Beating "Lord of the Castle Syndrome"

Dear Julia:
In your books it seems like the men never do anything. Why don't you write a story where the hero has a real life? Take mine, for example - if my husband doesn't have a project going, he's not happy. But the problem is, he never pays any attention to me. Let's see your romance novels solve that.

Joyce G.

  Excuse me, Joyce, but I'll have you know that being a duke is pretty hard work! My heroes have lots to do, thank you very much, but there's a difference between them and your guy: Mine are all fabulously wealthy and have tons and tons of servants to do those little projects around the estate. You, on the other hand, are married to a staffless lord. That's right, there is no one to do his bidding except - if he's really lucky - a couple of progeny who will actually do as they are told. Its not that he isn't paying attention to you, its just that he's a bit preoccupied making sure the place will hold up under all circumstances.

  This is classic Lord of the Castle syndrome: The estate/castle/house is vulnerable to all kinds of attack, and our hero, being the duke/warrior/homeowner, must ensure that nothing harms his hearth and kin. He does this by strutting around the drawing room/battlements/garage, arms akimbo, making sure that servants/peasants/children are shoring up the place as he has instructed and to his satisfaction. Quietly surveying all, he steps in to fill the void if there is a weak link in the chain. With sleeves rolled over sinewy forearms, sweat trickling from his brow, and determination glinting in his eye, he will quickly dismiss any attempt at frivolous talk - because at any moment, the society patrons/Scots/in-laws might descend. He has a mission, he is doing this for you, he is trying to protect and honor you with everything at his disposal.

  Now, as is typical in Lord of the Castle syndrome, we discover that for every hero there is a heroine who is tired of being overlooked in favor of expansive gardens/catapults/gas-edgers. Her challenge is to stand out against the landscape, to catch his eye, to do something so extraordinary that he momentarily forgets he is lord of the castle. In the case of the duke, for example, we have a man who is overseeing preparations for an extremely important ball. Everyone who is anyone will be there, including the highest ranks of the aristocracy, and everything must be perfect. He stands on the terrace with hands clasped behind his back, overseeing the final grooming of his very large and expensive gardens. But suddenly, from the corner of his eye he sees a rider race away from the mansion and lead the horse to jump over his perfectly trimmed hedges. He squints to see what reckless degenerate has just forfeited his employment at the estate and realizes it his wife. Riding astride. In trousers. (For the uninitiated, that would be a big, HUGE no-no in the early 19th century). Our heroine has definitely caught the hero's attention, and now he must go after her before she disgraces him further. What he doesn't know is what she has waiting for him in the meadow near the river. Oo-la-la!

  the landscape. Use your imagination - pick up the power saw and start it up - provided you actually know how to do so without killing yourself - as if you intend to take out a bothersome tree or two. Watch how quickly he drops whatever he is doing and rushes to your side. Blithely inform him you intend to wax his brand-new pickup truck. Just be sure to hold a gallon of bleach in your hand when you announce it. Ask him in to "fix" something in the middle of the afternoon, and show him what it is wearing nothing but a charming smile. Once you've got his attention, do as you will. The trick here is to keep him on his toes so he never knows what to expect. Practice this every weekend and I guarantee in no time at all, he will definitely sit up and take notice when he sees you coming, ready to lavish all kinds of attention on you!

  Oh, just one last thing. Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it (big grin)!

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Love Quote

"... love knows not 'mine' or 'thine';

With separate 'I' and 'thou' free love has done, -

For one is both and both are one in love;

Rich love knows nought of 'thine that is not mine';

Both have the strength and both the length thereof,

Both of us, of the love which makes us one."

Christina Rossetti
(1830 - 1894)
English Poet

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