Lili Saintcrow (who scares the crap out of me, but I love her anyway) was born in New Mexico and shipped halfway around the world to Britain at a young age, where she imbibed some odd notions about tea, grammar, and manners–not necessarily in that order. She is the author of a few urban fantasy and paranormal romance series, of which the latest are the Dante Valentine books. Her latest book, The Devil’s Right Hand, is due for release September 1. She loves coffee, abhors crowds, and is fond of acting oddly in public.
One random commenter will win a signed copy of The Devil’s Right Hand. Winner to be announced on Friday.————————————-
In honor of Richelle Mead’s most excellent post about literacy (or the lack thereof) and proper grammar in romance heroes, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about how life changed once I hit thirty.
Trust me, it’s germane.
I used to date bad boys. Really, a muscle car/motorcycle/sneer/bad attitude was to Yours Truly like honey is to ants. Show me a man who looked like he had an anger-management problem to go with his black leather jacket, and I was hooked. I loved me some bad boys when I was younger. It was like chocolate around That Time Of The Month, I just could not help myself. And neither did I want to.
Then something happened.
I got knocked up.
There’s no romantic way to say it. Had a bun in the oven. Was embarazada. Expecting a visit from the stork.
Life changes when you’re responsible for little people. Life changes even further once you hit your thirties, have two small children and a career, and know enough about yourself to lower your tolerance for bullshit.
I first noticed the change while reading a book that shall remain nameless. The author is a constant guilty pleasure of mine who writes Bad Boys with Hearts of Gold.
Dear gentle Reader, I could not finish the fucking book. I was bored out of my skull. I actually laid the paperback down and started thinking about how much sexier the hero would be if he quit brooding, moping, and being a jackass–and instead, spent some serious time doing the dishes for the heroine. Or making the bed he kept messing up. Or, you know, maybe even washing his own damn clothes.
I’d actually spent a pretty productive half-hour in this vein of thought before it hit me. Good Christ, I was having lurid soapy fantasies about a man who would do the dishes.
Lo, how the irresponsible and wild-living have grown and matured.
Something else hit me too: I make all my heroes clean up in one way or another. For example, you can’t swing a dead plotline in the Watcher books without someone cleaning something. The men do dishes. They do their own laundry. Along with killing monsters, it’s all in a day’s work.
It used to be a man needed a drawl and a smoldering gaze before I’d consider dating him. Now I check for dishpan hands and clothes that look recently laundered. I find men unutterably sexy when they unload my dishwasher or play with the kids and clean up afterward.
Oooh, baby. You want to fold my laundry? Paint the house? Mow the lawn? Take me. I’m yours.
Once I got over the shock, I realized my priorities had (no shit) changed in a big way. Instead of looking for heart-thumping excitement, I’d settle for help with domestic chores. While this may sound like a trip to Boringville, it’s actually anything but. As my friend Nina Merrill often remarks, “Marry a geek. They try harder.”
To which I’d add, geeks marry literacy with willingness to bathe AND clean up, once you show them how. It’s a trifecta.
Doing the dishes not only says I love you. It says, I love you and I’ve thought about what you need instead of what my Little Head needs. I’m paying attention to the house and to you. I’m making your life easier and not being a self-centred pig.
I get excited just thinking about it. And let’s not even talk about a man who can hoover and change the hoover’s bag once in a while. *shivers* Whoa, Nellie. That’s hawt.
It may sound tongue in cheek, but there’s a very real issue here. Once I had kids, I really didn’t have the luxury of putting up with inane, immature idiots I have to clean up after. Shallow (even if volcanic and mindblowing) sex in the back of a mid-60s Mustang is pretty nice, and I might even enjoy it in an action movie. But it’s a funny thing–once a woman gets a little older, boys are just that–boys. And once you know who you are and what you want, you pretty much need a man who doesn’t mind doing a little bit of housework. Otherwise you might as well just have another kid to clean up after.
Nothing says bonerdeath like a pile of dead laundry or rotting dishes.
I’m pretty sure that if men knew what fun a reasonably-bright “older” woman is (because let’s face it, this society is geared toward your twenties, you might not even EXIST afterward according to television and a great chunk of other media) there would probably be a run on rubber gloves and dishwasher detergent in every supermarket across the nation. We Older Ladies are generally more comfortable with our bodies and more forgiving of other people’s flaws. We’re calmer, more centered, and generally have less drama and better communication skills. Some of us even enjoy American football (more of us enjoy real football) or at the very least will smile fondly at your passion for that troglodytic game. We’re mostly ultra-curvy (childbearing hips tend to be) and we smell nice and we know how to kiss your socks off–and straight into the hamper.
Doesn’t that sound awesome? Isn’t that worth a little bit of dishwashing?
Of course, if you want to wash the dishes in your motorcycle jacket and give me a nice bad-boy smile, that’s even better. If you can spell above the fifth-grade level, the sky’s the limit. You fellas can’t have me–I’m already married–but believe me when I say you’ll get more mileage out of Dawn and Mr. Clean than you will out of Trojan and Harley. You can thank me later.
And ladies? Don’t settle for anything less. If he won’t do the dishes, you don’t need his messy ass anyway.