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'10 Authors Insider Tips

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Have More Good Sex
I Can Do Better ...
Trying to Get the Feeling
Plotting and Planning
Character Profiles
Discovery Draft
Be Bad to Be Good
E-Book Revolution
Naked for Halloween
Sex With Pilgrims

by Louisa Burton
The Music of Words
The Balancing Act
Your Fictional World
Backstory & Foreshadowing

The Fine Art of Submission
by Shanna Germain
Nailing the Query Letter
Banish the Boring Bio
Becoming a Market Master
Become a Market Master, 2
Backstory & Foreshadowing
Enticing An Editor, Part 1
Enticing An Editor, Part 2
Contracts, Money & More

Serious about Smut
by Vincent Diamond
No More Horsing Around
Short Stuff
Selling Short Stories
Editors' Pet Peeves
Settings: Beyond Time & Place
Beating Up Your Scenes
Selling Your Books in Person
Staying in the Saddle

The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Broken Rainbows
Talk the Talk
10 Commandments for Writing
Plotting to Avoid
Cover Story

'10 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
St Valentine's Day
Renaming Body Parts
Sex, Cigarettes & Erotic Fiction

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
C. Sanchez-Garcia
Kathleen Bradean
Lucy Felthouse
Neve Black
PS Haven
Tracey Shellito
Tresart L. Sioux

Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
Plenty of Miles Left
Don't Worry, Be Happy
Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Coffee Time
Castrated Words
Virtual vs. Actual Romance
The View from Gallows Hill

Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
The Fashion Industry
The Same Old Same Old
Writing Porn
About the Closet
... About Spirituality
Making Sense of Religion
Worked Up About Monogamy
What's Next
All Worked Up About Nature
Still All Worked Up...

Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Holiday Ghosts
Love and Romance
An "Interracial" Epic
Trying to Make It Go Away
Sexual Etiquette
Sex and Children
People Against Bad Things
Virtual Acceptance
His Cold Eyes, His Granite Jaw
A Flash of Northern Light

Cracking Foxy

by Robert Buckley

Virtual vs. Actual Romance


Virtual Vs Actual RomanceBear with me a moment, gentle readers, for it is not my intention to hold forth on things political; there are enough commentators on politics already, actually, more than enough. But allow me to make an observation on a "movement" gathering much media interest in the republic these days. It is a particularly irritating cacophony of gripes and groans and pouts that rattles over the airways, a din raised by a legion of bellyachers.
A wise man explained to me once that no institution could exist without bitching. It is an inalienable right of every man, woman and child to bitch any time, all the time, about anything at all. It is one of civilization's lubricants, bitching gets you through the day, especially if at least one other person assents to your particular bitch.
But there's also such a thing as too much lubricant.
The national federation of bellyachers has no use for incumbent politicians of any stripe, sharpening their spears and flinging them both left and right and just hoping they'll skewer someone—a liberal or a conservative who just isn't conservative enough.
They are fed up with taxes, they are fed up with government, they are fed up with the very condition of their life. They don't want anyone to live here but them, and they hate the notion that somehow, some way, they might be supporting some people who are—unfortunately—already here but are in any way different than them.
I watched a representative pair of this vast bellyaching movement being interviewed just after an election in my state, expressing their reasons why they voted for a particular candidate.
One gent was queried in front of his palatial home (by my standards anyway; maybe he considered it a cottage) with his several family vehicles in view and not a clunker in the bunch. He said he was a businessman being strangled by regulations and red tape. He never said what his business was about, but I suspected it didn't actually manufacture anything. Taxes, he said, were killing him. Yeah, it sure looked like he was hurting.
A woman expressing "family values" was quite put out that her family had to economize this year by forgoing a "second" vacation.
Huh? My last vacays have all been stay-cays because I've been too broke to go anywhere.
It struck me that both these persons were living in a time and place of immense wealth and leisure; you might even call it casual affluence. Yet they were griping like they were living hand-to-mouth. I doubt either of them had ever made a decision like whether they should pay for the heat or pay for the groceries.
Did they have any inkling at all that they had it better than most of the souls who inhabit this planet, even some of their countrymen? Their politics didn't interest me at all; it was their utter lack of perspective, their congenital inability to recognize, never mind count their blessings.
Then I began to suspect that that inability to see a gift for what it was is so pervasive, it even interferes with what ought to be a natural inclination to connect with another human being.
I believe I've turned a corner in my life. I'm at a place where I can look back, wince and chuckle at my faux pas and follies, and not regret them so much, but chalk them up to being young and stupid, impressionable and so desperate to be taken seriously. Now I realize there's damned little that needs to be taken seriously. Nothing and no one will ever be perfect. So how can people casually pass up even close-to-perfect?
Is that why it's so hard to connect? Until recently I had no idea how difficult it was for young people (anyone younger than me) to form a relationship. I'd just lately been filled in on an abomination called "speed dating." Cripes, it's like musical chairs, with boys and girls hopping from table to table trying to size up a member of the opposite gender in 15 minutes or less.
And this came about because it's so hard to meet people? Why? How? What, I want to ask the generations following me, the hell happened?
Because I remember the hardest part about asking for a date was ... asking for a date. If you could screw up your courage to ask someone to dinner or a movie, the worst that could happen was you got turned down. That was, by the way, a big deal. Getting rejected for anything just naturally makes you feel shitty. But, there it was; you got over it and you tried again. Next time you get the date, and if all goes pretty well—it never goes perfectly—later you got a kiss. And likely another date, and another kiss, and those kisses could lead to ... well, you get the idea.
Now it's apparently all different. Just getting past square one doesn't mean you're headed for home, because, as I've been told, one, two, three or more dates a romance does not make. No, at some time along the way, there is an inevitable evaluation. This is where romance takes the spike to the heart and starts with someone saying something like, "Listen, you're wonderful but ..."
What comes after "but" doesn't really matter, though from what I've been able to gather, it's essentially a notice that the person to whom the "but" is directed hasn't and is not expected to ever live up to the other's expectations.
A case in point. I have a young friend (young as in: I'm old enough to be her dad) who is the sweetest morsel of a girl. Red hair, like glowing ember red, and a perfectly clear (freckle-less) buttermilk pale complexion. A perfect pair of Cupid’s bow lips that you'd have to be out of your mind not to want to kiss. She's bright, and funny, and more importantly, she looks like she’d be fun to cuddle. And, she can't seem to get a girlfriend.
Damn if this isn't infuriatingly perplexing to me. If I were a thousand years younger I'd certainly be trying to reorient this young woman to my advantage. And as she regales me to the particulars of yet another implosion of a nascent romantic relationship, I have to wonder, what the hell is wrong with people?

Oh, I imagine some of you snickering. Well, that’s just a lesbian thing. Uh-uh. It’s pervasive throughout the twenty-to-thirty-something world. And it’s so odd to me.

Now I work with some young singles who are romantically challenged by the hours and days they work. But night-working singles can’t account for the legions of online dating clients. I wonder if a generation that grew up doing just about everything on a laptop has poisoned its own well.

Online, by its very nature, brings with it pre-conceived notions. After all, you’re working toward a match, when what you should really want is a moment. You arrange to meet someone whose profile you’ve read, so you already know who he is, or perhaps, who he’s supposed to be, allowing, of course, for some exaggeration. And if there’s no spark when you meet? Well, what were you expecting?

It’s too pat; it’s too packaged. There’s no intrigue, no mystery, no adventure. It’s anti-romantic.
Are young folks actually afraid to toss their heart into the ring and take a chance on romance that might hurt but could possibly be the most wonderful event in their life? Isn't that what life is generally—a crap shoot?
Does everyone now demand a guarantee that it's all going to be great? What's the fun in that? Where's the thrill, where's the euphoria, the "dizzy dancing way you feel" just like that song says that old farts' like me hum every so often?
If you want it all, you'll never have enough. And if you can't see what you have already, isn't it futile to seek more?
I'm so glad I'm (long) out of circulation. I used to think I missed it. But now ... shudder.

Robert Buckley
August 2010

If you have comments or question about this column, please send them to Robert Buckley

Read more of Robert Buckley's Cracking Foxy in 2010 ERWA Archive.

"Cracking Foxy" © 2010 Robert Buckley. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written

About the Author: Robert Buckley is senior fiction editor at ERWA. His stories have been published in various anthologies, including editions of Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica and the Coming Togther series of altruistic erotica.

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