Monday, May 4, 2015

Romance 101 : Contemporary Romance

Contemporary Romance (biasa disingkat dengan ConRom) merupakan sub genre dari genre romance yang pada umumnya mengambil setting setelah Perang Dunia II. Contemporary Romance merupakan sub genre terbesar dari genre romance, dimana alur cerita di dalamnya ditulis mengikuti kebiasaan pada zaman tersebut. 

Karakter utama di buku-buku contemporary romance pun mengikuti alur kebiasaan pada zamannya. Misalnya, cerita contemporary romance yang ditulis sebelum tahun 1970-an, karakter utama wanita akan berhenti bekerja ketika mereka telah menikah atau mempunyai anak. Bahkan untuk cerita-cerita ber-setting di tahun 1970-an, karakter utama wanita yang hamil diluar nikah akan dikucilkan oleh masyarakatnya. Sementara pada era saat ini, karakter utama wanita yang telah menikah atau mempunyai anak akan tetap berkarier sebagaimana yang dilakukannya sebelum menikah, seperti lazimnya yang ditemui saat ini. Sub genre contemporary romance menjadi favorit banyak pembaca romance karena sifat karakternya yang terasa lebih realistis serta alur cerita yang sederhana. 

Sementara untuk karakter utama dalam buku-buku contemporary romance lazimnya para hero merupakan pria tipe alpha male, yang secara singkat digambarkan sebagai pria-pria yang cenderung mendominasi baik dalam situasi sosial ataupun profesional. Berdasarkan Chad Howse Fitness, ada 25 karakteristik pria alpha male, yaitu :
  1. The alpha male is persistent. There’s no quit in this man. He’s the tortose not the hare. He’s the last man standing.
  2. The alpha male can defend himself and his family. He can handle himself with his fists, to put it another way.
  3. The alpha male is in peak physical shape. He’s strong and athletic as well as aesthetically pleasing to the opposite sex.
  4. The alpha male is courageous. He doesn’t lack fear, rather, he accepts that it exists and faces it at every opportunity.
  5. The alpha male can entertain. He has a sense of humor and can have a group of people hanging on his every word – he’s a good story teller.
  6. The alpha male has stories to tell. He’s lived – and is living – a unique life. He’s made mistakes, but he’s able to find humor in them. He’s had adventures that everyone wants to hear about.
  7. The alpha male can laugh at himself. This is an over-looked characteristic of an alpha male, but a necessary one. You can’t make fun of the alpha male because he’ll join in, no one can make fun of him better than he can.
  8. The alpha male is humble. Some of this comes from his ability to laugh at himself. No matter what he accomplishes, his head will never balloon, and if it does, he has the ware-with-all to come back down to earth before it gets out of hand.
  9. The alpha male is learned, educated. A degree isn’t a prerequisite, but a thirst for knowledge is. He wants to learn, and he does. This helps him relate to people from every social and economic standing. He can converse intelligently with the business man and the preacher. The history buff and the sports nut.
  10. The alpha male is a man’s man. He’s a hard guy not to like or want to have a beer with. He’s tough, often quiet, composed, but can joke and shoot the shit with anyone.
  11. The alpha male knows the value of every word, he doesn’t talk simply to hear the sound of his own voice. His words are chosen carefully. He respects their power. Whether he’s writing or speaking, he doesn’t speak to be hear, he speaks when he has something of value to say. He’s never the loudest one in the room.
  12. The alpha male has a purpose. This may be his most defining trait. Where many wander through life trying to find their Self, the alpha male is too busy creating his Self. Every day he does something to bring himself closer to his goal. He isn’t a wanderer, he’s going places; it’s so obvious that everyone around him can see it.
  13. The alpha male is a hard worker. He knows that nothing great is accomplished without hard work and a definite purpose.
  14. The alpha male is a warrior not a worrier. He understands that cetain things aren’t under his control. He does everything he can to control what hecan, but doesn’t worry about what he can’t. He’s not worried about tomorrow, he’s too busy working for today.
  15. The alpha male doesn’t pick a fight, but he ends it if he’s in one. He isn’t a bully. He isn’t an emotional wreck that looks for a fight at every corner. But, if the logical thing to do is to fight because the situation calls for it, he will. He’ll also never hit a man when he’s down. He isn’t fighting to destroy, but to defend.
  16. The alpha male has style. He takes pride in how he looks and people respect him for that. He also knows how to dress like a man. You’d never call the alpha male a metrosexual.
  17. The alpha male knows who he is, his values govern his life. He doesn’t stray from these values, in fact he stands up for them. Even when he stands alone in what he believes is right, he digs his heels in and fights.
  18. The alpha male knows how to treat a lady. He respects women, often because he’s had some great one’s in his life. He’s chivalrous. He helps his lady at every chance. He helps her reach her dreams, all-the-while moving closer to attaining his own.
  19. The alpha male isn’t a sucker. He isn’t a clinger. He doesn’t go out of his way to please everyone because that’s a futile endeavor. He won’t let a woman run his life. He’s his own man. Though he worships the ground his lady walks on, he knows how to pick ’em. He won’t be with a control-freak or a jealous woman. He has the social intelligence to see that storm before it peeks it’s nasty little head.
  20. The alpha male is a man of value. “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” Einstein knew that success is reached if you’re valuable to others. The alpha male is a man of value and values. He makes the lives of others better by being a part of them.
  21. The alpha male helps others, he’s generous. He has his purpose, but he knows that life isn’t merely about accomplishments, but about leaving a legacy. That legacy is how he made others feel, and how he helps others accomplish their dreams.
  22. The alpha male is a leader who leads by example. He doesn’t tell people how to live, but lives in the manner he sees as best to live.
  23. Alpha males throughout history, Achilles, William Wallace, and Napoleon, saw opportunity where others saw failure. The alpha male will fail, but he won’t see failure as the end. He’s sees it as a necessary part of the experience, a stepping-stone. Knowing this allows him to try things others won’t, and to work harder when others usually quit.
  24. The alpha male is stubborn. When he starts something he’s passionate about, no one can stop him or pull back on the reigns. He’s in it until the end. He’s also open-minded and willing to listen to other points of view. He knows he’s flawed and stubborn, so he gives way and learns from people who are better than him.
  25. The alpha male doesn’t try to be an alpha male. That’s where so many fail. He is interested in life, in living. He’s fascinated by the world around him, in becoming the best man he can possibly become. He genuinely cares about people. He passionately works hard. He’s excited by life, by the opportunity that each day presents. He’s genuine in every facet of who he is. Each of the characteristics are possessed by him naturally, or will be as he grows as a man. Bred from curiosity, a genuine kindness, and a warrior’s heart, he is who he is, and all others follow him wherever he will lead them.
Disadari atau tidak ke-25 karakteristik di atas lazim dijumpai dalam buku-buku romance. Sedangkan untuk karakter utama wanita (heroine) terbagi dalam dua tipe yaitu alpha female ataupun beta female. Bagaimana cara untuk membedakannya?

Menurut Elite Daily, karakter alpha female diantaranya :
  1. The alpha female is a tough negotiator. She knows her value, and knows there is more to her than looks. 
  2. She is the leader-type and constantly surrounded by a group of admiring subordinates. Executive decisions such as where to go, what drinks to order, what guys to talk to, all fall under the jurisdiction of the alpha female. Not necessarily the most beautiful in her circle of friends, the alpha female knows that brains are what will take her the farthest. Topics like politics, economy, business and law interests her, and she discusses these global issues without difficulty. 
  3. She does not take directions from men; the alpha females make the calls. 
  4. She is cynical and sarcastic in her language, but always with a certain charm.
  5. She believes most men are more or less worthless and that women should be treated as goddesses.
  6. She’s an opportunist and serious about her career, and uses her networking and sexual skills to the max to get where she wants. 
  7. The alpha female, being intelligent both intellectually and emotionally, knows how to manipulate a man.
  8. She has a man’s determination, but uses a feminine approach to get her way. Either with a powerful partner or a toyboy on her side, she is sure to stir attention wherever she goes, something she fully enjoys. Men are either intrigued by her or intimidated.

Masih menurut Elite Daily, karakter beta female diantaranya :
  1. The beta female is the sweet, caring and demure woman you men may dream of. 
  2. She is feminine and enjoys simple pleasures in life such as cooking, taking her dog for a walk, watering her flowers and decorating the house. 
  3. She has an artistic eye and loves beauty above anything. Fashion, decoration and art interest her.
  4. She’s the alpha’s right hand and gives her intelligent, insightful evaluations concerning love, friendship and morals when Alpha is lost.
  5. She knows when to be silent and speaks her opinion only with the utmost diplomacy. Betas are often spiritual and emotional. They have a woman’s intuition. 
  6. She’s communicative and attentive
  7. She has no problem following someone else and taking orders does not intimidate her
  8. She’s down-to-earth and humble
  9. She is comfortable with the traditional gender role of women taking care of the needs of their husbands. 
  10. A Beta is never an Alpha-wannabe, she’s comfortable with who she is. Secretly she hates feminists, and thinks feminists are against everything that is in fact feminine.

Untuk urusan setting dalam buku contemporary romance biasanya mengikuti perkembangan jaman ketika buku tersebut ditulis yang biasanya pada saat ini mengambil setting di area perkantoran.

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