Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Beau Geste

On Saturday, I was a vampire at High Mass. Life-long Yankee fan that I am, I entered the hallowed ground of Fenway, home of the Red Sox. To my surprise, I did not burst into flames. I sat through a two-hour rain delay—when it wasn’t raining—and then through the game—when it was raining. I sat through it all on what may be the tiniest, most uncomfortable seats invented. There’s more leg room in coach with the seat in front of you pushed all the way back. I even—gulp—cheered for the Red Sox. (They weren’t playing the Yankees.)


I did it for love.

Many years ago I fell in love with a Red Sox fan. We’ve managed to keep the peace for over a score of baseball seasons, and on Saturday I presented the love of my life with the birthday gift of a trip to Fenway.

Actions speak louder than words. And that’s doubly true for the characters in our books. As men, they are creatures of action, much more so than words. What proves love more than doing something they never would have done at the beginning of their story?

The beau geste is often defined as a gesture noble in form but lacking in substance. I prefer the more literal translation of gracious gesture, what to me epitomizes a lover’s capitulation to the vulnerability of raw emotion. Or as one of my characters would put it, proof that he knows “I am so fucked.”

From taking a bullet meant for his lover to buying a mansion, from turning his back on his family to quitting his job, the beaux gestes of romance bring a lump to my throat. What’s your favorite?

I have a little poll going over at my live journal to name the dog Joey and Aaron got at the end of Collision Course. You don't have to be a member to vote or to weigh in.


Louisa Edwards said...

I like your definition of the beau geste. It's certainly a useful plot device, and more emotionally satisfying to the reader than the common definition would suppose.

My favorite one? That's a toughie. I almost always love it when a hero is willing to let his true love walk away because he believes his love deserves more/better/etc. Not exactly a beau geste (and so angsty, I know!) but I eat it up every time.

Tam said...

I like when they are willing to walk away from their family because really, if your family is more concerned about their feelings than yours? Who needs 'em. :-) It seems the ultimate sacrifice.

And to be honest, some people I know should do it in real life. Straight AND gay. LOL

Zoe Nichols said...

I love, truly love, when a guy breaks his own rules to do something for the one he loves.

And that's in straight and gay but in some ways, I think its more poignant in m/m. Because it is almost expected that a man give up something or change a bit for a woman.

Not so with a man. Men are equals, there is no "language" barrier. So when a guy finds himself crossing some personal boundaries for another's damn near magical.

sylvan said...

ditto zoe nichols, TOTALLY works for me every time!

K.A. Mitchell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K.A. Mitchell said...

hose are all great examples. There is an amazing power in both letting someone go and running after them, depending on where the hero was at the beginning of the story.

Well put, Zoe. It is absolute magic when it works.

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