An article came out this week suggesting that men are now scared to approach women in case they come off as creepy. Predictably, a fair bit of stamping and bellowing from unfuckable men has ensued – how will they *ever* get their dicks wet if they can’t speak to women without written permission from a lawyer, waa waa waa etc.
The article itself was less creepy and creep-enabling than the social media bawling, naturally, but it’s not just whiny incels who sometimes fret about how they will ever meet potential partners in the modern world. The answer is only very rarely by means of striking up a conversation with a stranger outside of a regular social setting.
Romance (and erotica) quite often begin with some sort of meet-cute, to introduce the main characters to one another and indicate that they are going to get together in some way. Sometimes, though, the initial (and some subsequent) interactions come over as less adorable than, well, creepy. If your reader is wondering why on earth the object of your lead’s affections hasn’t administered a good kick in the face by now, your plot has a problem.
It’s fair to say that a high proportion of erotica and romance fans actually get off on reading about behaviour which comes across to non-fans as something they would respond to with a restraining order rather than helpless desire. There’s nothing wrong at all with writing – or reading – dubcon if it works for you, though a fairly surefire way to produce bad, irritating, unconvincing stories is to write in a genre or subgenre that you yourself find icky, just because you’ve heard it’s popular. The stories we enjoy getting off to don’t have to be stories that Teach Us How To Have Healthy Relationships. There’s plenty of non-fiction around which offers that kind of guidance.