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I am at a critical juncture in my next novel so I have spent the greater part of the last week doing research. The trouble I find with research is sometimes you find something interesting that has nothing to do with your subject but it is so compelling you just have to keep reading. Today I found one of those subjects.

In a way, it is relevant to a romance story. It is one man’s account of why he will never marry. Women often think men don’t understand love or romance. To the best of my knowledge, romance novels are generally read by women. However, I can tell you there are men who do think romantically; I have firsthand knowledge. I think there are more men that do than those who don’t. I think because we only hear that men do not think romantically we assume all men do not or there are very few who do. Kind of like the saying all women are bad drivers (statistics show the opposite, women are better drivers), all southerners are racists (oh,p,,lease!) or all guns kill (it is humans that kill, take every gun away and they will just find a different way to kill). There are a hundred more of these silly ideas humans spout where the opposite is more likely the case. I heard a saying that is attributed to Winston Churchill, ‘A lie will speed halfway around the world before the truth can get up and put its pants on.’ Unfortunately, it is the bad things that get remembered and not the good. So people lump other people into categories and assume everyone is like the negative aspect or at least a high majority. The truth never gets a chance to show it is better or a higher percentage because the lie has taken over. So now it is thought only women are romantic and men are just out for the sex. Well, think again; men can be romantic and women like to have sex too.

I personally think men are just as romantic as women, and not just so they can get laid. I also think romance leads to love. So since men do fall in love then they must have some romance in them. So why don’t they exhibit it more? Perhaps because someone has shot them down for feeling romantic; perhaps an unromantic woman, or their peers, or (this is what today’s research found) the family and extended family of the individuals.

Today I was reading a blog called ‘The Blue Abaya’. The author in her own research found a post on Facebook from a Saudi man as to why it was impossible to get married. His ideas had to do with the tribal and meta-tribal relationships of Saudis. Several commentators to the blog took those into the rest of the world to show that religions may act like a ‘tribe’ in not allowing two individuals to be interested in each other (A Catholic can’t marry a Jew), or that regions of the country prevent individuals from being with the one they love, (whites can’t marry blacks or Asians, or other race). All the examples given were valid and true. It shows that society tries to dictate what everyone within the society must do. It shows that everyone within a given religion must do and act as the religions says they should. It shows that certain families try to dictate what their children should do and who they will marry. Therefore, this man has decided he cannot rebel against the wishes of his parents or the tribal entity but must still be true to himself so decided the way to do that was to please no one; he will just not get married.

I lived within a similar frame work in my early years. But somewhere along the line I decided to rebel and follow my own path. It wasn’t until I was outside what was expected of me that I realized my family, because they loved me and wanted me happy, could accept me as I was and support my ideas. A rebel. Rebels. Rebels in society is what helps to improve that society and move it forward. If everything stays the same the society never moves forward. It stagnates and will eventually die away. It takes rebels to move the world. George Washington and James Madison were rebels. Susan B. Anthony was a rebel. Julius Caesar was a rebel. Charlemagne was a rebel. Mohammed was a rebel. History is full of individuals who went against the mainstream to advance a cause. We can all be rebels. It just takes making the decision to quit worrying about what others think and do what makes you happy. In the end you must be true to yourself. If your friends and family are so narrow minded they cannot accept that you have chosen a different path, well, you don’t need them. In order to advance ones self and the society for the better, you have to step out of the comfort zone and go forward. You may be hated or even disowned. I thought I would be disowned when I decided to escape what was expected of me but I was extremely unhappy within those expectations. But when I finally made the decision to move on, my family was happy and accepted me because in the end, they loved me. They loved me enough to let me spread my wings and do something different and outside their sensibilities. They let me decide for myself. I hope the man who wrote that post and others I found while researching will see you have to be true to yourself and no one else. Take a chance, spread your wings and fly. Be a rebel and move society forward. Even if your own family or tribe disapproves, someone else will applaud you and society as a whole will love you for being a rebel. I know I will.

(For more good reading on this topic visit these two blogs: http://cantthinkofanaddress.wordpress.com and www.blueabaya.blogspot.com.)