Wednesday, March 19, 2008

THIS Is Why I Write Romance

I feel the need to vent. And I'm sorry to do it here, but I've had about enough.

Am I the only woman in America who is fed up with the constant press coverage of the Elliot Spitzer scandal?

The hubby and I have a morning routine - coffee and The Today Show while we go about getting up and ready for the day. This is literally the only time I watch TV during the day, the only time I pay a bit of attention to the news. And generally just the first half hour with the headlines and "most important" interviews. The last two weeks though, all the rage on the Today Show is this big sex scandal. First it was the NY governor who was caught in a prostitution ring. Then it was the fact he used tax payer dollars and had his tryst with the prostitute the day before Valentine's Day (and the focus was way more on the Valentine's thing rather than the tax payer dollar thing, but...whatever). Then Monday it was the Lieutenant Governor (now the new Governor) admitting he had several extramarital affairs ten years ago when he found out his wife was cheating on him (though they're still married now and are *supposedly* happy). Then TODAY I hear former NJ Governor John Corzine (who, you remember, stepped down a bit ago because his gay affair came out) has leaked to the press that he and his wife had another man in their bed with them while they were dating and into their marriage, thereby stating she's a hypocrite for rising to the aid of Spitzer's wife in the last week.

Am I the only one who's ready to say, who the hell cares?????


The sad fact is, I do care. Not about what idiots these people are (and let's face it, they are idiots. One for thinking they wouldn't get caught, two for GETTING caught, and three, for airing their dirty laundry in public), but about the constant focus on infidelity and where marriage seems to be going in this country. About the "experts" who are all over the tv and radio spouting off statistics saying humans are not meant to be monogamous and that it goes against our biological instincts, how men like Spitzer have an over-abundance of testosterone and therefore have a built-in excuse for being cheaters. About how the US Culture is "against the norm" in their view of monogomous relationships and how other cultures view sex and marriage as two different species.

This morning my running partner and I were talking about The Color Sex Test Jenna Bayley-Burke told us about at the meeting last night (which is just for fun), and in our discussion (before I even brough up any of the Spitzer stuff above), she started telling me about a massage she got a few years ago after she ran the Chicago Marathon. She'd gone in for a relaxation massage the next day and had a masseuse named Helga from Eastern Europe. Helga proceeded to explain to her that her "tension" wasn't from normal muscle aches and pains from running 26 miles, but from repressed sexual tension in her body due to the fact the American culture has strict limitations on monogamy. Of course, my running partner (happily married for over 15 yrs) told Helga to take a flying leap, then proceeded to laugh her ass off...but seriously? Is this what people think?

I'm reminded of the book sale Karen posted on the loop the other day - the one about the woman telling her husband he can have as many sexual trysts as he wants just so long as he tells her about them and submits to her "punishments". Is it no wonder fifty percent of marriages end in divorce these days and that fidelity *appears* to be the exception, not the norm?

My hubby and I have been married for 16 yrs. Every marriage has its rough patches. Some work, some don't, but no marriage is always easy. I got lucky, and I'd marry my guy again in a heartbeat. (After all, I finally have him trained...I'm not starting fresh with someone new! LOL) We've been discussing this whole thing a lot lately, especially this idea that men, especially, have this ingrained need to "spread their seed", and all I have to say is, that's bull*&#! It's easy to get bored and look to someone else - that whole 'the grass is greener on the other side thing' - but we all know it never makes the cheater happy. All it ever does is make everyone involved miserable. And that's why I have such an issue with the media putting this big emphasis on the whole NY sex scandal thing. Get over it. Move on. Stop giving these people the press they obviously want and focus on something positive.

Why do I write romance? To prove these people wrong. Happily ever after DOES exist, monogomy IS real, and contrary to what some people's not just fiction.

*end of rant*

Anyone else had it with this whole thing?


Karen Duvall said...

I don't watch the news too often, Eli. Just local stuff mainly. So I've caught bits and pieces of this scandal crap, and it's shades of Clinton all over again. Pffffft. BFD, you know? So I agree with you.

I was reading through forum messages at the Absolute Write Water Cooler (I hang out there WAY too much) and came across a post with a sig for a blog called "Polyamorous." What the hell? So I hopped on over to give it a read. Well, well, well. She's married and she and her husband are totally into this free love crap, both believing that multiple partners make their marriage stronger. OMG. I don't get it.

Jim and I have been married for sixteen years come June, and I can't even imagine having another partner. Eew! The very thought gives me a creepy feeling, like drinking something after someone has spit in it. Yuck!

Okay, I just totally grossed myself out... I'm going back to work now...

Alice Sharpe said...

Oh, Eli, I do enjoy a good rant. Thanks.

I have been married forty years (I was literally a child bride.) I have seen a lot of marriages come and go and I firmly believe introducing another human equation into a troubled relationship is like throwing elephants onto a sinking ship -- it just hastens the*glug-glug* factor right down into Davy Jones locker.

The media will do whatever it can to win readers, viewers, listeners. The public, for a million reasons, would rather focus on peccadilloes than a horrible war or unfair taxes or the character (or lack thereof) of chosen leaders. Everybody just appeals to the lowest factor. If we stopped eating it up, I guess the theory is they would stop.

And yes, I am sick of it, too. In fact, I don't watch any news, I read the newspaper and listen to the radio... that's enough. I'm very lucky -- like you and Karen, I love my guy and would never dream of harming him, but even if I didn't love him, the last thing in the world I would do is involve another person or tolerate such a thing.

That open marriage stuff has been around for years. I just have to ask -- why bother getting married in the first place?

Long live romance ... love live romance writers!!!

Paty Jager said...

I'm like Alice, I only read the paper, that way if a headline catches my interst I read it. That way I'm not getting news I could care less about. I didn't even know about this scandal until my dh said they were talking about it at work. I think it stinks.

I don't like to talk politics, but I'd never vote for a woman who stayed with a man who philandered.

I've been married 29 years and there's no way I'd want to mess around with anyone else. Like Karen that just feels icky. And my dh has said the same. I believe this throw away mentalily the world is getting has moved into relationships.

You're right Eli, all 29 years of my marrriage were not a piece of cake. There were some struggles, but that's what you do, you work to keep it working. It's just like raising a child, you don't give them up when things get tough. You work harder to make it work.

Rants are good for purging the soul.

Genene said...

The easy answer: turn off the television. Which is laughable in my case since the closest I've come to paying attention to "news" is chuckling over the magazine headlines in the store check-out lines. But that's another topic.

However, as writers, don't we use hot-button, emotional topics as idea-generators for powerful, can't-put-them-down stories?

Haven't we all heard the advice to make our characters face their biggest fear? What if a woman who thinks she is happily married discovered her spouse had sex with another woman? Could she love him enough to forgive the "unforgivable"?

Before you say yes or no, try to come up with a scenario where a person having sex with someone other than their spouse might be forgivable. How about this (and maybe this has already been done in a book). He sees her killed. Added to this loss, he feels responsible for not being able to prevent her death. As he descends into grief and guilt, he would do anything to see her alive again. At one of his lowest points, he has sex with a woman who reminds him so strongly of his spouse he can taste her, smell the perfume she used to wear -- but afterward realizes what he has done and spirals deeper into a dark hole.

In the meantime, his wife isn't dead. In fact, she is enduring a horrible ordeal and the only thing that is keeping her alive is the belief that her husband will know she is alive and will keep searching for her.

Though one could say he thought she was dead, so he wasn't really cheating, the fact (for our characters, at least) remains that she was alive and they were still married. Forgivable or not?

And by the way, turn off the TV! Isn't it much more fun to make up our own stories than listen to the "news"?

Jenna Bayley-Burke said...

I'm with Karen on the Yuck factor of all of this garbage.

As I read the comments I wonder...we've all been married a long time...I wonder if writing romance has something to do with it :)

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hey ladies. :) I'm in Black Butte where it's SNOWING! Been doing it on and off all day. The kids are having a blast and I'm trying to work but - alas - I'm not getting much done.

Karen, I'm with you on the yuck factor too. But more than that, I agree with Alice - why do some of these people get married in the first place? Blows me away.

Paty, I don't like to talk politics either, but that question has crossed my mind a time or two. I'm all for women's lib and having a woman in a political power position, but now that I'm a mother (of a 9 yr old who's beginning to ask a lot of questions), I struggle with explaining to my daughter how a woman could sacrifice her self-worth and stay with a cheater simply for political gain. And that question in no way reflects one political view point or another, it's simply a question of what a woman is willing to do for what she wants. I know I could never do that. Nothing I want is worth that. ;)

Genene...rofl about turning the TV off. As you can see, I do more often than not. ;) The whole infidelity thing is a hot button topic for me because I grew up in a house were this happened. So I've seen it from the kids' perspective, and it's not a fun thing. I tend to look at it differently than a lot of people. I did actually read a book where the hero cheated on the heroine (they were "kind of" a couple at the time - though not married, and they hadn't slept together yet). Surprisingly, it worked for me and I do love that book. But I think the reason it worked for me is because the "act" happened outside marriage. If it had been the other way around I'd have hucked the book against the wall and never read that author again.

Jenna...very interesting observation. I do know my hubby will never complain about the fact I write romance. LOL

Great comments, ladies. Thanks for putting up with my rant! ;)

Genene said...

Hey, Eli! Forget work and go play in the snow with your kids!

A couple people told me we might get snow here in the valley this weekend also. Isn't that a hoot!

Danita Cahill said...

I understand your need to rant on this subject, Eli. When I saw the first little blurb about it in the paper, I knew it would make big headlines. And now with the hookers past as a "Girl's Gone Wild" star. Oh brother, it's gonna be shoved down our throats for a while longer.

I don't understand women who stay with these men either. Of all the couples I know and their infidelities, as many women cheat as men. At least in my personal survey. I don't think either males or females should be excused for the particular flavor of hormones coursing through their system. Cheating, to me, is not about hormones. It's about dissatisfaction with the relationship the adulterers are in, a lack of communication, and a complete lack of respect for their spouse. I also think it shows a weakness of character and I hate that infidelity is sensationalized too.