If you read a lot of M/M Romance I bet there are things you come across more often than you’d want to in your books. Things that will make you sigh, or roll your eyes, or maybe you put away the book for good. Or are you one of those who read all the tropes and clichés with a smile on your lips?
A little while ago I came across a thread in the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads where readers, and writers for that matter, listed tropes recurring in the romance books we read. I had a laugh reading it and went to search for more—yes, I researched tropes and clichés in M/M Romance. I found one thread in The Backlot Gay Forum, also on Goodreads, and I found a blog post written by Harry K. Malone about names on the main characters he never again wanted to see in M/M Romance.
So what I did was to put together a list over the things I found and then I wrote a story including as many of them as I could possibly piece together. Yesterday Once in a Snowstorm was published! Not nearly all tropes I could find are included but if you read it I promise you you’ll find quite a few. Not all are included in the list below either, but this is the list I had lying next to my laptop while writing:
Tropes and clichés in M/M Romance
The main characters:
• Occupation: Gay comes with the uniform—Cop, Fireman, Paramedic, Doctor, Soldier. But let’s not forget the Bartenders, Bookstore owners, Lawyers, Actors, and Cowboys. (And the bottom can be a nurse if he wants to.)
• Eyes: There is either one character with green eyes or one with specks of gold in his. There will also be ridiculously long lashes (that any girl would kill for.)
• Smell: He smells of cinnamon, or he smells of musk, man, and sometimes he even smells of himself.
• He doesn’t have much body hair, if any.
• He listens to pop music (often ABBA).
• He has a bubble butt and slender hips.
• He’s short and quite often a nerd.
• He has a long, slender, pink dick.
• He has soft curly hair.
• He will die without coffee in the morning.
• He has a lot of body hair.
• He listens to classic rock.
• He’s tall, at a minimum 6 feet, but often 6’3.
• He’s a real man so he drinks beer.
• He has broad shoulders, tiny waist, and long legs.
• He has a thick, veiny cock
• A red-haired female BFF, either wispy thin or curvy.
• A female friend or relative who will explain to the MC that he’s in love (Men are apparently too stupid to know for themselves.)
What they do:
• Watch Die Hard.
• On a first date, at least, one of the MCs dress in khaki trousers and a button-down shirt.
• They eat Chinese take-out.
• In a D/s relationship, the Dom tells the sub “not to swear.”
• Suddenly magically skilled in bed: The virgin performs every sex act he tries perfectly.
• The life-altering prostate stimulation: the MC somewhat reluctantly is the “receiver” and gets his prostate stimulated. Then he never ever want to have any other kind of sex ever again.
• First time bottoming: “Oh, it hurts, I think I’m gonna die” and then there’s one brush over the prostate, pain turns into pleasure, and all he wants is more, more, more!
• “Creamed my pants ‘cause you’re so hot.” When the giver comes from giving head, only.
• Scrambling for lube and condom in the bedside table drawer or under the mattress.
• Applies lube, and presses through the “ring of muscles” or “pucker.”
• Dick “hard as a diamond”, “hard enough to pound nails”, or maybe it can “cut glass”.
• The one, two, three fingers, followed by cock.
• “You’re so tight” or if you’d rather “So hot, so tight.”
• He thrust one, two, three more times…
• Then comes “the ropes of cum” or the “hot cum” (that you’ll feel the hotness of through the condom).
• Molten lava: “Anger burning like molten lava.” “Heated gaze like molten lava.”
• “Oh so responsive” (about the bottom)
• Being a “Boy Scout” when lube and condom are readily produced.
• Gay for You
• Insta-Dad needs boyfriend: When a guy becomes orphaned and has to take care of younger siblings, or when a man becomes a widower (often merged with GFY).
• Fuck buddies become boyfriends.
• BDSM cures All: OCD, ADD, and extreme shyness can be cured by finding a Dom who tells you how to act.
• The Healing Power of Sperm: Characters is broken/devastated (often raped), but as soon as he comes into contact with the love interest’s sperm all his fears and problems are cured.
• Smartass twinks and dumb tops who finds them funny.
• The alpha male who sweeps us off our feet (and rescues the bottom.)
• The story takes place on a deserted island, or somewhere where the characters are snowbound or trapped in an isolated place.
Is there anything you think I need to add to the list?
Daring a snowstorm might not be the smartest thing Aiden has ever done, but he can’t stand being in his flat a moment longer. With only three days to Christmas, he doesn’t want to be alone. He wants a place to belong, wants people around him who won’t look down on him. He might not find all that at his mother’s place, but at least it’s better than being alone in the city. If he can make it there, that is.
Tristan is looking forward to a quiet night in front of the TV, but instead, he has to save an idiot in designer clothes from freezing to death in his forest. Tristan tries not to notice the man’s good looks, just like he has tried not to notice any man’s good looks for the last seven years. He knows where relationships go and is far better off living alone, with his dog, in his cabin.
Aiden is driving Tristan mad with his bratty comments and irresponsible ways, and Aiden is going crazy from Tristan’s judgmental attitude. Luckily, in a few days, the weather will clear up, and the two men won’t have to be together any longer. But will a few steamy nights with the grumpy lumberjack change Aiden’s mind about wanting to leave? And will Tristan still want to go back to his peaceful, predictable life without fear of getting his heart broken?