So, I was taking my car in for service the other day, and there it was. Right on the way. A simple detour, a 90-degree turn of the wheel, to find out what love’s all about.
You’ve probably seen the billboards. Lavender background, the name in bubbly red letters outlined in what might represent whipped cream, superimposed over a heart bearing the pink imprint of a pair of puckered lips. According to Google’s helpful categorization, Love Stuff is the name of a “costume store.” But you and I know better.
I didn’t stop right then. I waited until I’d checked out the discreet black loaner with the tinted windows.
The interior of Love Stuff presented more than I expected. Costumes, of a sort. Along with racks and racks (is that a good word choice?) of filmy baby dolls tops with thongs, lacy bustiers, and stockings. Also cases full of props, lotions, gels, potions, magical massage wands, and other specialty items designed to rev up the sex engine.
I think it’s where Madonna bought those over-the-knee platform boots for the Super Bowl halftime show. (When I was watching her strut around the stage, I wondered if she chose them to hide her knee braces.)
The research interlude was interesting, but not all that inspiring. Yes, I can now imagine my characters in fishnet stockings and garters or a naughty nurse costume, or spritz them with the scent of a pheromone mist, but a satisfying romance requires (pardon me, but I’ve been overstimulated) deeper penetration.
And what should pop into my email inbox this Valentine’s Day week but an invitation to check out WebMD and the science of love.
Remember our workshop last summer, when Margie Lawson urged us to include the viewpoint character’s visceral reactions? WebMD informs us that a fifth of a second after you glimpse the hero’s square jaw, your brain dumps a truckload of love chemicals and hormones into your system. The result is a sense of euphoria, a racing heart, and trembling knees.
That’s the love stuff I’m talking about!