Yesterday I read this fabulous post by Cassandre Dayne about Sexy Lingerie and the effect it has on a woman’s sense of well-being. She’s right, you know… buying pretty things isn’t just about pleasing your partner – it’s about making yourself feel better too. It’s about the effort to pamper yourself and tell yourselfthat yes, I am worth it.
But she got me thinking (which we know is always dangerous) about my personal situation and the whole concept of sexy. Different women are always in different situations, so what may make one woman feel beautiful might destroy the self-confidence of another. Case in point:
I can tell you from experience that when you’ve just passed the 7-month mark in a pregnancy, looking at pictures of beautiful women in skimpy underwear is a bit depressing. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy having something pretty to wear, but when you look like you’re smuggling a basketball under your shirt, it’s hard to think sexy thoughts. I’m not really all that fond of looking at me right now, so I can’t imagine anyone else would either. Aside from the obvious belly-rubs and oh-aren’t-you-just-the-cutest-thing grins. [insert sarcastic eyeroll here]
Well what about after the baby is born, Siobhan? You could wear the pretty things then!
True… but I’m also not one of those gorgeous women in those catalog photos. While I’ve been careful not to gain much weight so far, I know that what’s coming in the next few months is going to destroy whatever shape I might have once had. Not that my shape was the most impressive anyway.
No, I’m not putting myself down. I’m being realistic. As a woman on the lower end of the plus sizes, I’m not what society deems beautiful right now. Two hundred years ago, I’d have had men falling at my feet, but today? Nope, sorry. I’m just not into the anorexic look, thank you very much.
So no, right now with the steadily growing baby and my increasing appetite, sexy is not at the top of my how do I feel list. Exhausted, hungry, misshapen… yes. But certainly not sexy.
And as a romance writer, feeling un-sexy is not a good thing. If I can’t feel it, I don’t want to write it. Don’t even want to think about it, as a matter of fact. The romance part, sure… but the inevitable conclusion? No, thanks.
That’s what got me into this situation.
So while unable to even consider putting characters in a private setting, I’ve been exploring other methods of romance. In one story, my female lead is about to be abducted for use as sacrifice. My hero really gets to be a hero, too…he has to figure out how to find and save her before she becomes a paranormal kebab. In another, a girl who has made a dirty deal has to find redemption. And in a third, I have a girl who has to save the man she loves from herself.
The concept of redemption really strikes a chord with me. I’m not sure why, but I’m really digging this idea of clawing out of a self-dug pit in search of a better life. It’s a non-sexual way of boosting self-esteem. If I can take a girl who traded her life for what she thought was a better one and teach her that superficial things aren’t the key to happiness, then my work is done.
Everybody knows the story of Beauty & the Beast. I’ve created a slightly different twist on that – the character I’m using is in the story, but only for a moment. She’s the sorceress that condemns the Beast to his life as a monster. But even she has her problems. Much as the Beast had to learn to love himself and be loved, Seraphine won’t have peace until she learns to accept the things she cannot change.
And who knows…she might even fall in love.