First of all, please introduce yourself
Gladly. My name is Marc Watson from Calgary Alberta Canada. I am the author of ‘Death Dresses Poorly’ from Fluky Fiction and the upcoming ‘Catching Hell Pt 1’ in March. I’ve been happily married for twelve years, and we’re the proud parents of two young boys, so I’m not, like, completely ignorant about love.
What is love, anyway?
A chemical reaction in caused by the increased production of oxytocin and vasopressin, influencing the reward and motivation centers of your brain, that makes you do stupid things that, if you’re lucky, are interpreted by your prospective partner as being ‘cute’. Love is a chaotic science experiment.
What does it FEEL like when you fall in love?
It’s different every time. I stole that from Whoopie Goldberg on Star Trek: TNG, but damned if it isn’t true. Love feels different every time, and you never love anyone the same as someone else. Sometimes it’s raw passion, and other times it’s familial. Nothing has more shades of grey than love.
Can you remember the first time you were “in love”?
I remember the first time I *thought* I was in love. Teenagers. amiright? 15 year olds don’t know diddly about real, fulfilling love. But man, saying the words to someone make you feel like so much of a grown up, doesn’t it?
Having been blessed with real love for as long as I have (together with my wife since 1999!) if I was to look at it retrospectively, the first hint of bigger love came at 17, but even that was obscured behind hormones and the need to be a grown up. Real love came to me at 20, and it’s been there ever since.
Why him? Why her?
I’m talking about my wife here, because that’s LOVE love. And if I could give a solid answer on ‘why’, then I don’t think it’d be real love, would it? It’s a fulfilling intangible that just fits like a puzzle piece. Everything you never knew you wanted wrapped up in a beautiful package. Like, literally. She’s beautiful.
When I was a teen, I’d measure relationships by days, weeks, months. “Hey, it’s our 3 week anniversary, babe!” That seems so important. When I met my wife I didn’t care about that stuff, because I wasn’t measuring time, I was measuring moments. There was no “If we make it to 6 months than…” thoughts in my head. It was just a given that we were going for a while. A long while.
Is there a difference between love and romance?
For sure. Romance is just a byproduct of love. Romance is what we do to prove to the one we’re with that "hey, you’re still appreciated, thanks for cleaning up that kid puke!" because it’s so easy to feel unappreciated.
Romance isn’t hot dates and flowers when things are new. Romance is what we do when we want to prove we want to keep what we’ve got. The rest of that shit is just peacocking.
Is love “real”?
Scientifically the jury is still out. ‘The desire to spend the rest of your life with someone because the thought of them being there with you is better than the thought of being there alone or with someone else’ is real, but abbreviating that to ‘love’ is an acceptable title I guess.
Describe the worst date
You know, I was never big on dates, and having met ‘the one’ so relatively young I thankfully never will be, but for me, I’d say it’s finally getting a date with that one you’ve been crushing on for so long, only to sit down and realize in the first 5 minutes that they are NOT what you expected, and you want to bail. I’m pretty non-confrontational and I hate hurting people, even if it’s just honesty, so I’d likely just sit there swimming in disappointment all night.
Describe the best date
Quiet pub/bar. Long conversations about things that don’t matter. Genuinely enjoying the things your other says and does. Looking across the table and just being so damn happy that this person is yours to have and hold.
Oh, I’m likely drinking a whiskey in this scenario, and there’s a Street Fighter 2 machine in the background that she insists I play so I can impress her with my Chun Li skills. “Oh Marc, how’d you time that Spinning Bird Kick so well? You’re the greatest! Video game skills are such a turn on. *Swoon*”
Weirdest gift given to you by a sweetheart.
Well my youngest son sure has some moments…
What is your overall opinion of the romance genre? Do you enjoy it? Hate it?
General malaise? Is that a feeling? Pure apathy? Monumental indifference? Those. I’m going with those.
Romance and erotica are the highest selling genres (making about $1.55 billion a year). WHY!?
Same reason as above with love: chemical reactions, yo. People love them endorphins. In my mind the romance genre runs parallel with porn. It fills a primal hole in our brains with the lowest hanging fruit. Women are just way more refined and cerebral than men (as a generalization), so reading or watching romance is more relatable and desirable than watching a badly acted threesome in a pool house.
Do you have any favorite romance books or films? What makes them so great?
That’s easy for me, because both the book and movie are the same: High Fidelity. I love the movie because it tells what I would call a pretty accurate depiction of the man’s side of the chick flick genre. How life feels when you’re in the middle of a rough patch or a break up. It’s also hilarious, and has an amazing soundtrack. There’s a line in it where the protagonist Rob is lamenting that his kinda/sorta ex is now with some guy names Ian he hates and he says “No woman in history is having better sex than the sex you are having with Ian… in my head” and that so perfectly encapsulates male relationship neurosis. We’re picturing it and we hate it and we can’t stop! There’s even a Manic Pixie Dream Girl in the movie that Rob realizes isn’t what he wants. When does THAT ever happen?
The book is way more British, since it’s a Nick Hornby joint, but it also captured that vibe of love and loss and love again from a man’s perspective that fiction never really captures. The dry humor Brits are so known for just makes it more accessible to a guy like me.
My favorite book of all time is The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, which one could argue is the same thing, but I never saw that story as a purely romantic one like I do High Fidelity. Experiencing real love is just a part of the protagonist’s journey to a better life, whereas in HF, it’s the crux of the story.
Is there a romance book or film that you dislike and can’t understand why other people enjoy it?
I feel like you’re fishing for a 50 Shades rant here and I ain’t biting. Never read it. Never seen it. Never had time for it.
So I’m going the other obvious way and saying EVERYTHING BY NICHOLAS SPARKS!!! But even then, not having read them or seen any of the movies, I’m just talking out of my ass here. All I see is pure pandering. A list of boxes of "What Basic Bitches Want" that needs checking off. You know why ‘The Notebook’ movie did so well? Wet Ryan Gosling. And you know what? Fair enough. He’s one tasty piece of bitch. Is it any different than a Fast and Furious movie for stereotypical men? And I still watch those, sitting next to my massive grain of salt, and smile when the things go fast and then blow up, so I’m not any better.
What are some of the most irritating cliches in romance books and films?
The man cheats and messes everything up. Now I’m biased, clearly, and it even happens in High Fidelity so it’s just as guilty in a way. Do men really cheat as much as movies would have you believe? I really have no idea.
Also, let’s do away with the massive grand overtures of love to win the girl back, please. Do I look like a man that has the ability to hire the Blue Angels to sky-write a woman’s entire favorite love poem in French? Hells no, I’m a working man, damnit. And also, let’s give the women a bit of credit here, please? “Oh, you cheated on me while drunk, but you realized you really loved me afterwards so you hired the Lipizzaner Stallions to fully reenact the moment we met in the yard of the home I grew up in that you just bought for us to live in? All is forgiven!” Puke.
“To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.” Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
Do you agree with this statement?
Hell no, and that’s hard for me to say that because Les Mis is one of the greatest things ever written to me. That implies that there’s nothing else in life worth having or celebrating, and that’s not true. There are other fulfilling things that can make a person happy in life. Love is a blessing. Love is earned. Love isn’t a goal to achieve. Love is a warm blanket that warms you up on cold days. It’s beautiful and I’m happy and thankful to have it every day, but is it the only pearl in life? The only reason to be alive? Nope.
But all that said, I want to share those pearls. I want to earn those pearls with the one I love and enjoy them together. Love ain’t a pearl in the darkness; it’s another oyster.
Marc Watson's debut novel Death Dresses Poorly is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle. Check it out here!