In the beginning there were kisses, heat and excitement ...
by Carolyn Brown
How many of y'all watched "Friends?"
Remember right at the end of season six, when Chandler finally got down on one knee in the midst of all those candles and proposed to Monica? Did you sigh and get a lump in your throat?
I'd rooted for them ever since the London fling, through the rest of the friends finding out about their affair one by one, when she appeared on his doorstep after their big fight with a turkey on her head and he admitted he loved her, and even when Phoebe and Rachel put Chandler to the test and he said in front of everyone that he was in love with Monica.
Now fast forward to the next season when pretty close to the wedding date, someone asks Monica if she isn't going to miss all the excitement of the beginning of a relationship: first dates, first kisses, first time to make love. Is she sure she wants to marry Chandler and give up all that excitement?
And just for a moment she has doubts.
Remembering "Friends" made me understand why so many romance books are read in a year. I did not say SOLD ... that figure is astronomical. But I said READ ... a romance book does not always stop with the person who paid for it at the cash register. There are those wonderful readers who get all excited and want their momma, their great-aunt Gert, their neighbor and the ladies at the church (I'm talkin' about you Amy Morgan) to read the book. So they share. And then there are those who donate it to the library and hundreds of readers check it out. Or those who loan their books but threaten justifiable homicide (I'm talkin' about you Ginny Rucker) if the book comes back with dog slobbers on the cover. So how many books were READ last year? I don't think my Wal-Mart calculator can add numbers that high.
Why do so many folks (I say folks, not women ... I got a lovely fan letter from a male reader the other day) read romances?
Because it brings back that feverish excitement that Monica wasn't sure she wanted to give up. Reading romance books gives them a new beginning ... a story at a time: that first meeting, the smiles and kisses, the first fight, the first makeup, the first time in the bedroom ... all those wonderful emotions that they can relive with the characters every time they open a romance book.
It doesn't matter if it's a paranormal set in another world, a shape shifter hero that turns into a wolf when the sun goes down, a genie who just fell out of a bottle, a red hot sexy cowboy in boots and a Stetson or a lady in distress in castles and dungeons. Take away the worlds, the fur, the boots and hat and the big dress and it all boils down to that beginning attraction: the touch, the heat, the love, the obstacles and finally the HEA!
Romance readers pick up a book and root for the characters like we did Monica and Chandler. They let dust bunnies accumulate and eat cold pizza so they don't have to put the book down. They expect to crawl into the book and feel the fever of the first kiss and to sigh at the HEA at the end. And when they finish there's the promise of reliving it all over again right there on the book shelf in a new book ... a new beginning ... a brand new first kiss.
Last year a phenomenal amount (billions of dollars) was rung up in sales for romance books. I think it's because reading romance brings all those wonderful beginnings back to the readers and they look forward to those breathless moments from the beginning sentence to the HEA.
In 2011 let's give them enough Casablanca romances to keep them breathless!