"You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There are no scoundrels in your life."
"I happen to like nice men.."
"I'm a nice man.."
BOOM! Han Solo has got game!
G'day team, Alen here after a few months in the wilderness for yet another blog. As I write this, I'm watching Empire Strikes Back for the millionth time. When the scene I refer to above came up (the best romantic scene in film history, hands down), it got me thinking. As an RPer, I was always a sucker for fights and stories with explosions ... maybe some philosophical spin here and there, but I generally stayed away from the romance. Why was that? On reflection, RPing romance never really felt genuine, not the same way that writing a duel did. And I think that was because of the way they were written. No matter how hard I tried to stay invested in them, I tired of them quickly. They were all the same ... there was nothing unique or exciting about them. Heck, I could probably name 90% of them in the following couple of stereotypes ...
The Special Two - Two salt of the earth, kind-hearted people find each other and settle down. They love each other very much. They have beautiful children, all of whom are very well behaved. The husband never shows anything but love and affection and attention to his wife. His wife never nags him about doing the washing, or leaving the toilet seat up, or forgetting to buy milk. He never looks at another woman, not even once. All they need is each other. There is a lot of kissing, hugging and careless touching.
The Against All Odds Couple - Yeah ... they're two super bad people who are full of angst and emotions but have found each other and love each other intensely. They like canoodling in the bedroom and saying really dark, edgy and emotional things to each other.
The Saps - Gag-inducing nicknames. Over the top professions of love. Terrible flirting. They will do it anywhere. They have a retreat just for them. You've seen one of these couples before.
Look, I'm not saying that you shouldn't RP romance like this. I'm just saying ... there is another way.
The Solution
Bring in some conflict, gorramit! Heck, go as far as having your character be a piece of poodoo occasionally! Or have your character be naive enough to get him/herself into a relationship with someone who's using them. If you don't want to go that far, make your characters argue about whose turn it is to microwave dinner! That's real love right there. Two people who are so close and comfortable with each other that they'll have a meaningless argument over something stupid. From conflict, good situations arise. Some of my best memories about past relationships have been directly after we've argued about something stupid.
RP is really about life. A special, fantastic fake life, but all fantasy is rooted in reality. Help make that fantasy stronger by adding a little realism into your character's daily relationship.