maybe it’s me, but…

Val of Obsidian Bookshelf did a great post the other day about writing m/m sex scenes between two or three partners and the difficulty of using the one pronoun.

This is so very true. I mean, how many times have you read a story and thought to yourself ‘I’ve no friggin’ idea who is doing what to whom!’? It can sometimes be very confusing.

One of the ways that authors deal with this issue is by using descriptors like ‘the other man’, ‘the older man’, etc.

I made the comment that I don’t like those which seem odd within the context of a sex scene. For example, if the descriptor is ‘the lawyer’ or ‘the mechanic’ it throws me out of the story because I always wonder what the hell their profession has to do with them fucking.

Later, I remembered something else that jarred me when I was reading a m/m last weekend. This was the descriptor ‘his lover’ and it was used during the first sex scene the characters had together.

To me, the word ‘lover’ indicates a certain level of intimacy and/or history between two people which is more than just their first encounter.

Obviously this will depend on the level of connection between the characters that the author has been able to convey as well as the context of the scene itself, but using ‘lover’ in circumstances other than these just doesn’t work for me personally.

However, maybe I have a narrow interpretation of the word?

I’d be interested to know what you think.

About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
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50 Responses to maybe it’s me, but…

  1. I too believe that to use the word “lover” you have had to have a history. It just doesn't seem right if the characters don't have a history. Just call them by the guys names, if not do some cool nick name like Mr X lol

  2. Jenre says:

    Hmmm. I get what you mean. Lover does suggest a greater intimacy than should be attributed to a quick fuck. But what's the alternative? Fucker? Fuckee?

    Perhaps it would be simpler to stick to the names – even of it does sometimes get a little clunky. At least you won't be pulled out of the story by inappropriate job references or mentions of height, or hair colour. Or worst spend the whole time trying to picture which 'he' the author is describing.

  3. Chris says:

    Hmm. I wonder if I've read that one, because I recently had the same experience and thought!

  4. Tam says:

    Yeah, lover to me says more commitment, it's got that little nasty word LOVE in there. And except for some romance books, you rarely love the guy you picked up at the bar 20 minutes ago.

    I have seen it used where they were maybe friends for a while or one of them was crushing on the other and he refers to him as “his lover” in his head and then kind of squees, like “OMG, he really is my lover now” which is fine for a first time because you know it is the first of many (or a few dependings on the author LOL).

    What to call the guy you pick up? Hook-up? “He kissed his hook-up.” Nah. Trick? Way too anonymous, like you don't even know his name. I think “He kissed him” or “He kissed Gerald” is sufficient. There is no relationship between them at this point, or yet, so don't create one by giving him a title like lover, boyfriend, spouse, master, etc. Once that kind of relationship is there THEN call him by the appropriate term.

    Lovely cookie by the way. Very intimate.

  5. I agree with you Kris and I do read it alot….

    Sad to say it is more prevalent in the candy stuffing m/m books… I always think, you only met the man yesterday and you are acting like you have been joined at the hips since birth…

    Names is good for me, he, him, slut… also works as well…


  6. Val says:

    Oooh, thanks for the link and mention, Kris! My blog needs all the help it can get, ha, ha!

    I agree with you. Lover is a serious term that means commitment. Those guys in that lovely photo you found look like lovers. They have that easy, relaxed intimacy that lovers have.

    I think names would work, as people were saying, and I like Taschima's suggestion of a cool nickname.

    That would say a LOT about the viewpoint character if he picked up a guy for a one-night stand and then started referring to him in his mind as “Mr. X” or “Captain Pleasure” or something, ha, ha!

  7. Tam says:

    A friend of mine with a blog started dating a new guy and he didn't want to put his name out there until I guess they are sure it's a lasting thing, but now we just refer to him as “Mr. Fantastic” since that how it started. No clue what his real name is and if I ever meet him I'm sure it will be hard to not refer to him as Mr. Fantastic. LOL

  8. K. Z. Snow says:

    Hm. I suppose “date,” “lay,” pick-up,” “hook-up,” “latest score,” and a number of other terms could be used for a casual sex partner.

    I've never found what to call whom too problematical. But please let me know if my pats on the back are unwarranted! πŸ˜‰

  9. Mr. X.
    Chew-toy is popular in our circles.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Kris says:

    Taschima: Phew! I was worried that I might be the only one who thought this way. πŸ™‚

    “Just call them by the guys names, if not do some cool nick name like Mr X”

    LOL. Or Mr Big? That could work. πŸ˜‰

    Jenre: I think it is safer to stick with names especially when the author is writing/trying to establish the beginning of a relationship.

    I can take or leave physical descriptors for characters. Let's face it it's kinda hard to describe sex without some sort of physical descriptions.

  12. Melissa says:

    I agree that lover is only something that you use when you have a history. LOL, when my husband was just my crush I use to call him Mr. EasyRider in my head (cause he was so laid back and was never in a rush for anything). And NO not in a perverted way…well maybe a little…
    I didn't call him my lover until we had a kid!

    PS. If we want to squee about a book we've read, where's a good place to go?

  13. Kris says:

    Chris: Can you remember what story it was cos I'm buggered if I can?

    Tam: “Yeah, lover to me says more commitment, it's got that little nasty word LOVE in there.”

    Just call us romantic saps. LOL.

    That's a good point re: using the word within the context of the friends-to-lovers pairing. It's actually a great example for what I meant – and I think Taschima did too – about demonstrating the history between the characters.

    “Lovely cookie by the way. Very intimate.”

    I stole it from Sarah. πŸ™‚

  14. Kris says:

    EH: I'm so thanking the power-that-be right now that people agree with me. LOL.

    I know the kind of story you're talking about, EH. The “you know it's twu wuv when you refer to the guy you just met for a quick BJ in the back room as your 'lover'”. Insta-love stories only tend to work when they're paranormals otherwise… not so much.

    Val: “My blog needs all the help it can get, ha, ha!”

    I don't think you have any idea how popular your blog is, Val. It's terrific. πŸ™‚

    “That would say a LOT about the viewpoint character if he picked up a guy for a one-night stand and then started referring to him in his mind as “Mr. X” or “Captain Pleasure” or something, ha, ha!”

    LOL. You're right. A nickname would be perfect for reflecting the personality of a character. Just like Tam's Mr Fantastic. πŸ˜‰

  15. Chris says:

    Maybe it was a Cameron Dane? (Since I've read several of those in a row.) I really can't remember… There's a reason I love rereading my favorite books – they're nearly fresh and new to me each time…

  16. Kris says:

    Tam: “if I ever meet him I'm sure it will be hard to not refer to him as Mr. Fantastic”

    *snort* It would be funny though.

    KZ: “I've never found what to call whom too problematical. But please let me know if my pats on the back are unwarranted! ;-)”

    Well, you could start by admitting that you call me as Ms Awesome. *bats eyelashes*

  17. Kris says:

    Angelia: Chew toy?? Sounds perfect. Also sounds as though there might be an interesting story behind it too. LOL.

    Melissa: “And NO not in a perverted way…well maybe a little…”

    Now you're just bragging. πŸ™‚

    “If we want to squee about a book we've read, where's a good place to go?”

    Do you have a goodreads account? You could talk about it there, or Wave has a message board thing in one of her side bars that some people use to talk about books. Or you could do a taste of it if you wanted to and I could post it here. Up to you.

    Chris: Nope, it wasn't a CD book. It was something I read last weekend-ish… and, nope (again), I can't be arsed checking.

  18. Chris says:

    It was recent for me. Um, let's see – GPS? Sci-Regency? Catch Me If You Can? Running Hot? Seducing Stephen?

  19. Chris says:

    Of course, it just happened in Fire & Ice – they've only kissed, nothing else, and Christiano's thinking about Alex as his lover already. No! Can't be so!

  20. Kris says:

    Chris: Nah, I'm pretty sure that it wasn't any of those either.

    “Of course, it just happened in Fire & Ice – they've only kissed, nothing else, and Christiano's thinking about Alex as his lover already. No! Can't be so!”

    *snort* It's always the way. You'll notice it all the time now.

  21. Kris says:

    Okay, Boris is annoying the shit out of me. Someone make him stop!

  22. Chris says:

    Boris. Stop. Stop, Boris. Stop.

    Did it help?

  23. Kris says:

    Dammit. He always listens to other people but not me. The little shit.

  24. Tam says:

    It might have been Running Hot Chris. Hmmm. But those guys had been crushing on each other forever so I can live with it then. Nope, checked, not that one.

    Word veri: plopi – not sure what it means but it sounds dirty.

  25. Tam says:

    I think my rabbit has an eating disorder. Every time I walk near him he freaks for food even though he's got a huge pile of hay and ate an entire apple earlier. Or he's a pig.

  26. Chris says:

    Maybe he's trying to hoard for the lean times, sure to come. That's the only way I can explain Chaos' food obsession.

  27. Tam says:

    He must have heard the government froze our wages. He's afraid there will be no lettuce soon.

    Luckily it will soon be summer and I can send the child foraging for dandelions by the rail road tracks. Imagine her in her raggedy $100 jeans and her $120 hoodie. Poor thing. Sigh.

  28. Chris says:

    Maybe she'll find a few aluminum cans to recycle, too.

  29. Kris says:

    Good idea, Chris. She needs to start saving for California.

  30. Tam says:

    She suggested I check if my parents' time share has a place we can stay there. She's a smart cookies. She really wants to go to Santa Monica, I told her too bad so sad, when she has kids she can make them go wherever she wants or she can stay home. πŸ˜› I'm so mean. FORCING my child to go to California. The nerve. Someone call child protection services.

  31. Tam says:

    What a freaking rip-off. If I fly from Ottawa to SF it's $1500 for both of us including $230 in tax and fees. If I drive 3.5 hours to Syracuse, NY, the fare for both of us is $528 including $220 in tax and fees. The return fare is $219. WTF? Why would I fly from Ottawa for 3X the fare? Guess were we'll be driving to? I did it before to NY. Pisses me off though.

    And it will cost you $300 plus tax Miss Chris. πŸ˜€ Aren't I helpful? (Weird that it's less from Syracuse.) Maybe we can all bunk in our timeshare. Bring and air mattress.

  32. Chris says:

    *sigh* I hate flying. But it's a titch far to drive, I suppose.

    veri word: partio πŸ™‚

  33. Kris says:

    You're such a mean mum, Tam.

    BTW, where the hell is Santa Monica??

    Oh , and can you send me the girl child's email address? I think she and I need to pool our resources and discuss things like maybe hiring a car in LA and driving up to San Francisco…

  34. Kris says:

    Chris, you hate flying?? It's gonna take at least a day for me to get there! I'm gonna hit up the Daddy and see if I can steal frequent flyer points for an upgrade from something better than cattle class.

  35. Tam says:

    Santa Monica is near LA. Don't EVEN go there. Sigh. I need to keep her away from LA. It's about a 12 hour trip between the two for the scenic route which one of our radio presenters just did and said she was freaking terrified the whole way that she was going to plunge into the ocean. LOL

    I have to phone the time share place. Their on-line site sucks rocks. Hate it. I prefer to do it on-line, no humans involved. LOL

  36. Kris says:

    “Don't EVEN go there.”

    *whines* But Tam… the girl child and I can go to Paramount Studios and that Chinese Theatre place with the stars in the footpath.

    Will you really make me drive through a strange country… all by myself… on the wrong side of the road? Who knows what trouble I might get in to.

  37. Chris says:

    I don't mind the flying per se, I just mind the pain in the ass aspect of all the security and the like.

  38. Tam says:

    You can go to Alcatraz. She has school ya know. LOL

  39. Kris says:

    Chris: I've seen the piccies of security at US airports. Makes me want to drive even more now.

    Tam: O_O Alcatraz! Awesome.

    “She has school ya know.”

    But travel is so educational. Plus I can teach her how to speak Australian. Having another language can come in very handy you know.

  40. orannia says:

    I've been to Santa Monica (my great aunt used to live there) and yes, it's near LA.

    Ummm. In answer to your question – yes. The endless use of the 'he' pronoun drives me batty! And yes, lover is far more intimate a term and denotes a relationship IMO.

  41. Chris says:

    I mean, I drove to and from Toronto last fall, but that wasn't a big deal. Driving to SanFran's a bit more of an event… Of course, the wee Beemer isn't afraid of long drives… Hmm.

  42. Sean Kennedy says:

    That's a purty picture.

  43. Sean Kennedy says:

    You know, I find it interesting that you have your anti-Twitter campaign button but then you recommended Goodreads. I seem to remember you actively resisting GR for quite a while as well.

    Resistance is futile. We are Twitter.

  44. Tam says:

    You coming to San Fran too Sean? Come to Alcatraz with us. πŸ˜€ Long time no see.

  45. Kris says:

    Orannia: “Ummm. In answer to your question – yes.”

    Yeah, we kind of got off topic, didn't we. LOL. I don;t think that I've ever noticed the overuse of 'he'. Maybe it's just something I expect and accept considering the genre?

    “And yes, lover is far more intimate a term and denotes a relationship IMO.”

    I'm glad that so many agree. I thought that I might have been over-reacting, which would be so unusual for me. πŸ˜‰

    Chris: I have a that make of car too. Maybe we are Khris.

    How long would it take you to drive there?

    Sean, hey! It's a terrific pic to represent lovers. As Val said, “They have that easy, relaxed intimacy that lovers have.”

    BTW, I resisted goodreads for about 2 seconds in comparison to my campaign against the little bluebird thing.

  46. Chris says:

    About 36 hours, which is three days of driving each way. Hmph.

    You do?! Not a 318ti, because that would be way too freaky….

  47. Kris says:

    Chris: Eek! You sure you don't want to put up with security? Although if you had your car you could maybe take me out to Napa or to see Yogi Bear…

    It's a 120i something or other. I think I'm kind of relieved about that. LOL.

  48. orannia says:

    You, over reacting? Never *grin*

    Oh, there is so much to do in San Francisco! Oh, and as for the detouring – that's half the fun πŸ™‚

    My verification word is 'relex'. I think blogger is trying to tell me something…

  49. Sean Kennedy says:

    Tam, I'd love to, but that'd require money. I'd kill to see San Fran – funnily enough, I've just been reading about some of the crazy streets, especially the one where they had to build a special garbage truck to be able to get up it as it is so steep.

    Kris, you're missing out. All the fun stuff happens on Twitter. You're missing out on all my innermost thoughts. You poor thing.

  50. Kris says:

    Orannia: “You, over reacting? Never *grin*”

    Course not. *g*

    Sean: No, non, no, no, NO!!!!!!!!

    Plus if I actually came to know the real you that would be like breaking the stalker code because I would be undermining the pedestal concept. They would ban me for life. 😦

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