Reactionary Tales

The Atomic Structure of Romance

Yesterday I read an interesting rant over at Smart Bitches. The premise of the article is that women in academia are always portrayed as super smart but lack common social skills or even intimacy skills. To name a few mentioned, the heroine usually has no time for relationships because her schooling is most important to her, she’s also a really late bloomer (virgin) in the romance department and she’s implied to be average on the beauty scale because she’s not wearing that long red dress and stiletto heels every day.

It got me thinking about this academia trope discussed in books I read and TV shows I watch. I realized that this is fairly true in a lot of ways and prompted more questions. Why is it the woman scientist or woman professor synonymous with bag lady? Why does she always have awkward social skills? And for the love of all that is holy, why does she always have to attract the bad boy?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a super sucker for this type of romance always. But it was one of those moments where you stop and really think about it. I was talking to a friend last night, bouncing these questions off him and he state that it’s like protons and neutrons. We’re both rusty in the science department so I looked it up and its like protons and electrons. Protons are the positive charge and electrons are the negative charge. The super intelligent, socially awkward protagonist attracts the bad boy/girl, has experienced everything but true love antagonist. Then they turn the bubble of their atom into this harmony of neutral by cancelling out traits that made them who they are because the other taught them things that made them “change for the better”.

Image result for atom love

How about the protons attracting the neutrons of world? Neutrons are just your average, everyday no charge individuals. They are attracted to protons and electrons. They can be intelligent and still have social skills. They can be billionaires without the title of play boy or dominant. They can have normal, honest conversation and grow a relationship without forcing one to become more positive or negative. They can be virgins who CHOSE to be that way and not be ignorant to the world of sex and intimacy. That would make a healthy molecule don’t you think?

And speaking of molecules, there are four main types: covalent, polar covalent, ionic and metallic. Covalent molecules are two atoms that share their electrons equally. In relationship terms that can be equated to “the perfect marriage” according to society. Polar covalent molecules occur when one atom has a slightly stronger electron pull on another atom. This could be equated to relationships solely based on initial lust. Ionic molecules occur when one atom has a much stronger pull on another atom. That could be equated to your alpha/beta relationships. Finally, metallic molecules are when atoms share electrons freely with other atoms creating one big electron flow. All I can think of here is an open relationship or marriage.

I know I’m primarily talking about women here but I feel like same goes for men. For example, the man who works in construction is either portrayed as not intelligent or he’s the gazillionaire who can get any woman he wants whenever he wants and it’s a challenge to obtain what is normally unobtainable. They can totally be neutrons too! Trons don’t discriminate (well I guess protons do; they hate other protons so don’t be a proton).

So what do you think? Is this a trope you’ve come across before? Does it bother you or are you a hopeless romantic? Chemistry is cool isn’t it?? (Basic chemistry anyway. I flunked later courses in college just saying!) Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Nel

Happily married, bookaholic, Netflix-a-holic sharing random experiences and interpretations of my world which is brutally honest most of the time.

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28 thoughts on “The Atomic Structure of Romance

  1. James J. Cudney IV

    What a wise woman you are! All this science stuff brings back scary memories from high school. I did well in school, but science did not come naturally. Book smart in this realm, that was the only way when it came to biology and chemistry and physics. Even now, I think it’s OK to put my finger in an electric socket. Wait… it’s NOT OK. I get those things backwards sometimes.

    OK, off topic too much lately. Good post. Nice way to bring awareness. In my next book, I’ll have a character with the complete opposite of this, so we see more!!!

    1. Nel Post author

      Thanks James. πŸ˜€ I like to make random correlations from time to time and share them with my fellow peers as you know.
      What do you mean by complete opposite? As in an academic who’s not stereotypical socially awkward? lol

    2. cwhiteweb

      James!! πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚
      I can relate to this though. I know not to stick my finger in the socket, but a huge part of me wonders what it’s like to feel (mildly) electrocuted. Which is why it’s not a good idea for me to own a taser.

      She put it so well together. Truly wise beyond her years!

      1. Nel Post author

        Thanks Peela love. Sticking your finger in a socket is not as bad as sticking a fork in the socket but if you really want to feel electrocution… I’m not condoning this behavior! Crisp at your own risk! Bahahaha

        1. cwhiteweb

          πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ a fork, hmm. I have a steel chopstick. Got ideas now. I’ll definitely get back to you about the sensation, if it doesn’t cripple me or end up in a burning hostel building πŸ˜‰

  2. Mischenko

    Whoa! This is cool. I never thought of it like this, but as you say, I’m sort of a sucker for this trope too. Another one that gets me is the unpopular girl getting the hot guy, lol. Never thought of it at a molecular level. Great post! β™‘ You have me thinking today!

    1. Nel Post author

      Thanks Mischenko πŸ™‚ That gets me too! I always think of One Tree Hill, Haley and Nathan. But they were so good together!
      Always happy to get you thinking! Have a good day today <3

    1. Nel Post author

      Haha. That’s okay. I’m a sucker for them even as I rant about them. And you know how much I LOVE your stories.

      1. cimmeriansentiment

        I figure if it ain’t Trope don’t fix it πŸ˜‰ I’m done with those… I hope. Any-who, I do try to give my leading ladies more than the tired cliche and my leading men aren’t always the gag me kind of guys that need to ‘save’ the woman or ‘cant get one in their league so slum it’. I try to blend a mutual contributing to the relationship. They save each other if I can manage. Oh and I always appreciate how much you gush over my Trop-tacular stories. Blythe & Mac were an attempt at breaking the Trope barrier. She was hot and smart, he’s rich and not desperately lonely.

        1. Nel Post author

          I was totally thinking of Blythe and Mac when I wrote this post. They were a perfect blend of intelligence and intimacy for me. Even Beth and Sean were a good example too cause Beth was always up front even when shit hit the fan and her heart was in the chopping block.

  3. updownflight

    Very interesting post! Too bad I was so lousy at chemistry, despite having had my first real love relationship with a chemist. In the end, he forced me away. I then found someone that is quite like me and we have a strong long-term bond.

  4. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

    What a PERFECT analogy!! I was NOT a chemistry person at ALL but I got it… I think, lol! It was fun anyway… I don’t know why people don’t like stereotypes… they are such for a reason, so I agree with you about that … but why not be CREATIVE too!? (which is kinda you’re point, right?) <3

    1. Nel Post author

      Thanks Dani! And yes that was my point. Tried and true works just fine but tried and true plus creativity is so much better! I think the author of the article was mostly annoyed because she has an academic background and felt that her “kind” are always stereotypically portrayed. I just twisted it to relate it to chemistry haha.

  5. Keira

    I’m definitely a hopeless romantic, but some more balanced characters here and there would be great as well! I absolutely loved your chemistry analogy- I have exams (lots of them!) this year and I was just revising this earlier today, so it was very topical.

    1. Nel Post author

      πŸ˜€ Yes! Join the hopeless romantic club with the rest of us! I’m glad you enjoyed the analogy and good luck on those exams!

  6. theorangutanlibrarian

    Ah I love that proton and neutron analogy- that’s awesome!! I do think that if it’s by choice that would make a healthier molucule (again loving this metaphor!!) hahahaha “don’t be a proton”- that’s just glorious!!! OMG hilarious post!! I am a bit of a hopeless romantic, so I don’t tend to mind most romantic tropes like this so much. The only tropes that really bother me normally are love triangles, cos a lot of time that is just an excuse for cheating and instalove (which is basically just the characters mistaking lust for love). That said I do like complex characters- so yeah, I don’t want it to be too unbelievable, even though I love your idea of how these types of characters compliment each other.

    1. Nel Post author

      I can’t stand love triangles. Okay well no. Okay with them if they’re crafted in a way that makes me not hate them. For example in the Jane True series by Nicole Peeler, she starts off with one but when it doesn’t work out she dumps him and gets with another who had the hots for her. That’s a believable triangle. But something like the Tiger series by Colleen Houck where the main girl is always complaining about how life is so unfair cause she loves both brothers, I want to kill myself. She’s should be a proton, lmao. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! 😊

      1. theorangutanlibrarian

        Yeah that’s true- I have read the very rare books where the love triangle work (there are exceptions to every rule πŸ˜‰ ) Cassandra Clare is very good at it (IMO). Yeah I can believe that too. Arghhh yes- that’s the worst!!! hahahaha! You’re welcome!! 😊

  7. LizScanlon

    Ok, this post blew my mind πŸ˜€ And not only because I failed science miserably in school but they’re days way past so let’s not dwell on that πŸ˜€ I love what you did here and it works!
    I think even though I try to come across as an Ice Queen a lot of the times I am actually a hopeless romantic and while tropes can become so … tiresome… I don’t mind them when they have some good writing and ideas to make them different…

    1. Nel Post author

      Ice Queen hahaha. Yeah I agree. When it’s good writing, it can definitely work very well and is quite easy to fall for them. It’s when the writing is crap when you’re like “ugh, I freaking hate tropes”. I’m glad you enjoyed this and don’t worry I failed too. Thank goodness for bell curves so the genius ones make the rest of us look good πŸ˜‚

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