Some of you who’ve been hanging around here for a while may recall Jenre’s and my Top 25 “You know it’s Twu Wuv whens…” post.
Yeah. It was the stuff of epics.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ‘twu wuv will cure what ails you’ trope and I’ve decided that I really, REALLY don’t like it.
To be honest, the more I
obsess think about it the more pissed off I get.
I find it especially dismissive when the love of a good partner is meant to magically heal all psychological and mental problems. That could be my personal beef, though, given my closeness to this particular subject.
Do any of you have a despised twu wuv trope? If so, what is it and why does it get your back up?
I don't think I have any despised tropes. Sometimes the one I don't like in one book will work for me in another because of the author's take on it or the writing style.
I do have to agree with you though that twu wuv does not heal all emotional and psychological ails. Sometimes I just have to get out my old suspension of belief hat and put it on.
I've read a couple of books where BDSM becomes therapy for psychological issues. I can't generalize that this could never happen in real life, because who knows? But that being said, it bothers me that a Dom with no background in psychology could relieve a sub of his/her issues with a couple of expert beatings.
Catharsis is a wonderful thing, and being free to howl, cry or rage is definitely beneficial in certain cases. But if there are deep-seated issues, it will take more than that to work through them.
I can suspend my belief for a lot of things (and I enjoy doing so) but for whatever reason this particular item bugs me.
I guess I can chime in with my 2¢ here too.
HEA with a baby on the way. There. I said it. I have nothing against children. They are pretty freakin' cool.
BUT, my HEA doesn't include children and I despise reading stories where the conception (planned or not) is the culmination of all things wonderful and perfect in the relationship OR EVEN WORSE solves previous emotional distance between the two main characters!
Lovely photo, Kris!
As for the twu wuv thing, I don't see this one too much anymore, thank God, but the thing where someone gets raped and his rapist turns out to be the love of his life.
I also don't like (and this is very common) where two guys get thrown together through a thriller type plot that has them on the run and having hot sex for a handful of days and at the end of that, they're uprooting their entire lives to relocate next to one another and be together forever.
And now that you mention it, the true love magically curing all emotional and psychological issues is a fairly awful theme as well. It's just not that simple in real life, and it does seem like the author thinks we readers are stupid when he or she writes a theme like that.
*lower lip trembles* next you'll be telling me Santa Clause doesn't exist!
I think my twu wuv hang ups usually come about when main male protag has been abused, had to sell himself, & then is all better with one magical roll in the hay with his HEA mate. I actually just read this in a recent dark PNR m/m bk. The dude sold himself, was brutalized, & then found love. WTH?
I can't think of any that drive me crazy, but I am always impressed when someone with PTSD or something is in therapy. Yay you!!!! While being rejected by your family at the age of 24 may be hurtful, the love of a good man can probably help you get past it. Being raped and brutalized and nearly killed in a gay bashing, not so much. I think professionals are usually needed for that.
But a good enough author can make me believe anything. LOL I'm easy that way.
That was a fun post to do, Kris. Good times.
My twu wuv irritation is the same as yours, where the hero has been through something which would normally take years of therapy and yet twu wuv cures it in a couple of days.
That always gets a big eye-roll from me.
Ack! I think all of my twu wuv gripes have been covered already, beyond the insta-love issue. I believe in insta-lust, but insta-love? Not so much.
The magic light saber and magic hoo haa heals all wounds twu wuv trope.
Tracy: “Sometimes I just have to get out my old suspension of belief hat and put it on.”
Mine's more like a pair of rose coloured glasses. 😉
I do agree that what might not work for me in one story can do in another. It very much depends on the ability of the author.
Wren: “I've read a couple of books where BDSM becomes therapy for psychological issues.”
I despise this. I've read a few posts about it from the perspective of those in the lifestyle and their take on it is that it is pretty much BS because no Dom would think that they could solely 'save' a sub in these circumstances. That's enough for me to give it the kick to the cerb.
Miranda: You vent, girl. 🙂
“I despise reading stories where the conception (planned or not) is the culmination of all things wonderful and perfect in the relationship OR EVEN WORSE solves previous emotional distance between the two main characters!”
That's one of the reasons why I stopped reading m/f historicals and contemporaries. It always seemed that I got the ones that ended with this type of HEA. A baby is NOT the cure all for a relationship. That is a myth that should not be encouraged. Ever.
Val: Thanks. 🙂
“… the thing where someone gets raped and his rapist turns out to be the love of his life… “
What? Really?? I don't think I've read anything like that. Or if I have I've bleached it from my memory. Ick.
I'm not a huge fan of the 'I will show my twu luv by uprooting my life for you' trope either, but there have been a few times where an author has been able to pull it off for me. Now ask me if I remember what they were… *off to get another cup of coffee*
“I don't think I've read anything like that. Or if I have I've bleached it from my memory. Ick.”
Oh honey, come on. One word: YAOI
KC: “*lower lip trembles* next you'll be telling me Santa Clause doesn't exist!”
Now you're just being silly. Of course he exists, but he IS a vampire.
“I think my twu wuv hang ups usually come about when main male protag has been abused, had to sell himself, & then is all better with one magical roll in the hay with his HEA mate.”
Blech. WTF indeed. And you've just inspired a post because this theme is an issue which has got my back up before. I need to rant/reflect on it.
Tam: “But a good enough author can make me believe anything. LOL I'm easy that way.”
Book slut. *g*
Ok, I'll give you the yaoi thing. Bleach does work wonder you know. 🙂 There've only been a couple though that have been 'true' rape scenes/themes. Most are dub con or at least in my reading of them they're dub con.
Jenre: It was indeed good times. 🙂
“… would normally take years of therapy and yet twu wuv cures it in a couple of days… “
Yep. That is a particular beef I have with this trope. This kind of illness is NOT healed over night. To imply as such is dismissive to those of us who have such lifetime issues. As I said in the post though I'm not very objective about this one.
Chris: I admit to liking sugar sweet romance so I can do insta-love… sometimes. However, it's got to be believable for it to work and a HFN. If it's HEA… erm, nope.
Katiebabs chook: “The magic light saber and magic hoo haa heals all wounds twu wuv trope.”
I know that's a particular favourite of yours. You're such a sap. 😛
There are so many tropes I find irritating at best…
The one you mentioned is one of them. Maybe in the chapter 1 a big deal is made of hero A's psychological problems/trauma and then in chapter 2 all is already forgotten in a whirlwind of sex scenes or syrupy declarations of love (don't know what is worse).
The one brought up by Wren is another splendid example of major BS, one even more aggravating because it's usually paired with the “abslutely perfect in everything he does/has/is” Dom on which Val wrote a post some months ago.
The Baby-addendum in m/f was a real plague (but not as much as the “never had sex before you came along” or the “had sex but sporadically and never reached an orgasm anyway” – for the “f” part of the relationship, that is.).
Another one of my personal least favs? The insta-transformation of the guys in walking erections. It usually drags the level of book down, because more often than not it's used as a way to bypass the need to actually show how or why two guys click and hit it off.
Sara: “Maybe in the chapter 1 a big deal is made of hero A's psychological problems/trauma and then in chapter 2 all is already forgotten in a whirlwind of sex scenes or syrupy declarations of love (don't know what is worse).”
Yes! There have been a couple of stories that started out great and then the illness suddenly disappears in favour of sex and 'twu wuv'. It's poo.
“Another one of my personal least favs? The insta-transformation of the guys in walking erections.”
This does tend to make me roll my eyes too. Kinda hard (nudge, nudge) to walk around with a freakin' hard on all the time. It can get silly.
I can't stand when a chubby, nerdy plain jane or jim takes off their glasses, changes their hair, and gets a new wardrobe and is instantly magically delicious. It's like you take off your glasses, let down your hair and poof your HOT.
Like no one could possibly love a nerdy, chubby heroine or hero.
I also have a problem with “We have to have a baby to have a HEA”.
The anal-sex-cures-all, and gay-men-do-it-anywhere trope.
Been in an accident? Sex will heal you!
Been raped? Sex makes you feel good again!
Under fire from deadly mafioso? Sex gives you an impenetrable shield so you can still fuck like bunnies!
Sweet: Awww, the Cinderella/fella trope.
Yeah. This is another one which can be pretty dismissive, especially with regard to recognising the peeps come in all different sizes and colours and that beauty does actually lie in the eye of the beholder.
You've also given me another idea for a post. Thank you. 🙂
Sean: *snort* You can be so sarcastic, Virtual Baby Brother.
I particularly like the last eg for the 'gay men will do it anywhere' trope. I'm pretty sure I've actually read that a couple of times.
Also, isn't it like a gay version of the 'I'm-heading-off-for-war-so-we'd-better-have-sex' in m/f? I've always had a particular fondness for that one. 😛
I find it especially dismissive when the love of a good partner is meant to magically heal all psychological and mental problems.
YES! Unfortunately, I can't suspend disbelief…I just get frustrated.
To imply as such is dismissive to those of us who have such lifetime issues.
Exactly! Plus, I feel like the character is being cheated out of the journey…and the reader is being cheated out of taking that journey with the character. I think that's why I loved By Degrees. The author could have taken the easy route, but she didn't.
I'm chiming in late here, but shifters and their fated mates (much more common in m/f, I think) has become so cliched, it's laughable. I couldn't choke down a story like that if it were force-fed to me.
And the HEA via baby. And the Thou Shalt Love Thy Rapist, and most everything else that was mentioned. I recently read a story in which the H & H fell in love within twelve hours…even though one of them was cheating on his partner. Argh! This is unkirds. (That's what Word Veri told me to say. I think it fits.)
True love itself is my despised trope.
I tend to approach it as “this is Mister Right-for-now, maybe for longer.” I don't believe in one true love. I'm not even sure I believe in true love or even “in love.”
I made fun of the “Twu wuv heals all” trope in a couple of books. One guy has some mental health issues and is getting shaky by the end of a day out. “I guess there are just some things even Teh Healing Buttsex can't cure,” he grumbles to his partner.
Interesting question! I agree with you about the healing quality of twu wuv being unrealistic and annoying.
Another thing I'm not too fond of, although despise is too strong a word, is the mistaking of true lust for true love.
But in general I'm a master (mistress?) in suspension of disbelief, because I'm a sucker for twu wuv. 😉
Orannia: “The author could have taken the easy route, but she didn't.”
Yes. I don't think authors realise how much it is meaningful to we readers when they make the effort to do something like this.
KZ: You need to suspend disbelief for the fated mates concept. Sometimes I find the theme more believable than others. As always, the skill of the author definitely comes into play in this instance.
“I recently read a story in which the H & H fell in love within twelve hours…even though one of them was cheating on his partner.”
I would have been so pissed off about the issue of cheating that I would have automatically been eye rolling at the insta-luv. NOT one of those times when it would have worked for me.
Angelia: “One guy has some mental health issues and is getting shaky by the end of a day out. “I guess there are just some things even Teh Healing Buttsex can't cure,” he grumbles to his partner.”
Very, very funny.
Is that from Shell Shocked? I remember you mentioned it and someone else recommended it when I was ranting about wanting a book that dealt meaningfully with mental health problems.
Janna: Sap. 🙂
“Another thing I'm not too fond of, although despise is too strong a word, is the mistaking of true lust for true love.”
Cos I'm nasty – as you may have noticed – I like it when this happens only on one side and the guy gets totally slapped down by the other because he's being ridiculous and it's only sex. Then, of course, it gets wrecked when the doubting guy gets sucked into the 'twu wuv' thing. 😦
It is indeed, Kris.
But most of my guys tend to be a little cynical on the romance side. They've bee burned once or twice, or having physical, mental or social issues that sort of preclude easy romance.
I mayst goeth forth and wreck havoc.
Angelia: “I mayst goeth forth and wreck havoc.”
Words to live by. 🙂