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How to Tell He’s Into You: Romance Novel Edition

Tasha Brandstatter

Staff Writer

Tasha is the least practical person you will ever meet. She grew up reading historical romance novels, painting watercolors like a 19th century debutant, and wanting to be Indiana Jones--or at the very least Indiana Jones's girlfriend. All this led her to pursue a career in the field of art history. After spending ten years in academia without a single adventure in Mesoamerica, however, Tasha decided to change her career and be a freelance writer (although she's still waiting on that adventure). In addition to writing for Book Riot, she's a regular contributor to History Colorado, the Pueblo PULP, and Opposing Views. She also runs two book blogs: Truth Beauty Freedom and Books (title inspired by Moulin Rouge, best movie ever) and The Project Gutenberg Project, dedicated to finding forgotten classics. Tasha also likes to have a drink or two and blogs about cocktails at Liquid Persuasion, as well as small town restaurants on Nowhere Bites. Blog: Truth Beauty Freedom and Books and The Project Gutenberg Project Twitter: @heidenkind

Recently I was reading a self-published romance, and while I enjoyed it, there was one thing that drove me absolutely crazy: the heroine’s blindness to the hero’s obvious attraction to her. In real life, he’d be a borderline stalker; in a romance novel, the heroine gets away with thinking he just wants to be friends.

To quote Baroness von Schrader from The Sound of Music, “Come my dear, we are women. Let’s not pretend we don’t know when a man notices us.”

Why do women in romance novels always have to be clueless when it comes to males’ physical attraction for them? I mean, have I chosen to ignore the fact that a guy was interested in me on occasion? Yes, but I was still aware of it even if I refused to acknowledge it. Romance novel heroines, on the other hand, seem to exist in a bubble where either mutual or one-sided attraction doth not exist. Is it because admitting it might make them seem narcissistic? Not really. More like realistic.

Admittedly, if a heroine saw a guy, thought to herself, “I’m totally going to hit that,” and then proceeded to do so, the book would be pretty short. But barring legitimate reasons why the hero and heroine shouldn’t be getting it on like test subjects in a Viagra clinical trial, dragging out the whole does-he-like-like-me for 200 pages when the heroine’s supposed to be in her 20s or 30s tries the bonds of sensibility and patience. Like cmon, people! This is a romance novel. We all know the end game here.

So, in the interest of helping a fictional bitch out (#HAFBO), I’ve compiled a list of 15 signs that yes, Miss Romance Novel Heroine, he really *is* that into you.

1. He’s a single man of large fortune.
This should go without saying.

2. He talks to you.

3. He DOESN’T talk to you.

4. He’s really kind of a dick.

5. He’s the only male character in the book, or—more likely—you’re the only female character.
Look at your body parts and figure it out, people.

6. Marrying him will save your entire family.

7. You’re pregnant with his secret baby (this is giant red flag even in real life).

8. He sleeps with you without trying to “sleep with you.” IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Because it’s not just about sex, it’s about YOU. You while you’re lying in bed unconscious.

9. You like his house.

10. You hate him.

11. One word: Insta-erection. Okay, maybe that’s two words.

12. He seems to know a lot about your habits, where you live, where you work, and who your friends are even though you’ve spoken to him, like, once (hint: stalker).

13. He has a Dark Past that he doesn’t want to talk about.

14. *STARE*

15. You have to marry, for whatever reason.

Hopefully by familiarizing themselves with these 15 signs, romance novels heroines can skip pages of self-doubt and go straight to realizing that EVERY MAN IN THE NOVEL IS ATTRACTED TO THEM. You’re welcome.