Dear Bill (not your real name),
I have to give you credit for coming to our writer’s meet-up. You must have felt a bit out of place, a lone seventy-something man in a gaggle of young to youngish women. And it did take balls to share your ad copy with a group of serious fiction writers and listen, semi-patiently, as they ripped it apart.
It’s those balls, though, that are the problem. Not that you have them, but that you let them and their over-eager appendage buddy dictate your behavior.
Hey, it’s okay that you felt a little something in those balls when I read my chapter aloud. A little tingling or stirring or whatever. That means I was doing my job. When I craft a sexy scene between my leading man and leading lady, I sure hope the reader will get an erotic charge out of it. That’s what erotic romance is all about – the deepening of intimacy between a couple as they get to know each other’s minds, hearts, and yes, bodies.
It’s not okay, however, to leer. To look at me like I just flashed you my ass and invited you to spank it. To make suggestive comments to that effect.
I wonder. Would you have had the same reaction if an overweight octogenarian in a tracksuit had read those lines? Nothing against overweight octogenarian erotic romance writers. I fully intend to be one someday. I just wonder if my (relative) youth and (relative) attractiveness played into it at all? Made you think it was okay to look and talk to me that way. That by being a nubile female writing about sex, I was somehow asking for it?
Let me clarify: I wasn’t.
See, Bill, I didn’t write that scene for you.
I wrote it for women like me. Women who may be happily married (or not), who lead full and busy lives but who want to lose themselves in a sexy love story every now and then.
I didn’t read it aloud to titillate you, either.
I read it to get feedback on what was working and what wasn’t, so I could craft a story those women might want to read.
So, if you want to come to another meet-up, don’t let me stop you. If you want to share constructive feedback and help other writers strengthen their craft and their stories, feel free.
But please, check your balls at the door.
(Photo credit: Volkan Olmez)