Short answer, a relationship –kinky or vanilla–that has nothing going on, where there is nothing about it that is compelling, is dull to read about. It is easier to write that kind of life and energy into a kinky relationship because there are rules to play by and both partners are usually in the dynamic to satisfy a want or need. In vanilla relationships, there is less of that structure and really just the nebulous sitcom-saturated idea of how things “should” be.
Do I think there are vanilla relationships which can be interesting? Fuck yeah, I do!
However, so many vanilla relationships are not much more interesting than the similarly named Pudding. Vanilla does not have to mean boring, but it often is because it is the status quo. Creators do not feel a need to develop the relationship any further because it is what most people expect.
Like, think about Trinity and Neo. Aside from the Cyber-Goth style, they are fairly “normal” people. Because of this, it is almost a given that they end up together. There is virtually no build up to their attraction in The Matrix, no indication that Trinity has the hots for Neo until it’s a do or die situation, there isn’t even any subtext about it! It was just assumed that people would go along with action movie hero gets the (only surviving) girl. Considering that their romance is apparently hot enough to burn the world down, there is almost no expression of it beyond “gotta keep my girl safe” machismo. Neo and Trinity’s attraction is just about always stated and never shown–aside from the really bizarrely placed sex scene at the beginning of Reloaded.
Which is a shame, really. The story has so much potential for a really gripping narrative. These two people found each other after the end of the world through the future internet. These two humans, grown in vats to be used as batteries, discovered their humanity and forged a bond which was strong enough to give Neo the will to break free of the constraints of the program and become The (next) One. Instead, it is squandered.
I think Neo and Trinity exchange, like, at best seventy lines in the whole movie and outside of the attempt to rescue Morpheus, they only share a couple of scenes before that. Their entire arc from strangers to lovers is merely implied to us because we will accept it as the “thing that should happen.”
Anyway, ranting now. Hopefully, all of this answered your question n.n
jerrycurly said: I get that it’s easy to create interest and they are easily established archetypes. However I don’t like the implication that if it’s not a power dynamic that it’s vanilla. Which implies that unless you’re in a sub/Dom relationship you aren’t kinky. Its hard for someone who is really into TF but not d/s. I do like @mistyfdfa because there’s a feeling of consent going on but often in TF fiction it is implied not explicit.
jerrycurly said: Just riffing a bit here. I get the argument that power dynamic creates tension. Which is good to write to. That a balanced relationship has no tension. However in d/s fiction that tension never gets resolved. And those archetypes are so worn that there’s little space to make those characters more, you’ve already filled those characters with 50 shades baggage.
jerrycurly said: I think what I’m saying is that if non-d/s (ie kinky vanilla) relationship is boring. I would counter that d/s fiction can boring from the other side of the fence. Its all the TF that drives the story. I think I’m just being defensive of being identified as vanilla (as though it was a bad word). I don’t tumblr so no idea if your going to see this.
I was not saying that vanilla is inherently boring or that the opposite was true for kinky, what I was saying is that what makes a relationship interesting to me is the exchange of ideas between two people who respect each other and want to see their partner succeed.
50 Shades is just as flat–if not even more so than The Matrix because, again, it is not about developing that bond but “owning” the other person in a way that is all kinds of toxic masculine.
What I was mostly saying, however, is that heteronormative vanilla relationships are, by and large, the default so they are generally underdeveloped and/or crammed in like the writer is making sure to check a box. Does that make more sense?
jerrycurly said: There’s this dicodomy that’s like it’s d/s or it’s hereto vanilla that I’m offering to. I’m not suggesting that you write heteronormative fiction, far from it. For me different and fluid gender stuff is way more interesting then d/s relationships. I think there’s a lot of interesting dynamics in relationships to explore that didn’t have this specific kind of power dynamic. I read your stuff and like it but I’m not into d/s at all, that should say something.