Gather around, men. Let’s talk about football, changing tires, and giggling at fart sounds. Except let’s change football with flowers. While we’re at it, let’s discuss making time for the person you love instead of changing that tire. Lastly, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, let’s put farts on the back burner and bring romance to the forefront. These are reasons why men should read more romance literature.
Yoo-hoo, Over Here!
A quick confession of my guilty pleasure: romantic poetry. I admit, this isn’t something I jumped into headfirst as soon as I could read. I stuck to my comic books and young adult novels for years, never venturing outside that literary circle. I didn’t read my first poem until I was a teenager, an even longer time passed before I read my first poem about romance. Before reading it, I expected the meaning to fly over my head like many poems had done previously.
Imagine my surprise when I understood the meaning and connected to it. Now imagine my shock to discover it was written by a woman in the Victorian era. For clarity, I am neither a woman nor born in the Victorian era. Yet this poem, written years ago by someone completely different than myself, resonated with me in such a way that it stirred emotions in my chest. From there, I read more romantic poetry written by women and quickly found myself spiraling down a tunnel of romance that I didn’t expect myself to sink into.
Romance is Relatable
Literature, by nature, is relatable to all readers. Despite some literature being outdated or from different perspectives, it contains universal themes everyone can relate to. Romance is not an exception to this. Romance authors pose topics and give commentary on a wide range of social and cultural issues that anyone can feel seen. Just because romance is targeted at women and mostly written by women doesn’t mean men can’t learn, relate, and enjoy it just as much as the targeted audience.
My time reading romance has helped me understand and process my emotions when it comes to love. During times of hard breakups and times when I am madly in love, romance helps me strengthen and deeply feel loving emotions. It was surprising when I read my first romantic poetry and related to everything the author was laying out on the table, despite us being opposite genders. I always love reading stories and poems like that because it reminds me that I’m not alone in my feelings. People from around the world who experienced life differently than me have gone through the same emotional struggle that I have, and it helps me feel a little less alone.
I don’t suggest that reading romance literature will offer a cheat sheet for understanding women or that reading romance will magically change a man’s dating life. But it offers an alternate perspective that is almost impossible to understand otherwise. The objective truth is that men and women think differently, lucky for us there are ways to peer into someone else’s thoughts by reading. Books allow readers to peer into the minds of other people and see the world from their perspective. As a man, ask yourself if it is unmasculine to read a book about love written by a woman because you want to be more considerate and understanding to an entire gender of people.
No, reading romance won’t turn a man into a different person. He won’t turn into a dating machine. But it will help him understand a woman’s perspective. This may be a surprise (cue the sarcasm), but women are just as human as men are. Both of us like to laugh, but we also have to cry. We desire our alone time, yet we also yearn to get a little freaky with someone special. A dive into romance literature will only broaden a man’s view of love and appreciation of romance.
Love is Love, and Love is Great
Love is a powerful emotion. Feeling the warm and safe embrace of the person you can’t stop thinking about is unexplainable. Hold onto your hats for this reveal: romance literature is full of themes all about love! Historical, paranormal, suspenseful, western, science fiction, fantasy, and so many more, there isn’t time to list them out. Romance literature has grown so much that it isn’t fair to the genre to gender it and dismiss it because it isn’t a typical manly story.
In addition, it’s almost guaranteed that a man’s favorite story has a romantic subplot. It may not be front and center, but no one can argue with the fact that romance is a useful storytelling method. It can bind characters together in ways that a normal friendship simply cannot compare. A romance subplot doesn’t make a book feminine or less manly. Especially when that romance subplot drives the story.
Fellow men, it’s time to read romance. There’s no stigma attached to it anymore. You’d be doing yourself a huge favor by opening your reading portfolio. It’s a genre that’s got a big following for a reason. Love is something everyone can relate to, whether it be a love lost or a love gained. Romance books tell stories of love that grip any reader in its lovely and tight embrace. So, let yourself be gripped by the romance bug. Don’t hide that book cover in public, and don’t be nervous about telling the world you love to read about love.
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