Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fated to be Dated?

In my random wanderings through various romance communities out there, I stumbled across some backlash against the fated to be mated convention in many paranormal romances.

I found the backlash very interesting. I'll admit, I used to read some fated to be mated stories, and I liked them at the time, but I'm not sure if I was ever really sold on the idea of fated mates even then. It seems like you've skipped over two things that I think are essential to a good romance if people are fated to be lovers.

#1 Work

Okay, so most people aren't too fond of work, but in this case, work it baby. I like it when a guy has to work for a woman's affections. Sometimes I'm afraid that modern women have forgotten how to make our guys work for us. Think about it for a second... A few centuries ago, men would dress up in metal suits, get up on a horse, careen toward another man in a metal suit, and knock him off with a very, very, (hee hee hee) very long pole. Then once on the ground, they'd fight! Yeah baby! And for what? If he wins, the dude gets a scrap of a hanky from the lovely and virtuous lady, who was usually already married and completely unattainable!

Those men knew how to work for some affection! Honestly? Where are the knights in shining armor now? We have lost our power girls. Until we demand men do completely ridiculous things to win our affection again, we've got nothing on medieval babes, except maybe eyelash extentions.

Which brings me back to my point, if two people are eternally destined to be together, then it's assumed that eventually they're going to end up together whether or not the guy works to win the girl.

Now fated to be mated stories can get around this by him having to win the woman's love in spite of the bond that's already there, but if there's some hot lovin' goin' on before the guy has won the heart of the fair maiden, I think it's all backwards.

And that brings me to #2 Danger.

Ah, the most frightening threat to the male heart, rejection. If they're fated to be eternal lovers, she can't tell him to hit the road, at least without dire consequences. The ones that really get my goat are the stories where those dire consequences have to be paid by her. She didn't ask for this bond, and now she has to suffer because of it? That doesn't seem fair.

And what about him? Is it heroic to say, you can't leave me because bad things will happen to me? Or is it more heroic to say, you can leave if I haven't won your love, and I will suffer the consequences for you?

Sigh, I've got to go with the latter on that one. That's love right there.

I guess more than anything I'm longing for stories that don't skip the tough stuff when it comes to matters of the heart. I guess that's why I'm writing those stories. I'm having a wicked hot time with the characters I'm working with now, and they're just now getting close enough to feel the love. I'm so on fire for them, it's amazing!

I hope more stories in the future lean that way. Sure, it will make the fated to be mated stories seem as dated as the forced seduction ones, but the big question is, will we miss them?

What do you think?



moonduster said...

I think he needs to work for the woman's affections regardless of whether they are fated to be or not. My husband and I feel that fate brought us together, but we would never have known that if he hadn't wooed me to begin with! ;)

Jess Granger said...

Yeah, I like when the men have to work for a woman's affections too. But I also think it is more fun if they have to work for our attraction as well.

The given, soul-pull in a lot of fated to be mated stories is not as interesting to me as the build up of the soul-pull through attraction based on the character's actions vs. their destiny.


Brandy said...

I actually LIKE the fated to be mated books. But, that may be because that's how I feel about my hubs and myself. (Too many freaky weird coincidences before we even met.) *G*
But, that's not saying a man doesn't need to prove it, or work hard for it to happen.

Jess Granger said...

I think there are a lot of good fated to be mated stories out there. I also think that there was something more than us going on when I met my hubby.

I think fated to be mated stories can work well when the destiny is part of the problem for the couple, and not a convenient way to get them into the sack early.

I also don't like how it always seems to be the girl who has to give up everything and bend to the will of the guy who has pronounced they are fated mates.

It would be kind of fun to have a supernatural girl character proclaim to some normal guy "Oh btw, you're mine, eschew all others, give up your whole life, etc."

Or maybe not. I'm not sure how that would work.

I think the stories are popular because they allow for the uber-alpha to be acceptable in a contemporary setting. But that may be where my problem is, I'm not a big fan of uber-alphas.

I like my men a little more flexible.


Ann Aguirre said...

I'm not a big fan of the "fated" mates stories. Too often, we miss out on the falling-in-love magic. It's replaced by pheromones.

Susan Blexrud said...

Something about the whole "lifemates" thing takes away the mystery. Albeit, we know the H/H are going to get together eventually, but knowing destiny has already slapped the big lifemates moniker on them is just too convenient. Who believes in destiny anyway?

Jess Granger said...

I believe in destiny, but I also believe that people have the opportunity and the ability to deny it.

I like the risk of someone in the relationship being able to say, "No, this isn't for me." Then dealing with the consequences of that choice.

I guess I'm all about free choice.