I recently shared how Pythagoras is a good sport about plotting love scenes.
He’s been kind enough to extend his good sportsmanship to help my fellow authors in need.
A couple years ago, a writing pal crafted a love scene that took place in the front seat of a car. I critiqued the scene with some skepticism, knowing the author is six inches shorter than me and therefore inclined to assume two amorous adults can fit comfortably behind the wheel of a Honda.
We debated the issue for several rounds, each of us sharing more information than we’d volunteer to our mothers.
Finally, I offered to put the issue to the test.
“Pythagoras,” I called. “I need help with a scene.”
My husband eyed me suspiciously. “You’re not going to make me have fake sex with you on the bathroom counter again, are you?”
“Don’t be silly. This time we’re having fake car sex.”
He sighed, resigned to the fate assigned to him when he agreed to marry a romance author. “On it or in it?”
I led the way to the Mazda, which was parked in the driveway and appeared to be the approximate size and shape of the Honda my friend described in her scene.
“Actually,” Pythagoras objected, “the key differences between the Mazda and Honda for models made between 1997 and 2001 is that the slope of the windshield—“
“Just get in the car,” I told him, pretty sure readers wouldn’t nitpick.
Pythagoras heaved another sigh, settled into the drivers’ seat and looked at me. “Wouldn’t this work better if you were wearing a skirt instead of sweatpants?”
“We’re not really going to have car sex,” I pointed out. “We’re just helping Jane* write a scene.”
“You haven’t met her. Neither have I, technically, but – never mind. She’s an author.”
I ignored my husband’s pained expression and ducked into the car, promptly smacking my knee on the gearshift. I shifted my weight back and banged my head on the rearview mirror.
“When does this get romantic?” Pythagoras asked.
“Shut up and see if you can grab my boob from that angle.”
Pythagoras lifted his hand and stopped, his gaze fixed on a point over my shoulder. “Looks like the neighbors are barbecuing.”
He tilted the formerly boob-bound hand in a halfhearted wave. I craned my neck to study the happy family waving back, looking strangely unsurprised to see us arranged thusly.
I gave them a weak smile. “Should I go explain?”
“You know,” Pythagoras said, “sometimes it’s best if you don’t.”
So we spent another three minutes adjusting the seat position, fiddling with the tilt steering, and determining that it was, in fact, possible to maneuver in an amorous fashion in the drivers’ seat of a compact car.
Not that we were feeling particularly amorous at that point.
“My leg is asleep,” I complained as I peeled myself off my husband’s lap.
“You crushed my testicle.”
I nodded and surveyed the car. “Other than that, it was totally hot.”
He shook his head and waved at the neighbors again, probably wondering why some men are lucky enough to have sane wives.
I shut the car door marched back to the house, eager to report my findings to Jane.
She was pleased to hear it, and wrote a lovely scene that bore little resemblance to my experience.
Sometimes it’s best for romance not to reflect reality.
* Name has been changed to protect an author who probably wishes she didn’t know me.