So, for the first time since my children were born, I went on a "girls only" vacation. Three days, sans kids for a vacation. Not for a conference, not for work. Just for fun. It was lovely.
And while I was there, I realized that, after sixteen years of being with the same man, my flirting skills are severely out of practice.
My single friend's, however, are not.
Now, let me be clear: my flirting skills were probably never that great. This particular friend had much better flirting skills than I ever had, back when we were twenty-one. So I decided if I'm going to write the contemporary floating around in my head, I really should observe flirting as it occurs in the wild.
It was fascinating to watch the single person in his/her natural habitat. I write historicals and paranormals, where the laws of normal courtship behavior are somewhat different than they are for today's single people. As I watched, serving my function as "the grenade" as my husband put it, I kept wanting to pull the Goddess strings.
As the evening unfolded, I realized I didn't have the power to change the course of the evening. For once, in watching a courtship take place, I didn't have the power to make things more subtle, or less obnoxious (mostly me, as my filter had turned off. Like my muse, my filter is surprisingly fickle). And it disturbed me more than I care to admit.
What do you mean, I don't get to control this?
Most of my friends are married, and I've haven't been to a bar with a single gal on the prowl in probably a decade. As I chatted with my friend's, um, intended, I realized how badly I wanted to control the entire situation. I wanted to categorize what genre this evening will fall into, thereby giving me a clue as to how it will end.
Is it a mystery/suspense?
Because if it is, this darling, obviously bright, and undeniably rich kid (and yes, I referred to him as "the kid") is a serial killer, and there's a nondescript van sitting in the parking lot. In which case, my friend is not the heroine of the tale. This night will end with whips and chains, and not in a good way.
Is it a romance?
Because then, after a series of misadventures, the doctor and the well-educated kid will fall in love, and the happy couple will make their home in the country, where the doctor will find a job in a small, local hospital. They'll have a passel of kids and living happily ever after.
Is it erotica?
In that case, after a night of torrid passion that I won't get into here (but which might entail the aforementioned whips and chains, but in a good way), the couple may or may not part ways. But both parties will be satisfied. Since it's an erotica and not a cautionary tale, no one goes home with some random STD, either.
Oh, and if I controlled the evening, I could later go back and delete all those really obnoxious things I said. As I mentioned, my filter was disabled at the time. I thought I was funny. I may not have been.
As it turned out, the night didn't fall into any of those categories. The "grenade" (yes, me) worked her magic, and the female lead went back to her room with nothing more than a business card. No whips or chains involved. Instead, it was Advil and water and a shower.
I may not be the author goddess of real life, but I am a darn good hook-up grenade.
Meggan makes her home in the Wild West with her lawman husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets. When she's not writing or working the day job, she can be found playing with her kids, hiking in the mountains, or reading a book.