It’s not a bad habit to read novels, but it’s quite dangerous when you adopt ideas picked from the novels and infuse them into your mind set, especially when the “ideas” are unrealistic.
My first Mills and Boon novel came from my mother’s preserved treasure trove of fiction books which included titles from the Pacesetters, African Writers etc. She in agreement with my dad gave me the first of many M&B paperbacks to expand my horizon and vocabulary when they felt I was too old for Enid Blyton (instead of them to have left me on my own jeje)…and that my friend was how I got initiated into the world of “romance”.
For the weird few who for some weirder reason have never read any of these romance novels or my gals who may have forgotten due to the paper chase, heartbreaks, plus any drama the real world has thrown your way…let me give u an insight… you have:
- The heroine (a beautiful, sensual ,naive young girl) who always needs to be saved from something, be it poverty, a wicked uncle/stepmother with an even more wicked agenda, a betrothal or impending marriage to a much older lascivious man, or even herself
- The hero (this is the cause of my problem); He is tall, dark/light, so handsome that he makes her and other ladies swoon, blessed with fantastic abs & body, from an impeccable lineage, pepper rested, has an attitude that makes him superior to his fellow men folk, charismatic, possesses good taste in dressing and food, has a brain that could rival Newton + Einstein, a penetrating gaze and other godlike attributes
- Throw in:
- The antagonist(s).
- The hero’s ex flame or ladies jostling for his love
- A “Mr. maybe” for the heroine
- A plot
- And voila!!! We have a romance novel!
There is nothing wrong with reading these type of romance novels in your teens if you grew up in the 14th -16th century, especially in the Elizabethan era or you are from the Planet Venus. But if you live in my time and country, you have a huge romance shock coming your way. I will leave the guys to analyze Naija gals, but we chics know that guys anywhere in the world and most especially Naija do not possess all the above listed attributes in whatever permutation and combination.
So we start with our puppy love, move onto other relationships till inevitably the scam sold to us by the M&B novels wear off. From the two pages long wish-list (tall, dark, handsome, rich, must worship the ground I walk on etc.) compiled in our teens, which we trim as we grow older, wiser and maybe desperate; you begin to realize what a sham these books are.
This brings to point my vent, “Why bother to start reading these novels, when in due time you’ll have to purge & detoxify yourself of all these unrealistic notions so you can meet, identify and have a meaningful relationship with your Mr. Imperfect-but-so-right-for-me?” The bitter truth is that there is no perfect guy who will be the solution to all your problems (in fact we all come with our respective baggage of issues).
While it’s true some guys become millionaires very early in life through legal means, for the vast majority it takes time; so you might want to remove that from your wish list…but hey! Anything can happen, heaven knows I wouldn’t mind getting a proposal from Paddy Adenuga or Prince Harry *winks*
I’m not being pessimistic or bitter but methinks it’s better to stop daydreaming and face reality before it’s too late. I may have lost some friends or him (I certainly hope & pray not) because they didn’t meet unnecessary standards; he’s not tall, not prince charming, has a poor dress sense, blah blah blah …instead of checking if he’s God fearing, focused and driven, respectful and caring, funny, daddy material (I agree, the wish-list is still long), because those are the things that really matter.
You would be right to excuse this piece as the ranting of a frustrated cynical girl but I now know there is no such thing as happily ever after, you have to work to get and keep your happy ending.
So to moms out there who have these novels stashed away for their daughters; this is for you…I beg of you, think twice before passing it on to her. Instead you could get her a … I don’t know….just not the Mills and Boon.
That ends my rant, till then you can catch me during my leisure reading my favorite paperback *wink*