Women (or gay men for that matter), have you ever found yourself in a life and death situation, and thought to yourself: Damn, I'm not sure if I'll be able to concentrate enough to survive this nearly fatal encounter, because that man's ass is just so fine looking in those jeans? Is this a valid concern that goes through your head often?
Seriously, is this a thing?
Now, I'm not talking about my own ass. Imagine the sexiest guy you know. Their ass. In the best, most perfect pair of jeans. Imagine yourself in a dangerous scenario. The kind where you'd have to fight with everything you've got for your life. Is that masculine backside going to distract you so that aren't certain you'll make it out alive?
I guess, I'm wondering if this is a trope, particularly a Romance trope, where a female lead is so totally taken by the male lead's looks, that she actively wonders if she could do her job, keep herself alive, etc., etc. I've been reading an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance anthology, with a bit more focus on the Romance than the Fantastic. For such an anthology, there will be a portion of the readership more interested in the nuances of how the two leads will hook up (or not, I guess that's more acceptable in a short?) than in the nuances of how magic works or the supernatural, etc. That's as it should be. Heck, in any given anthology, some portion of the stories will work for each reader better than others. That's natural reader diversity in action.
I don't object to characters finding other characters attractive. I don't even object to the notion that in many situations, a character might be more interested in wondering how the other lead might be between the sheets rather than concentrating on their spreadsheets. But, once people get into crisis mode, unless there's something supernatural going on with the attraction...(which in a UF/PR story is a totally legit scenario) it feels off to me if a character (any character) focuses on another characters "attributes" rather than, say, the oncoming train.
Maybe it's a case where I'm reading too much into it. Perhaps it was intended a bit of humor to lighten the tension. But I felt, in this situation, it weakened the heroine. As if I shouldn't expect to take her seriously (despite showing up to this moment that she's pretty damn self sufficient and capable) and that maybe she can't hold her own. Instead of getting a chuckle, it threw me out of the story enough that here I am, blogging instead of reading. Yet there's a part of me wondering if I misread the scene. Was this a Romance trope? Is this totally normal in a genre I don't know well. I've been exposed enough to PR in various genre anthologies, that I'm not a total stranger, but I doubt I've scratched the smallest surface of Romance as a broader genre, so I can't rule out that I missed something a genre fan would have picked up on. So I'm left wondering, which is it?
Do you think it weakens a character, or make them more interesting/relatable?