Rakes, Sheikhs, and Shipping Magnates

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S1: The bed dipped in the dark as he. And the pillows fell to the floor with a soft thud, he turned.

S2: And I could feel him on.

S3: Small bed, he said, I love it, I watch, I love it, I figured, why not start off with the classic trope of all the one bed? Yeah. Oh, what are we going to do?

S4: Well, one of my favorites is called I said, Do you like my sultry voice that I used just then?

S5: Yes, it was very seductive. Thank you so much. My aim is to seduce you. Oh, how are you this week? I am hot and bothered, but not in a sexy way.

S3: Oh, I was going to be my next question.

S5: It is sweltering like. Yes, over 100 damn degrees.

S6: Yeah. And you know, we’ve got to be in our respective makeshift studios with no air or fans circulating because we don’t want the, you know, my to pick up those sounds. So we are losing, you know, some bodily fluids over here.

S7: I mean, I feel like I am constantly sipping right now, but that’s how dedicated we are as audio technicians, that we’re just kind of like, you know, we’re going to sacrifice ourselves for superior audio quality. And Facebook. It’s guess what? You are welcome.

S8: Yes. Do you appreciate what we’re doing for you sweltering like this?

S3: Please say you do. Please, I need this. Please, Nicole.

S7: I mean, exactly the same. But I am also sweltering in my closet, but also sweltering outside of my closet. It is on it’s it’s that point in the in the New York summer where I wish for the sweet release of winter and it’s a lot.

S9: Yeah. I would never wish for winter, but I definitely need like I don’t know, an outdoor shower or something.

S6: You know, you can have. All right. Sexy time. You know, I just need a little something to cool off with.

S10: But also, I mean, I love summer. I love the heat. I typically don’t mind it. But just because we have to be inside right now for so much of the summer, that’s a problem for me. You know, and I live because I really I don’t mind sweating as much of, you know, teasing about it. I really don’t mind sweating while you’re in a minority.

S5: I say, because me and share are both like shaking our heads. No sweat. Hates it.

S7: Like for no reason. No thanks. But here we are making lemonade out of the terrible summertime lemons, trying to bring you a weekly dose of thirst. So we hope you enjoy as you take a big sip, Nicole, this week we are not looking at a first object per say.

S10: We are looking at a, you know, a collection of ideas that have taken over. What we enjoy about a particular genre of literature is we are called Professor Perkins. We’re going to talk about the tropes of romance novel.

S7: Right.

S6: And a trope is a literary term that basically means something that recurs throughout a piece. Right. We’re going to be talking about the, you know, the things that get us going, the things that maybe don’t know.

S10: And we’re going to talk about what makes a romance novel a romance novel.

S7: And I think for many people who listen to our podcast, I think it’s quite apparent that both Nicole and I are deeply into romance novels. We talk about it a lot. That’s definitely where, you know, so much of our fanfic inspiration is coming from, like it as much as we read other genres of fiction. I think romance novels in particular are very dear to both Nicole and I, and we’ve been lifelong readers. And it’s nice sometimes to kind of go back and look at another foundational thing that really kind of helped develop us into the first experts that you know and love today. So I’m excited to talk about romance novels. And there are many troops, and I hope that you listeners will also enjoy going with us on a journey into literary thirst. Oh, I like that literary first. Thank you, Nicole.

S11: All right.

S12: Now, what makes a romance novel a romance novel?

S7: Good question. Professor Perkins, will you enlighten us?

S10: OK, first of all, there has to be. Happily ever after or happy for now, meaning that the main couple, if it is a couple, because, you know, as we’ve seen as romances have expanded in the last decade or so, that more and more like polyamorous couples, polyamorous relationships are coming to light. Right. But for the most part, everyone, regardless of the structure of the relationship, there has to be a happily ever after happy for now. Right. The people get together and they are happy. They are all smiles and declarations of love and they are going to work out whatever problems they may have had or their problems have been resolved. And they’re going to move forward.

S7: Right. There’s the understanding of a future of some sort. Exactly. Love that. OK. Another thing that I find necessary, even though, you know, it’s kind of fallen out of favor in terms of seeing romance on screen is for me. I always love a meet. Cute. And one of the things that I love in a romance novel is trying to you know, you read the back of a book, you understand that, you know, this person is going to meet this other person or other people. But for me, the core of it and I will put a book down if the meet cute doesn’t meet my exacting standards. Oh, interesting. Yeah. Because I’m just kind of like you. You started off on the wrong foot. So for me, the meat cue is also a very important part of a romance novel. I think you have to establish the characters in a way that lets me buy in as soon as possible. And I feel like if I have to struggle through, you know, the wheat field of like, where is it? Where is it? It’s not going to be worth it for me in the long run. I’ve really been strong on that instinct. Like if the meat queue is trash, the romance tends to be trash following that. So I put a lot of stock in how we go about meeting. I might give something a bit of a chance and see if they can kind of salvage it. But I’ve never read a bad meat. Cute that turned into a good novel. Oh, interesting. Interesting. So that for me is that for me is part of the the formula for, for a romance novel has to be. Yes. The the, the happy ever after all the happy for now plus a really solid instructional smart meet cute.

S10: And so for me because I tend to like, you know, OK, so there are a lot of subgenres within romance. Right. Right. And so I tend to gravitate towards paranormal romances. I love a thriller, I love suspense, I, I murder mystery, even though I am not into true crime stuff at all. Like that’s not my thing. I love a murder mystery. I love when people get together and they have to solve a crime and one of them becomes imperilled and the other has to save them. I love all of that shit. So even within those subgenres, there aren’t that many meet cute a lot of times, particularly in thrillers and suspense stuff. Um, the two main characters, they’re meeting over a corpse or their meat.

S3: That’s what I mean, is a meat.

S6: Q Well, yes, but it’s not like, it’s not like oh no, I’ve dropped my notebook, can you help me pick it up.

S3: But even those ones aren’t like no I see that’s the thing for me.

S7: Like the meat cute for me is just the standard first meeting. Like I don’t need it to be cutesy or romantic or like, like sweets. I just need it to be indicative of the characters. I just want to feel as though it’s not I don’t I don’t need it to be super contrived is what I mean. Like, it doesn’t have to be like cute in the strictest sense. I don’t want you to I love a coffee shop. You obviously love it, but I’m not here for coffee shop meets only like what I mean by Mika is I need you to establish the characters in a way that I know who they are like. I know what they’re doing here. I know why they’re here. And the meeting makes sense. But I really hate something that’s kind of like belaboured and cliche. I’m just I’m like people meet all sorts of ways, obviously, but don’t just don’t just give me, like, the obvious, like super simple. Sometimes that works, but like, just show me should be who these people are in the meat queue. So I love when a couple meet over a corpse.

S5: I mean, without it, where the hell does any procedural romance on TV. It doesn’t happen. Like, you know, everyone knows bones only happened because there were over corpses, like the shit that’s like a constant meat every week. And I was here for it every single time. So, you know, what I mean by that is I don’t need it to be like cutesy. I just needed to make sense in a way. OK, I got you. Yes. Yes.

S9: And I like usually in those thrillers or there’s a like a big subsection of those thrillers where the couple have already met before. Maybe they were even a couple before and then they have to split up and then they get thrown together again.

S5: I love that shit by bye. I love it, so unresolved tension. Like something went down the last time we were together, now we’ve got to work through so we can solve this case. Yes, put it. Inject it. Love it. Yes. Second chances. I love it. Especially when it’s like years after. Yes. Yes. And everyone’s going to wait to mature. I got. Yes.

S6: The one the kind that I don’t like, though, is when, you know, in the second chances thing is when they get together and the woman, you know, has a child that is. No. Just coincidentally the same age as the length of time that they’ve been apart. And the guy is completely stupid and doesn’t get that. That’s his fucking child.

S5: And so I hate those. I hate those. Every time I see a secret baby, I close the book. I’m just like, no need, absolutely no need. Like, babies are already out, had been born every day. We don’t have to tack on this. I hate secret baby true hate secret baby. Like first of all is a condom a dude like come on sanctionable.

S3: Why do you tell him the excuse is always something.

S5: Why don’t you tell him. Well I came to your house but you were with another woman.

S3: You looked happy and I didn’t want to disrupt your life and I’m like, fuck, you know, he has a kid in the world who I hate secret baby so much every time I roll my eyes.

S5: And then I very theatrically closed the tab like, no, not today.

S6: So, OK, we’ve talked about how we have been reading romance novels since we were children, and so we are well versed to all these different tropes to two of us.

S7: I feel like we have you know, I’m going to bring I bring this up because I want to point out something that you wrote, which is actually one of the first pieces of yours that I read in a way that made me feel like I’d read your other, like, short term stuff. But this is like the first like long term like like a bigger project of yours. Yeah. And it was a Kindle single that you wrote a couple of what year it was. Last minute, I think. Yes. And it’s called Romance Novels Ruined Me. Yeah. And I thought to myself quick, I didn’t even hesitate. I went to Kindle straight away. I bought it off Amazon, even though that’s, you know, an evil overlord. And I put that I put that book into my Kindle and I read it like immediately, which I never do know was kind of download, go have dinner, you know, think about life. But I bought and I read it immediately and I was like, oh, my God, yes. Oh, my God. Yes. And like, I feel like we are so inside of romance novels that we could easily kind of turn against it, you know, in a way when you seen it all. Yeah. And we’ve been through like several iterations of what is clearly, like, ghosty, like, you know, we talk a lot about different eras and different hearer’s. That kind of turned up. I remember when I was growing up, there was a lot of Arab sheiks. Yeah. And they were also a lot of shipping magnates who were either Greek or Italian or like secret princes or like leaders or monarchs or some small principality somewhere like Jesus Christ. And that really was a thing. And I remember also reading a bunch of mills and Boon and like Temptation’s and Harlequin’s, what it was like a huge thing on like men in uniforms and lots of fire fighter, lots of police, lots of military or Navy SEALs. And of course, knowing what we know about the prison industrial complex, I can’t read those anymore. But when I was a young woman, I was like, oh, my God, I can’t believe it.

S9: I can read anything much with cops or firefighters. There was definitely a lot of corporate men. And I learned very quickly that I did not like the Native American and cowboy genre because the Native Americans were often still portrayed as savages. And, you know, they were always they were always getting involved in interracial relationships with white women. And the language was always really bad. And even as a child, I was like, I can’t deal with this.

S3: Like, this isn’t right. Like, you know what’s cool?

S7: And I think it’s also interesting, like we talk so much about the male gaze. But in romance, I feel like so often what many of us, especially those of us who are a bit older, were reading. So much of that was a product of a very specific white female gaze. Yes.

S9: Yes. You talked about the shakes. That’s another one that I was like, I can’t read this because often it was a white woman or white blonde woman being kidnapped by this man. And he puts her in a harem because, of course, he has a hair.

S6: And then we’d like to have to see this process of her being waxed in all of her hair removed and all of this. I was just like, no, I just know.

S3: So I need to finish the sentence.

S10: Just no, I did not like any of those eight. Like I said, even as a child, I was just like, this is just too much. So what I, I gravitate to as a child, most of the historical again, the paranormals, the thriller was.

S6: But I did like the ones where, I don’t know, a woman went to some tropical island and, you know, got swept up into an island of romance kind of thing. Oh, interesting. Yeah. And then you find out that the man that she was in love with, who was you know, he was out there in the cane fields with the black people. Right. And he was out in the sugar cane fields using his machete. They cut everything down. But you find out that he actually fucking owns the island or some shit like that, you know, like a hidden billionaire guy.

S3: No, I do not like a hidden billionaire. I know. I like him.

S6: A billionaire, but not the obvious billionaire, like not the one that you already know. And then he’s just like throwing his money around and he’s sexy. You know, I don’t particularly care for those.

S7: I love that you want the billionaire that you have to work for. Yes.

S3: Amazing. Amazing. Yet again, a new insight. I love it so much. OK, wow.

S7: So my weakness always, always is friends, the lovers. I do not like enemies to friends, to lovers. I’m just like take out the enemies. I don’t want it. I’m not in my romance novel. I’m not looking for like forced enmity. I’m looking for like intimacy and inside jokes. And I always love when it’s like two friends who kind of have a moment. And it’s because of the timing of these things. It’s never they realize at the same time, one person’s always in. Secret planning mode. I love opining, I love to read a situation in a rom com when somebody’s gaze lingers, but the other one doesn’t even see it because they’re busy looking at the other next of the extraneous person who’s only there essentially to be a sort of roadblock. But there’s something for me in that moment of like, you know, that classic thing of like, well, looking out of a window and it’s like, oh my God, it’s beautiful. And the other person agrees but is looking at the other person is like, yeah, it is, isn’t it. And I’m just like, oh, inject it.

S13: I think the thing for enemies to lovers that I dislike is that it perpetuates that whole thing of, you know, he’s pulling your pigtails. He’s mean to you because he likes you so much. And I’m like, if he likes me so much, then he can be nice to me.

S5: Literally. We are not five years old. I don’t believe you when we’re five. I don’t believe one. We’re thirty five. Just stop it. Yes.

S13: And to go back to what you were talking about with like the internalized male gaze that a lot of women authors, female authors have put into romance novels, I think that’s when, you know, people try to throw out and dismiss romance novels as just like you just want somebody to take your clothes off and be rough with you and on this kind of stuff or that you try to liken it to, you know, porn or something. And that’s not the case at all.

S10: What happens is a lot of the things that when romance novels really start to take off in like the late 70s, which is I talk about this a little bit in the Kindle single that you mention, but women were still not allowed to really express their desires, even in a romance novel.

S5: So what they had to do was these characters often had to be what we would call now forced or coerced and then, you know, kind of pushed together in these circumstances that made them realize, oh, no, I actually really love you, even though you were terrible to me the first time we were together because women weren’t allowed to say, I I want some sexy shit, you know, so it had to be forced on me and then I have to grow to love it from the power of his masculinity.

S10: But luckily, we have, you know, stepped away from that and that now, even if, you know, these characters do like something that’s a little rough or edgy or whatever, it’s done in a very consensual way. And, you know, there’s talk to the characters, talk to each other about it and that kind of thing so that people are more aware, you know, people still people who haven’t looked at romance novels or even have a read one still want to call them bodice rippers. I bring up fucking Fabio.

S7: I know I never knowingly picked up a Fabia like cover book. I just didn’t like even when I was reading, like, you know, you mentioned about loving the historical stuff. I was, I would say, very comfortably obsessed with Regency romances and, you know, grew up in the U.K. So there is a lot of Regency romance out in the world like of different levels, the kind where it’s all like very kind of like, you know, flattering the fans to kind of like full on like it ranks with doing it back in the day. I guess they were like this a bunch of stuff. And I feel like when I would read those, it always made me kind of like it was so interesting to me to kind of see, again, modern women writing olden days, women when a woman would still like every so often it would still shock me when a woman was open about wanting sex, I’d be like, oh my God. But in that time that must have been dangerous or whatever I’m like against so much. And this is something we’re going to get to. But like so much of the enjoyment of romance novels for me anyway, it comes down to the skill of the author and I think I will follow a well-written story anyway, even when I’m thinking to myself, that’s ridiculous. But there were moments I’m kind of like, I don’t care. Like the story is so engaging. These characters are so well drawn, like the author clearly knows who these people are. And so even when you think this doesn’t seem correct for 1892, you can still kind of feel like. But I’m into it like, you know, and that that for me is a real test of something where I’m kind of like this might be a situation of like this happened once in the real world, like, you know, as source material. This show happened once, but it wasn’t common by the end of the book. I bet this happened all the time, even when, you know it didn’t. And I feel like that’s like the thing that a lot of people who, like you said, haven’t read romance novels will have this outdated idea of it have about stories like it’s always so simple. It’s just this. And I’m like, no, like everything. Formula does not negate creativity. Like, you can do so much.

S13: Right. I will wear down the some of the best action that I have ever read comes from those thriller and suspense romance novels, and they are the ones that should be adapted and on screen instead of like a million Jack Ryan’s or whatever his name is.

S5: What I know his name is on that, because the way that these women, for the most part, because I mostly read women write these books. And they are able to fold in drama, espionage, romance, sex, and just some good old ass kicking, you know, they do it in such a way that I am reading. I will read this book in a single city, you know. Right. And you won’t even and at the end of it, you think to yourself, wow, that takes literally every box. Yes.

S7: But like, there is something to be said just for like the elevation that can occur within a very strict formula. Like for me, that is the place where I always kind of just think, wow, I’m marveling at a very specific talent. And like a few years ago, I interviewed the best selling author, Alissa Cole, with Great Love Her what she is I’m so I’m so in love with her stuff. But she said this thing about, you know, like she’s you know, she’s incredibly interested in history, like, loves to kind of she loves to delve in there. She was saying when when I spoke to her, she was like, yeah, I used to kind of live on the Internet, like in Tennessee, cotes into his comment section on the Atlantic. And whenever he’d bring up something, I’d go and do that research, I’d follow up. And he often came back and would update something on something he’d read. So like for her, it was kind of like a really short and like concise education about certain things. And she said, but every time the question that was on the back of a minor, she goes, you know, I think it’s a question that many romance writers have. It’s kind of like whatever event is this historical event that is unfolding at the back of her mind. Elizabeth, I was like, what if people were kissing? And I love that so much as like a foundational question to kind of be like, you know, even in war at the worst possible times for humanity, someone somewhere was like, man, I really like the cut of that person’s jib. I’m like, I’ll say it like people were doing it all through time. That’s how any of us are still here. Yes. And I love that question. So sometimes when I’m watching, like, a really serious documentary on TV, I have a Lissa’s question. Just pop in my head where I’m just kind of like, what if they were kissing?

S8: I also like the one where they had a one night stand and then they realized that they have to work together some kind of way like they don’t know each other. Right. They just had this one night stand and some passive of course, they’ve thought about each other because the one I thought was so hot. Yeah. You know, but then they, like, walk into office and.

S5: Oh, snap. It’s that guy. Oh, no, it’s that girl, you know, like Grey’s Anatomy defends the love it, love it, like the one I mentioned before were like, oh, I need romance lessons so this other person can find me attractive.

S8: Can you teach me? And then they end up together. And then of course, for my supernatural paranormal stuff, it’s you know, I’m a feisty supernatural being, maybe called a half breed in the book, which is problematic, but whatever, you know, but I’m also the most powerful of my kind. And so I go on this quest and I have this mentor with me. And, you know, even though we are, you know, enemies, our species, our enemies or whatever, there’s still something between us. And so we have to learn to work together in order to fight the big bad of the universe.

S5: So some kind of hybrid love affair. Yes. Yeah, I see. I love it. I love it. Like it. There’s a vampire hunter and a vampire and not quite like Buffy, but, you know, like something like that. I want that. Or there’s like a vampire and a werewolf gets give it all to me. I, I want it, I want it all.

S8: I don’t be all of it just like mix together. And I especially love when there’s like somebody who is a who can’t control the weather or something.

S5: And so when they get together and they have sex then like there’s a storm that happens because, because everything is so powerful and I’m going to know I’m going to play this because that’s how I feel.

S3: Like my sex is like my feeling is so powerful that I could just like you change the weather. Yes. Yeah. Wow. You don’t wanna cut me off a slice of your confidence.

S5: I want to put that in my back pocket and just take it with me throughout my day. That’s amazing. Yeah. He’s confessing storm fantasies about yourself. You think you are Aurora Monroe and I love this. That’s how it feels. When it gets really good. It feels OK. All right. I got like and fire all the lighting, you know, I start making the gestures. Just look at you. You’re pink in the face. Amazing.

S8: To this day, if there is a romance novel that does not have a sex scene in it, I am disappointed and I take a star off for my little review, which I know is not fair, because a lot of people out there don’t necessarily want an explicit sex scene. And I lots of people. Yeah. And I want to honor and respect that to some people. Just really want to read about the romance part of it. And the sex stuff doesn’t mean anything to them. But for me, I mean myself personally, and it doesn’t even have to be explicit. It does not have to be, you know, a lot of cursing or even, you know, using slang terms for anatomy. Like, it doesn’t have to be all of that. But I need to I need to see or at least read the intimacy and see it in my mind.

S7: I feel exactly this. We’re in exactly the same. But I feel like for many people, yes, that is not a requirement. Like it’s very much a case of just kind of like, you know, the journey. And like all these people and I, I love that part of romance novels, too. But I’ve got to say, like, there are times when I you know, it’s like looking at the progress book and I’m like, we are almost at the end. When are they going to do it? Yes. And I find myself like looking at the remainder of the pages, like there isn’t enough time for you to set up a sex scene. And I need one. Like, I just need it to happen. And like, every so often when especially when there’s, like, just the one scene and it’s towards the end and then it’s like ever so slightly disappointing because I’m like, man, I wait the whole book for that. Like, give me more time. And again, not looking necessarily for explicit, but like you said, I think I need it as a sort of I don’t know, like I think back to, you know, again, no one ever explicitly saying but like me having an understanding that sex only happened in marriage and in these books, they didn’t. And that always made me kind of feel like, oh, I’m reading something, you know, exciting, forbidden write like. And that always kind of meant something to me. And I feel like, yeah, you know, sometimes I said this on Twitter a while ago, maybe a few years ago, that some of the best romance novels I’d read actually were kind of like fake. They were fanfic that I hadn’t paid any money for. And I wanted to kind of like send the writers of my favorite things like you. I will pay you the equivalent of a paperback novel because I love so much fake, partly because, again, there were all these the the same much care taken. Yeah. With these characters. And then again, so I mean I think back to some of the sex scenes I used to reading these books when I was younger and he was like, oh my God, we have come so far from some of the stuff, like when there was lots of euphemism for like various anatomy. And now I was just like, no, straight up. Like, it’s his this it’s there that. Yeah. And I’m like, oh, thank God. But when I was younger, there was a lot of kind of like, you know, smoothness and hardness and a lot of kind of like tenderness. And it was like coo what exactly? Like, I literally can’t follow this scene because I don’t know what the hardness is. I don’t know what the softness is. And what are we doing here right now? I think to myself, God, the language itself has evolved in such ways. And like, again, words that used to be kind of like, I suppose, kind of offensive slurs now get used in a way that is kind of like her language is really relaxed in a way that I can see that I can feel I’m like, oh, wow. Like that word would never come back. I remember the first time I read, like, the F word in in a book like it specifically inside a scene that was them doing it. And I was like, I don’t know, we could call it that now. Like, Oh, things have changed. Like this wasn’t the romance novels I read growing up. No one ever said they were going to fuck someone.

S9: Right. So when I was reading romance novels as a kid and a teenager, any time somebody curse, it was never mentioned in the book. It was he said a word that would have burned her ears, you know, like it was something like that.

S6: But as I’ve gotten older and obviously more people are breaking away from these kinds of restrictions, they are saying, you know, and he said, fuck when, you know, he touched her and whatever. Whatever. Right, right, right, right, right, right. I really appreciate that.

S10: Another thing that I’ve noticed as this current wave of rom com is hitting the romance genre, huh? They’re all they’re mirroring the film rom coms. Right.

S6: In a way that they the couples only have sex once in the books. Yes. Because, you know, as much as we love rom coms, they are very explicit at all.

S9: For the most part, they’re very safe. They may kiss to once they get reunited, once they confess their love for each their love for each other. And then that’s kind of we get a fade to black romance scene.

S5: It’s not until we get more of the R rated stuff that that’s when we start getting actual, like sex scenes in these movies. But even then, it’s still just like the one sex scene that’s usually played for laughs some kind of way. So in these books that.

S6: What I’m noticing as well, that they get together one time, then they have like a falling out and then they get back together at the end and everything is all good. But they still have, like, very they’re still very affectionate, physically affectionate with each other, but they just don’t have sex more than once that we see. And I’m just like, you know, I can’t I’m not trying to be a voyeur. I’m not trying to like it. Aren’t you like, you know, I’m really not trying to get my rocks off when I’m reading a romance, but I feel like that’s when things get less realistic for me. And maybe I should be looking for, you know, reality in a romance novel or any piece of fiction.

S9: But it does take me away because I feel like when you get into a relationship and it’s new, regardless of it’s exclusive or you’re just like in the quote unquote talking stage, you’re having a lot of sex for the most part, like you’re getting together, you’re going to dinner, you’re having your little cute date, and then you’re coming back to each other’s place and you’re taking each other’s clothes off and rocking your world.

S6: So I would like to see that reflected more honestly in the contemporary rom coms that are happening right now.

S14: You know, I think about the ways that romance novels have changed over the years, because you mentioned something about the way that, you know, the white women were portraying themselves basically in these books. And so I remember as a kid reading them and seeing the way the writers would describe the heroines with these impossible figures for their body dimensions, that didn’t make sense. Yeah, somebody would be five, 10 and weigh a hundred and twenty pounds like that, you know, and they’re trying to show that they’re model, model or whatever. And a lot of times they would say something. They would describe the women as boyish and like these men were. So who, you know, used to love a voluptuous figure, now suddenly in love with this woman who is very flat chested and doesn’t have a waif. She has boyish hips and something like that. And again, people are shaped like that. Women are shaped like that. I’m not sure I don’t have a problem with that. But it was such a wish fulfillment for the writer, because I would think I would see these descriptions of the heroine and flip to the back, because back then, most of the books would have the author on the back cover and she would not look like the way that she was. You know, the heroine was being described. Not to say that, you know, the heroine should look like the person writing, but it was just very much like, do you know anybody who actually looks like this?

S8: Because a five 10 woman, that’s one hundred and twenty pounds, I don’t know with what’s happening here.

S14: And so now I’m seeing a lot more realistic shapes and figures ones. You know, there are a lot more that are being described as curvy or plus size or something like that. And I recently interviewed Rebecca Wetherspoon, a love Rebekah’s. Yes, I do, too. And she talks about that. She was like, you know, in my friend group, all of us wear glasses, but we don’t often see characters in romance novels who are wearing glasses on it. But she writes, people in who wear glasses just like on a regular basis. And then that’s going to take them off in order to be pretty right.

S5: Because they’re pretty white glasses. All my life, I had to fight.

S7: I read romance novels where I was kind of like, does everyone just have perfect vision? Because image needs glasses. Like, I cannot see shit beyond how many meters. And I need I need my representation and to bring up the cliche representation matters. And I remember reading stories where the woman wore glasses. And one of the hardest things I ever read in a romance novel was when the guy offered, he was like, Can I take these off? And I was like, you can take everything off like this.

S5: I have really that part of. And I was like, yes, because what happens is I wear glasses clean, bright, and, you know, I wear contacts when I’m like out in public, but at home I’m in my glasses. But that’s what happens when you’re with your blue and y’all are getting ready to kiss and suddenly, you know, your glasses got face oil on us and he goes, can I take these off? Yes, you may put them right there on the table, face up so that my glasses don’t get scratched. Thank you. Thank you.

S9: I’m going to name some of my favorite authors and maybe for our listeners out there, if they haven’t read these people, they can go out and check them out from their library or whatever.

S14: We talked about elliptical and Rebecca Wetherspoon. I said, Beverly Jenkins, Julie Carwood, Lisa ClearPath, who I know she loves to play as she’s so good, so good. If you’re interested in paranormal stuff. I love Rochelle Moeed, Janine Frost, L.A. Banks, and of course, Charlaine Harris, who wrote The Trueblood Love House. I love those books. Me too. Holly Trent, there’s another series by an author named James Wells that I really enjoy. Um, for thrillers like I mentioned, Nora Roberts, Senator Brown, Lisa Jackson, Heather Graham, not the actor. Thanks for the clarification. Yeah, those are some people that I that I really enjoy reading their books. And I don’t know what I would do if I was not able to read a romance novel while I am at a point now in my life where I can read to two or three books at a time, which I really don’t enjoy. But just because of the nature of what I have to do, I have to read more than one book at a time. And there’s always going to be a romance novel in that group of books that I’m reading because it’s just I just get so much pleasure from them.

S7: Right, to kind of copy Nicole a little bit. I’m going to just mention a couple of names. You mentioned a few people that I love already political will read literally anything. One of the books I really recommend is the one that she wrote that is centered around like the Freedom Rides. Again, you are thinking about I wonder if and it’s like no has thought about it. What if people were kissing you like your record on civil rights, do it. So I love ellipticals, books. I will read everything she publishes. I really love Tallia here, but I’ve mentioned her. She has like a short story that you can read that’s on topic. So if you don’t want to buy one of her books just yet, you want to kind of trial the goods. Go read her Christmas romance on that. But also, I urge you to just put the kid, put the money on. You can do whatever reading you have and just get a tally book. She’s fantastic. I love Jasmine Guillory. Just really, really solid. Kind of like rom com again with heroines that feel like real people as opposed to kind of like composites of like desirable traits. I really love that. And again, women who are not all, you know, skinny, light skinned black girls like it’s all other colors. And I’m proud of it. I’m really glad. Um, who else do I really love? Lisa Claypans, of course. Courtney Millán. Love her stuff. Really love her stuff. So reach out to these people. And the good thing is if you follow these writers on Twitter, you will find recommendations in their own Twitter. So like that for me has been like the best way. Like if my favorite also likes you, I’m going to give you a try. Right. And then, you know, I’ve read a couple of I’m going to like I guess we’re not aligned on this one. But for the most part, the recommendations are on point. And I kind of find myself finding new new books that way. So I can’t recommend those people enough. If we have any more, we’ll put them up on our Twitter so you can kind of get yourself a little first reading list going. Um, but, Nicole, I’m so glad we got to kind of sit and wax lyrical about romance novels.

S10: So I love romance novels so much I can talk about them all the time.

S6: Look, if there are any publishing industry giants out there, give me an imprint and I will help you with romance acquisitions. That shit.

S3: Yeah, if that’s all, she will do it. She’s not joking. She has the chops.

S6: If we’re, you know, if everybody’s still trying to make sure that the publishing industry is inclusive. And it’s not just a little trend while the protests are still happening. Oh, holler at me and I will help you acquire romance novels of various various genres. OK, and different authors. I got you.

S12: Damn, I am so excited for this week’s fanfic wars, Nicole.

S15: I don’t know if I’m excited, but I know there is like a there’s a tight fist just sitting in my chest and I’m just kind of like, is that my heart? I don’t know, because romance novels mean so much to both of us. Yes. Yeah. And we are not professional romance novel writers. No, we’re just very avid fans at this stage. Anyway, perhaps there’s a romance in our future, she said, begging the universe to please throw a romance contract way that I brought it up.

S3: So I’m excited.

S15: To hear your travel this week, because I don’t know which of the many wonderful, gorgeous, beautiful tropes from romance novels that you’ve zeroed in on, and I’m excited to see where you’ve gone and how you’ve handled it. And, yeah, this is me talking too much because I’m very excited.

S5: Do you want me to say which one I chose? I just go into it and then I say, I feel like I feel like tell me before. I want to I want to get into the headspace. OK, so I chose the one where they meet on vacation. They have a little fling and when they come back to their real world, they realize, oh shit, you know, like, they like a job interview or something happens where they connect and they’re like, oh, the person that I love it, love it.

S3: I’m ready.

S5: OK, let me let me take a sip of big water like big water and then begin Nicole. And also, I just want to make sure that people are aware that this is just a random name in here. I’m not focusing on any particular celebrity or anything. Good point. Because I also have gone down that road. I just yeah, this is like a real departure for me not to marry Sue myself. Yes.

S16: OK, I was ready for this. I just come back from an incredible two week vacation. My Ruby Brown tent made me feel invincible, like I still have the sun under my skin, which was buzzing with confidence and memories. As I pressed the elevator button, I had a quick flash of Simon, the guy I met on vacation, and his hand as he reached for it, depress my. The elevator arrived and I shook the memory from my head. The mirrored walls inside reflected my goofy grin back at me and I tried to get my face under control. The trip back to Rome had been exactly what I needed. A way to prepare for this pitch by clearing my head and getting a little strange without worrying about how to get rid of him later on assignment. He’d been so good. We had some tourist adventures together, but out of all the incredible meals, the feeling of the wind in my face as I sat behind him on his scooter, the breathtaking sights of the ancient ruins, I think what I remember most is the sound of his knocking against my door late at night at the elevator door opened on the floor. I needed I cleared my throat and gave myself a little pep talk play time, no matter how delicious it was, was over. I needed to focus on this pitch that could put me in some of Hollywood’s most exclusive rooms. I was early, but I didn’t mind. I refused to play on my phone, so I admired my pedicure. As I repeated my pitch inside my head, I will go to my toes. And again, a vision of Simon. His mouth against the curve of my foot appeared. I could almost hear his laughter again if I close my eyes to dwell in the memory. Then I realized it wasn’t inside my head. It was coming down the hall at me. There he was, Simon, Mr. Vacation Sex Mouth. He was chatting with a couple of other people who were all headed right for me. I heard him say my uncle couldn’t make it today, so I’ll be here to listen to that. He raised his head and saw me. He stopped for a second long enough for his colleagues to look for the reason he’d interrupted himself. The vacation son inside me turned cold before blazing back to life in a comet of embarrassment. And then he smiled. It was the same smile he gave me when he knew his cheesy but sweet pickup line had worked at the hotel bar. Oh, God, I’m in trouble.

S3: A car was on vacation. Sex Miles. What a beauty. Wow. Thanks, Nicole. Oh, OK. Now I want to go on holiday to boo hoo way.

S5: Yeah. What a what a treat. Thanks, Nicole. Thank you. What treat do you have in store for us. Nice going. Real nice. Smooth. Oh yeah. I mean it looks like butter. I went for one of my favorite things which is kind of like friends, co-workers and something has happened to change things. Uh, and then now on a slightly kind of uneven footing because one of my favorite trips of all time is always friends to love is love. It is just OK. It just it gives me so much, you know, because then we have like the ease of like friendship and banter and then it just kind of like, you know, look at nice foundation. I love that shit. So like you, I, I’ve actually I’ve actually got to no names. Oh OK. Right. And I did something that I don’t normally do which is like. Not written in first person before because, you know, right, because I was like a romance novel, it’s sometimes it’s like a self narrated othertimes, just like she and he. He and he or they and she or whatever. I wanted to kind of have that kind of anonymous feel to it. So I hope you like, OK, change things up.

S3: Let’s go. Nobody will hype you up like a black woman. Let’s go. OK. All right.

S1: It was sitting there innocently enough the next morning, as usual, nothing had changed for that cup of coffee. It came from the cafe a few blocks away from the office, and it was iced with a dash of milk and precisely two generous pools of simple syrup. Exactly how she liked it. It sat now sweating condensation onto the little coaster, she insisted on using much to her co-workers amusement. Well, he’d never laughed at her for using a coaster at work. No, he laughed only at her jokes, even when they were just barely funny. But he never laughed at her. So the coffee on the desk meant things were still OK, right, that nothing had been so drastically changed that they couldn’t go back to normal? Yes, that’s what it meant. She raised herself on the arms of her chair, tensing them as her head swivel to check if he was at his desk. She could see his dark head bent over his computer. As usual, he was always early, but not in that showy way of the brownnoser. He was just a diligent guy. It’s what had made her like him in the first place, and then they’d actually become friends. Despite her general belief that she had enough friends, they became real friends who hung out away from work. They saw movies. They went to the occasional gig. They shared recipes that even met various family members. From time to time, she sank back down into her seat, chewed her lip. One of them had to say something. She checked her phone for a text from him, but there were only messages from her other best friend asking what she was going to do. She shook her head and took another sip of coffee, this time for Fortitude, and stood up. Hey, she started when she got to his desk and then he looked up and her resolve to sweep past this thing crumbled, his warm, brown eyes curious behind those slightly round spectacles of his a small smile curving his lips. He looked like he’d been waiting for her to come around. And her hesitation, he wheeled his chair back a little so he could look back at her properly in the widening silence. He smiled. I’m not sorry about what happened yesterday, he said quietly. She loved how discreet he always was. So if you had to say it shouldn’t happen again, I’m going to have to protest vigorously. His tone was teasing, but she could tell he was serious. We should talk about it, he continued, and I know we will, but I just want you to know I don’t regret it. Well, this was unexpected, a few more bits of silence and then she cleared her throat ineffectually, OK, then she choked out and began backing away from his desk, but then she was stopped short by his voice. Lunch, he asked, and his voice sounded sure and strong, she beat back the smile that threatened to take over her whole face. Yes, she said, we’ll talk at lunch.

S17: All clear in the deaths of clearing the desks are OK, huh?

S5: Yeah. It’s a good week yet again. We are in a travel bag.

S17: Yeah. I really need to figure, like, I don’t look like, wow, I’m still sweating from yours.

S15: So this feels like a nice fair exchange. This is good boy. All right.

S3: So, listeners, listen, you don’t even have to gas us because we’re pretty gassed about our own fucking efforts.

S15: But you have the option to vote for your favorite driver because that’s what Fanfic Wars is nominally about. The we pitch to different stories and then you guys pick which one, you know, most moves you. So you have two options. There is the trope of, you know, the holiday labor comes back in a strong wind or there is the friends who maybe did something that they can’t come back from in the office is great. So those are the two options. We’re going to put a poll out on our Twitter, which is at first aid kit, and we’d like to let you sit with it for a full 24 hours. And then we put out the poll and you get to vote on your favorites. And as we say, every single week, what we mean is there are literally no losers here.

S1: Everybody wins because you have to draw tables and you get to just let your mind wander down whatever path it takes you, huh?

S17: Yes, all of that.

S12: Take it as a slight production produced by Cher visiting us, Nicole Perkins, and then add on me. Our music is by Tanya Morgan. You can follow the show on Twitter at First Aid Kit. And we’re also on Tumblr at First Aid Kit podcast, Tumblr dot com. If you send us an Oscar. We may answer it. You can live tweet Yelitza whenever a new episode drops, join our other thirst buckets every Thursday or any other time by using the hashtag Taposh. That’s OK. Or you could write us an email Thursday at Slate dot com if you prefer. If you want to use our first Amedure service, just send us a short and we mean no longer than a minute. Voice notes via email at first aid kit at select dot com you can find all of our episodes and links to listen at Slate dot com slash podcast if you find yourself wishing you could get even more thirsty content every week. Well, now you can. All you have to do is become a slate plus member plus a Slate membership program for just thirty five dollars for the first year. You’ll get a little extra from this show and all other slate shows. Plus absolutely no ads. Visit Slate dot com slash first aid plus definer.

S15: OK, guys, that’s it. Take care of yourself. Stay away from crowds, wear your mask, wash your hands and save lives. Stay thirsty by.

S1: So if you had to say it shouldn’t happen again, I’m going to have to protest vigorously.

S17: Oh, fuck that.

S3: I got five.

S18: Hello, how are you doing? Hello, I hope everyone is still doing quite well.

S15: I love how we’ve slowly moderated quite well. That’ll do. Are you alive? Are you above ground? Are you struggling and maintaining? Great. You’re doing amazing, sweetie. Nicole, it’s been it’s been a weird week. Summer is here and we’re all into it. Well, not all of us, as I’ve seen on Instagram, because why are people outside?

S5: I don’t want to be a harsh judge of people. You know, I’ve been trying to enjoy some outdoor drinks with friends, trying to feel, you know, trying to get a sense of my own comfort level with being right back outside and everything.

S19: And I got to say, it’s not that comfortable. It is. I’m definitely aware of, you know, the danger for our waitstaff and the people who are taking care of our needs. I’m also very much aware of the people who are walking behind me on the street and coming, oh, my God, on the sidewalk.

S3: So I just want everything to stay at a distance.

S15: This is how you always end up feeling incredibly rude, but you’re like from six feet just approximates it. I know. You know, the distance between us is not six feet, like, right now, just approximate like do you really believe this is six feet? I can feel your breath on my neck like I have become incredibly like I’ve become a purveyor of the aggressive neck switch where I kind of like pointedly turn to stare at someone until they back the fuck up. And I’m like, oh my God, I really have become all my aunties, but I’m leaning into it, man.

S19: Yeah, I was at dinner the other night and, you know, we were outside and one of my friends noticed a man walking up order. So of course she hit him with the stair, like, what are you doing? And then I turned to look and see who she was staring at. So then I see that he’s like kind of creeping up on us. And then I’m giving him the look of what are you doing?

S5: And then he comes to the table and it turns out he was actually the owner of the restaurant that we were. Oh, it was really creepy the way they identify yourself. Yeah, subliming.

S19: Yes, it was weird.

S20: But speaking of distance, a always the smoothest possible Segway. They call it Janicki.

S19: This plus segment is going to be about love at a distance.

S15: You know why we’re such experts? I can’t believe how smooth that went, Nicole. I actually I’m actually a little bit in awe. I know you shouldn’t clap yourself on the back, but I’m clapping myself on the back. We did that. OK, I’m intrigued by this because I feel like it has been a thing that people have been thinking about in very specific terms since the pandemic began, because there were all the, you know, ridiculous ideas. This will be over by August, that lull. Right. And that we would be able to pick up where we were. But instead, I found that I’ve noticed anyway, amongst my friends who are dating, there is a lot of dating happening with incredible new processes to get through in order to make a date work in these current socially distanced times. And of course, that made us think about all the movies where it wasn’t the coronavirus that was the overarching villain, but there was some kind of spectre that was looming that made it impossible or maybe more difficult for young lovers or middle aged lovers, whomever, to actually connect. And so they had to find inventive new ways of being, you know, sexy. So we’re going to go into a few of them. I’m going to start off with one of my favorite favorite movies, but also one of my favorite rom coms. It is, of course, the truth about cats and dogs.

S5: Yes. Which I still have not seen fully to this day. I would one day I will. One day I will just so we could continue our bonding as friends.

S15: Because, Nicole, it’s so fundamentally important to my sense of being, am I understanding of romance? I can’t even lie. I saw that maybe as a teenager I was so taken because it has a very obvious known kind of storyline. It’s basically mistaken identity. It’s a bit of, you know, I suppose Princess and the Frog or whatever the fuck, you know, it’s Cyrano de Bergerac. It’s a number of things. But essentially it’s a story of two friends that are. So that as friends, they’re kind of neighbors who become friends and one of them works for the radio, for the radio station doing like a pet call in show, and one day there’s a voice on the phone. He’s got a problem with his dog. And I say that because Jeanine Garofalo, who plays Abby, she says, what’s the matter with your dog in an approximation of the man’s voice? And of course, that was the point at which I fell fully in love with you because I was like, oh, my God, take the piss out of my accent, Janine. I love it. Anyway, there’s a mistaken thing because he kind of falls in love with the voice on the radio and she’s so insecure and also very aware of societal standards. And so she presents her next door neighbor, Uma Thurman, as you know, as herself. And so, of course, Brian is falling in love with the person that looks like him with them, but whose mind belongs, Jeanine Garofalo. It’s very, very beautiful. But because of this confusion, there is a pivotal moment where they’ve been kind of doing this weird dance where she’s hiding who she is, even though she’s obviously falling more and more in love with him. And at one point he calls and she kind of puts on her fake voice, hi, she’s doing a fake voice, whatever. And he goes, OK, you talk like you talk on the radio. And she goes, that that I can do. And then. Yes, and then they start having a seven hour, like, overnight conversation. And somewhere like in that, this phone call is fucking epic. She plays the violin to him over the phone. They talk about their stances on tuna sandwiches. They talk about their cats, their pets. They talk about I mean, it’s just like this. It’s one of those nights that you think to yourself, my God, I want to have a seven hour conversation with someone and never get tired. Now, what I love about it, that it is so fucking retro. They are both on landlines, right? Yes. That really appeals to the Luddites in me. I’m like, yeah, take me back to the dial phone.

S5: Yes, that’s great.

S19: I also just kind of miss being on the phone with somebody for that long, like, you know, now I cringe any time my phone rings. I don’t know why, because when I was a teenager, I love talking on the phone, which my mother will tell you about one day. But now I guess because I’m used to multitasking, but when you’re on the phone with someone, you have to be present in a particular kind of way. So I guess I resent the I guess I resent the idea that I have to sit still and pay attention to somebody for a little bit, which is actually a good thing. But frankly, it’s a good thing. But like right now, the way the state of the world is and all these distractions coming at us is hard for me to deprogram myself from all of that. But I do miss being on the phone with somebody for that.

S15: And all of this this phone call culminates in I don’t even know if you can call it. It’s a sort of mutual a mutual sex act, but that’s a really far distance. And at one point, I think he kind of says something like, I think you ask the question like he kind of floats the idea that they were about to do something right. They’ve been chatting all this time and she kind of makes a joke and he says this beautiful thing, his voice is all pain that he’s like in the moment. And he goes, no, don’t you make a joke of it. We’re not going to do what I think we’re about to do. And when I was a teenager, I was like, oh, my God, what are they about to do? But for me, it remains like a touchstone of kind of like, you know, love at a distance.

S16: Yes. So, you know, you mentioned connecting with only half of what you usually have when you’re trying to connect with somebody.

S19: And that brings us to my movie that and we’re going to talk about, which is 40 days and 40 nights stuck.

S5: ALICO. Yes, I’m ready. Josh Hartnett and Shannon Sozzani, right from 2002. What a blast from the past two names. Yes.

S19: Just, you know, basically a movie dedicated to the tech start up pretty much.

S3: Oh, yes. Oh, my God. The dotcom bubble. Yeah. Yeah. What a time capsule. Yes.

S19: So the premise of this is Josh’s character. He had a break up and then he was, you know, being a ho and he decided he took some advice from his brother, who is a priest, are becoming a priest. I think he is a priest that he be that he abstain from sex for Lent for forty days and 40 nights.

S15: And this is like all sex, including self pleasure.

S19: Yes, all sex. But he cannot masturbate. He cannot have any physical contact with anybody. Which, of course, is when he meets Shannon’s character in the Laundromat. She is perfect, right?

S5: Of course, manic pixie before the manic pixie. Exactly.

S19: And they hit it off. They’ve got great chemistry together. And he he doesn’t tell her fully, like why he can’t be physically intimate with her.

S5: But they do get to this point where they’ve had a date and he’s over her place and he’s got an orchid.

S21: OK, I.

S5: And they start not really making out, but just like being very close and like, you know, feeling the heat from each other’s bodies without, you know, contact and he takes the orchid and he is lightly dragging it down her body, her torso. So it’s a lot of hot shots of her belly trembling and belly like that’s like my stomach, but OK. Right. Of course, it’s very flat. And I remember I recently watched this back in May. Right. Oh, wow. What a time to be revisiting. Yes. And I tweeted, I was like, you know, my reaction.

S19: Twenty two. When I first saw this, it was also when I was dealing with the breakup of my own. And I was like, oh my God, he made her come with an orchid because she does reach a climax.

S3: Full completion.

S19: Yes. Just from this flower touching her. But I was like, oh, you know, in 2002 when I first saw it, I had a broken heart and I was like, oh, my God, I can’t believe he made her come with an orchid. Right. And then the next time I saw it, which was probably about 10 years later, 2012, and I was like, no, I don’t know.

S5: I was watching it in May of twenty twenty.

S3: I was like, oh my God, people are touching a cycle of emotions.

S19: So it really depends on where you are in life, how is how this particular scene is going to hit you. But it’s still about a bit of distance, right. Because he is trying to learn who he is when he is not using women for sex in order to get over a broken heart. He’s trying to make sure that he is a good person for this new woman in his life to make sure that he is completely over all of his stuff, that he’s gotten rid of his baggage. And he’s also just trying to learn new ways of expressing love and desires. Right.

S15: That’s the that’s the bit that is most interesting to me, is like trying to understand yourself. Like, is that thing that therapists ask, like, you know, what is health care look like if you don’t spend money? And it’s like, oh, shit, yes.

S3: What is that? I don’t know. Oh, you mean capitalism will cure me? What the fuck? I was sold a lie.

S15: That’s basically the for me, that’s the romance of that character. He’s trying to figure out who he can be, how he can be a good partner without the usual fallbacks. Right.

S19: Yes. But anyway, 40 days and 40 nights, the orchid scene love when you have a emotional and spiritual distance at play. Yes.

S15: Yes. Oh, beautifully said. I love that. Yes. And I have I have a very quick a little thing that I know we both enjoyed as well with our producer share again in the before times we went to see James McAvoy play Sarah No. And that for me, you know, I’ve mentioned cats and dogs, but also Sarino is a classic example of, again, a sort of weird barrier where you are in conversation with the object of your desire, but you are unable to reveal, like your feelings or the depth of your feelings. And for me, what I love about the barrier between Sarino and Roxann is just the fact that I don’t know, I’ve read it. I sort of like she may have had an inkling, but she never gave it the room. Meanwhile, he is this tortured creature, you know, that great bit where, you know, McAvoy does the. I want I want I just kind of like, my God, it is rendered so beautifully. Like he is aching. He is longing. He’s yearning. Yes. And she’s right in front of him and he can’t do shit. I’m sorry, but please inject it directly into my eyeballs.

S19: Yes, I, I don’t know that I can say that I love every iteration of the theory on de Bergerac storyline that I have no cross show. But yes, James McAvoy, which we’ve talked about in our episode to him, he is so good at longing and yearning and really one of the most passionate actors. I feel like he just like I’m sure his partners have always been, you know, satisfied on one particular level at least.

S5: Oh, my God. Whether he has been able to, you know, satisfy their emotional needs, I don’t know. I don’t know what I mean. Well, I don’t know. No, because that’s his business. But I know exactly what you mean. He definitely telegraphs it.

S15: Yes. And that’s a very good actor, because I had, like, believing shit and I know nothing, and yet I feel as though I know everything. Yes. And there’s a there’s a bit in this particular production of Sciarrino where Siriano says he wants to undo the tiny buttons on Rakkasans, whatever piece of clothing I think has shirts or whatever. And it’s a beautiful Segway into a film that I know you love very much.

S5: Yes. The Age of Innocence movie with Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day Lewis.

S19: Mhm. Wow.

S3: OK, 1993. I love it.

S5: You picture the scene in 1993. I love it. Tell people directed by Martin Scorsese. Yeah it is. You would not think it would be my thing. Right.

S19: It really is because again it is about longing and what happens when you cannot, you cannot make it happen. You cannot answer the call that’s coming between the two people and how you just have to move on. And what does that mean? And if you still end up with longing for that person, if you still desire that person. But OK, Daniel Day Lewis, Michelle Fischer, they can’t be together. Daniel Day Lewis is engaged and then married to a well-known writer. Michelle Pfeiffer is like her cousin or something who has come to New York because of a scandal involving her own marriage and relationships. So she’s kind of a bit of an outcast in society. But Daniel Day Lewis sees her because he’s in love with her immediately. And fast forward there in a carriage together under all this tension has been building and they’re in a carriage together. As she places her hand, Michelle Pfeiffer places her hand on top of his just for a moment. And then he covers her hand and they’re both gloved, right? They have on their gloves because I got the metaphor.

S5: They’re both gloves. Oh, we.

S19: Oh, and then you see the close up of his hands as he’s taking off his glove, like, oh, we’re going back now.

S3: Oh, I was going straight to rule building. Amazing. I love it.

S19: And then he picks up her hand, which of course we can see how delicate her hand is and compared to his so she has these buttons at her wrist of the gloves and he under the buttons. Yes. And then he spreads the buttons apart in this really nasty way.

S3: That’s nasty.

S15: I don’t know. I can’t imagine just says he directs. What are you going to do is peel back.

S21: I was disgusted.

S3: Yes. He spreads the buttons apart with his friends. That’s why he’s doing this. I know no other way to read it. He’s saying, hey, I had you like previous. A preview is disgusting. Actually, I bet he brings her wrist to his mouth to kiss, which is so hot.

S19: It is.

S5: So, yes. You made my pulse point. Yes. Yes. And then they do eventually kiss. And actually the kiss doesn’t look great to me. Always horror. It’s horrible.

S15: I don’t know what Daniel Day Lewis was doing, but their mouths are just like open and bumping and it just looks cold and wet and unpleasant. It’s like being slapped by a fish through the screen.

S19: Yes. Yes. I really don’t know who chose to make that kick.

S3: That right.

S5: Choices were made and they were all bad choices.

S19: But that moment is again another example of distance because of societal expectations, because of ethical obligation, marital obligations and things, not small things.

S5: Right.

S19: So they are clearly physically present with each other, but they just can’t be together in the way that they want to. And so, yeah, it’s a it’s a really beautiful scene that surprised me at its beauty until until the kiss. But I just love that the you know, to go back to our theme love at a distance, all the things that could be keeping us apart and the ways that we try to, you know, bridge that gap in whatever ways that we can go. This story doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending for the two of the four. There are two characters, but it’s still you know, it’s still a really solid storytelling in that moment. It’s. Chefs, kiss her.

S15: All right, guys, well, hope you enjoyed all of that and we’ll see you next time by.