And when I speak with these clubs, we all generally end up sighing and dreaming about the male protagonist who is, I have to admit, quite sigh-worthy and dreamy. That’s the great part about being a writer. I get to live with the perfect man. On the page, anyway. (Real life is, of course, disappointingly different.) But I get to create my own version of a super man, and in both Confessions of Super Mom and Super Mom Saves the World, that man is Carl. A rumpled, myopic tall drink of water; broad shouldered, narrow-waisted, and very, very attentive to his superhero girlfriend. In all the right ways, if you know what I mean. This is a woman who needs a good lay, and she gets one. Or two. Or three...
So women always, always tend to swoon and sigh over Carl. But I was a tad startled to find out that male readers don’t react to him in quite the same way. Male readers tend to view him with suspicion. There has to be something wrong with him, they say. He’s just too perfect. They remain convinced, to the bitter end, that he’ll end up to be a super villain wolf in sexy sheep’s clothing. Because he’s just too good. Too handsome. Too considerate.
The first time I heard this, I was stunned. So were the other women in the book club. While I love to hear how different people read the book, and the subtle things they pick up on that even I don’t see, I had to admit to this poor man that I never, ever, intended anything shadowy about Carl. He was my fantasy man, pure and simple. Good through and through. Why on earth would someone think he wasn’t…….?
Unless that someone was threatened. And that’s when I realized what was going on. Men don’t like Carl—who, after all, is a female writer’s idealized fantasy—just as women don’t like Pamela Anderson. (Who, after all, is a male plastic surgeon’s idealized fantasy.) When confronted by a perfect specimen of the same sex, we all react in the same way. We’re suspicious, we’re distrustful, we’re disgusted—we’re threatened.
Try as we all did, the women in this book club and I just could never convince Mr. Lone Male Reader that Carl was just as I’d written him—good, kind, thoughtful and extremely sexy. He refused to believe it because he could never live up it. Even though it was just a book. And even though, honestly, the qualities in Carl that we women find so dreamy really aren’t that out of reach for most men. I mean, how difficult is it to be honest? Slightly nerdy, in a ruggedly handsome way? Funny, observant, thoughtful...
And really, how hard is it to give a superwoman a mind-blowing sexual experience underneath a pine tree, satisfying her first before thinking about yourself....
Oh. Never mind.
Just as we mere mortal women know that we can never look like Wonder Woman when we’re in our sixties, as she is, I guess men understand their limitations, too. And apparently, understanding the art of the female orgasm is one of them. And so men just naturally distrust the fictitious super man who can do this, who can give a superhero the sexual experience of her life—and live to tell the tale. Heedless of his own health and safety because, after all, nobody really knows what’s going to happen when a hyper-molecularly charged person who shoots cleaning fluid out of her fingers with the power of 10,000 Swiffers is in the throes of her first orgasm in about ten years. Obviously, it’s a dangerous place to be. For a mere man.
But not for our hero, not for my idea of the perfect superhero love interest. And so he must bear the withering disdain of my male fans out there. Those fans who know that, faced with the same situation, they’d not be up to the task. So to speak.
So—mind-blowing female superhero orgasm. The perfect man. Both unattainable fantasy. But both equally yummy to contemplate. For women, anyway.
For men, I suppose it’s just another case of performance anxiety. Maybe, in the future, I should include a free packet of Viagra with every book.
**For more about Melanie and her books, drop by her super site. Or you can check out her blog, The Refrigerator Door. ;)