AND now for a surprise. Believe it or not, us women don't just read romantic bodice-rippers strictly for the sex.Source: Herald Sun.com.au
That's right, according to the romance writers, sales of the world's biggest-selling genre are fanned not by the thought of Mr Darcy lunging through the french doors and pinning you to the four-poster, but by something so much more mundane.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, authors such as Jayne Ann Krentz (writer of the classic In Too Deep) and Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Pages Of Passion) have armed men with some vital information the scenes their readers recall the best are those in which the rugged hero strides in for a . . . chat.
Contrary to girl-wisdom, the leading man's appeal is not so much down to what he does with his swarthy manhood, but the fact he's "very verbal". The true prince charming looks into her eyes, focuses on what she says and "really talks to her".
He shows her he loves her by "nodding" when she's talking and looking at her face. Those seductive buggers! No matter how macho, the ones who get the girl always "talk things out".
But, for mine, the sparks of true romance do not ignite on banter alone. In fact, my Valentine's advice to red-blooded Aussie blokes is that we women are at least as interested in the things our thoughtful heroes do not do, as we are in nodding. Hopefully, my tips give you a swashbuckling head start.
TOP 11 THINGS YOU WON'T SEE HEROES DO IN ROMANCE NOVELS
Lose their keys, wallet, phone and/or thongs with scary regularity . . . and accuse you of moving them every time.
Fiddle on their iPhone . . . as their beloved, having found a few precious child-free minutes, tries to discuss a matter of vital importance (such as who has the time after work to drive the dog to the diagnostic specialist in Mount Waverly to get his mystery itch checked out).
Take the kids to sports games a long way away (boosting romance points) . . . with the petrol nearly on empty. Then deliver the car back with 15 minutes to spare before you have to get one to a party in McKinnon with the fuel gauge beyond red.
Snore. Or if they do happen to be afflicted, they'd never allow their own Scarlett O'Hara to be the one who shuffles to the couch.
Fart in bed. I'm pretty sure Ryan O'Neill didn't do that in Love Story.
Leave wet towels from this morning flung on the bed or yesterday's, or last week's, clothes all over the floor.
Announce they have bought tickets with a bunch of friends to see Paul Kelly (romance points!) . . . then inform you it's tonight, and you have to find a babysitter. Ugh.
Always expect to do the driving. Even Scarlett got a turn to drive the sulky. She'd have every right to be that if Rhett always took the reins.
Make her and the little ones listen to bloke music for more than 50 per cent of any long drive. The bloke-music genre includes all 30-something singer-songwriters perpetually in the throes of a premature mid-life crisis, Nick Cave's murder ballads and anything by bands with names such as Eagles Of Death Metal.
Give an honest answer to the question "does my bum look big in this?" That's just common sense.
When his lady heroine gets sick, suddenly develop symptoms that make him even "sicker". Sure, it may be a bona fide bout of man flu, but, when your temp is hitting 40C and you just need a white knight to gallop to the kitchen and cut three lunches, then frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.