• U.S. members: The Federal Government is offering each household in the United States four (4) free at-home Covid-19 test kits. https://www.covidtests.gov/

"If it's you, it's okay" trope, romance and suspension of disbelief

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Marissa D

Scribe of the girls in the basement
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
3,071
Reaction score
364
Location
New England but hankering for the old one
Website
www.marissadoyle.com
Have a look at Jennifer Stevenson's Coed Demon Sluts: Amanda It's a terrific series, and this story definitely works as "only for you"--one of the main characters is a great-grandmother who's buried two husbands (it's complicated), and the other had assumed she was asexual, until they met. It works so well because the development of the relationship is so real and organic, and the sex doesn't come in till nearly the end. And there's a Nina Kiriki Hoffman book that does this trope beautifully as well--not erotic or even a romance, really--it's a contemporary fantasy--but it still works...now if I could only remember the name...

OK--A Fistful of Sky.
 

Elenitsa

A seadog looking for crewmates
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
603
Reaction score
75
Location
Bucharest, Romania
Website
caribbeandawn1720.jcink.net
I think it is possible for two people to share a deeper bond than with others, and this bond to be discovered later in life/ in certain special circumstances. I have written such a subplot, when the notorious womanizer finds himself seduced by a man. And it doesn't mean that he is suddenly bisexual/ attracted by other men after losing that special one in a battle. No, what they shared had been too special and unique.

What made their bond unique? They were first best friends, with too many things in common. One of them was the notorious womanizer, the other was gay and he fell in love with him, succeeding to seduce him after a while. And having the seducer seduced for once, and in the most unexpected circumstances for him, was interesting. He saw this, ultimately, as the complete relationship, body and mind, something that he would never get with anyone else.
 

Jan74

Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
1,072
Reaction score
134
Location
Canada
This is outside my realm of knowledge so I'll just have sit back and read this thread and maybe learn a thing or two. :)
 

SylviaFrost

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
174
Reaction score
59
I firmly believe that sexuality is fluid and that people who consider themselves straight can fall for a female, or vice versa. IMHO sexuality are preferences not rules set in stone, and there can always be exceptions to the rule.
 

Jan74

Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
1,072
Reaction score
134
Location
Canada
I firmly believe that sexuality is fluid and that people who consider themselves straight can fall for a female, or vice versa. IMHO sexuality are preferences not rules set in stone, and there can always be exceptions to the rule.

^^^I would agree with this.
 

blackcat777

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 6, 2017
Messages
415
Reaction score
77
I think it is possible for two people to share a deeper bond than with others, and this bond to be discovered later in life/ in certain special circumstances. I have written such a subplot, when the notorious womanizer finds himself seduced by a man. And it doesn't mean that he is suddenly bisexual/ attracted by other men after losing that special one in a battle. No, what they shared had been too special and unique.

What made their bond unique? They were first best friends, with too many things in common. One of them was the notorious womanizer, the other was gay and he fell in love with him, succeeding to seduce him after a while. And having the seducer seduced for once, and in the most unexpected circumstances for him, was interesting. He saw this, ultimately, as the complete relationship, body and mind, something that he would never get with anyone else.

I find these situations really beautiful, profound, and intriguing, too--when someone falls because the standard power dynamic gets reversed.

I firmly believe that sexuality is fluid and that people who consider themselves straight can fall for a female, or vice versa. IMHO sexuality are preferences not rules set in stone, and there can always be exceptions to the rule.

This 100%. I think another reasons I love these stories so much is because they break a lot of the associated stereotypes between sex/gender roles, because it's specifically about blurring the lines.
 

LJD

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Messages
4,223
Reaction score
517
Location
Toronto
I am mainly familiar with this as "Gay for You" in m/m romance, where it is fairly popular. There has certainly been discussion of how this trope can be problematic and contributes to bi-erasure. I do not feel knowledgeable enough to participate in such a discussion.

It's not the kind of story I'm particularly drawn towards, though I've read at least one "out for you" m/m romance.
 

blackcat777

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 6, 2017
Messages
415
Reaction score
77
I am mainly familiar with this as "Gay for You" in m/m romance, where it is fairly popular. There has certainly been discussion of how this trope can be problematic and contributes to bi-erasure. I do not feel knowledgeable enough to participate in such a discussion.

I'm glad you mentioned this, too. I think part of what I found so irritating in the book I just read was that everyone's attraction felt like more of a deus ex, rather than the exploration of something complex and fluid, which is what I had been hoping to read. There was the issue of cardboard characters, and cardboard sexuality, overlooking major points of being a unique human being. Oversimplifying destroys personal identity.

The GFY trope satisfies the reader’s desire for a happy ending by promising that the couple will find happiness together despite their sexualities, rather than finding their happiness through discovering their sexualities. Homosexuality is treated as a hurdle to be overcome, a tragic circumstance that could have destroyed the relationship had the romantic connection been less intense. That’s not just homophobic. It’s biphobic, and it’s bi/pan erasure.

Great blog link.
 
Last edited:

The Otter

Friendly Neighborhood Mustelid
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 17, 2007
Messages
1,384
Reaction score
288
Location
In the room next to the noisy ice machine, for all
I'm glad you mentioned this, too. I think part of what I found so irritating in the book I just read was that everyone's attraction felt like more of a deus ex, rather than the exploration of something complex and fluid, which is what I had been hoping to read. There was the issue of cardboard characters, and cardboard sexuality, overlooking major points of being a unique human being. Oversimplifying destroys personal identity.

Yeah...I think this trope certainly can work. Like most things, it comes down to whether it's handled well or poorly. I've seen stories that handle it in a lazy way, but I didn't realize that "Gay For You" was an official subgenre/marketing niche (or at least, the blog post gives the impression that it is).
 

Chelle_J

Registered
Joined
Feb 5, 2018
Messages
29
Reaction score
4
Location
Regional Australia
I read f/f romance, and this concept is somewhat common simply because it's not really all that unusual IMO. I'm trying to think of some of my favourite books that might suit your description. Just Jorie comes to mind... but there's another one that I loved (let me go google....) okay, it might not exactly be the right fit for your trope, but it's Imagining Reality by Lynn Galli. I suppose they could both be considered examples of a character finding out they were actually gay, but at the same time they were both instances where it was just *one* person that they were able to connect with.
 

Jurné Ends

Registered
Joined
Nov 28, 2017
Messages
45
Reaction score
5
Location
Somewhere in a Strange Land
I'm not particular fond of this particular trope myself although in theory most romances plots center around the concept 'it's you, it's okay'. I think the stories I read, I felt like it was a cop out -like the character didn't particularly come to terms with their sexuality but rather resigned themselves to saying my attraction is solely to this one person and I have no other attraction to my same gender. I don't read them that often now unless someone specifically recommend me one so I don't know if there have been any well written stories using the trope though
 

Chelle_J

Registered
Joined
Feb 5, 2018
Messages
29
Reaction score
4
Location
Regional Australia
because first the character in question self-identified as gay, later on he swore he wasn't, and bisexuality wasn't even a concept. It was just like the author grabbed an excuse to justify whatever was or wasn't happening at the moment.
That would bother me too. I think the writer would need to set up a solid background to make it believable that there really was an unusual connection that made it "just you". Same goes for het-romances. I'd really want to know what it was that made the MC fall in love. I think a lot of gay/lesbian authors just find this to be an easy trope to work with and can get lazy with it. I've not read enough het-romance to know if it's the same in that genre.

I felt like it was a cop out -like the character didn't particularly come to terms with their sexuality but rather resigned themselves to saying my attraction is solely to this one person and I have no other attraction to my same gender.
I tend to agree - unless of course the character generally doesn't find themselves attracted to people of the same gender. As readers we can't help but see a story through the window of our own experiences. And if someone happens to find a lot of people of one specific gender attractive they might find it hard to think as someone who finds very, very few people to be attractive (regardless of gender).
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away