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Thursday, June 10, 2004

Stranded on a Deserted Island with George Foreman

I am a member of a seven-person book group. We meet once a month, and take turns choosing a book to read. I really enjoy the opportunity to read books that I may not have read otherwise, and then meeting to discuss them.

I am pretty much open to read anything. I read on average 2-6 fiction novels per month, including the book for the aforementioned book group. Most of the other books I read I pull from Ballantine’s Reader Circle, Oprah’s Book Club, and lists of classics (ex. 100 best novels of all time). There are few books that I have encountered that I have said, hum, this would pretty much be a waste of precious minutes of my life to continue reading this. However, I have become critical of different elements of the fiction category at large. Character development is very important to me, i.e. I have to care about the characters and understand their motivation to appreciate the book. I have found that I do not like it when authors go over the top with prose. Descriptive writing should be subtle enough to feel like you are there experiencing the same thing as the character in the book, without using 20+ adjectives and adverbs per sentence to make that happen.

Finally, an element that really bothers me about some fiction books is the “deserted island romance", as I have coined it. This involves a scenario in which there is one female character and one male character that are written into the same scene and somehow just happen to fall madly in love. Now, I am not a cynic of love at first sight, or that the love of your life could fall unexpectedly into your life. Heck, if I felt that way I would be denying the aspects of “fate” that brought me and my beloved together. However, I would like to see more variety, and thereby more reality, in how the characters stuck in the deserted island scene relate to each other. More like the dozens of relationships I experienced before I met BT .

Let’s consider a few additional scenarios. Boy meets girl (BMG), and there is no interest in each other, or even any regard that the other one exists. BMG, and one is interested but the other is in a committed relationship and does not consider the other one as a motivation for infidelity. BMG, both are single, one is interested in pursuing a relationship, but the other is not. BMG, and they become really good friends, with or without sexual tension, but just remain friends. BMG, they have a really good time dating, but realize they are not the ones for each other and move on. BMG, and one is gay. BMG, and they date, break up, and hate each other. Etc., etc. My point is that sometimes this “deserted island” type of romance, where there are only two people and they are bound to hook up, usually ripe with passion, does not echo reality for many people, or many relationships.

I am still sounding anti-romantic. Perhaps you are the type that evaluates each man you know for their compatibility, but I for one am not. I have known my husband for nearly 5 years, been married for 2+ years of that time, and have not considered the desirability of any other man since we met.

Still need convincing? Consider your working environment right now. My co-workers are primarily men, but let me tell you…s-e-x is the last thing on my mind. Imagine having a professional working relationship with someone without wanting to jump into bed with them? How novel. I guess that type of relationship would be boring for a book. But, in cases where a book explores many other wonderful topics, sometimes the gratuitous BMG relationship drags it down. Unlike a movie, a book has time to explore ideas and emotions without succumbing to action or drama to keep it interesting.

Finally, I will consider a deserted island scenario with me in it. What if, say, I truly was stranded on a deserted island with – George Foreman (just came to mind – don’t ask me why). He is not attractive to me. I do not think we would have intelligent conversations (in fact, I think I would ask him to give me days at a time where I did not have to hear his voice). He is wealthy and famous, but that would do him little good on a deserted island. Oh, and in case you were wondering, looks, intelligence, and wealth/fame/power are the three indices of compatibility in human terms according to Sociology 101. You have to have at least two of the three in common to have a successful relationship, or else you have to be really strong in one of the fields (this explains super models that marry computer geeks). Of course, others would argue for the rules of attraction, but this is my blog, and it fits better to use the human traits theory for this entry.

So back to me and Big George. I can tell you here and now that no relationship other than acquaintance would develop between us. We are stuck in the same situation, and have to work together to survive. I’m sure we’d end up swapping stories, and remember each other fondly when we finally were rescued and back in the real world. Maybe I’d send him a Christmas card. He’d probably send me a free George Foreman grill. But, that would be the extent of our deserted island relationship.

Rent Move Over, Darling (1963) if you don’t believe me that not all deserted island couples end up entwined on the beach.

**Now, plug Russell Crowe into the equation, and you may be able to call me a hypocrite… (sorry dear – but maybe at the same time you could be stranded on a deserted island with Salma Hayek)**

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