It's all smoke and mirrors... or is it?
I went to see a thriller and was rewarded with a love story. I'm a sucker for love stories. I've come to realize that I have never gotten over my bodice ripper phase. You see, I used to read romance novels along with detective and cowboy novels when I was very, very young.
I got the reading bug from my Mum. Ever since I was little, there were always books in my house and she was always reading something. Mainly little books by authors like Clark Carrados, Silver Kane and Marcial Lafuente Estefania. In those little books, you could go to places the little B&W television we had would have not taken you. These places were full of strong, adventurous men and women called Sally the Sour Redhead or Mary Seven Shots. They were easy reading and functioned as an extension of the fairy tales Mum used to read to me before bed. Only thing it was me reading them for myself. That other voice in your head, so very comforting, so very friendly. So very liberating.
Then came the romance novels. They've been twirling around in the background for years and only because my Mum had not bought a new little novel for awhile I was left once without anything to read to satisfy my need for junk lit. So I grabbed one of her romance novels written by I don't remember who. And I was hooked. Never looked back.
You see, in these novels the men were always tall, always powerful, always very adamant on getting the girl and always deeply, secretly, madly loved them. Even though they only allowed themselves to tell the girls in the last chapter, when the girl was about to leave them because the 'hatred' they felt for the guys -who had, at the beginning of the novel taken charge of their ranchs/companies/lives by some weird twist of fate- has been transformed into love -some weird Stockholm syndrome thing, falling in love with your quasi-oppressor- and they ended up living happily ever after.
Not only these novels had some weird light S&M implied but also the descriptions of the heroine's feelings for the guy were very similar to what I felf for some of the guys I knew. The carnal descriptions -turgid bosom, turgid manhood, everythign was turgid and pulsating- along some demodé fifties/sixties kind of campy girl-talk these authors seemed to use all the time kept me riveted.
As I grew oder, I began to read Harlequin novels. It was insane. They would have special pricing offers and would give you three for the price of one. I was in hog heaven. I could read all about these passionate, incredibly incredible, hot and bothered stories for hours on end and people would smile benevolently and say 'oh, he loves reading'. Little they knew it was always two men that I thought about when I read the stories. I was feeding my gay little heart with hope, that one day I could also find a guy who would swept me off my feet and 'make' me love him.
Hence my penchant for love stories in the paper and the big screen. And the the little one, too. With the advent of me eventually moving on my own when I was fifteen and the inheriting a video player, I began watching gay love stories and actively seeking novels in which the romance was as pink hot as those depicted by Barbara
Cartland and Jackie Collins but between boys!
But I can recognize a good romance when I see one. Even if it's straight. I still feel drawn towards the strong, silent type pining for the unattainable object of his desire, only to discover in the last reel that she feels the same. And then they live happily ever after. Not like in real life, mind you, but isnt's escapism what this is all about?
That's why The Illusionist was such a pleasant surprise. I was expecting some kind of murder mystery and was instead thrown in the middle of Victorian society and of a love story with all the 'good' elements: social class, abuse of power and magic! Edward Norton has always been very intense, and in my eyes, that 'makes' for sexy. The 'intense' man is one of my favs. Think Keanu in most anything, Hugh Jackman in Kate and Leopold or Nicholas Cage in City of Angels. I inmediately side with the underdog, the weird, the outsider. And if he comes with that pretty package, well, who am I to say no?
So I went and had my share of romance via what I thought was a murder mystery. Pretty cool, huh? I'm not afraid to connect with my chick-lit-freak and still read a lot of it. Only now it's morphed into the also sometimes turgid and mostly arousing prose of gay authors. Reading about the samy couples I used to read so long ago morphed into two guys -my original settin anyways- has become a habit again. So I take turns between boring articles and dense books and get myself lost into one of these bow-meets-boy-loses-boy-gets-boy-back stories with vampires, young men, bankers, college types and detectives. I make no distinctions. If it pleases my sweet tooth for romance, I totally go for it. Even if I have to put a textbook aside. And I know you feel the same. Even if you'll deny it until the last chapter comes along.