Why Do We Read Romance?

Once upon a time I was married––well, I’ve been married for most of my adult life, but that’s not the point. Once upon a time, I was lying in bed reading a good old fashioned bodice ripper. Probably a Fabio cover or similar, when in walked my husband to stand near the foot of the bed. He proceeded to ask me why I bothered to read such “stuff.”

For an otherwise intelligent man, he had just revealed a stunning level of ignorance about the magical world of romance. It took me by surprise––this clueless facet of his being.

I slowly lowered the book across my chest and folded my hands together on top of it…protecting the carefully crafted words from being tainted by the blasphemy that was still echoing in the room.

“Why do I read romance?” I repeated.

“Yes. Why don’t you read more non-fiction. More biographies. More…real stuff.”

Real stuff? My left eye began to twitch.

“Like what you read? The Wall Street Journal and financial reports and business journals?” (He was a stockbroker.)

“Yes, of course. Why not read about Kennedy or Lincoln?”

With all due respect to Kennedy and Lincoln, while there was much to be learned from them, they didn’t quite have the same escapist effect as a pulse-heating romance novel.

I was about to agree with him that all books had intrinsic value when he blew it.

“I’m serious,” he asked again. “Why do you read that trash?”

I leveled my hazel eyes on his baby blues and said, “When my real life resembles what’s in these books, then I’ll stop reading them.”

It was a quiet night that night.