Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What is Love? (Baby don't hurt me.)

Influences this week: MattxMello (Death Note) fan fics, lollipops and Parabelle's new acoustic CD.

Song of the week: "Us (Walk Away)"  by Parabelle (These Electric Pages Have Been Unplugged, 2011)

A/N: If the title seems familiar, I couldn't help it. I had to use the name of a popular song used in "Night at the Roxbury" What is Love (Baby Don't Hurt Me) by Haddaway. It was too appropriate to pass up. This by no means means I liked or advocate watching this movie is you want any shred of sanity left afterwards.



So I had a blog. All thought out and written and even had photos for it. (I know. *stiff arming Hells* Don't take my temperature. I'm not sick.)


Then Jane Eyre happened. More consequently, Hells and I started emailing back and forth about it. For anyone who's been under a rock for the past couple of centuries, Jane Eyre was the second novel written by Charlotte Brontë, recently turned into a wonderful BBC film adaptation. Hells and I took our respective BFF's and met up at Ragtag (Cinema) Monday night. I've been feigning to see this movie since I caught a glimpse of a trailer preview at the last movie I saw at Ragtag. (Consequently, I can't remember what that movie was. It was some months ago.)


I'll give you the short of the story. Jane Eyre was a governess who fell in love with her employer.


*narrowing eyes* I told you I was giving you the short. Wiki or read the book if you want more. My blog is not about Jane Eyre as much as the sentiment Hells and I found behind the story.


I'm a sap for unrequited love. I don't know why. The longing. The feeling of desperate hopelessness. Of the world ending as you know it. It all inspires me in a dark twisted way. But that's not what this is about either.


I've been researching how men speak to one another. Actual nitty gritty speak. Not the cleaned up version they present to us women when we're in the vicinity. And as crude and rude as I can be, I can't hold a candle to the Undead Monkey's man speak. The phrasing and delivery is different when uttered from a woman's lips. Currently, I'm reading a fan fiction on a manga I really enjoy (a Shonen- more focused towards a male audience) about death gods. It is a male dominated manga and the man speak is very hardcore. So when I went looking for fan fiction in this genre, I went looking with the intent of finding a fic where the author obviously understood “man” speak. I find a few female authors understand this speech pattern. Pamela Clare and JR Ward usually come to mind. Lara Adrian does a great job. But it's done to a certain extent. When our audiences are predominantly females, you lose the appreciation of male dominated crude speech. We soften it up a bit. We soften what we think they actually think about. Even I do it. I'm not going to deny that.


Banter between two characters is what makes a reader fall in love with the their story. The sly looks, the one liners, even in anger, these lines delivered between your hero and heroine keep your reader on the edge of their seat waiting for what will happen next. It's the passion between them that sparks enough to keep them coming back to one another. Passion makes you feel alive and wanting. Except emotion has no boundaries. Emotion doesn't care if you have morals or ideals. Once emotion starts to burn hot inside your chest it only kindles, gathering steam until it has you so twisted you no longer know what is right or wrong. You only know how to feel in the moment. Trying to back out of that is nothing short of an emotional death. In the matters of emotions, conflicts have always been the same. Emotion is embedded in our souls from the first time we experience it. Whether the emotion be good or bad, once we learn of it, we can't step away from it. No matter how cynical and jaded you become.


Dare you run away with your heart's desire or cling to your ideas, beliefs and take a gamble at never having what you truly want?


As men and women we deal with emotions differently. (Or maybe we're the same and outwardly deal in a different ways.) How do you write your characters to deal with love? As a female writer, do you soften down your man's inclination towards crude statements? Make him more direct when facing deeper emotion? Make him show it easier? Make him softer in his outward showing of love? (And for our male audience, just reverse the “him” to “her”.) Has anyone else seen Jane Eyre? What did you think?


PS. Sorry. This blog got away from me and my original intent. Original intent was to discuss the difference between forbidden love centuries ago and how that's changed over the years. Maybe next time.


2nd Chance said...

Generally, IRL, I have found that men are more romantic than women. Really. Especially young men. And, well...that is what I generally write. The men with a more idealized idea of what love is. Emotionall? Well, they are more steadfast about how they feel while my women are more in denial regarding whether this is really love.

Yeah, I write backward from what people assume. But, this is from my personal experience. My first boyfriend had us married and gazing into the sunset long before I was willing to consider it. He's still more romantic than me. (Okay, he was also right!)

My men are determined to convince their women that what they feel is real, aware that their women aren't always ready to hear it and this is where a man's battle to convince without actually saying the words gets fun.

Women are better with words in my world, but men are better with holding on. Despite all the crap they hold on to... I know, this sounds so backward! But it works! Really!

Quantum said...

Sin: When our audiences are predominantly females, you lose the appreciation of male dominated crude speech. We soften it up a bit. We soften what we think they actually think about. Even I do it. I’m not going to deny that.

At last an admission that women authors can't easily write realistic male characters! :lol:

It's a long time since I played rugger but I seem to recall that the chat in the coach, and also in the pub after a match, could be distinctly 'crude' amongst the 'rougher' element.

Now cricket is a different game. Much more refined and 'intellectual'. Absolutely no crudity on the coach or in the pub. Such behavior would constitute 'ungentlemanly conduct' and would get you banned from the club premises! Though a brief mention of 'Bloody Aussies' would be overlooked if we had lost another test match!

I'm no expert on this but I believe that biologists now widely accept that there are appreciable differences between the brains and therefore the minds of men and women... see for example Doreen Kimura, 'Sex Differences in the Brain' Scientific American (1999).

The differences are caused by hormonal influences during early development, before environmental influences become effective.
We have the same basic grey matter of course but the probability weightings of different skills and emotions are quite different in men and women.

Reading women authors characterization of male hero's often strikes me as pure fantasy. None the worse for that though. I love fantasy!

Very thought provoking blog Sin. :D

Donna said...

Interesting post, Sin. And I agree with Q that our male characters are probably pure fantasy--there's a good reason for that though. :) Fantasies fill in the gaps that reality doesn't cover. LOL

Also, they are "heroes", not just male characters, which I think requires them to act in a way we find more appealing than real-life people actually behave. Heroes don't spit, for example. LOL

The same applies to heroines. They operate at a higher level than the women we see on a day-to-day basis. :)

I'm glad we all write such different things, because I am more interested in writing/reading about men that may be a little less realistic, but I find their wit and humor intriguing. Others like more realism, and that's good too. There's something for everybody.

Scapegoat said...

Can I just 2nd everything Donna said?!

She hit the nail on the head with the fact that these are fantasy stories that feature a hero who has to appeal to females and win our affection & the same with the heroines.

As a romance reader, I'm not sure I want the real deal guy speak. I'm looking for how that man is with the woman. How does he talk to her, treat her, etc.

Again, it goes back to this isn't just a "man" but a hero whose sole purpose is to win over the heroine and readers in a fantasy (idealized) world.

Bosun said...

To be fair, heroes aren't the only male characters in our stories. I guess they could be, but not usually. I'm certain no woman wants to read a completely accurate male brain. That would be a scary thing on the best of days. (Much like men wouldn't want to sit in our realistic brains for a chapter either.)

I think it depends on the character. My first hero was perfect. There, I admit it. But this new guy? Not even close. He's not much of a talker (so wierd for me) and his internal dialogue isn't exactly poetic. LOL! But I think he comes across as a guy's guy and not a male character as told from the female perspective.

But, uhm, he will not spit. LOL! No spitting in Romance! (What is up with that anyway? WHY must dudes spit all the time?)

Bosun said...

Re: The "This is fantasy" bit - I agree to a point. Since I don't read about shifters or time traveling highlanders, I want more reality. I want a guy to be a guy. He can say the wrong thing at the wrong time as long as he gets close to the right thing at the perfect time.

There must be some reality to it or else I wouldn't want to read it. But that's just me.

Hellion said...

I'm taking a Man Talk class, in an effort to make Adam sound like less of a girl in my book. I make him talk in too many metaphors for the type of archetype he is. If he was a different archetype--or Shakespeare--maybe, but apparently Chiefs only grunt and scratch their balls.

What I've learned so far from this class is that I primarily want to be in first person HEROINE POV and never the man's. I do NOT want to know what the man is thinking. And I also agree: I don't appreciate most of the things that comes out of the Undead Monkey's mouth, and I talk with him primarily in a public setting where he's actually restricted in his responses. What he's allowed to say is pretty appalling at times. (Though he does adore those cats--so he can't be all bad, a man who loves cats.)

I also agree that men--99.9%--likely don't want to spend an hour in an authentic female's brain for an hour either. As Ron would say, "It's impossible for anyone to feel all those things all at the same time." Oh, how little you know, Ron. I can't blame guys for being glad not to have to feel all their emotions simultaneously.

I prefer some realism. Like a Brad Paisley sort of real. The one who looks at a priceless French painting and sees a naked girl. Brad included all the things in his song that I could at least handle knowing about. He didn't talk about spitting or how many times a day he actually does or wants to masturbate. He doesn't talk about googling porn sites or watching the video of the Thailand bestiality sex act a dozen times so he can laugh at it. Etc, etc, etc. I mean I could list more things that guys seem to do that boggles the female mind, but I think I've given enough color to the situation.

I want the "idealized" version, but I don't want him so idealized he can't be recognized as a man altogether.

Bosun said...

I feel like I need a cleansing shower after reading Hellie's comment.

Sin said...

Do you think the DR would be offended if I wrote time into my work schedule for blog days? It seems like every day I walk into the office it's already a nightmare and I'm the one who unlocks the door.

I have to agree. If I'm reading a romance, I'm reading for the love between two characters. I wouldn't exactly say that everything that comes out of the Undead Monkey's mouth is the slightest bit romantic. Why would I want to place myself in reality when I'm trying to escape it? But I'm not really writing a romance novel as much as it's an adventure between a man and a woman trying to solve several "criminal issues".

What got me thinking about it, besides talking to Hellie about her man class, was talking to the GPS. My heroine and her BFF (right hand man) have conversations and speak almost crudely. While it's not man speak, it certainly isn't "feminine" to speak so crudely. (Or at least that's how I was raised.) But I think it depends on the world you live in and the circumstances your placed in.

So I have to agree with DRD. I'm glad we all write different genres and in different ways. It gives us variety in our influences and gives us different perspectives. And it means that no one is forced to smile and nod and to pretend they like anything I write. lol

Bosun said...

BTW, I work with predominently men and have walked past roooms with four or five of them talking. Always amazed at the shit they say. In fact, I've learned to tune them out so I stop hearing stuff that makes me want to throw a grenade in said room.

Donna said...

*smiles and nods at Sin*

Sorry -- couldn't resist. LOL

Sin said...

And my dear, dear, Q: While I can't write an authentic "man's speak" conversation at the moment, it doesn't mean I'm not researching and practicing. Want to give me some lessons? *grin*

Sin said...

I'm just not in the mood for romance. Hells talked to me yesterday about a book she's reading Delirium. Forbidden to fall in love or show love in any way. And fearing love. Which really interests me in a weird way. We think the world is getting out of hand now. Can you imagine if we lacked the emotions to care for anyone else in a passionate way? I can imagine the world would be overrun with war and savagery.

Sin said...

Dear DRD,

I can't believe I admitted in public you were right. I hang my head in ninja shame. The Undead Monkey wants to congratulate you.


Evil Twin

Sin said...

Bo'sun, it makes me wish I was there so I could eavesdrop and slink around the groups of men to hear them talk to one another. I've always worked in predominantly female environments.

Bosun said...

Sin - These are mostly former military. Makes a locker room sound like a tea party.

Donna said...

Dear Evil Twin,

If it makes you feel any better, your actual words were "I agree with DRD", which assumes that I am right, because why would you agree otherwise? But it's a technicality. You may retain your ninjaness without fear of reprisal.

Very truly yours,

Donna said...

Terri, I worked with military folks in my youth, and they are an interesting blend of chivalrous and roughneck. LOL

I read a magazine article last summer--can't remember which magazine--but it was by a guy, telling women what men REALLY thought about, esp. re sex. It was graphic, and not at all what we would hope for (i.e., they seem lower on the evolutionary chain than we give them credit for). LOL

Which is why I go for less reality/more fantasy. LOL

Hellion said...

It was graphic, and not at all what we would hope for (i.e., they seem lower on the evolutionary chain than we give them credit for).

I can't say during sex my thoughts are all that evolutionary progressive.

But you may mean before they're actually in the middle of it, in which case, the Men Talk instructor was quite right that men like to focus on one thing at a time. She just failed to mention that that thing is ALWAYS sex.

Hellion said...

Sin, you and Pixy has an entirely different form of communicating. *LOL* I tend to be more blunt than graphic, which makes me non-friendly to female discussions because many of them take the flanking approach to any discussion.

Actually it's like women have a dozen different ways they communicate and men have one. Like shoes.

Donna said...

Hellion, it wasn't the "during" phase -- if people had higher evolutionary thoughts then, the world would be less populated. LOL

It was more the "before" and "after" phases, along with WHO they thought about doing, and HOW. *shakes head* Sometimes it's better not to know. LOL

Hellion said...

This conversation has become positively demoralizing. *LOL*

Sin said...

Sorry Hells. lol

Sin said...

Sometimes it’s better not to know.


Bosun said...

Reality bites. LOL! I don't about you ladies, but I've been on a girls night out with drinks flowing and the conversation about the surrounding men wasn't exactly enlightened.

Di R said...

I love men and the way they speak. They have a way of cutting through all the crap. Of course that can also get them into trouble.

Shortly after we were married, my husband made the comment that he married me so that he wouldn't be alone. I then left the room, he followed me and asked why I married him. My reply was that I couldn't imagine living the rest of my life without him. He looked at me, his face blank, "Yep, that's a better answer."
LOL! We still laugh about that.


Sin said...

Bo'sun, I have those type of conversations all the time. I don't need drinks for that to happen. lol

Sin said...

LOL. Di, men are so dense sometimes. Sometimes it's better if you can just laugh off those type of comments. I make them all the time without even knowing I did or that I did anything wrong.

Hellion said...

*LOL* Yep, that's a better answer.

Although I agree with Sin: I've done something alarmingly similar which has unnerved the Male. "I'm sorry. Did I answer that wrong?" "YES." So I had correct it, but I don't think he believed me.

Sin said...

I always open mouth insert foot. I blame it on being a Sagittarius.

Bosun said...

Di - The fact that he recognizes this is a better answer means he's worth keeping. There are men who would never recognize (or admit) this fact.

2nd Chance said...

I must be married to mutant. Though when he came out less than a year's stint in the Navy, god...his mouth! But that wore off.

But he's just as likely to say the 'right' thing as the 'wrong' thing. Someimes I think it isn't what he says at all, it's all about where my hormone levels are at the time.

Di R said...

He is a keeper, out 18th anniversary is in a couple of weeks.

2nd-my brother was in the Navy for 6 years, and every time he came home from a 6 month cruise he'd have to learn how to converse in polite society again. He would stutter and pause while trying to think about how to say something without swearing.


Hellion said...

I must be married to mutant.

We already knew that.

THOUGH my Man Talk instructor did say that some men are trained by their significant others to share more information and guard more what comes out of it. *LOL* So the longer they've been married (happily I presume), the better they are.

2nd Chance said...

I do think you're right about how much exposure a man has experienced with women around him and the age of the man. The younger the man, the fouler the mouth...the more they hang with the 'guys' the more likely the mind has one deeply ingrained track...

And I write older heroes so I'm dealing with those who, I hope, are a bit more civilized... ;-)

P. Kirby said...

Um ... I admit I don't quite get these kind of conversations because I don't see gender as a black and white, male vs. female, spectrum. Probably because I also don't see sexuality--hetero vs. homo--as an either or proposition.

Consequently, I'm ill at ease with a one-size-fits-all approach to how men or women think. Or interact. I also find that the way men interact with women and other men, is as much governed by hormones as cultural and socio-economic background. It's also a function of age. Some men (and women) are assholes all their lives; others outgrown the posturing and stupidity.

My confusion, if part, has its origin in my own weird brain. For lack of less gendered way to describe it, I have a male brain.

I've spent most of my time in male-dominated careers. Also, I grew up in a low-income Hispanic neighborhood. The kind of place that has gangs and where misogyny rules. In that kind of culture, men, if they are inclined to crudity, don't bother to hide their "true face" from women.

But not all men are grunting, crude beasts.

Yeah. There is "locker room talk." But while some men revel in it, others don't. I'm not saying some men are angels, with minds as pure as the driven snow. But the idea that all men are just waiting for the girls to get out of the room so they can have a graphic discussion of the pussy they had last night, isn't true either.

Conversely, I've been around female conversations which, frankly, were just as crude: graphic descriptions of what gets them off and whatnot. TMI. Yuck.

Some men are clueless boobs who blunder over every social situation. Others, like my husband are more in tune than some women. (Cough. Me.) Some, at 60, as still acting like adolescents, giggling over T&A. Other get over that by their early 20s.

The fascinating thing about humans is our variety--physically and emotionally.

P. Kirby said...

I would say this. I can always tell when a writer is struggling with writing a gender. And yes, I do see this a lot in romance, with male characters. I've also seen the reverse w/male writers writing females, especially in mystery/thriller/suspense genres.

It's not matter of sounding female or male. Instead, the writing just sounds stiff, awkward and affected, like the writer is trying too hard, and struggling to find the character's personality.

2nd Chance said...

Yup, you're right, Pat. It comes down to writing people! And people are as varied as ... as anything one could think of! LOL!

Hellion said...

Emotional maturity. Rather like the difference between Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones'. They were the same age, same sort of economic backgrounds and types of success--but SO DIFFERENT. As Bridget would say, Daniel was an emotional fuckwit.

Quantum said...

Donna: Interesting post, Sin. And I agree with Q

I so love ladies who agree with me! :D
Bet it doesn't last though. I'd better read on!

Sin: Want to give me some lessons? *grin*

Sin, I doubt I'm the guy your looking for .... unless you would like lessons on Quantum Gravity. I could make it really interesting with novel suspension.I have a feeling that you could teach me a thing or two about it though, sitting in the crow's nest as you do. *grin*

Donna: shakes head* Sometimes it’s better not to know. LOL

Absolutely. Lot to be said for Blissful Ignorance!

Di: I love men and the way they speak. They have a way of cutting through all the crap. Of course that can also get them into trouble.

Quite agree .... its that sort of day!
I think that's why so many become scientist. 8)

Pat: The fascinating thing about humans is our variety–physically and emotionally.

Absolutely agree. Like a rainbow, the whole spectrum is visible ... as long as you're not color blind!

Bo'sun: .........

No comment! I don't want to wreck my perfect record of agreement! :wink:

Marnee said...

My reply was that I couldn’t imagine living the rest of my life without him. He looked at me, his face blank, “Yep, that’s a better answer.”

hahahaha!!! This is the best comment in a while. LOl!!

I agree with Pat, I think. I think there are stereotypical ways men and women act, but there's a very big bell curve. I do think that when it comes to romance, there are those who approach it logically/tentatively and those who dive in with their emotions and think later. And the range in between. But I don't know if I always put men on one side and women on the other. Just sometimes.

Bosun said...

Ah, come on. It's going to kill me to know what I said you don't agree with. LOL! I can take it! I love a good debate. (Though I have a feeling this will end quickly with me saying, "You're right, Pat.")

2nd Chance said...

When it comes down to it, we write people. Humans. Well, mostly.

Bosun said...

This was a question regarding how we write male characters and we can only answer that from our own writing perspective. I grew up in a family where anything goes. You could literally say anything. My sister and I could put our two brothers to shame in the crude talk area.

I do think this is a newer obsession, but I haven't been writing long enough to know for sure. Somehow I doubt writers were constantly worried about their heroes reading as "gay" or "girlie" twenty years ago. Then again, twenty years ago the majority of heroes were overbearing assholes.

Hellion said...

Sure we write humans--but we write an idealized version of them. A version that can be accepted. It's like that Mark Twain quote--Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.

In other words, maybe we expect men to grunt and spit--and anything otherwise is actually the anomaly in our understanding.

I said MAYBE. Yeesh.

Donna said...

That's the great thing about this ship. It doesn't matter what is said, there will always be somebody who takes the other side. LOL It keeps the discussions lively. :)

Okay, barkeep, I'm getting thirsty. What's a girl gotta say around here to get a mojito? :)

P. Kirby said...

My husband didn't cuss much until he met me. And he never cursed around his parents. Now, he drops the f-bomb regularly, even around his mom. (His poor mom. Although, coming from rancher stock, she's no delicate little flower.)

Me, I cuss like a sailor with Tourette's. I've also been known to spit. Ptew! :)

Quantum said...

Allow me Donna.
Plenty of rum here, but where are the big glasses? Where is the ice, Where is the mint?
Has Chance been sucking up to that Kraken again and leaving us all parched?

As far as basic instinctive behavior goes I know of no reliable verified scientific evidence to suggest any difference between the sexes.

As evidence, I remember a school trip when the soccer team (boys) traveled to the same venue as the hockey team (girls). The changing rooms were adjacent and some boys couldn't resist climbing up to the ceiling and peering over at the girls. They saw some girls flat on the floor peering under the wooden dividing partition at the boys.

Its the way of the world!
Me, I thought about a periscope which could be used to peer over or under without effort. *grin*

2nd Chance said...

Only Q would bring a periscope to a soccer outing.

Mojito? I can do that! The Kraken likes more manly drinks! ;-)