Even before the love of my life died, I hated romance as this post from 2010 attests. This is nothing new.
Immediately after Male died, I couldn’t read. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t concentrate or do anything productive, which left the boob tube as my only option besides silence. I hate silence unless I’m reading. I didn’t so much watch television as have it on in the background while I blankly stared at walls (like my cat) or cried a lot.
I couldn’t watch anything that had even a hint of romance in it. If there was so much as a conversation between a man and a woman that didn’t involve work, I’d turn it off.
This left me with few options since almost every form of entertainment today has a superfluous love story. I absolutely hate the superfluous love story. If you’re going to have romance in something, put it right there on the cover or in the description, because if there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s getting sucker-punched with a romantic subplot that doesn’t need to be there in the first place. This applies generally, but particularly in the weeks following the death of the love of my life.
This penchant for throwing love stories about willy-nilly is the exact reason I don’t watch a lot of Hollywood movies even though I live in Hollywood. In the same way that restaurants don’t feel the need to mention on their menus that fucking onions are in everything they make (I hate onions), Hollywood throws the unnecessary love story into practically every movie produced.
There’s a movie about aliens coming down and taking over the human race? Add a love story. Action flick? Love story. War movie? Love story. Horror movie? Love story. A movie about genocide? Throw in a goddamn love story, because love and genocide go perfectly together I guess. I find it rather sexist, as if the only way they can get women to watch their schlock about stolen cars is to add romance in there.
I hate the superfluous love story. If I want to see a love story, I’ll watch a goddamned love story, but why must you ruin a perfectly good action movie with a love story that adds nothing to the plot? Not only does it not add, but it actually slows everything down. I don’t want to see that. If I watch an action movie, I want to see action not bloody love.
So, this left my viewing options very limited. I watched a ton of war movies, kung fu and wuxia (I’m all caught up on Donnie Yen now), and Korean revenge flicks.
Did you know that Korean revenge is a genre? It is in my world anyway, and it’s one of my favorite sub-genres. South Korea has been making some mighty fine cinema for the last decade or so. If you haven’t seen Oldboy (not that godawful American abomination that has no right to exist, but the real one), go watch it now. I’ll wait.
Fucking amazing, right? Is that not the best movie you’ve seen in the last fifteen years or more? Damn straight it is. Park Chan-wook is a cinema god. Granted, nothing he’s done since has touched the cinematic brilliance of Oldboy, but I cut him some slack. It’s hard to rival that movie, because it is so unbelievably tits. Just like Ridley Scott can never touch Blade Runner, they should keep making movies anyway, just on the off-chance that they manage something nearly as good.
Anyway, Korean revenge movies. It’s a thing that I adore. They rarely throw love stories in there, and if they do, they’re integral to the plot, as in Oldboy, so it doesn’t bother me overmuch.
I’m the same way with books. The only romantic type stories I can deal with in literature are the kind that end badly like Wuthering Heights or Romeo & Juliet. I don’t mind romance in there as long as it’s the star-crossed variety. If one or more of them dies in the end, I’m in.
So, after all this preamble about disliking love stories, why is it that when I wrote the latest part of The Dwarf Making Sweet, Sweet Love To The Skeleton, a detective series I’ve been writing that has nothing to do with love, I added some sexual tension between Walker and Betsy? I haven’t published the latest installment of The Dwarf yet, because this fact chagrins me. I’ve even written the book’s ending where, well, I don’t want to add spoilers.
The romance in my writing is a lot like the horror in old horror movies; implied, but never shown. Have you seen the The Haunting (1963)? It’s scary precisely because they don’t show anything scary. It’s all implied. It could be because of a tiny special effects budget or it could be that the director knew that the phantasms created in the imaginations of the viewers are way scarier than any animatronic creature Hollywood could invent. They remade The Haunting in 1999 and it’s boring, because they thought special effects could top our imaginations. They were wrong. They were wrong to remake it in the first place.
STOP REMAKING OLD OR FOREIGN MOVIES, HOLLYWOOD.
Soap box over.
Why is it that when watching or reading something to entertain myself, I look for something without romance, but when I wrote it, I added it in there? Why am I such a huge hypocrite? It doesn’t really add to the plot. It doesn’t really move the plot along. It doesn’t have to be there, but it’s there anyway. Perhaps later today or tomorrow, I’ll pull the trigger and post it, and you can let me know if you think it’s superfluous or not, because obviously, I haven’t a clue.
Do you write romance in your stories that have nothing to do with romance? Does the superfluous love story bother you? Do you love Donnie Yen? Do you wish I had gotten to the point much sooner? Do you even know what the point is?