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Tuesday, April 21, 2009:
Expectations: or why Susan Boyle reminds me of why I love m/m romances

I wasn't quite sure if I should have gone with this title for my blog post, because I don't mean to be funny (even if I did I often fail miserably LOL) and I certainly don't mean to be disrespectful in any way towards either topic. It just goes to show the strange ways in which my mind works.


I'm sure by now most of you have seen the amazing YouTube video of Susan Boyle, the 47-year-old Scottish woman who blew away the audience - and dare I say the world - with her incredible performance on "Britain's Got Talent", England's version of "American Idol. I had never heard the song she sang, which was "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables', but by the time I watched it once, I was captivated. I ended up immediately watching it 3 more times. Since then, I've probably seen it 15 times, and each time, it manages to get to me and I get tears in my eyes from watching how she didn't let the laughter intimidate her but instead did exactly what she set out to do - she made that "audience rock". It was astounding. (For more of her of her incredible voice, listen to her 1999 version of "Cry Me a River". Just gorgeous).

While pondering the amazing reaction the world has had to Ms. Boyle, it made me think of how judgmental I personally am. If I hadn't heard all the buzz and previously known before watching the clip what a phenomenon she turned out to be, I can't say for sure that I wouldn't have been just as judgmental as most of the audience initially was. In fact, I'm pretty sure I would have been rather doubtful about her talent. I feel horrible for saying that, but I think it's the truth. I would have judged her before hearing even one note. Well, thank you Susan, for going out there, being brave, and showing us (me) how wrong we all were. She exceeded my expectations, big-time.

So anyway, Susan's knockout performance got me thinking about expectations in other areas. Like for instance, how I look at books. Sometimes I look at a book cover or read the blurb and it either catches my attention in a good way or it completely turns me off. Before even looking a bit further, perhaps reading a passage to see if it grabs my attention, I decide to either buy it or write it off as my my thing.

Now I know that is not unusual, especially when there are so many books, movies, t.v. shows, etc., to choose from, and there's only so much time in the day and it's impossible to grab everything that catches your fancy. But what I'm talking about is not being willing to give something a try, just pushing it aside at first glance because initially you don't find it appealing.

That's how I first felt about m/m romances. I was more than fine with the m/f/m storylines, where the heroine gets to enjoy the sensual attentions of two hot, sexy men who want to worship and pleasure her. Very hawt. Then I noticed that in some of the m/f/m books I was reading, the men weren't just pleasuring the woman, they were pleasuring each other, and enjoying the hell out of it. It was more about the emotional connection between all three of them, and I could accept it in the storyline. However it didn't take long before I was reading the sex scenes between the men with as equal enthusiasm as I was the ones between the hero(es) and heroine. They could be rougher, dirtier, more aggressive, yet that didn't make them any less sexy. I've read plenty of sex scenes between men and women that have been more empty and meaningless than a lot of the sexin' that goes on in the m/f/m and/or m/m romances. Because when the characters really care for each other, the sex can get extremely raunchy yet also be incredibly sexy and arousing. They are about something more than just the shock value or trying every sexual position known to man (and beast), because after awhile, when you read enough of it, if there's no connection, it can get pretty bor-ing.

So what I've learned from the experience is that though I thought I knew what I liked, and had strong convictions about what works for me, there are times I can be really surprised, in a good way, when I check some of my assumptions at the door and just give it a try. The bottom line (no pun intended *g*) is that I LOVE a memorable love story. I'm so glad I opened myself to the idea of romance being about the love story, period, whether it's a man and a woman, two men and a woman, or even two men. I haven't yet read a love story between two women that has captured my interest, but I think I'm ready to be convinced. That would definitely be reading about something that made me uncomfortable, primarily because f/f sex does not turn me on. These are the scenes in romances that I skim past. However I will make a full confession and say that the scene in Lacey Alexander's "Bikini Diaries" was kinda hot, though what really appealed to me about it was that the guys were so into it and it totally got them all horny. (Read Katiebabs' thoughtful post about writing outside her comfort zone).

Can you think of a recent experience that totally blew away YOUR expectations?

Was it good or bad?



  1. Again, I think the old well known phrase, "don't choose a book by its cover" is very perfect in this sense.
    I was like you at one point with MM reads. But then I took the plunge and put aside my personal biases and allowed myself the joy of reading a whole new world.
    I think people are so afraid of doing things outside of their comfort zone whether it be the books they read, the people they know or something else. But the minute you walk in a different direction, you will be surprised by what you find.

  2. Kate, I agree that we should look beyond the surface to what's underneath. We can learn a lot that way.

    And it's true that it's good to step outside the box from time to time and explore. I took a course a few years ago and the instructor said that if you don't feel uncomfortable, then you're not learning anything. I found that to be true. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. My review tomorrow should address this further.

  3. I totally agree - I was the same about m/m romance - and then I decided to take the plunge and read my first one - and absolutely loved it!!

    I still haven't read any f/f but I am trying to work up the nerve to open one up. Maybe reading an f/f/m book would be a good way to work myself into that genre.

    I loved the Susan Boyle video too - I have watched it several times and cried every time.

  4. Kara, I think reading Lacey Alexander's erotic romances have prepared me more for f/f encounters, though usually it's more about pleasing the guy(s) anyway. We'll see if I decide to be bolder in my reading choices.

    I've watched the video of Susan's singing so many times. I just love it.

  5. Susan Boyle is the best:)

    I was the same way - never read m/m because like you said, it was outside my comfort zone. Then I joined a message board for a m/f romance author but there was this huge section on m/m romance books. So I tried one, and I loved it. Because I started reading that genre, I discovered Josh Lanyon, and he is probably in my top three of favorite authors m/m or m/f:)

    I have yet to try f/f but I think that is just because I haven't put any effort into researching what some good titles are.

  6. Mandi, I'm glad you found Josh Lanyon's stories. I haven't read any of us stuff yet, but I hear a lot of good things about it. I think it's great the people, especially a lot of women, are embracing his work.

  7. I kind of fell into m/m romance last year. I'd hadn't been deliberately avoiding it; I'd only really started reading romance at the beginning of 2006 so was playing catch-up with multiple sub-genres:)

    Anyway, I read bits of m/m romance here and there (usually snippets in a book - Kate Douglas' Wolf Tales springs to mind), but I picked up this one author (Manna Francis) and discovered this whole subgenre I had been missing. And now I'm playing catch-up because I really like reading m/m romance :)

    And yes, I think Susan Boyle is amazing too!

  8. Okay I'm going to have to watch this video. I think I may be the last person left who hasn't seen this. Anyway, I've yet to work up the nerve to pick up a m/m or f/f book though I did read a Holly book that had m/m/f or something like that. But I'm notoriously hesitant to try anything new I just started reading paranormals.

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