February 20, 2007

Masculine Romances

Posted in gender differences at 4:00 am by weiszguy

Please, before you skip over this post, hear me out.

The appeal of romance novels is largely limited to women, obviously. But I have read one romance novel, and it was pretty good. Pride and Prejudice is a surprisingly good book. It describes a budding romance between an upper-middle class man and woman in regency England. Its one downfall is that it is written by a woman. Therefore the major characters are women, and when ever there is a man in the story, we don’t experience the struggles he faces the way we experience the women’s struggles.

The fact is, I see something of myself in each of the main male characters in P&P. And every time I relate to a situation, I’m left wondering how the character deals with it. I’d really like to know what he’s thinking, so I can compare it to what I actually thought when I was in a similar situation.

Before I lose both my readers, let me point out that I’m not about to get in touch with my feminine side. But any honest man who is dating, or has ever dated, a woman, will tell you that men have a very unique perspective on romance – it’s just very different from women’s perspective. And if the point of reading is to learn something, I’d like to be able to learn something about myself by delving into the brains of characters I identify with.

Is there a man out there who is man enough to write a romance novel about men, where women are the minor characters? Would anybody read it?



  1. Will said,

    Great entry. But a bit of opinion on my part. Do NOT be defensive about getting in touch with your feminine side. Do it . . . now . . . it the best thing. And here’s why.

    Most of the following is my paraphrase of Joseph Campbell’s much better storytelling found in “The Power of Myth.”

    “Tiresias was walking through the forest one day when he saw two copulating serpents. And he placed his staff between them and was transformed into a woman, and lived as a woman for a number of years. Then again, Tiresias the woman was walking through the forest when she saw two copulating serpents and placed her staff between them and was turned back into a man.”

    Ok. So, there’s the setup in that crazy ancient Greek style. Let’s see how Tiresias plays out in the battle of the sexes.

    “Zeus and his wife were arguing as to who enjoyed sexual intercourse the more, the male or the female. And of course nobody there could decide because they were only on one side of the net, you might say. Then someone said, ‘Let’s ask Tiresias.’ So they go to Tiresias, and they ask him the question, and he says, ‘Why, the woman, nine times more than the man.’ Well, for some reason that I don’t really understand, Hera, the wife of Zeus, took this badly and struck him blind. And Zeus, feeing a certain responsibility, gave Tiresias the gift of prophecy within his blindness.”

    “He (Tiresias) represented symbolically the fact of the unity of the two (male and female) . . . ” and getting in touch with your feminine side is said to be akin to knowing even more than gods can know, and Campbell concludes by saying, “that’s the information that one gets from being married.” p. 201-202

  2. weiszguy said,

    That’s a great comment about masc/fem unity. But I think a man would have to be extremely enlightened to embrace, in any meaningful way, his feminine side. And if he were to perform such an embrace, he probably wouldn’t have any need for a masculine romance – the feminine ones would be just fine.

    Given the extreme shortage of men embracing their feminine sides, I still wonder if it would be possible for a male to write a romance novel, from a male perspective, that would be interesting to other men who are otherwise not interested in their feminine sides?

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