Monday, February 10, 2014

Just a Dab of Bacon Fat

I'd like to take a break from humor today to discuss a serious matter with my dear readers. As a whole, romance writers are wonderful people, making the world a better place by providing heroines with a man to hug and kiss. However, it has come to my attention that authors of the genre are not only perpetuating a cruel myth, but we are doing the real men in our lives a great injustice.

Everyone has heard of blindness (unable to see) and deafness (unable to hear). However, few people are aware that noses can also be affected by a similar malady--anosmia.

Per WebMD: The complete loss of smell is called anosmia (an-OHZ-me-uh).  Millions of men are afflicted with partial to total anosmia. Most are unaware of their condition and not receiving help. These are real people, suffering in silence.

Yet romance novels routinely disseminate the cruel myth that the average human male possesses a finely tuned olfactory ability (as if it were the norm).  

Allow me to offer an example*:
He brushed his fingertips over the triangle of dark curls and her hips lifted as if to follow the path of his touch. Tempted by the sultry scent filling his nostrils, he dipped his head to feast, but her fingers twining through his hair delayed him. As though her need was as urgent as his, she tugged at the strands, directing him back up her body to fuse her lips to his.
-THAT DATING THING by Mackenzie Crowne

My research indicates that most men are only able to detect four basic odor categories. Every single one is in some way related to survival. They are:
  1. Burning objects or substances that might catch fire.
  2. Cooking protein (particularly bacon and steak).
  3. Fresh baked goods, including cookies and bread.
  4. Things that stink egregiously that must be avoided at all cost (poopy diapers and skunks).

Romance novels maintain that men not only detect the aroma of flowers, but also possess the aural intelligence necessary to correctly identify multiple scents.

"With her heels, Becca was nearly as tall as his six foot two, and he liked being able to look directly into her hazel eyes. There were gold flecks in their depths. He leaned in a little closer to inhale her vanilla and lilac scent."

The reality is much sadder than fiction. Millions of men are left with acute feelings of inadequacy, unable to leave their anosmia closet for fear of earning ridicule and derision.

Like the unprincipled paparazzi, some fiendish authors are clever enough to mix an element of truth (men can smell fire) with fantasy (men can smell flowers) in order to further their insidious agenda.

“Have you been in a fire?”
Connor pulled his hand away to inspect the Band-Aid. It was critical he get free of the soft touch, away from her subtle strawberry scent. Much nicer than his contrasting harsh odor.
-RISK FACTORS by Calisa Rhose

RIGHT. I understand the temptation to enhance Scottish Super Sniffers with massive endowments, but really! Like I'm going to believe this rubbish! It is time to put a stop to the myth of the hero with a schnoz like a bloodhound.

In my current WiP titled ROMANCE NOVEL, I made the first ever recorded attempt at romance novel honesty and submitted the following to my editor:

My editor returned it:

I tried to make her happy:

There was just no pleasing her:

Naturally, I protested:

Things like this never end well for me:

In closing, I'd like to urge all romance authors to band together and stand up for the integrity of our craft. Our husbands, our sons, our father and our brothers deserve better. If enough people care to take action and raise awareness, then real men with real noses can be made to feel like natural human beings. Together, we can make a difference.

*Examples were not chosen at random. I selected authors that I believe probably won't slay me or sue me.


  1. Is there no cure? Oh, bless their hearts. I agree that writers with hearts must act now to alleviate the suffering. You to be commended for bringing this egregious situation to the public's attention. Thank you for your honesty and courage.

    1. Ashantay,
      Sadly, as with many tragic conditions, there is no known cure. I'm just trying to do my part to raise awareness! ;-)

  2. You are so right Several years ago we had a house fire. Smoke was pouring down through the can lights in the kitchen ceiling, and my husband couldn't smell it!!!

    1. Alison,
      I've had a similar experience with Mr. Snark. Thankfully, the burning smell was only coming from the oven. :D

  3. Oh my! I didn't know and I have sons that I raised. Are they handicapped this way and I was unaware? I guess my heros will have to overcompensate in other senses--maybe, taste or touch can be enhanced. I need to think.

    1. Barbara,
      Hmm. Such as a nose aid perhaps? ;-)