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"WHY" M/M? AND WHO NEEDS TO KNOW?

Today's guest is the fabulous and deservedly feted author Jordan Castillo Price. She's considering just WHY we like reading and writing what we do - or whether that should be a topic for discussion at all!



And Jordan's intriguing and delightful Petit Morts series is being featured on the review site Brief Encounters Reviews all this week! Pop on over and say HI.



Bio: Jordan Castillo Price grew up in Western New York, spent her formative drinking years in inner city Chicago, and is now writing paranormal thrillers from her home in small-town rural Wisconsin.

Have questions about writing erotica? Comments about any of her stories? Just want to say hi? Drop her an email at jordan (at) psycop (dot) com.

Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who's plagued by ghostly visitations. Visit JCPbooks.com to glimpse Chicago beyond the veil.


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When man-on-man is like brussels sprouts




One of my non-m/m friends spotted this thread where a guy finds his girlfriend’s stash of yaoi, and he’s so shattered (oh noes!) he must go directly to the interwebs for help!


Is this something I should be concerned about?
What do I do?
Should I confront her?


This idea of confrontation intrigues me, because what on earth would he hope to accomplish by doing so? Humiliate his girlfriend? Force her to confess to these dirty, dirty things she finds titillating? Possibly. But if I give this guy the benefit of the doubt, I suspect what he really wants to know is WHY.

Why read Yaoi, m/m, slash, or any other type of gay material if you’re a woman?

I’m heartened because many of the respondents sense the “why” in his desperate “OMG I just found The Gay” pleas, and they just tell him to get over himself, since plenty of men enjoy lesbian porn and no one bats an eyelash. This is true, and I’m glad most of the comments skew this way. Though they still don’t address the “why.”


I’d like to suggest that maybe the “why” is irrelevant. We like and dislike plenty of things without having to explain our preferences. I could choose an obvious example, like chocolate cake, and say that I like it—and I’d be pretty surprised if anyone wondered why.

And so, to illustrate my point, I’ll just throw it out there instead that I like brussels sprouts.




What’s your reaction?

If you like brussels sprouts, you probably would say, “Yes, I do too. How do you cook yours?” And if you don’t, you’d probably just say, “Ew, yuck,” and leave it at that. I doubt you feel personally insulted, or even threatened, by the idea that I enjoy something that you don’t. Maybe at some point you’ll even tease me about it, and remark that you went to McDonald’s and didn’t notice any brussels sprouts on the menu, and perhaps I should go have a little talk with the manager.

So what’s the difference?

The obvious thing, to me, is that sexuality is so charged (or overcharged) that it’s kind of like childrearing or politics or religion. The stakes are higher, and people identify more of their core selves with it, so when we find our friends differ strongly in their preferences, if we don’t have strong and secure sense of self, it can create a sort of rift.


I also think the “whys” are subtle. I write m/m for a living and I don’t think I could give you a pat answer of why man-on-man appeals to me. I could probably spin an elaborate theory of balancing gender equality in the story, avoiding traditional male/female role expectations, and removing myself entirely from the story so the characters are definitively “not me” (although, in a sense, I suppose they are simultaneously all me since they come from my imagination.)

And yet I wonder if the “why” is ultimately important. What I do know is that I’m profoundly thankful to find other people, worldwide, who share my preferences, and that I live in an era where broader acceptance is becoming possible, and the technology exists to connect.

Also let it be known that I make a really mean brussels sprout with browned butter and orange zest.


Jordan Castillo Price is the author of the PsyCop and Channeling Morpheus series. She began her own publishing company, JCP Books LLC, in 2008. Find out more at http://jordancastilloprice.com or sign up for her newsletter at http://psycop.com/newsletter.html



(Clare sez: I'm adding this banner because the Channeling Morpheus series introduced me to Jordan's work, and will ever have a fond place in my heart LOL).


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AND JUST FOR FUN, A FICTION PROMPT CALL...!!

Like to stretch your writing fingers after Christmas' excesses? Take the prompt "A NEW RESOLUTION" and write something for the visitors this month. It can be anything from a flashfic 3 sentences to a drabble of 100 or so, or even more. Any genre, any theme, any rating, any character(s). Maybe ones you already love, maybe the chance to try on a new character for size.

I'm holding a FREE FICTION DAY on the 28th, so send me new fiction - links to your existing work also welcome! - to clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll post it all then :).




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Follow this month with Clare - and the goodies so far:

JAN 15: Favourite worldwide travel with cdn_tam.
JAN 16: 10 cautionary tales from ZA Maxfield! zamaxfield.
JAN 17: The business/pleasure balance of writing from libby_drew.



JAN 08: A great new novel and sequel from mickieashling.
JAN 09: Fiction and beautiful illustrations from essayel.
JAN 10: Forthcoming menage release from lc_chase.
JAN 11: Fabulous mix of SF and erotic romance from Sloane Taylor and Robert Appleton.
JAN 12: Follow the bizarre photographic history of Wind in Hair Guy with egret17.
JAN 13: When only your family understands the joke, with charliecochrane.
JAN 14: A top 10 of gay books you should read from erastes.



JAN 01: A FREE short from me, revisiting Nic and Aidan from Sparks Fly.
JAN 01: Delicious m/m icons from luscious_words.
JAN 02: Why I want to be a Bond villain! by chrissymunder.
JAN 03: The world of inspiration between 'historical' and 'contemporary' with stevie_carroll.
JAN 04: Some fascinating Swedish proverbs from 1more_sickpuppy.
JAN 05: A round-up of a great year just gone from angelasstone.
JAN 06: The countryside and history that inspires author sandra_lindsey.
JAN 07: The challenge of trying to balance edits, with diannefox and anahcrow.


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Check up on the original post and the Guest Schedule for January HERE.

Want to join in but missed the original call? Email me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll happily find you a space ♥

NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.

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Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
cdn_tam
Jan. 18th, 2011 12:44 pm (UTC)
I'll just say my Grandmother would disagree with your brussel sprout theory. In her mind if SHE doesn't like, there is no one in the world who should and she will not agree that anyone ever would. But then she's never been known for her "whatever floats your boat" attitude. :-)

I'm thinking men who read romances would probably face similar "why's", anything outside the norm is questions. Women are supposed to read romances where the strong price rides up and saves them, men are supposed to read books about hockey and maybe sci-fi if they are nerds, possibly real literature. Sluts read erotica, pretentious people read serious literature and biographies, granola moms read child rearing books, soccer moms read chick-lit and gay people read books about gay people. Uh huh. When something falls outside of the box it throws people for a loop. Men read romance? Straight people read gay literature? Oh my god, cats and dogs, living in sin. What's next?

It's the reason I don't tell many people what I read unless I already know their openness. I just can't be bothered explaining "why". I'm not ashamed of it, but I just don't feel like justifying myself to someone whose opinion doesn't matter. The internet has allowed people outside the box to realize they aren't the only straight girl reading m/m, or guy reading historical m/f, or investment bankers reading chick lit.
jordan_c_price
Jan. 18th, 2011 02:02 pm (UTC)
I just can't be bothered explaining "why". I'm not ashamed of it, but I just don't feel like justifying myself to someone whose opinion doesn't matter.

I totally agree. I'm not sure what the whole judgmental thing is all about, anyway. Although in the post that inspired the essay, I think the boyfriend was possibly wondering if he'd be expected to do something "gay" to please his lady, so maybe it affected him.

But the other stuff--what anyone reads, what anyone eats, unless they're eating your children--it doesn't affect you. So why hostility? Your grandmother's attitude is a great example of the type of person who get angry over differences. I wonder sometimes if people like that never formed a definite notion of other people existing as separate entities from themselves, so when a difference occurs, it's baffling.
(no subject) - cdn_tam - Jan. 18th, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
josephine_myles
Jan. 18th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
Hi Jordan,

That wonderful "why?" question - I'm so glad my husband never thought to ask me that, but just accepted with bemusement that men loving men was my "thing". I used to come up with elaborate answers as to "why" when people asked me, but now I just grin and say "because I like it" and leave it at that.

I think you're absolutely right about sexuality being one of those things that people feel threatened by, or worse, that they should cast judgement on. I was raised in an evangelical church enviroment and I could never figure out why sexuality caused them all to get in such a flap, when Jesus said far more about the dangers of riches, yet no one was bothered by anyone being too wealthy... Most bizarre.

I have a recipe for Brussel Sprouts Creole, if you're interested!
jordan_c_price
Jan. 18th, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC)
You KNOW I want that recipe. Although I don't normally gravitate toward creole, the brussels sprouts might save it ;-)

I dread dating again, because I'll probably need to explain why to a potential partner. My ex was there when I spotted slash on the web in 1999 and went, "OMG, what's this?" so no explanation was necessary. Also I was living with two gay guys when we started dating.

I'm intrigued by the idea of some church riffing on that "too wealthy" theme rather than sexuality, though I suppose that usually ends with, "And tithe all that money to us."
(no subject) - josephine_myles - Jan. 18th, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
andy_slayde
Jan. 18th, 2011 02:05 pm (UTC)
I love Brussel Sprouts :o)
The Why? question, an excellent topic. I usually try and avoid it at all costs. Most of the time my answers are met with a blank stare. My friend is proud of my writing yet doesn't get why I write it. However he delights in answering any questions I have, as bluntly as possible.
jordan_c_price
Jan. 18th, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC)
I seem to be finding many sisters in brussels sprouts today. Clare told me she likes 'em too.
(no subject) - andy_slayde - Jan. 18th, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
mariesexton
Jan. 18th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC)
Great post! I have to admit, the "why?" question and some of the insulting assumptions that often go along with it are starting to seriously piss me off. I could write pages of psychobabble as to why m/m appeals to me and anything with a girl does not, but in the end, I have to wonder why I'm expected to justify something so personal.

Thanks!!
jordan_c_price
Jan. 18th, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
I have to wonder why I'm expected to justify something so personal.

Ooh, this is a really good point...and, you know, maybe it's also a good, concise comeback. I'm imagining delivering it in a "Wow, I'm really concerned for your emotional well-being--are you okay?" tone of voice rather than a defiant one :D

When you write m/m full-time (or probably even piggybacking it onto your day job, for that matter) it's inevitable you get still more questions, and that people are more likely to pry. I also think work-at-home has a certain mystique that makes them pry even more, because they all want to work from home, too. Or at least they think they do.
zamaxfield
Jan. 18th, 2011 03:55 pm (UTC)
Ha, I came over here to defend the honor of Brussels sprouts actually, but I see you've done that admirably here. I guess when my friends ask why I'm going on the assumption (lately) that any answer to the question why will be the wrong one, so now I meet it with silence or the ever reliable why not? I feel like there's very little to get hold of in the argument that "I'm just goofy that way, I guess".

That doesn't, unfortunately, make the question any less irritating when it's assumed I should defend myself. I don't mind if people ask out of idle curiosity.
jordan_c_price
Jan. 18th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
Isn't it funny, I was surprised at the sprout-aficionado contingency.

"Why not?" is a good response. It calls into question why they would call your preferences into question.
(no subject) - zamaxfield - Jan. 18th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
wrenboo
Jan. 18th, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)
You make excellent points here and I think you're on to something with the idea that it's the sexuality aspect of it that gets to people. If you meet a sculptor or a painter, you generally don't ask why they do it. If we're talking about a mystery writer, do people ask them why they write mysteries? Probably not.

So, yeah.

On another note, I regret to inform you and your legions that Brussels sprouts make me gag. My husband likes them and whenever he cooks them the whole house smells Brussels sprouty. Ugh.
jordan_c_price
Jan. 18th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
It's very brave of you to admit your feelings toward brussels sprouts in the face of all the sprout-lovin' here.

I'm intrigued by your example of a sculptor. I could imagine someone genuinely curious saying, "How did you get into sculpting," rather than "Why do you sculpt?" They both have very different subtext. The first implies interest where the second invites defensiveness.
(no subject) - wrenboo - Jan. 18th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
tiggothy
Jan. 18th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil. Drop the prepared sprouts in. Boil for 3 minutes. Drain & serve.
:-D

...as for the other thing? I don't know...
jordan_c_price
Jan. 18th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
That's a true sprout-lover's recipe, nothing to hide behind. I think I like my sprouts a bit dressier than that...but it depends on the sprouts, I suppose!
(no subject) - tiggothy - Jan. 18th, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
1more_sickpuppy
Jan. 18th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
Great post! Though I think brussel sprouts are among the least sexy veggies around... but, y'know, some say potay-toe, while guys are just assumed to say po-tah-toe. Wait, no, I mean no one is surprised when they find a guy's stash of porn. And no one asks why their partner likes big boobs/big pecs/getting spanked/whatever, or if they should be concerned by it.

Anyway, interesting thoughts! I wish/hope it can be as simple as the "why" being irrelevant. But it would probably also be really good for this guy to maybe ask (not "confront") his girlfriend about it. Talking is good.
I know my ex, had he known of my slash habit, would have been all for it simply because he got to reap the benefits, so to speak... ;)
jordan_c_price
Jan. 19th, 2011 12:51 am (UTC)
It really is a double standard that no one finds it odd that men have porn stashes, but even in this day and age, it's aberrant for a woman to have one.

I chose brussels sprouts because I thought I'd be in the minority with 'em...I'm surprised I'm not. Maybe I should have picked lentils. I could use some new lentil recipes.
(no subject) - 1more_sickpuppy - Jan. 19th, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
simplykitten
Jan. 18th, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC)
I feel left out, as I wasn't raised in a Brussels sprout-eating house and still haven't eaten any that weren't doused in cheese.

Thank you for these thoughts to ponder. No one ever questions me why I read/write it, but very few people know what I read. But I'll be ready when they do!
jordan_c_price
Jan. 19th, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)
Cheese makes everything better. Unless you're lactose intolerant.

It really does help to have a set answer to a question you anticipate. I used to accept graphic design jobs that I really didn't want because people were able to talk me into working for them. Once I developed my set answer, "Oh, I stopped doing that last January," no one even challenged me.
lee_rowan
Jan. 18th, 2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
A lot of people are using "confront" when they mean "ask about" or "discuss." I blame it on the so-called "reality" shows, which are a prime example of the use of propaganda to promote conflict instead of cooperation.

The m/m reading closet is like any other, I think... if all the people in it came out at the same time, it would look a lot less peculiar. Strength in numbers.
jordan_c_price
Jan. 19th, 2011 12:48 am (UTC)
I love the idea of all of us having a, "Guess what I read?" day! Wouldn't it be fun if we met some acquaintances who were into m/m too, and we didn't know it? I know after I explained what I wrote to my mother, she found out one of her friends dug the gay parts in movies.
egret17
Jan. 19th, 2011 02:21 am (UTC)
Great post, Jordan! (Chocolate: Yay! Brussel sprouts: *lukewarm* ok...)

Like Tam and others, I don't bother telling most people what I read because the "why" gets so tiresome.
jordan_c_price
Jan. 20th, 2011 12:08 am (UTC)
I think I've grown resentful of most questions lately. Not just the "why."
(no subject) - egret17 - Jan. 20th, 2011 12:11 am (UTC) - Expand
corneliagrey
Jan. 23rd, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes. All of it: yes.

I was lucky. When I started writing fanfiction, my father knew what I wrote and we chatted about plots together. He even wrote a couple of parody-scenes with the characters of my fics. We had the 'why' conversation a couple of times, but merely as a curiosity. I had a few theories, I still have, but I wouldn't be able to say why.

My mother doesn't understand my interest in m/m, and she doesn't hide the fact that she wouldn't like it, but she's always been supportive. And my boyfriend simply accepted it as something entirely normal, and enthusiastically listens to me rant about plots now that my dad isn't around anymore.

I guess I was blessed! It gives me the strenght to just shrug off other people's objections. I will never understand those who are 'offended' or 'bothered' by it, but I place that at the same level of any homophobic or blindly intolerant behaviour. Utter disregard and mild distaste.

Having said that, I do ponder on the infamous 'why' question every now and then, but as a personal curiosity. Why do I favour certain dynamics? Why do I always find myself writing from the point of view of the topping partner? Why do I love men with long hair to such an almost pathological level? Who knows... maybe one day I'll elaborate a complex psychological theory that will connect all these points, provide the meaning of life and also the reason why coffee made by my grandma always tastes better than mine. But I'm just as fine without knowing :)
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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