Instant chemistry is not a science; nor, come to think of it, electricity is always electricity. As I discovered while reading a romantic thriller, a totally new genre for me, when people feel instant chemistry it means they are ready to fall in bed, and then maybe in love, in that order. The phenomenon is supposed to be mutual: they see each other for the first time and feel that indefinable SOMETHING. They touch accidentally and there’s electricity, a spark, a tingle. They glance at each other and shudder. Quite often they succumb to desire at the end of Day 1 or even after only a few hours passed. True, occasionally they just pine away, trying to conquer their inner demons. Actually nobody can tell you how long it takes for us to realize that the person we just met is THE ONE. Some couples would tell you that they simply knew it at once; others would say it took them months or even years. There are no rules. While lust may indeed take seconds or minutes to manifest itself, love may need some real time to blossom.

There are I believe certain requirements to the main characters or a romantic novel, even if the main plot belongs into the thriller category. She is always breathtakingly stunningly jaw-droppingly knee-weakeningly unbelievably poignantly staggeringly beautiful. Needless to say whenever she appears every male head turns after her. In fact, men forget whatever it was they were doing before that gorgeous (simply gaw-jess) creature materialized in their midst flashing by like a comet and leaving stunned males in her wake. OK, I can believe albeit with great difficulty that it is indeed every man’s reaction to all that over-powering beauty, to the extent that they forget their own spouse, girlfriend, significant other, mother, sister, daughter who is at their side unaffected by the lovely vision. But to imagine that men stare at the apparition and forget their meal?! Nah, not in this universe. BTW all those knockouts practically never eat; they are slim, they have perfect figures, preferably with very long legs, and no, they seem not to need any nourishment. In my mind’s ear I suddenly hear William Petersen a.k.a. Gil Grissom of “CSI” fame intone, “Three weeks without food, three days without water”. That’s how long a human being can survive. Well, to be fair, our heroines do eat a tiny bit of something but very rarely. Yet they yell that catch-phrase, “FBI! Stop or I will shoot!” Well it may be some other alphabet agency. They kick and fight and manage to disable the most dangerous criminals, often large armed to the teeth men. I suspect they need fuel to do that. True their jobs are no picnic; some crime scenes definitely demolish anybody’s appetite. But still, a human being needs to eat, beauties and uglies alike.  

Being of an inquisitive mind I catch myself wondering when I read yet another description: what do all the un-beautiful women do? Lots of us though not staggeringly beautiful are still pretty, lovely, magnificent, attractive, impressive and generally nice to look at. Besides there is the old law of nature: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have often seen a plain or even a rather ugly woman’s face lit up and become transformed into a truly beautiful one when she sees her beloved man. It must because for him she is the most beautiful woman on earth!

What about men then, are they supposed to be handsome? Some of them are; others are not handsome but tall, strong, debonair. They know how to fight and how to use all sorts of weapons. Many of them are totally chauvinistic as in male chauvinism, sexism et cetera. I mean, imagine the hero meeting the heroine for the first time. He is an FBI (or something) agent, she is an FBI (or something) agent. He looks at her and feels instant chemistry, electricity, tingle. How does he address her? “Hey Blondie!” I ask you. It is absolutely insulting and yet her knees buckle… In the midst of a complicated investigation or even during a dangerous operation all he can think about are her plump lips and amazing curvy figure. She can’t even glance at him without feeling the “need”, the desire. Yep, it’s Day 1, and he traces his finger across her plump lips or accidentally brushes against her luscious body. And all she can do is shudder, swoon, wish to or actually mold her into him. Right after a harrowing episode of “Shots fired!” the readers are thrown into pages of steamy sex. I understand now it is a specific feature and a requirement of the genre. No, I don’t understand the reasons for those long descriptions. Those of us who know how do not need them; those who don’t know – well, theory is not practice. I confess: I skip them. But since the books are published and the genre is very popular, I wish to understand why. That must be the researcher in me acting. Also because the writing is often really good, with solid convoluted plots and believable characters, I read one occasionally. During a long flight for instance or at night in a hotel in a strange city, such a novel acts as pure escapism.

I asked my husband about some details which fascinate me.  Would he forget everything and stare lustily at any staggeringly beautiful woman if she passes by? He thought hard as true scientists are apt to do before replying to any question, then came up with the right answer: “I already have a staggeringly beautiful woman at home!” Would he forget his meal and let it get cold in order to stare longingly after the said woman? This question did not even require any time for thought. “You must be kidding me! Why should I let my food grow cold?!”

But yes, when one is tired or simply needs an escape, why not read a romantic thriller.



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