A Real Life Rubenesque Romance


Yesterday I ran across a blog that declared in no uncertain terms the Rubenesque genre of romance was total crap. Why? Because hot guys just don’t like fat girls.

If you need a primer, a Rubenesque romance is so named after artist Peter Paul Rubens, who was known for immortalizing generously proportioned women in his artwork. These romances, therefore, all have heroines of varying shapes and sizes which fit outside of the traditional picture perfect slender model of romance heroines past.

According to this blogger, no typical romantic hero would ever want a fattie, which she considered everyone who ran from size 6 to size 20.

To put this in perspective…

Men revere the timeless beauty of Marilyn Monroe, whose figure in today’s terms would have fluctuated from a size 6 to a size 10:

Beyonce, size 38 hips, would wear an 8 according to Victoria’s Secret….

Sofia Vergara would wear a size 10

And curvy stars like Scarlett Johannson and Salma Hayek defy one measurement altogether thanks to their generous curves, stretching out to an 8 and 10 respectively.

Yeah… not a damn thing guys would like THERE. Poor lonely spinsters who can’t get a date or even a guy to entertain any sexual fantasies. What cows. According to this blogger all the men she had ever talked to would kick any of these ladies out of bed just for finding one spare inch of flesh.

(Ch’yeah right.)

But 6, 8 and even 10, while in regards to modeling are “plus size,” aren’t really the size girls Rubenesque novels cater to. In my novels, my heroines range from size 12 (Love Plus One) to size 16 (Groupie,) which means my gals can still shop at VS, they’d just wear L and XL.

To put a visual on it for you, here’s a size 12:

And here’s a size 16:

Or, to put a more familiar face on it, let’s look at Christina Hendricks, the curvy buxom star of Mad Men. Ms. Hendricks, like my heroine of Picture Postcards, wears a size 14 and still manages to eke by the gatekeepers in Hollywood to become masturbation fodder for a modern generation of fellows:

Hell, even *I’m* getting a woody.

(Thanks Victoria for the tip!)

Despite many of these women being on Maxim’s Top 100 list of beautiful women, according to this blogger, no “hot” guy is going to want any of these women (size 6 and over, remember) unless he’s gay, a conman, homeless or a molester. It’s just not “realistic.” It’s way more realistic for mentally challenged folks to get together and find love… provided they are fit.

(Seriously, I’d link the blog but I don’t want to give her the publicity – even though she looks like she desperately needs it, the poor dear. Still a troll is a troll is a troll.)

Now of course none of this sat well with me. I resent like hell whenever I’m told I’m too fat to get a guy – especially by other (single) women. Somehow, even with all this disgusting fat, I’ve been able to stay coupled in some form or fashion since I was about 19. Even at my heaviest, I was able to attract a stalwart bachelor and by some stroke of fate make him fall in love with me even when I looked like this:

When we got married, I looked like this:

And now, over ten years into said marriage, I look like this:

I’d definitely say I’m getting better with age. I think Steven would agree it was a wise investment on his part. Because of his appreciation of me – no matter what size I am, all the way from a 34 and down to a 24, I’d definitely say my investment was just as wise.

See, I know there are men out there who would kick a girl out of bed for having 1 inch of body fat – but those aren’t the men I have dated, slept with or married – and most importantly loved. I could never love a man that superficial when I know there are plenty of other guys out there who aren’t such misogynist assholes they must value women based on looks alone.

Weak-willed shallow pools need not apply.

I want a man who values women enough to see past a dress size or some numbers on a scale simply because a perfect lil somethin’ somethin’ validates him in some way. I want someone who can see my talent, my intellect, my kind heart, my devotion and my passion and love me for the sum of my parts, not just some arbitrary statistics.

Thankfully I found that man. He’s neither a conman, a homeless degenerate, a molester or gay. He’s the kind of man brave enough to make a commitment to someone and open himself up to someone unconditionally, and I personally think it’s stupid and self-loathing of any woman to settle for anything else.

If a guy is willing to kick you out of bed for one inch of body fat, what’s going to happen when you have a baby and get unsightly stretch marks and saggy breasts from breast-feeding? What will happen when you get your first wrinkle or gray hair?

Or… even more honestly… what would happen if your hair falls out because of chemo, or you may lose a breast or part of your skin to cancer?

You want to talk about unrealistic, try selling a hero like this to the Romance genre. You can’t sell the romance of unconditional love while trying to attach all these conditions to it. Any woman worth her salt understands anyone like this is no Prince Charming. It takes more than six-pack abs to get to that all-too-prized Happily Ever After (HEA.)

As much as men frustrate me, I’d like to give them way more credit than this. I’ve known some assholes but I’ve also known remarkable men who were devoted, honest and knew how to appreciate a woman for the whole person… not just a body size.

(And they’re good looking too, even more attractive given they are way more lovers of women than the other kind. I’d even bet they’d be better in bed too. I mean, would you trust a chef who only liked one type of food or a painter who only used one or two colors?)

Think about it… Melissa McCarthy has a devoted husband to go along with her Emmy. Kevin James is likewise married, which according to our Voice of Reason blogger is another abnormality. Seems she thinks that hot girls don’t want fat guys either.

The reason the romance genre is so successful is that it makes the fairy tale happily ever after accessible to everyone. So why NOT take it to the next level and represent the beautiful mosaic of humanity within its pages? I’m living proof it’s completely realistic.

This is why I write Rubenesque romance. I wanted to see love stories like mine represented in the mainstream media. More people look like my heroines than the skinny models you see on a NY runway or in a high fashion magazine.

And guess what? They’re not single either. The reason publishers are getting on the Rubenesque bandwagon is because that’s what the audience wants. These are my best sellers because there is a niche to be filled. The world of fiction is finally catching up to real life. We figured out that the HEA isn’t reserved for a chosen few. Despite what you have heard, we fat girls date, have boyfriends, fall in love, have sex, get married. There is no one size fits all to love and romance. Men like all types of body types. And they’re not as afraid of getting their hands wrapped around some generous curves as this bigoted blogger may think.

Seems to me the only people hung up on size are other women, most of whom are single themselves. When a guy looks at a woman he’s not seeing a dress size, which is why they’re a lot more forgiving of the female form than other females. (Case in point: Elizabeth Hurley thinks size 6 Marilyn Monroe was “huge” and would have died if she was ever “that fat.”) So you will see the Christina Hendrickses, the Sofia Vergaras, the Beyonces attract men while other women are dieting themselves to death to get down to a size 00 because the fashion industry has told them that’s what desirable beauty looks like.

(It’s not.)

I mean, in that respect I almost can’t be too bitter about this blogger’s snarky little anti-fat tirade. If “all the men” she talks to are these kinds of uptight superficial assholes she’d have a right to be a little frustrated.

Good news there are more fish in the sea. Way more. And way better. If all you are attracting are the douche bags, perhaps you need to work on that vibe you’re sending out into the world. If it’s negative and hateful and condescending… well… like attracts like.

You have to love yourself before others will love you. And… if you truly love yourself… then you stop doing self-destructive things to your body so you can be healthy no matter what size you happen to wear. (Down 3 pants sizes in 6 weeks, thank you VERY much.)

When I sell a Rubenesque romance, I’m not selling a fantasy. I’m selling hope. And I hope everyone who reads it, fat or thin, finds a bit of themselves in each heroine so they can root for her happy ending without prejudice just like I used to when I’d read about thin heroines.

And if you can’t see past some narrow world view that tries to rain over the parade of anyone else?

Well… you can kiss my big fat ass.

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6 thoughts on “A Real Life Rubenesque Romance

    1. Thanks! I get a little surly when people tell me I should be alone when I’ve never really hurt for a man’s company since I turned of age. The worst of it was high school, where it sounds like this blogger still lives.

    1. Excellent point, Victoria! I had forgotten about Christina. Looked it up and she’s a size 14, which is about the size of the heroines in my book. Gonna edit the blog and add her in. Thanks!!

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