Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Getting hitched" sounds dirty if you say it right

Last week, a friend informed me she needed to get up at 4 a.m. for a wedding.

“What the hell kind of wedding happens at 4 a.m.?” I demanded. “Tell me you at least get to wear pajamas.”

“I’m wearing a tiara,” she said. “It’s a party for the royal wedding. William and Kate?”

I frowned. “Is that the couple that got drunk at your Memorial Day party and tried to light farts over the barbecue?”

She stared at me like I had lizards coming out of my eye sockets – which, come to think of it, would be pretty cool.

Apparently, I was the only person on the planet unaware that Prince William was marrying Kate Middleton in the British royal wedding. Over the course of the next few days, my friend attempted to educate me about this momentous occasion. As the date drew closer, speculation grew.

Would Kate wear a tiara or a veil? What would the dress look like?

Much to my disgust, I found myself actually caring.

What is it that makes people so nutty about weddings? By “people,” I suppose I mean “women,” though I do know a guy – a perfectly straight guy – who was researching recipes for scones and clotted cream to serve last Friday morning.

I’ll admit it, I wanted one. Not badly enough to get up at 4 a.m., but close.

Still, it wasn't the scones giving everyone wedding fever last week. It was the pomp and circumstance, the hopefulness of it all, the promise of happily ever after. Who wouldn’t feel at least a little warm and tingly about that?

It wasn’t very long ago that a marriage proposal was a requirement by the end of most romance novels. Certainly the first one I wrote 8+ years ago had a betrothal, along with a lot of other abysmal clichés I’d prefer to forget.

Now that I’ve got three books scheduled for publication, there’s nothing in my contract requiring anyone to get down on one knee by the end of the story (OK, who wants to take the dirty joke on that one – Matthew? Sarah W? Malin? Linda G?)

Even so, two of my three upcoming romantic comedies include a proposal by the end. Interestingly enough, I didn’t have a clue with any of those three books whether there would or wouldn’t be an impending marriage. I was as surprised as the heroine when the hero popped the question.

Even when there’s no official proposal, it’s often implied in romance novels. Most readers assume the heroine doesn’t high-five the hero at the conclusion and say, “it’s been great knowing you, but I think I’d prefer something powered by AA batteries.”

What? It was for The Debutante
Ball. I needed it.
OK, show of hands – who watched the royal wedding? Who will admit to smiling a little at the sight of the dress? For those who read romance novels, do you have a preference whether the book does or doesn’t end in a proposal? Please share!

I have a phone call to make. I just remembered I need to get my damn tiara back. I want to wear it tomorrow night while I sit on the sofa in my pajamas drinking wine and reading smut.

35 comments :

TheLabRat said...

I'm not a fan of weddings (though I've officiated one). I still have no idea what her dress looked like (trying to keep it that way for the lulz at this point) and didn't realize when their wedding was until several hours after it happened. Apparently, I'm not a real girl (long standing joke amongst my friends and myself).

German Chocolate Betty said...

Well, it sounds like there were a number of us. I had forgotten -- it was at the end of two weeks vacation and I was cleaning the kitchen (here in Germany they broadcast coverage from 9 a.m. to 3p.m.). My husband was fiddling around on his laptop and said, oh, BTW, they're streaming wedding stuff live now. Huh?? Wedding??? Oh, yeah! So I turned on the TV just to annoy him. By then it was over and they were re-running clips. Sigh. I did, however, call a good friend of mine in Brussels, with whom I watched Charles and Di's wedding 30 yrs ago.

HOWEVER, one person in our family did watch the whole thing -- our 17-yr-old son. Of course, he's obsessed with royalty, status, money, etc. I think he thinks he was actually born to nobility but got mixed up at the hospital. And ended up with the most embarassing "parents" possible. If only we had titles (PhDs don't count)....

Anne Gallagher said...

I just happened to get up for the news and it was on. So I watched it. I thought it was very sweet. They seem to be very much in love and I do hope they make it past the decade mark. I really did enjoy the kiss on the balconey.

Sheila Siler said...

I got up at 5:30 in time to watch The Wedding - Katie's mom had just arrived. My husband watched with me and so did my 11 year old daughter (she wasn't thrilled to do it - but glad she did when all of her classmates had watched). I loved it, the dress, the pomp, the elegance, the hope.

I watched Charles and Di 30 years ago, and then I lived out west so I had to get up even earlier to watch.

Linda G. said...

Dirty joke? Moi? Why ever would you think...oh, all right. I WAS about to suggest that TWO knees provides better balance. Still, that's not NECESSARILY dirty, is it? ;)

Didn't watch the wedding in real time, but I did catch the reruns. Pretty dress.

elizabethreinhardt said...

I woke up at 6 when my sister dropped my nephew off for the day. He watched *Toy Story*, and I watched the end of the wedding. It was beautiful, her dress was gorgeous, and I wished it had started at 6 so I could have caught it all live!

I did have to mute the commentary. I give them credit; it has to be hard to come up with interesting things to say for hours, but when Barbara Walters kept giving Queen Elizabeth less and less time ("Oh, she has a good twenty years left! Well, let's give her ten!"), it freaked me out!

I like all weddings though, royal or not.

Sarah W said...

“Is that the couple that got drunk at your Memorial Day party and tried to light farts over the barbecue?”


No, that would be Harry and Chelsy.

(and the very fact that I know enough to throw that out there disturbs me)

I should have stuck with the dirty knee joke . . . wait, that didn't come out right . . . wait . . .

Noelle Pierce said...

I admit to getting teary at most weddings (and the happy-sweet parts of rom-coms, too), but for the Royal Wedding, it was different. My daughter complained about watching the carriage ride to Buckingham instead of cartoons, until I told her the brunette in the carriage was a real-life Cinderella (though without the slave-like chores and the evil step-mom and the...well, she's 5. She didn't question me.). I think that's what captivated me most before the wedding and had me eager to watch. Once I turned on the TV, though, it was Harry that kept me watching. When did he get all growed up? *fanning self*

Lu said...

I got at 5 to watch on BBC Armerica, in time to see the UK Prime Minister and his wife arrive at the Abbey.

I grinned like a fool through the whole thing - I'm such a Monarchist. The dress was gorgeous, William is a cutie and I thought the whole thing was classy. William and Catherine were so happy it made me giddy, hehe.

I also watched Charles and Diana's wedding *mumble* years ago.

Matthew MacNish said...

You need someone down on both knees for a good dirty joke Tawna.

Okay, now I'll finish reading.

Matthew MacNish said...

I did NOT watch the royal wedding. I only care about princes and princesses if they're wielding magic swords, or lightsabers.

But, I did hear on the radio that Kate's hand showed a lot of knuckle fat when William "slid the ring on." I'm not joking, they actually said that. Of course it was sports talk radio, so that may have had something to do with it.

Anyway, the bottom line is that she's a lovely woman, and Prince William seems to be an honorable, respectable man. I wish them both the very best.

abby mumford said...

i did watch the wedding and, in fact, got swept up in a lot of the pre-wedding stuff too. it's great background noise when packing up one's apartment!

weddings, to me, are optimistic and hopeful and will and kate looked so in love, so it was a perfect way to start the day.

Danica Avet said...

I didn't watch the wedding because as pretty and ceremonial as it all is, I just can't get excited about weddings of people I don't know. I mean, really, if I was friends with either one I'd have been thrilled, but I'm not...much to my dismay because then I could've drunkenly groped Harry. *cough*

I've noticed in my books there may not be marriage, but there seems to be a pregnancy or a baby somewhere. Biological clock ticking much? I think so. But I'm trying to break the cycle. It isn't like I plan on it happening, it just happens and it works with the story.

Christie Koester said...

I love weddings. I watched the Royal Wedding start to finish, twice. Yes, I'm obsessed. I watch my own 4-min recap of our wedding at least a handful of times during the week. I'm a sucker for love.

My first book (querying right now) is about a 35-year-old woman winning the most fabulous of weddings, but without a groom:) I think it's easy to get swept away in all the wedding hype...and lose sight of what happens after the wedding. But yes, I love happy ever after.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

They show old episodes of Law and Order in the middle of the night; even though I love that show, I'm not getting up to watch it at 4 A.M. I also didn't watch the royal wedding. Nothing personal against all the people who did, but I don't really see what all the fuss was about. I think I'll be more impressed by Kate and William once they actually accomplish something.

Malin said...

I wager you haven't seen the photo of Kate on her knees before William? There's a screen in the way but with some imagination...
Not that I have a naughty imagination. Not me. No, no.

And I have this unpleasant feeling that you missed the swedish royal wedding the other year!! Our crown princess married a gym-owner. Epic. She'll be a queen, but apparently he can never be king, just a prince. And he no longer has a last name. Uhm.. that's the random information I had about that. And no, haven't watched the british one.

Steph Schmidt said...

Watched the Royal Wedding and have had the weirdest sleep cycle ever since. That's what comes of making it an all nighter I suppose.

I always thought it was weird if the heroine was purposed to at the end of a romance novel. Because she can't know the hero all that well! Unless the novel spans years.

lynnrush said...

I didn't watch it. LOL. But I caught some pictures on the news and online a bit. I hear it was beautiful. But that's about as close to it as I need to be. :)

I want a tiara!

Génette Wood said...

I love weddings, but only in person. I could not imagine having my wedding broadcast worldwide. I'm the type to elope to some quiet beach in [insert seaside state here] and tell my parents about it later.

Patty Blount said...

I admit I did watch the royal wedding but I was up at 6 anyway and it was on every damn channel.

I was immediately sucked right in. The dress, the pageantry, the romance.

That's what it's all about, right? The romance and the promise implied by the term.

I read romance because I love happy endings. I don't need a proposal or a wedding but I insist on that promise. In fact, one THE BEST endings ever was in Cynthia Reese's For the Sake of the Children. It was perfect!

Extending the discussion - what's your take on epilogues that pick up after the hero/heroine marry, have a couple of kids? Yay or nay?

German Chocolate Betty said...

Apropos weddings...we got married in a cowbyre. Well, *former* cowbyre. No cow-doo-doo anymore, haha.

We were looking for a nice place for a small wedding, and here in Germany the official wedding is always civil (you can have a church wedding either before or after the civil ceremony, but from the State's point of view, only the civil ceremony is legal). Anyway, we didn't want it at the registry office and there were only a limited number of other places they would come to. One possible place was an grand old house (formerly "landed gentry") which had been turned into a restaurant, and had a number of nice rooms, but none of them really sparked. Then they said, well, if the wedding party's small, we do have this neat little converted cowbyre at the back of the property -- and it was very sweet, rustic and just perfect. Ancient half-timbered building, low ceilings, crooked walls, and flowered curtains at the tiny leaded windows. Just perfect for us, 12 guests and the official marrying us.

(They even did the setup and all the flowers, etc., and didn't charge us for it, can you believe it??)

Malin said...

Thinking about it, the novella romance I wrote for fun ends with a cancelled marriage, no proposal and a little too much booze. But it seems kind of necessary for some kind of wedding event to take place in a romance, doesn't it?

Mary Kate Leahy said...

Because I write fantasy with princes and what not (that is the official term form royalty) it all usually ends in a marriage because that is often part of what resolves the external crisis...making an alliance. So in that case you need the wedding/proposal. But for a contemporary romance where marriage is not a necessity for being together or not something people necessarily want at all you can skip it. As long as they fall in love and somehow seal the deal (at least emotionally) then it works.

Danielle Spears said...

Yes, please! Loved the royal wedding and you bet I was up to watch it! It's my guilty pleasure, though I have no guilt whatsoever. In fact, I look forward to telling my children's children that I watched the wedding LIVE, not on Tivo or re-runs, but LIVE!

I might be nuts, but who cares? I am sure the 2 billion people who tuned in don't. :)

Jason said...

I did not watch the wedding - sleep is a valuable commodity for me and it was a workday. Plus, my DVR is full of things I'd rather watch instead, I have a stack of unread books, and a manuscript nearing first draft completion.

I will admit, though, I HAVE watched a royal wedding before. We hosted a Japanese exchange student when I was in high school and for some reason I'm not sure of she brought a tape of the last wedding of Japan's emperor. It was something like 10 hours long. And I sat and watched the entire thing (though not straight), even though I didn't understand a single word (well maybe a few here and there).

Maybe that's my problem - I used up all my royal wedding tolerance then. :)

Candyland said...

I protested. And then I sort of watched. I'm bad.

Skye said...

I watched most? half of it? It was lovely, her dress was gorgeous, and the obvious connection and affection between them was tangible. THAT is what made watching it worth the time. It was so different from Diana & Charles's wedding all those years ago. She looked terrified. He looked cold. And there was no connection between them. This one looks like it will take.

As for books, I don't like ones that end with babies on the way. As for marriage, not necessary. Just the emotional committment is enough.

however, I'd love to see you try that " high-five the hero at the end and say, “it’s been great knowing you, but I think I’d prefer something powered by AA batteries.”" It would be hilarious.

BarbN said...

We just got a DVR about two months ago and this was the first time that I was thrilled to have it. I slept, and then about 10:30 or so, watched the whole six hour thing in about an hour. Loved it, wouldn't have missed it. Although I agree with whoever said the commentary was completely lame.

misanthropology101 said...

At least with royal weddings you get tacky souvenirs done the British way! I'm pretty sure I saw at least one product powered by AA batteries that purported to be in the shape one of His Highness's most cherished body parts.

...I'm talking about the little battery-powered waving hand, of course. What did you think?

inkgrrl said...

I stayed up all night and watched the entire thing, grinning like a fool (okay, recovering from surgery while buzzing with the remains of interesting drugs in my system might have contributed to the all night grin).

Despite all his advantages, William has a lot of huge strikes against him, and I hope - in the fine, foolish tradition of choosing hope over experience - that he and Kate have a long, happy life together. Plus I've been on a weird bridal gown kick lately, so had to stake that out ;-)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I had no intention of watching the wedding, but CNN was still nattering about it when I sat down for my usual news-with-Cheerios morning ritual. What I saw was beautiful, but I'm still miffed at not receiving my royal invitation in a timely manner.

Brooklyn Ann said...

LOL on the Memorial party drunks! I didn't watch the wedding nor cared about it too much. Partially because I was so involved in my current novel, and partially because my 1st wedding anniversary is coming up and I'm still basking in happy memories of that awesome occasion. My groom was hotter, my dress was better, I wore a tiara too...and I bet the royal wedding cake didn't have huckleberry filling and cream cheese frosting..so mine was better. Neener neener. :)

Karin said...

Do you know that one of the commentators said that the bride's dress is "classy" and that it matches the Westminster Abbey perfecly. Hope Kate didn't hear that, kind of depressing, don't you think.

And did you know that the day after the wedding she wore a H&M dress for about 60$.

Not that I'm into all that monarchy crap, just happened to stumble over that surplus royal info.

Allie Sanders said...

Honestly, I don't get weddings. When I got engaged I spent a month trying to convince my husband to drive to TN and going through a drive-thru chapel. He wouldn't but that's beside the point. I just don't get the point of spending all the money on the dress, the cake, the decorations. I just don't get it. And white? Who wants to wear white on a day when you're going to be around wine, cake, kids with soda? It's a dangerous concept. My aunt is getting married in two weeks and I"m most excited about finally having a chance to wear my new dress.
I don't think proposals are necessary for a good romance. It's about them being happy and not everyone needs to be married to be happy.I'm not opposed to a proposal but not having one won't leave me feeling disappointed. I guess I'm just weird like that.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Oh my gosh. I'm still giggling. So glad I found you on #MyWANA.
Edge of Your Seat Romance