After attending my presentation, “Negotiate Your Way to an HEA” at NECRWA’s March 2018 meeting, author and blogger Jackie Horne asked her blog’s visitors, “What type of HEA do you prefer: Accommodation or Collaboration?” I had suggested during my presentation that romance heroes and heroines often seem to move along a character arc from more competitive, self-oriented negotiation styles to more collaborative, balanced negotiation styles that valued meeting both one’s own needs as well as the needs of one’s romantic partner. Jackie pointed out at the meeting, and again in her blog post, that recent romances were more likely to have collaboration as the end goal, while “Old Skool romances generally held up the ‘accommodation’ style as the heart of a true HEA. Older romances, which value the ‘taming’ of the alpha hero, a taming that causes him to not only admit his feelings of love for the heroine, but also to recognize the value of emotional work typically carried out by the female half of the population, require their heroes not to compromise or to collaborate, but instead to ‘accommodate’: to give up their own needs or desires (because they are misguided and harmful) and to replace those needs and desires with those of their heroines.”
I thought this was a fascinating observation, and it led to a very lively discussion at the end of the presentation. I look forward to presenting this workshop again next week at NECRWA’s annual conference in front of a different audience and seeing where our discussion leads.