A friend of mine is a big Beyonce fan, and she posted some words from a Beyonce song called “If I Were a Boy.” You can see the song here, if you’re curious. Anyway, the premise of the song is a girl singing about how if she were a boy, she’d understand women a whole lot better, and she’d be able to provide the understanding that a woman needs.
I write romance novels, and that means that I have to write from both the heroine’s perspective and the hero’s. The hero’s point of view is harder, and it takes me asking my husband all sorts of questions because men are just wired differently than women are. I’m reminded of that every single time I try to buy my husband a gift, because I used to shop with the “If I were a boy, just for a day…” mindset. And it didn’t work! Because if I were a man, I’d probably wear a monocle and a bow tie. I’d have monogrammed handkerchiefs and I’d smell ever so faintly of ladies’ moisturizer, because I really do love the feeling of soft, well-moisturized skin… In essence, I can’t stop being who I am, and if I were a boy, just for a day, I’d be an emotional wreck.
Which is why I don’t write my heroes with “If this were me” in mind. I write them with “If this were Mr. Johns, how would he react?” Men aren’t tougher versions of women–they’re a whole different species! They approach problems, emotions and challenges differently. They’re more likely to clam up and stare you down than they are to just open up and let it all out, like we are. They want to feel strong, successful, capable of defending the woman they love. The testosterone that courses through their veins does more than broaden their shoulders and deepen their voices, it affects absolutely everything about them. And I have to say… there is nothing more attractive.
It’s also one of the lessons I’ve learned in nearly twelve years of marriage–don’t buy him that really cool gift I found that I think is so fantastic (an Edgar Allan Poe styled fountain pen!), because he won’t see it the same way. Love isn’t saying, “If I were him,” Love is remembering the tool he mentioned when he got all excited and pointed it out in the hardware store. And then wrapping it really obviously, because I know he hates surprises. ❤