I consider myself a pretty ignorant male. I wouldn’t say I’m the stereotypical macho man (or alpha male) because that just seems like the typical designation for a guy who’s insensitive to anything remotely feminine. I certainly consider myself to be someone who can empathise or at least understand the needs of any person, despite their race or gender. However, when it does come to relationships I have been guilty of being either ignorant or completely oblivious to the intimate needs of a partner.

Based on this, you’d probably assume that I’ve rarely touched romance books, and your assumptions would be correct. However, I’ve always felt quite satisfied during romantic build ups in other fiction I’ve read. For example, I adored the Harry Potter and Cho Chang interactions throughout The Order of the Phoenix because it allowed us to see the growth of this character that we’d spent four books with prior. We saw Harry in a different light, and it took discovering romance and relationships for a whole new dimension of his character to be seen.

The Italian Matchmaker is a romance book I want to read
The Italian Matchmaker is on my “to be read” list.

So although I’ve shied away from romance books previously, I’ve always been intrigued by the content. That’s partly why I’ve decided to get knee deep into some romance and women’s fiction lately (With The Husband’s Secret being my first taste). I’m not the type of reader to stick to one genre, so with Valentine’s Day literally around the corner I’ve decided to plan out a bunch of romance books that I want to read this year (which I may reveal in another blog entirely).

Now, in order for me to keep this article tidy, here’s a few short reasons on why I feel it’s worth giving romance a try (as someone who’s shied away from it previously).

It’s nice having a fresh perspective

To be honest, I’ve always liked reading books with female lead characters. It’s the closest thing body-swapping with a lady and seeing the world through their eyes for a day. I love nothing more than picking up on the little things that girls think about, that a guy would usually omit from all thought patterns. Reading a romance novel enhances this as you begin to understand and empathise with females even more in certain situations.

That’s not to say that they’re always right of course, but misunderstandings are often caused in relationships by couples not being able to establish any mutual ground. Reading in this genre gives me a clearer picture on where issues (life issues in general) can stem from, and I’m now able to visualise situations from outside of my bubble of ignorance.

I urge any male reader to dive into some romance and see if they don’t get a clearer understanding on relationships.

A romantic scene

I want to gauge my level of emotion

Some romance is suspenseful, some romance is funny and cheerful, but oftentimes romance stories are tragic. I consider myself to have the emotional range of a spoon (I got that from somewhere), and as someone who’s had to deal with some heavy circumstances since I was young, I can imagine that I come across heartless to many. However, somewhere inside I know I’m a softy; I’m just extremely good at suppressing it due to my need to stay strong in my day-to-day life.

This is why I’m excited by the challenge of reading a real tear-jerker to see if it can penetrate my barrier. Only one book ever has affected me emotionally to the point It altered my behavior after reading it, and that was when I was about thirteen. I’ve longed to have that lingering emotional attachment to a story again, so I hope that there’s some romance material out there that can feed my masochistic needs.

To gain a better understanding of the genre

Currently, I don’t know what makes a classic romance novel. Sure, I can review a book subjectively based on the writing, flow of the story and the format. But there are people who have read hundreds of romance novels, and thus they know what makes a noteworthy book. I want this knowledge. I want to be able to finish a random romance novel in a weekend and think “Wow that was excellent”, and actually elaborate on why it was excellent in ways that only a true romance reader would comprehend.

Are there rules a romance novel should follow? If so I’m truly oblivious to it at this moment.

Why you need to read more romance

Do you want to read more romance? Leave your comments.

So there you have it, that’s my brain dump on why I’ve decided to explore the romance genre. As I write this it’s a the day before Valentine’s Day. Why not buy your lady a book (in addition to all the gifts you should have already bought her) and buy yourself a copy of the same book so that you can read it together? I happen to know that this goes down really well, trust me. So whether you’re a male that also reads romance, or a female who has a perspective on reading romance, please leave your comments below.