1. Hubardo
    Offline

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    566

    Writing Heterosexual Characters/Romance

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Hubardo, Jul 7, 2015.

    Hello forum,

    I was thinking of writing a romance novel between two heterosexual people (ie, a man and a woman). Maybe I should do some research? Asking a heterosexual friend seems like a good thing to do. Also, there is a Wikipedia page on heterosexuality: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterosexuality

    How would I go about doing this without offending people? Also, I want the romance to be realistic, rather than based on stereotypes.

    Sincerely,
    Hubardo
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
    Lilly James Haro, izzybot and BayView like this.
  2. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,963
    Likes Received:
    5,487
    I really think that this one should have just started in the Debate Room, instead of waiting to be moved there...
     
    Sifunkle, Chiv and BayView like this.
  3. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,622
    Likes Received:
    5,104
    In order to understand the heterosexual relationship, you need to understand that the parties in it are very, very different from each other. We all know that in a regular, homosexual relationship, the partners are essentially identical, because they're both the same sex. So communication is really straightforward and they have all the same interests and values and the same goals and everything. Easy peasy.

    But numbers tell us that the vast majority of heterosexual relationships fail, and the main reason for this is because men and women are very, very, very different. Barely the same species, really. So if you're ready to take on the challenge of this writing project, you need to make sure you fully understand the different roles men and women play in society, and in the family.

    Men are best understood as being very controlled and intellectual on the surface, with raging sex- and violence- prone savages just beneath the surface. Everyone who deals with a heterosexual male should focus on appeasement, and giving him whatever he wants whenever he wants it, because otherwise you'll get what's coming to you and it'll be all your fault.

    Women, on the other hand, are gentle nurturers, and that's it. They don't really have that interior/exterior thing that guys have; women are just gentle nurturers all the way through. Unless, of course, you're dealing with a twisted abomination of a woman, one who actually enjoys sex or maybe wants to have a career or not raise children or whatever other perversion may come up. But we'll assume you want to write a happy, romantic story, so there's no need to even think about that sort of she-beast.

    Is this good for a start? It's a lot of work, I know, but don't worry, because you'll only have to do this one time! Once you've got the heterosexual relationship figured out, you can just re-use the exact same one in all your future writing. So hang in there, and keep trying!
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
  4. Hubardo
    Offline

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    566
    I want to write a scene in which a heterosexual individual is thinking while going for a swim. Are there any particular swimming techniques that heterosexuals use in general? I assumed doggy paddle, but maybe they use the breaststroke more frequently. Also, what might he or she be thinking about? War? What to have for dinner? Uggh this is a lot of work...
     
    Lilly James Haro and BayView like this.
  5. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,622
    Likes Received:
    5,104
    Dude, have you learned nothing? This is an excellent question, but you've missed the most important detail! Is the heterosexual person male or female? The answer will be TOTALLY different depending on which it is!
     
  6. Hubardo
    Offline

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    566
    I edited the text, it's different now. But your point still stands.
     
  7. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,618
    Likes Received:
    1,715
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    How very immature we are here at WF.

    Just to point out.. Being rude doesn't make you the voice of the people, standing against ignorance. It just makes you rude.

    I'm sincerely ashamed of all of you.

    ETA: Hadn't realized only two people were commenting. Ashamed of both* of you.
     
    Hubardo likes this.
  8. Hubardo
    Offline

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    566
    Okay, a heterosexual male is swimming and thinking about what to buy his female heterosexual partner for their anniversary. Is that realistic? Do heterosexual males remember anniversaries? Meanwhile, the heterosexual female is at her construction job smoking a cigarette, thinking about the Miley Cyrus concert coming up this weekend. Is this realistic at all? Are there any books on Amazon I could buy maybe?
     
    Lilly James Haro, izzybot and BayView like this.
  9. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,622
    Likes Received:
    5,104
    Both, I think. Both of us. If you want to be ashamed of people, it should probably just be the two of us? Or is @ChickenFreak guilty by association?
     
  10. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,618
    Likes Received:
    1,715
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    See my edit, which I made before seeing this response.
     
  11. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,622
    Likes Received:
    5,104
    You need to buy a lot of books. Many, many books. I'm not sure I can even help you at this point.
     
    Aaron DC and izzybot like this.
  12. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,622
    Likes Received:
    5,104
    Aw, now I feel bad for @Hubardo. He's gentle and sensitive and may actually take the scolding to heart. I'm sorry, Hubardo - I think you were being both funny and clever. It's okay that you were making fun of straight people, because I'm a straight person, so you have a straight-person-friend! That gives you full immunity to everything!
     
    izzybot likes this.
  13. Hubardo
    Offline

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    566
    I'm straight too, no worries. I don't think using satire in this way is offensive. Let's pretend for a moment I'm asking the question in earnest -- is it really that ridiculous? If it is, why isn't "what are gay people like" ridiculous? This has to do with writing characters. It's not really for debate, unless people want to get all fiery about writing characters.
     
    BayView likes this.
  14. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,622
    Likes Received:
    5,104
    So now I have a straight friend, too!

    Possibly I took it in a different direction with my gender-differences spin, but I agree, it's the same thing. Write an individual, not a stereotype, and see where that takes you!
     
  15. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,963
    Likes Received:
    5,487
    I just Liked a post, so I'm guilty.
     
    DeathandGrim and BayView like this.
  16. Hubardo
    Offline

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    566
    Okay, I have an idea. It's science fiction. The story is told from the perspective of a pansexual* alien from a planet where all aliens are pansexual. The alien meets a heterosexual human person and is curious about heterosexuality. What does the alien learn?



    *"not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity."
     
    BayView likes this.
  17. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,210
    Likes Received:
    4,220
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    Here's what I've observed as a heterosexual male. I sincerely hope no one thinks I'm being sexist here, OK? 'Cause I'm not trying to be.

    We are attracted to women. Whether we like it or not, our baser instincts/attraction pick out certain traits of a woman that makes her attracted to us. Her breasts, her butt, her general form, whatever. Why do you think car commercials will sometimes have a scantly clad woman rubbing herself all over a manly-man car? To appeal to our baser man-instincts. Understand, of course, that not all men are 100% about how 'hot' a woman is. Plenty of them love their women for their personalities and interests regardless of what they physically look like.

    Next is cleanliness. This is a bit difficult for us men because quite frankly what may be just normal to us may absolutely repulse her. If my hypothetical girlfriend found out that I wash my bed sheets at least once a month, and my clothes at least once every other week, she would probably be aghast at this. She would also be horrified to find out that I don't even dust and vacuum my room. We don't mind being dirty and disgusting and it takes a smart, savvy man to change his behavior if he wants the love of his life to not walk out on him for being a grubby caveman.

    As for emotions and personalities? Um, ya lost me, bro. All I can tell you is to treat the woman as an equal and respect her wishes, etc. Um, Bayview, would you mind taking over on this? (walks away awkwardly)

    EDIT:
    Though I will say this. Write the pair as people. There are plenty of tough, don't-take-shit-from-nobody men and women just like there are plenty of sensitive, delicate, shy men and women. Or a combination of...anything, really. There's a whole world out there. :D I'm not exactly a tough guy by any stretch of the imagination. :p It's the personality that matters, not the sex parts.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
    Mattiemae, izzybot and Hubardo like this.
  18. Hubardo
    Offline

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    566
    There was a study through OKCupid that found that the most important thing for men was physical attractiveness and for women, a men's income. This was strictly looking at who got the most messages. You make a woman's picture way "hotter" and she gets 4x the messages as an "average" photo. They set up ways of measuring this, and although it's subjective, if you looked at the methodology I'm sure it makes enough sense. For men, a physically attractive photo (moving from "average" to "hot") got him 2x messages. But moving his income from some average bracket to like $100k/year got him 4x messages. So although it seems like stereotypes, it was based on actual data based on actual behaviors in the world of online dating.

    So back to character writing. Is it safe to assume that if I'm writing a straight guy character, the most important thing to him is a "hot" woman? Does this mean that a romance novel wherein he falls for a "fat chick" or "ugly chick" or something is unrealistic? And that for a woman to fall for a semi ugly guy is realistic? What about writing straight women characters who go for poor guys? Is that even realistic?

    It also makes me wonder if gay guys are more into "hot" gay guys, or if that's a heterosexual phenomenon. And, whether lesbians go for other rich lesbians.

    See, I wasn't just trying to make fun of people with this thread. Heterosexuality is an actual thing and it can be talked about in order to find out how we can write characters.
     
    Lilly James Haro and BayView like this.
  19. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,963
    Likes Received:
    5,487
    That proves nothing about men and women. It MAY offer evidence that the subset of women who (1) want a rich guy and (2) like online dating sites tend to (3) send a lot of messages.
     
    Woof and BayView like this.
  20. AlcoholicWolf
    Offline

    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    141
    Location:
    Moldova
    Or that people who use OKCupid are horrible.

    You know what's worse than the heterosexual agenda trying to stand up for minorities like the LGBT? The heterosexual agenda trying to stand up for minorities like the LGBT while doing it in an immature, sarcastic and loathsome fashion. Sorry to spoil the fun.

    Honestly, your message might be good, in that gay people are still just people, but fighting fire with fire just burns more of the forest.

    What is detestable is seeing people use rainbow filters to supposedly align themselves to pride, yet still refuse to refer to trans people by their proper names, pronouns, or even acknowledge them as being trans. Well, going off topic here.
     
    Lea`Brooks, Hubardo and izzybot like this.
  21. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,622
    Likes Received:
    5,104
    I think this is useful information if someone was trying to write you as a character. But I know lots of heterosexual men who are way more uptight about housecleaning than I am, so I don't think the generalization works when you try to extend it.

    We don't need to know what's typical of men and women, or even if such a thing as 'typical' exists, in order to write our characters, because our characters are not stereotypes (hopefully). They're individual. So look at your character as an individual and figure out what makes him or her tick, and then extend that out to answer whatever questions you need answered about that individual character. We're not writing 'everyman' or 'everywoman', are we?
     
    Link the Writer likes this.
  22. izzybot
    Offline

    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    943
    Location:
    SC, USA
    I don't have anything clever to add to this thread, but it did give me a much-needed laugh.

    Thanks yall.
     
    Link the Writer and BayView like this.
  23. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    Mmmm sex. Let me know if you need any hetero sexual behaviour study participants, ok?

    Masters of Sex style, all for science, of course.

    You are doing a study on this before publishing, right?

    Right!?
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
    izzybot and Nicoel like this.
  24. Hubardo
    Offline

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    566
    Based on what I learned in social psychology classes, the OkCupid trend seems consistent with decades of cross-cultural research. Men tend to go for visually attractive, younger women. Women tend to go for older men with higher "status" (often indicated by income level). This isn't to say "this is how people are" in a static way. It's to say "this is how most people have tended to be based on the data." There's no value judgment laden within these observations, in my opinion. It's when people say "you're upholding such and such bad norm" that it gets sticky. Evolutionary and sociocultural forces have given rise to particular behavioral patterns across particular groups of people -- whatever. And things change, for better or worse or whatever.

    Outliers are always more interesting, though. The Harold and Maudes. The fat chick and the homeless guy who fall madly in love. These make better stories because they break expectations. Nobody really wants to read about a "normal" couple either way.
     
    Mattiemae likes this.
  25. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,963
    Likes Received:
    5,487
    Cites. I need cites.
     

Share This Page