Thursday, May 10, 2007

Guest Bitch: Melanie Lynne Hauser talks about distrusting perfect people

As the author of two books featuring a fictitious superhero mom, I’m mainly used to speaking with readers and book clubs of the female persuasion. (Not that men don’t get off on superheroes, too, but they generally tend to fantasize about the Wonder Woman type, with those gravity-defying breasts and all. My heroine is short, dumpy, and needs a good underwire bra to go with her Spandex.)

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. ;)


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24 comment(s):

Blogger Missy said...

I have to admit, as I read Confessions of Super Mom, I did wonder for the teeniest second if there was going to be a bad side to Carl. He convinced me otherwise though!

5/10/2007 08:44:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Like they say, too good to be true. But sometimes there really are "too good to be true" things, people are just skeptical or too wary to believe something perfect exists. It's understandable i guess. I mean, how can i, oh so flawed Harlot, can compete with something so perfect? *sniff*

5/10/2007 09:03:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

You know this reminds me of a discussion i had with a friend. When i see a gorgeous woman like Angelina Jolie, i have no problem admitting to a boy/friend that she is beautiful or that i find her fuckable LOL. They, on the other hand, would never say they think a bloke like my Raoul is attractive and/or very handsome!

5/10/2007 09:11:00 AM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

I love Confessions of Super Mom! It's touching and poignant and funny. And Birdie is easy to relate with. And Carl... he's amazing. Funny, I never thought even once that there's something suspicious about him.

I suppose, like Harlot said, when things are too good to be true, we become suspicious of it. An "imperfect person" is flawed in our eyes because, well we see his flaws. It's out there, we know what's wrong with him. But when a perfect person comes, we wonder what's wrong with him. We think, surely he's hiding something?

5/10/2007 09:37:00 AM  

Anonymous Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

Hi everyone! I'm so happy to have been invited over here! I love the comments, and have to agree. Although I do think, as I said, that we tend to be a lot more distrustful when confronted by perfect people of our own sex, don't we?

5/10/2007 09:53:00 AM  

Blogger Petra said...

Hello Melanie!

People tends to be distrustful of perfect people. It's instinct I think. We see flawed characters as the norm, therefore we are cautious of "perfect" beings. And when it's our own sex, we become more distrustful! We become insecure. Personally, I won't trust someone who makes me feel inadequate. :P

5/10/2007 10:05:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Hi Melanie! So glad you can join us. :D

I too wouldn't like someone who makes me feel incompetent, someone who makes me feel I'm not enough. Like it or not, we always compete with others. Survival of the fittest and all that. We usually try to be the best in our endeavors. A perfect woman is my competition, someone who has the edge over me--and that is not acceptable! Because that means she will get better things than me because she's better. She's perfect. Of course I won't like such specimen. LOL

5/10/2007 10:25:00 AM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

Hey Melanie. I have to agree with Harlot and Petra. I think people don't like facing their flaws. When we see a "perfect woman" she reminds us of what we're missing, of what we want to have, of what we can't have or do. And usually, like you said, we could never live it up.

Melanie, I hope you don't mind me asking... what are your favorite books? :)

5/10/2007 10:44:00 AM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

We are not wired to accept perfectness because it makes us uneasy. We're not perfect beings and that's what we are used to. So when we see someone who seems to be without faults, we discriminate.

5/10/2007 12:20:00 PM  

Blogger Shoshana said...

Hmmm, I have no problem admitting if a woman is hot, and if I swing that way, I'd do her. I can also understand the reservation of admitting someone is hot, especially of same sex. Isn't that what we're supposed to do a long, long time ago?

I haven't read this book, but I can't wait to!

5/10/2007 01:08:00 PM  

Anonymous Ollenska said...

Good question. I agree, someone who appears perfect is suspicious because no one is perfect. And if something is too good to be true, they usually are! lol

Melanie, I love your hair and your Wonder Woman photo :D

Olly

5/10/2007 01:09:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

"And if something is too good to be true, they usually are! lol"

True. I had a bf who seemed too good to be true. Then he cheated!!

I really hope I win the raffle LOL

5/10/2007 02:43:00 PM  

Blogger Lorelei said...

I have no problem saying someone has an amazing pair of great legs. If she passes me by, I'll even look. I suppose it is different for a man praising another guy. They would probably appear gay?

If you meet someone perfect it's understandable to doubt said person. As they say, no one is perfect.

5/10/2007 03:10:00 PM  

Blogger Jordis said...

It's hard to accept someone perfect. We feel threatened by them. If the perfect woman moves in next door, even if she's the nicest woman on earth, one time or another I'll probably hate her. For one, she'll get all the boys. That cannot be! LOL :P

5/10/2007 03:47:00 PM  

Blogger Jolie said...

Have you ladies seen the Italian movie Malena? It stars Monica Bellucci, a period movie set during WWII. Malena's (Monica) husband leaves for war. She has to cope with that while the town she just moved to LOATHED her because she's beautiful. The women are jealous of her, they don't trust her and say she is unfaithful even when she's not. Men try to take advantage of her... bad things happen to her because she's beautiful. She has never done anything to the townspeople but they hated her because she's perfect.

It's human nature. I myself won't like a woman who would make me feel wanting. I won't beat her like the townspeople did to Malena, LOL, but I won't like her.

5/10/2007 05:25:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Jolie, i liked that movie. Very sad though. :( Oh, i remember the wanking kid LOL! I've always said i think Monica Bellucci is beautiful. ;)

5/10/2007 06:33:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

Call me skeptical but I've always felt distrustful of people who are too goody goody. I agree with what Lollie said. It's easier for us to accept a less than perfect person than someone who seems spotless. A perfect person feels like she is only perfect because we have yet to discover her flaws. And there in lies the suspicions and doubts.

5/10/2007 06:40:00 PM  

Blogger Jordis said...

Jolie, I've yet to see that movie but that's a good example. Though I think the beating part is too much.

Harlot, leave it to you to remember the wanking! LOL

5/10/2007 07:06:00 PM  

Anonymous Chiqui said...

Human nature... we object of perfect people. If they are of our own sex, the more we distrust them because we less than perfect beings feel threatened.

5/10/2007 07:21:00 PM  

Anonymous Lola Lovegood said...

I love that this happens to men too! Teehee Thought it was only us lowly females that had this issue LMAO

Great guest blog Mrs. Hauser. I already have your books in my TBR to get on them this weekend.

5/11/2007 12:03:00 AM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

I kind of like too perfect characters, like Matt Farrell in Paradise *sigh* *sigh* and it seems, Carl, who I'll be reading about soon, so let me *sigh* in advance LOL

I could see how Matt like characters could threaten real men!

5/11/2007 08:27:00 AM  

Blogger Ladybug said...

I'm not jealous of Pamela Anderson. But Angelina Jolie... she takes the cake. Not only is she gorgeous but she's got Brad Pitt too!

5/11/2007 12:51:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

Re: Angelina jolie vs. Pam Anderson.

The truth is that I don't think women like Pam A. She was mostly a male fantasy of what a hot very sexy woman looks like. I think they liked that she looked dirty LOL

In the case of Angelina, I think she's incredibly sexy and beautiful and still manages to mantain a classy attitude.

If I were a man I'd go for AJ, but lord knows, since Pam has the bigger boobs and is blond :/

5/11/2007 01:59:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

I have to agree on the Angelina Jolie thingy. Classy, sexy, beautiful, she is just stunning. Like i said, were i to stand next to her, i'd spontaneously grow a penis. :/

5/11/2007 02:13:00 PM