here on the work comp. :)

Donna - So that's why your door is locked all the time.

Hellion said...

I loved Sabrina's blog, but I'm so unused to posting outside of this blog, I forgot that other blogs also require like 6 steps of identification before they'll post my comment. I thought I wasn't going to pass for a second!

Scapegoat said...

Thanks pirates!

Julie said...

And do you also subscribe to the Anything Worth Pursuing Must Be Wildly Unattainable?
No. In my experience Anything that purports to be Worth Pursuing Because It Must Be Wildly Unattainable is Usually Wildly Overrated!

I am The Exception to that rule, of course!

Julie said...

what do you think men and women most have in common? What issues do you write about in your stories (or what kinds of stories do you gravitate to) over and over again?
I think that humans honestly need to be needed. People IMO don’t like to admit this, but I think that that is one of the driving forces behind dissatisfaction in a relationship.
Think about it. If someone says that they don’t need you. What it feels like is “I don’t appreciate” what you can bring to a relationship.
And I don’t mean “need” as in needy dysfunction. I mean need as in want .
Did I just make you dizzy?

Janga said...

I posted too, Sabrina. I love the blog.

Re: The choice to settle

I was once very tempted to settle because I was reasonably certain he represented my last chance to have what my generation saw as a "normal life," i. e. being a wife and a mother. My mother, a very wise woman whose best friend had settled, said, "Don't settle. Loneliness is an easier companion than regret."

Julie said...

Men and women also share ...
The desire to be loved for who they truly are. To have someone they can count on. And to have someone to count on them.

Donna said...

Wow, Julie -- I like your mom's saying! That is awesome. And I agree with you about people needing to be needed/wanted -- and appreciating what they bring to a relationship.

Sabrina, I commented on your blog too. AND, in related news. . .LOL I think I finally bent MY blog to my will so I can post comments now. Yeesh. That was more work than I wanted it to be. I better go chill some wine for later. . . :)

Julie said...

No, you didn’t kill the blog, Scapegoat.
I‘ve just been quiet because I was thinking.
Like Terri, I too said yes to the first guy who proposed. We just celebrated our anniversary yesterday. For me the hardest part of saying “yes” was making peace with myself. I was living the life that I had planned for myself. I didn’t want to be in love. Didn’t take my DH’s first proposal seriously. It took a total stranger pointing out to me that I had to make A Choice. Say yes. Or let him go. “Because,” the stranger told me “ If you leave for that far away place, it is the same as telling him that you are living your life for you. Not you and him.” I hadn’t thought about it until she said it to my face.
Living my life for myself, would have left me living by myself. Did really I want that? Or did I feel pressured to want that because people felt that I would be settling if I choose marriage over my career?

At first I felt torn, but once I made that decision? I never regretted it. Life is good. Which isn’t to say … it has always been easy.
Strange how the words of a stranger can change your life.

Julie said...

We simply haven’t gotten off tangent or squirrelly yet.

Oooohhhh just Say It Hellion ... Julie simply hasn’t gotten off tangent or squirrelly yet.

Hey. I'm trying to stay on target ... focused ... uuuhhh .... uuhh ...Speaking of squirrelly has anyone seen my bootle of Fat Squirel?

Julie said...

And speaking of off tangent, squirrelly, and Fat Squirrel ( a divine specialty beer), how can you tell if the waitress trying to earn a big tip … or trying to pick you up?

Julie said...

bootle? Bottle!

Dee S. Knight said...

Hi, Pirates. Just dropping in for a minute and glad I caught your post, Hellion.

I subscribe to a theory different from yours. I think if something is too darn hard, it's not what you're supposed to have. I agree that romances are all about conflicting goals and such, but there's also the spark that draws hero and heroine together--something that's vulnerability, spunk, humor or whatever. I don't think unattainability (is that a word??) is enough, and it's not in novels, either. Maybe I'm just judging on my own experience. It was super easy for Jack and me to fall in love and so far it's worked out fairly well.

I haven't seen either of the SiC movies and I don't think I will, now. Thanks for saving the space on my Netflix queue. :)

2nd Chance said...

Well, I wasn't stuck at the race track... but we had one of those donut spares and had to wait this morning to get the punctured tired repaired and they couldn't repair it so we bought a new one and then we headed home...

deep breath

And decided to leave Bonnie in doggie daycare for a few more hours and went to see Toy Story 3 and I am so exhausted...nice movie.

I said yes to the first guy who asked, but I made him ask a dozen times. ;-)

Hellion said...

Jules, you make everyone dizzy, it's part of your charm. :) And yes, I think we all--men and women--desire to be loved for just who we are.

Hellion said...

*excited squeal at Dee* Suddenly I have a need to sing karaoke, "If It Don't Come Easy" by Tanya Tucker.

Attraction is's there or it's not. But the chase is different. I think you give Jack the thrill of the chase. *LOL* Boys can't help wanting that. In everything. But I think it gets complicated because girls want the thrill of the chase too...and it's harder for two prey to get each other at the same time, satisfactorily.

Sometimes I think it would be easier if I just liked to be chased. *LOL*

Hellion said...

2nd: I'm glad you took an extra few hours to recharge with a light happy movie. Pixar always cheers me up. :) The plot is always clear from the clips, but Pixar isn't about a plot you don't the twists too...Pixar is about telling a good story we all relate to.

We could all learn from Pixar. :)

I'm sorry you needed a new tire. I hate buying new tires. Ugh.

Hellion said...

Janga, your mother is very wise! *LOL* I love that: My mother, a very wise woman whose best friend had settled, said, “Don’t settle. Loneliness is an easier companion than regret.”

I think Loneliness vs Regret is very much a "Grass Always Greener" problem. If you choose lonely, you still sometimes wonder...and if you choose regrets, you also wonder. :)

Julie said...

Sometimes I think it would be easier if I just liked to be chased.

Sometimes I think it would be easier if you just liked to be CAUGHT! :)

Hellion said...

Once I'm caught, I run the risk of boring the guy. And I'm very boring.

"You're watching the TODAY show again, aren't you?"

"You went to the farm, didn't you?"

"You're reading Harry Potter again. I can tell. You keep dropping British phrases as if you think you're British, which you aren't and which sound ridiculous because you say them all with a Missouri southern drawl."

Julie said...

And I’m very boring.
And I'm still A Virgin.