Sunday, 28 August 2016

Instalove, and My Hatred Thereof


Love at first sight (AKA instalove) has been around for aeons. It's lived, died, been resurrected, taken part in a zombie apocalypse -

(On the zombies' side, of course.)

- Taken out by a headshot, and brought back to life AGAIN.

(Is there any wonder why we're sick of it?)

Probably not but, just in case, I've made a list.

https://giphy.com/gifs/empire-muslim-ottoman-YLHwkqayc1j7a

Development? What Development?

You know all of those chapters that are usually spent building relationships (or defining them if they already exist)? Love at first sight negates any need for them. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Where would our myths and fairytales be without love at first sight? It can also be a plot point rather than a quick and irritating way to get two characters together, perhaps in the form of a curse, or a love potion slipped to the hero/heroine/sidekick by the villain. 

The problem is not the lack of these development chapters.

The problem is that they are often written anyway.

Love at first sight, by definition, means the characters are in love from the very moment that they meet. Their development chapters therefore involve a lot of repetitive obsessing over each other, insisting that this is true love, and building up to the first relationship milestone. Which brings us to...

The Undeniably Essential Page-Long Snog

The patent must've run out on this romance trope because it is everywhere. How many times can you describe the smell of the hero's hair? The feel of the heroine's lips? The way the protagonist hungers for it never to end?

Honestly, sometimes it feels like it never will. 

Are You Sure You're Not Enchanted?

You can probably find instalove in books of every genre, but it seems to be especially common in paranormal romance. 

The heroine (and it's usually a heroine) sees the murderous vampire/evil fairy/conveniently human dragon/vulnerable werewolf/rugged anti-hero, and swoons. She's probably never done this before and outright recognises that she'll never do it again, but she never questions it. I mean, maybe I'm just paranoid -

(No maybe about it.)

- But I'd be more than a little suspicious if I discovered that preternatural creatures were real and, less than ten seconds later, I was head over heels in love with one. 

The Most Special, Sacred, Truest Love Ever to Be Recorded on Pieces of Wood Pulp

Lament did a brilliant job of avoiding this. Deirdre might be all fluttery around Luke from page one, but at least she recognises that A, she's an idiot for falling for him so fast, and B, he's probably only after a summer fling. The girl has no illusions about the longevity of the average teenage relationship.

Unfortunately, Deirdre is in the minority. Every other teenage couple seems to view their relationship as a guarantee of marriage as soon as they come of age. There's no way they could ever break up because, unlike all the other loved-up couples they know, their love is true love.

To be fair, I've never been in love. For all I know, it could be the normal to be this idealistic about your first relationship. 

So, instalove, what do you think? Overdone trope, major irritant, or a staple of romantic fiction? Let me know in the comments.