“He tenderly took off her clothes and passionately kissed her as he parted her trembling thighs. Looking deeply into his eyes as her heart beat rapidly, she couldn’t wait to become his.”These words were usually found right after the center pages of romance novels like silhouette, harlequin romance and yes, my then favorite Mills and Boons to mention a few.As a young girl of just about 12 years who had begun noticing the changes in her body at puberty, the pictures of men and women in love were irresistible. Some of them depicted couples kissing passionately and others lovingly gazing into each others eyes in interesting poses.
I was never short of romance novels to read because I knew exactly who was reading them and who was in queue for the one I had just finished. The titles added to the attractiveness of the pictures. Who would not be curious to find out what happened in the pages of books with titles such as the garden of dreams, no holding back, mission to seduce and a very stylish affair? I never tired of romance novels that filled my mind with fantasy and the hope of one day meeting a perfect handsome billionaire described in the pages of romance novels. These men were described as powerful, masculine, passionate and all the adjectives that could fill a young girl with awe.
It was interesting to note that in almost all the books I read, the women were never attracted to the good calm guys who treated them with patience and respect. They always found the domineering aggressive ones more interesting. The cool ones who did not seem “powerful” enough always lost the race for the heart of the women they loved. The craze for romance novels was even more serious as I moved from junior secondary school to senior secondary school. Many of us hid these books under our desks not giving a damn about subjects we found boring. For me that would be Mathematics! Who gives a damn about such subjects when our senses were being tickled by strong and handsome men pursuing beautiful women until they lived happily ever after?
It is embarrassing to say, but many of us found ourselves turned on as we turned the pages especially those with the privilege of sitting at the backseat of class. The trick was to put the novels in text books and look into them as if seriously concentrating on the words of the poor teachers who had to explain the topics over and over again. For those of us who could partially listen to the teachers whilst secretly reading, we gladly learnt how to multitask. That meant avoiding the embarrassment of being put on the spot.
It was not until my favorite romance novelist Charlotte Lamb died that I realized the damage I had done to myself. I was shocked to see that she had written some of those enticing words at the age of 50. Consider this; when a fifty year old woman with so much experience in sex and romance talks to a 12-year-old , what happens in the mind of that young girl? That image shocked me because I realized I was too young for such information.
Yes, reading is responsible for my prowess in the English language and it is a lovely hobby. But in real life, those fantasies did not work for me and has not worked for many young women. I would rather be with the calm gentleman who respects me rather than the aggressive tycoon who feels he can buy me. I must confess it is interesting to fantasize about being grabbed by Mr. Right and carried off to a bed of roses for night after night of bliss, experiencing orgasm after orgasm.But in reality how many of our men can always carry us off to bed every night despite the assets we possess? How many of them have six packs and are so strong they can carry us as easily as feathers? How many of us would be happy with flowers as gifts without the temptation of leaving them to wither?
I am yet to read a romantic novel where the couple waited to be married to have sex and yes, I have read many. Currently, romantic novels have become diversified and Christian genres abound. But trust me, myself and other girls would have found them extremely boring. The good guy who always dresses well and says the right thing the right way is mostly a turn off for ladies. Even the good Christian girl is not exempted. Though interesting, romantic novels have done a lot of damage to young women who are still living in a world of fantasy. A world of knights in shiny armor who come to rescue damsels in distress. These women are still waiting for that perfect billionaire to turn up and sweep them off their feet as they totally ignore the good men standing right in front of them.
Girlfriend, Mr. Fantasy can only be found on planet fantasy, so if you can’t go to that planet, come down to earth! On planet earth, imperfection is part of humanity. Not all the men have hard chiseled jaws, rock hard bodies and big bright eyes that one can drown in. Sexual exploits in romantic novels always lead to marriage even when the woman accidentally gets pregnant. But you and I know that on planet earth, sex before marriage does not always lead to a happily ever after ending. On planet earth, what is popular are unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, abortion, single parenthood and yes, the famous broken heart.
I am not saying some have not been lucky to end up getting married but you and I know it is not as easy as the perfect outcomes in these romantic novels. First Corinthians 13: 4-7 states that Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
But in the romantic novels, love is not patient enough to wait for marriage before sex. And the list goes on.
I was pleasantly surprised when I came across the novels of Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury. They make romance without sex so sweet and clean I will go for that any day. The characters put love to the test and the women are not afraid to fall in love with God-fearing imperfect men from planet earth who find their strength from God. The day Charlotte Lamb died I was so sad; I had read so many of her books I felt her death was the end of romantic fantasy. Sure enough, most women expressed their sadness at their romance mentor who had filled their minds with so much fantasy. Romance novelists like, Nora Roberts, Charlotte lamb, Penny Jordan and Anne Mather will still remain fond memories because they were a part of my life for so long. However, I will choose the recovered romance novelist Francine rivers as well as Karen Kingsbury over any of them because they comes closer to planet earth where reality exists.
The day Charlotte Lamb died I cried, my world of fantasy had crashed. I came down to planet earth where reality exists, where true love is not tested by sex but by character and true life situations. I am no more waiting for my knight in shiny armor to ride towards me on a white horse. I have banished unrealistic fantasies that are impossible from my mind because I realized, I would be too difficult to please. Maybe when I visit planet fantasy, my knight will arrive.
Rest in peace Charlotte Lamb! My English is far better because of you. Your descriptive power of love was too good to be true, too flawless. It was every girl’s dream of that happily ever after. But I know better now; I am back on planet earth. Oh how I miss fantasy planet! But I prefer planet earth where reality exists!