In nearly every book I have ever read, from classical literature to bodice-ripper romance to biography to history, there is a character, almost always female, who transforms from a quiet, bookish sort into the life of the party. This is true even if it isn’t a love story. She goes from hiding behind cozy, chunky knit sweaters to wearing figure hugging clothing, removes her glasses, lets down her hair, and everyone realizes she is beautiful.
Movies and television shows are no different. The transformation montage is trope, set to some 80s power ballad, or maybe Eye of the Tiger, and comfy, foot-shaped shoes are traded in for pointy, sexy high heeled ones. See: Grease. Which I KNOW came out in the 70s, but you get my point.
Once. Just once, I want someone to offer the quiet, bookish sort an invitation to the popular kids’ party and have her turn it down, not because she feels awkward or uncomfortable, but because she’d rather not go. “No thanks,” she’d say. “I’d rather not spend my evening with a bunch of drunken idiots. I’m an introvert, and I’ve spent all week dealing with people. I really need to recharge my batteries at home with the cat.”
Once. Just once, I want someone to offer the quiet, bookish sort a sexy red dress to replace her oversized shirt and fluffy boots and leggings and have her say, “No thanks. It’s cold out. I’m comfortable.”
“But,” the offerer would say, “You’re hiding your beautiful figure behind all that fabric. Show the world what you have to offer!”
“I’d rather not be sexualized,” she’d say. “What I have to offer is my conversation and my wit, not my cleavage and how much my waist nips in. I’d rather be comfy, thanks.”
“Then why do you spend so much time at the gym?”
“I like feeling healthy and strong.”
This renders the offerer speechless, but not the quiet young man at the next table. He clears his throat, just loudly enough for both women to look up. “Excuse me,” he says. “I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help overhearing.” He looks at the quiet, bookish lady and points at what she is reading. “How far are you into that book? I loved it.” They start talking about character development and the finer points of language. Eventually they fall in love and wear comfortable clothes and stay at home every Friday evening, declining invitations to parties and social gatherings because they’d rather stay at home and read good books and then discuss them. Every once in a while they have and go to dinner parties and go to concerts, but they always wear sensible shoes.
That’s my idea of a real love story.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.