Should I Write a Romance Novel?



The way things are going, I may never date again.


A pandemic ago, I was occasionally naked with a member of the opposite sex, but the idea of it now seems unimaginable. I don't have the body I had before the pandemic, and I've honestly never been that confident taking my clothes off in front of a guy. At this point, I genuinely can't imagine being anything less than fully dressed.


It's hard for me to believe that the sexually active cougar version of me was real. How did I ever have the nerve to put myself in those situations? (I was going to say in those positions, but that's another blog post entirely.)


I mean, it's not that I'm hideous to look at. I'm not now and I never was. But I genuinely hate my belly. It's not a body-positive thing to say but it's the fucking truth. My other body parts I can deal with. The belly is tough.


I know I'd be more confident about the idea of having sex again if I were in better shape. But the question is this: do I want to be naked with a man badly enough to give up chips and ice cream?


Short answer: no.


Don't get me wrong: when it's going well, sex with a young man is infinitely better than any junk food could be; but when it's not, I'd take a stale doughnut and lukewarm tea over having to endure those awkward (and sometimes heartbreaking) moments.


The worst thing that happens after a bowl of ice cream is a stomachache and perhaps some cellulite, but my soul and dignity are more or less intact. The worst thing that happens after a disheartening sexual experience is hating men and/or hating myself. Usually both.


And sometimes, there's tears. More often than I want to admit. Dating can be so emotionally draining. To my knowledge, ice cream has never made me cry.


So, about romance novels:


As to my understanding (which I admit is likely ill-informed), they are the literary equivalent of ice cream and chips for the sexually inactive mature woman. So while I'm stewing in my own juices about "why can't sex be as reliably satisfying as snack food," I'm wondering if I couldn't channel some of my sexual frustration into something productive: namely, writing a romance novel. Which perhaps would be read by lonely cougars like me. (With some Haagen Dazs, of course.)


I haven't had that many sexual partners (it's all relative), but I definitely have my share of stories to tell. Of course, I don't want to talk about my cougar sexual escapades in graphic detail with my name attached, on a platform such as a depressed cougar's blog...but, I mean...shouldn't I do something with them?


The whole cougar thing lends itself to some great stories - some sexy, some funny, some mortifying and some heartwarming. Often all happening on the same night.


It is slightly scandalous to date someone (or "date" someone) who's young enough to be my son. And there's something funny about trying to be on the same page with that age gap. It's led to embarrassing myself many times. (I've stopped trying to use slang I'm too old to understand.) But there's a humility that comes with that experience, and a level of vulnerability that I haven't felt the same way with men my age.


And vulnerability can be sexy.


Maybe that'll be the name of my first romance novel: "Vulnerability Can Be Sexy."


The whole cougar thing lends itself to some great stories - some sexy, some funny, some mortifying and some heartwarming. Often all happening on the same night.

I have a lot of defence mechanisms when I'm around men my age. I'll call it what it is: daddy issues. So I find when I'm "mom age" with a guy, many of those defences come down. It opens the way for intense ecstasy and brutal disappointment.


To be honest, it's a rollercoaster of emotions that often doesn't feel worth it. Except when you're in the middle of the ecstasy, of course. But before you know it, the night's over and you're left with your loneliness and your Lay's.


(That's the thing about dating so much younger: I wasn't looking for a committed relationship, and even if I was, I wasn't finding it, so I had to deal with a lot of loneliness between dates. Not easy. Slightly easier with snacks, though.)


I'd love to write romance novels anonymously so I could dig into some of the steamier memories I remind myself of when I'm particularly lonely. That's sort of all I've got to go on these days.


Maybe I'll actually do it: I'll hide away in a corner and write some saucy things in the moonlight and see if I have the nerve to submit it to Harlequin or some other such place.


I know I have it in me. The question is, would anyone want to read it?


Perhaps the more important question is this: do I dare become the version of me who writes romance novels? Do I want to meet this Mel?


Sure, why not. I've got nothing better to do. Until I'm ready to create new stories in bed, I may as well write about the old ones on my laptop. Stay tuned.



- M.B.