Favorite and Least Favorite Romantic Tropes

February 10, 2015

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances in Books. So I have decided to split my list up into Likes, Dislikes, and Could Go Either Way.

The thing is, though, that this is just what I like in romances, in general. Because most of my answers are based on TV/movies.


Likes aka Things I Dig in Romances

1. Fake dating. This may be my favorite. I don’t care why the dating is fake. Trying to save face in front of an ex? Trying to date your estranged half-brother’s best friend to get under his skin? Trying to write a magazine article about getting dumped? Trying to win a bet?

Fake dating is THE BEST. Because there’s always that moment when it stops being fake and starts being more, and one or both of the characters don’t realize it and also the audience can sometimes try to guess what the moment is that it stops being fake. So, basically, it’s glorious.

2. Fake kissing. This is a subcategory of fake dating but characters don’t have to be fake dating to fake kiss!

Fake kissing works best when you know at least one of the characters is into the other. See: Batman and Wonder Woman in Justice League.



3. Hot make out scenes. Okay, I am not super into sex scenes in books (or movies!), but I love a good make out session. One of the hottest make out scenes I have read recently is in Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. It was LAVA HOT.

4. Hot non-make out scenes. Rainbow Rowell is the queen of this.

The hand-holding, by the way, is intense. “Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat.” Evocative sensual descriptions are everywhere in this novel, but they always feel true to the characters. Eleanor describes Park’s trench coat as smelling “like Irish Spring and a little bit like potpourri and like something she couldn’t describe any other way than boy.” Park watches Eleanor’s mouth so closely that he “could see that her lips had freckles, too.” After Eleanor castigates him for saying she looks “nice,” Park thinks: “Eleanor was right: She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” And they are relentlessly, deliciously fascinated with the feel of each other’s touch. Two-thirds of the way through the book, when Park realizes they’ve only touched north of the chin and south of the wrists, I felt as flabbergasted as he does. — from John Green’s review of Eleanor & Park

OMG, and why is this scene from It’s a Wonderful Life the hottest thing ever?


5. Any romance that takes place in a concentrated period of time, but most specifically a 12- or 24-hour time period.

See: Before Sunrise. Also: Graffiti Moon.

6. When a character has a super crush on someone (THE WRONG ONE) so is blind to the fact that an awesome dude or lady is setting up shop in that character’s heart, but the audience knows and why can’t you seeeeeeeee it,  character?

See: Dorfman in Love.

7. Unrequited love. But the REAL DEAL, never gonna happen unrequited love. This also goes with number 6. Because unrequited love is only fun in books/movies/TV if the character finds someone else.

Dislikes aka Things I Usually Hate in Romances

1. “I don’t know why I trusted him/her so much; I just did.” Oh, I know why. You are warm for his/her form. Also: lazy writing.

2. Love triangles. My side (almost) always loses.

3. Let me confess how much I love you even though you’re in a super serious relationship/about to move in together/about to get married. This happened on The Flash recently, and it made me so angry. Sorry, dude/lady, you need to suffer in silence because, wow, that is not fair.

Oh, and of course, Dwayne breaking up Whitley’s wedding on A Different World is totally the exception to this rule because she was already having second thoughts, and also, it was awesome. And one of my favorite TV episodes ever. So. There you go.

4. Stupid, contrived reasons for a couple to break up, especially external ones. Again, this is usually lazy writing or a way to manufacture conflict. I don’t like to see couples break up over dumb, dumb things. And it’s not required that a couple get together just to be broken up. UGH. Hate. Nick and Jess’s break up on The New Girl is a recent offender, btw.

Could Go Either Way aka The Mounds/Almond Joy of Romance Tropes

The best friend that is secretly in love with his/her best friend. Sometimes this works great for me, other times not so much. IT JUST DEPENDS. Mostly on how much I like both of the best friends.

But I also really, really like stories where the best friends are totally platonic because THAT IS A THING THAT HAPPENS.

So, you know. It depends.

I think that’s it. Did I miss anything?

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  1. Sarah

    Fake dating forever and always!

  2. Jen C

    Yes, yes, yes. I agree with all the things. Just another way in which we are sisters. 🙂

  3. Maya

    There are so many points on this list I never thought of but really love! Like fake kissing can be so fun to read because it’s so awkward but lets the characters see eachother in a new light:) I didn’t know John Green reviewed it but yet you and him are so right- some scenes are just so beautiful and intense! Unrequited love done in a non-cheesy way can be relatable and done in a way that is realistic. That moment on the Flash was so awkward but poor Barry too:(
    Anyway great list!
    Here’s mine:) : http://anotheronceuponatime.blogspot.sg/2015/02/top-ten-tuesday-romance.html

  4. Trisha

    Lazy writing could probably be a category all its own!

  5. Alysia @My Little Pocketbooks

    OMG! This is too funny. I hate the triangle too. Especially in YA!!!! AGHH!! In what universe does every YA girl get to pick from a list of boys to date? REALLY!! Sorry that is my personal pet peeve.


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