Tag Archives: interracial romance

Half Past Time: Rachel Lindsay as the Next Bachelorette

14 Mar

Not sure what lies ahead for Rachel, but she seems to have done pretty well so far, no?

By Alexa Day

Her name is Rachel Lindsay, she’s 31 years old, and she’s an attorney working for a very supportive law firm.

She’s the next Bachelorette. And she’s black.

Some of you can’t be bothered to care, and that’s fine. I will defend to the death your right to apathy. Just understand that this is a really big deal for a great many people.

I’ve never really watched the Bachelor; I could only watch so many grown women burst into real tears on camera over some dude they just met. By the time, I stopped paying attention years ago, the show’s few black cast members were usually on the show long enough to make the network look good. Then they were gone before anyone started to think that the Bachelor, usually a white man, would actually choose a black woman as a romantic partner and potential spouse.

Gradually, black women garnered longer stays on the Bachelor. But before Nick Viall, whose run as the Bachelor will end tonight, none had cracked the final three. Indeed, Nick had a more diverse selection of women than many Bachelors. In the history of the franchise, going back 21 years, the Bachelor and Bachelorette have had only 43 black cast members, and eight of them were with Nick this season.

Rachel left the Bachelor last week, leaving Vanessa and Raven to vie for the final rose. This is about the time I found out that Rachel would be the next Bachelorette, and after I shook my head in wonder that it only took ABC thirteen years to make a black woman the show’s lead, I started to pick through the press coverage.

I liked Rachel immediately. She said her law firm is holding her job open while she films the show, something she knows to be an anomaly in the legal industry. She said she had no desire to know what her dad and Nick talked about, when the two of them apparently had their suitor-parent conference. And then, in The New York Times, she said, “Even though I’m an African-American woman, it’s not different from any other bachelorette.”

You might be asking, at this point, what the big deal is. She says she’s going to be just like any other bachelorette.

That’s the big deal. That’s a huge deal.

I’ve got a few years on Rachel, and so my experience with popular culture’s expectations of black women is probably a little different. Today, we have Rick and Michonne on The Walking Dead, who have moved beyond being the zombie apocalypse’s most dangerous couple and become its most adorable couple as well. On Scandal, Fitz’s adulterous relationship with Olivia might be a thing of the past, but he’s involved in another, similarly complicated interracial relationship with Angela, the director of the FBI … and his ex-wife, Mellie, is flirting across racial lines with her aide, Marcus. Not that long ago, I was delighted to spread the news about the immense but understated magnetism of Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in Loving.

My point here is that we’re seeing black women with white men in the popular culture. We’re seeing it frequently. What’s so different about this?

The headline that sent me down this Bachelorette rabbit hole was this one, from The Hollywood Reporter: “History-Making ‘Bachelorette’ Opens Up About Pressure to Pick a Black Man.”

Rachel hasn’t even started production yet. And she knows there’s going to be some pressure for her to pick a black man, because to some person or persons out there, it’s okay for her romantic options to be limited by her skin color.
In short, she knows that a lot of people think that black people should be with other black people, to the exclusion of all other people. Whether this view is espoused by enough people to affect her pool of suitors remains to be seen. But she knows the truth about people’s perceptions, and she is willing to tell The Hollywood Reporter about it. In spite of this, she’s determined to pursue her reality-TV romance just like any other woman, of any other race.

“It’s my journey in finding love,” she said. “And whether that person is black, white, red, whatever — it’s my journey. I’m not choosing a man for America, I’m choosing a man for me.”

I hope the network is prepared to support her in this mission.

If Zack and Lisa mattered to you back in the day, then Rachel probably ought to matter to you now.

Because I’m older than Rachel, I remember how many a television show would bring on a completely random black character for the sole purpose of being an appropriate, but temporary, love interest for a more permanent black character. I’m also aware of the longstanding TV trope of pairing the black character with the least romantically desirable character on the show. We’ve made progress, sure. But let’s be honest. Popular culture is still very comfortable with black romance (interracial and otherwise) on the sidelines, leaving black characters with societally appropriate partners who have no chemistry with them, with some grand mission to assist other characters at the expense of their own love lives, or with no partners at all. Honestly, I’m still a bit annoyed with Magic Mike XXL for pushing Rome into the corner. I’m enjoying the rise of Richonne because part of me is afraid it’s going to be taken away soon. Please don’t start me talking about Sleepy Hollow again.

I’m not going to sit here with you and suggest that the Bachelorette is the flagship of romance. I did just say I couldn’t bear to watch grown women devastated to discover that they wouldn’t be marrying some dude they just met a little while ago. But Ali Barthwell from Vulture says it best in “Why a Black Bachelorette is a Big Deal.”

“Celebrating black womanhood in the context of marriage and motherhood might seem reductive to some, but because they’ve so often been denied those roles in pop culture, it’s in fact, revolutionary,” she writes. “Seeing a black woman as the woman pursued, riding off into the sunset, would do so much to diversify the narratives of black romance.”

Will I tune in for Rachel? Well, just last night, one of her future suitors apparently greeted her, on international television, with the promise that he was “ready to go black and never go back.” I have to support a woman who could hear a man say that and not punch him in the face, cameras be damned.

In the meantime, let me present two tales of reality TV romance where black women take center stage.

In The One, by Danielle Allen, heroine Zoe is a reality-TV skeptic who suddenly finds herself on a Bachelor-style show. And Bridget Midway’s Love series, starting with Love My Way, features a reality TV show that pairs Doms with their submissives.

Still looking for excitement? Try this on for size.

Let the Confessional Games Begin!

Have you ever had mad monkey love on a motorcycle? A three-way in an alley? Been roped, tied and pleasured? Have you never, ever, never done any of this? Be rewarded for your naughty or sweet past and win crowns, toys, books and more at the Lady Smut special reader event, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. at the RT Booklovers Convention.

Follow Lady Smut. This is where the fun starts.

 

 

Keeping It Real: An Interview with Bridget Midway

14 Feb
Best. Housewarming. Gift. Ever. Click to buy.

Best. Housewarming. Gift. Ever. Click to buy.

By Alexa Day

We’ve spent a great deal of the last few days celebrating Fifty Shades. I cannot in good conscience join that celebration. My consistently negative feelings about Fifty Shades — both the portion of the book that I struggled to read and the movies I have no intention of seeing — are well documented here on the blog. But today, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I have chosen to offer you a more gentle, generous message.

You can do better. You can do much better.

Take Bridget Midway. Her Fascination Street was one of the very first kinky romances I ever read. It’s more of a swinging romance than a BDSM story, although it’s Bridget’s first book featuring characters who are into BDSM. Still, it doesn’t look like many of today’s BDSM romances. There are no billionaires. There are no ingenues. There are no sex clubs (but there is absolutely an orgy). Fascination Street is the story of a couple discovering that their new home in the suburbs comes with some very kinky neighbors. It’s also an interracial romance, the first BDSM romance I’d ever read with a black heroine.

Woman In Chains features a Dominant hero who rescues a submissive from an abusive Dom. When the story opens, the heroine, Brea, has been so badly abused that she won’t even use her own name. Watching her find her way out of the darkness with her rescuer, Dakota, is pretty powerful stuff.

I got to interview Bridget about her sexy stories, where BDSM romance is headed, and whether BDSM’s chains and power exchange are especially loaded for black kinksters. I definitely learned a thing or two from our conversation.

AD: With Fascination Street, you showed us that kinky people could literally be the couple next door, and with Woman in Chains, I absolutely love the way you portrayed hero Doms and villainous ones, to show readers what these relationships should and should not look like. (I consider both of them seminal works, by the way.) Is BDSM romance doing enough to draw the line between good relationships and bad ones? Does BDSM romance have any responsibility to do that?

BM: All romance fiction should highlight what a great relationship is for that couple. (Emphasis Alexa’s.) What works for one person may not work for another. Belle in Beauty and the Beast desired the Beast more than Gaston, but I’m sure some woman out there wanted Gaston. The goal of BDSM romance fiction should be to represent the Lifestyle honestly.

A: Do you think that we, as erotic romance authors, are sacrificing the tenets of safe, sane, consensual to achieve more popularity? I think erotic romance has always been a little larger than life, but do you think that we’re going beyond the unrealistic into the dangerous? Do we have a mandate to educate, or at least to be responsible, in our portrayal of BDSM?

B: In all fiction, authors push the boundaries of reality to create a fantasy that will make readers fall in love with love and with the characters. I can only speak about my writing style and my goals. I stay in the boundaries of portraying safe, sane, and consensual BDSM relationships. However, there’s more to a BDSM relationship than safe, sane, and consensual. Trust is paramount. It’s the bedrock of any good BDSM relationship. I’ll shake the characters up by making them question the trust they have between each other.

A: What would you say to black kinksters and the kink-curious who may be torn between curiosity and the powerful cultural implications of the power exchange, the whip/chain/restraint trappings of BDSM? Is BDSM different for black practitioners?

B: Although I write BDSM, I’m not personally in the Lifestyle. However, I have learned about the Lifestyle from people in the Lifestyle for more than twelve years. The very first time I went to a munch, which is a lunch that includes a demonstration, the Domme who taught me about the Lifestyle taught me one very important thing. BDSM is about sensations. Some people like a harder sensation than others. Some may want to be spanked, caned or flogged. Some may want dirty talk or tickling or mummification. No matter the kink, people who are involved in the Lifestyle are doing it for themselves and no one else, unless your thing is being an exhibitionist. If it is, you still wouldn’t care what anyone thinks. A person of color who enjoys being tied down or whipped should want it because it’s what they desire and it’s consensual. That’s the most important thing.

It'll change the way you think. Click to buy.

It’ll change the way you think. Click to buy.

A: Do you feel any kind of a way about Fifty Shades?

B: When the books first came out and there was a definite buzz about them, readers contacted me and asked me what I thought about them. At the time, I hadn’t heard of the series or the author. So I went on the author’s website to check out what she was all about. In her Frequently Asked Questions page, she admitted that she did all of her BDSM research online. After that, I discounted everything in the series and the movies.

BDSM is a real lifestyle with participants doing it all over the world. At the time I learned, I lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I didn’t even think where I lived that there was even a local BDSM group. I thought the closest I could get would be D.C. or Maryland. I did a search online and found a group that welcomed me to their meetings and have been so supportive about everything I have done, from book releases to in-person events. So for that reason, the Fifty Shades of Grey author had absolutely no excuse for not going out and meeting people from the Lifestyle to get a real, honest perspective. People can and do lie online all the time. When you get in a room with someone who is getting flogged or see a rigger hoist someone in the air with ropes or watch needles piercing someone’s skin and hearing their reaction, you collect sensational memories that you can translate into compelling fiction. I heard what it sounded like for a paddle to strike flesh. I smelled the wax during wax play. I’ve felt different types of canes and floggers. I have swung a paddle and flogger, and struck someone before. For that reason, I hope readers find me credible when they read my work.

A: I want to hear all about Royal Pains! How long have you been putting on an annual event? Why did you start? What do you hope to accomplish each year?

B: Ah, “2017 Royal Pains with Bridget Midway and Friends”. To be honest, and you may find this hard to believe, I’m painfully shy. I don’t mind absorbing into a background and being an observer. On the flip side of that, I do enjoy talking to readers and talking about books. About five years ago, author Yvette Hines put on an in-person event in Virginia Beach. She invited other local authors, including me, to participate. I saw how much fun it was, and asked her if she wanted to partner to do a joint event that focused on BDSM. I had never heard of a BDSM author event at that time, and I had been to plenty of BDSM conventions like Leather Flea Market Fair, Leather Fet and Fetish Fair Flea Market. I wanted to marry the two concepts.

In 2013, Yvette and I put on an event called “Wrapped Up” and wrote complementing books in a series about brothers who were both Dominants and owned a candy shop. My book was called Licorice Whips. I invited a couple of people in the Lifestyle to talk about what it is that they do, and they did an actual scene for the attendees.

To put on an event is a lot of work. So I waited a couple of years, and then in 2015, author Adrienne Kama and I put on another BDSM event called “Kickin’ It”. In that one, I had even more folks in the Lifestyle there and they answered questions and did some interactive activities with them.

I was exhausted after that event and hadn’t planned on putting on another one. When the people in the Lifestyle came up to me at the end of the “Kickin’ It” event and said, “You are going to do this again, and we will be here for you”, I knew I had to put on another event. It was fun and so informative.

My goal is to educate and entertain. I want people to take the fantasy of what they think BDSM is out of their heads and look at something real. And I want them to see and hear from people that I lean on for my BDSM teachings. And if I sell a book or two, that’s icing on the cake.

A: What are you working on right now?

B: Right now I’m working on the fourth book in the Love series, which is called Addicted to Love. That series has been about BDSM in reality TV settings. The first book, Love My Way, was about a Dominant trying to find a submissive through a reality TV show. The second book, Slave To Love, is about a submissive trying to find her Dominant through a reality TV show. In that book, there were two characters in there that “spoke” to me. I wanted to explore their stories. The hero was a contestant on the show who doesn’t talk. And the heroine is a bubbly submissive. Truth be told, this is the most difficult book I have ever written. But I can’t back away from a challenge. I want to get his story told.

A: I want that story told, too!

I am so, so grateful to Bridget for spending some time with me and Lady Smut! If you’re down with what Bridget is saying (and I definitely am), check her out on Facebook. Every morning, she posts up some smoking hot imagery in the run-up to Royal Pains. I especially enjoy the femdom photos. Yes, ma’am! If you want to join the party at Royal Pains — and I agree with Bridget that watching a scene from inside the room far surpasses anything you’re going to see on the Internet — head over to Bridget’s site. When she and I spoke, there were only 14 spots left, and they are going very quickly.

Includes massage oil, candle, lip balm, and soap. Continental US only, please!

Includes massage oil, candle, lip balm, and soap. Continental US only, please!

And this is an excellent time to follow Lady Smut. You’re just in time for the Kama Sutra giveaway! Just subscribe to our newsletter for a chance to win.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Indivisible: The Simple Invincibility of Loving

22 Nov
It is as simple, and as powerful, as this.

It is as simple, and as powerful, as this.

By Alexa Day

About 18 months ago, I received news of Jeff Nichols’s film, Loving, with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. I did promise to give the movie a fair chance, but I could not imagine that any film would do justice to the real Richard and Mildred Loving, two people who simply belonged together.

I saw Loving this past weekend. It is magnetic.

From the very beginning, Nichols draws us into a world that never gets much larger than the two people at the heart of the story. The energy that flows between Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, who play the Lovings, is palpable but very gentle, a deep-running but quiet passion. As we follow them to Washington, D.C. and then back to Virginia, with three children in tow, the only thing any of us knows for certain is that these two people belong to each other. They nourish each other, and they grow into and through each other, and they are absolutely bound to each other. They are indivisible.

Given the groundbreaking nature of the Loving decision, I imagine that there’s always a temptation to turn this story into something large and sensational. It would be easy to play to the audience with raised voices and racial slurs and the protracted study of racial inequality in America in the 1960s. Nichols resists this temptation, and the film shines because of his restraint.

The beauty of the Virginia countryside fills the screen with lush color. The changing seasons come to life, softly reminding the viewer of just how long it took for the case to rise from Caroline County to the Supreme Court. Don’t even start me talking about the cars. Every detail is beautifully rendered, but all of that is just a backdrop for Richard and Mildred. They’re a constant in a world that slides around them. It is impossible to look away from them.

The movie never raises the question of whether the Lovings would stay together despite the opposition to their marriage. The film is built on one premise, the unbreakable certainty that neither would abandon the union. A different question arises from that foundation. We never wonder if the Lovings will stay together … but before long, we doubt society’s power to challenge them.

There is tremendous comfort to be found in the knowledge that two people would survive and thrive, despite opposition, simply by refusing to let go of each other. At one point, Mildred tells a reporter that she’s aware of the conflict she faces, but that she also knows that she and her husband have many, many allies. No matter what happens, the two of them are determined to live their lives on their terms, surrounded by family and friends.

That sort of confidence is the source of real, lasting change.

Is Loving playing in your town? Go check the website. Then have a look at Grey Villet’s photos of the Lovings.

And follow Lady Smut.

Better Living Through (Fictional) Science: Illicit Impulse Cover Reveal

26 Sep
It's almost here! Illicit Impulse returns tomorrow!

It’s almost here! Illicit Impulse returns tomorrow!

By Alexa Day

Writing erotic romance has got to be the best job in the world. I get to spend my time dreaming up the sexytimes with the sexy people. I get to trash their fictional world and watch as they crawl out of the wreckage to find love with each other. And every so often, I get to right a wrong. That’s why I loved writing Illicit Impulse so much. The story of John March and Grace Foley and those big experimental pills allowed me to address a biological injustice.

Oxytocin is widely promoted as a “cuddle hormone,” but I know its dark, clingy secret. Sure, oxytocin will make you want to snuggle with your sex partner once the fireworks have faded for the evening, and hey, that’s wonderful. But it also works a dark magic on a woman’s mind, where it transforms her sex partner into her boyfriend. Oxytocin doesn’t care that you probably aren’t going to see him again or that he was really just the entertainment for the evening or the weekend. So far as the “cuddle hormone” is concerned, it’s always cuffing season.

That just felt like a huge biochemical ripoff to me. I mean, I’m good with hormones lighting up for one dude over another, but I certainly didn’t want hormones choosing my boyfriends for me.

But what if there were some way to take oxytocin out of the driver’s seat?

Well, I might not be able to make an oxytocin suppressant … but I can sure make one up.

Illicit Impulse is the story of how complicated things can get when we try to uncomplicate things. Neuroscientist John March (the hot fellow in the glasses) has fulfilled my dream by creating an oxytocin suppressant called Impulse. He just needs someone to test it out and be completely honest about how well it’s working.

That’s where Grace Foley comes in. John and Grace are best friends, and she’s done a lot of kissing and telling over the years, hoping for the benefit of his advice. She doesn’t mind trying out a product that promises sex without commitment. Her friend with benefits, Tal Crusoe, doesn’t mind a little experimentation, either.

Simple enough, right?

There’s just one problem.

John and Grace both want to be more than friends. They’re also both certain that they’ve blown their chances with each other. So will these hot, hands-on experiments force them deeper into the friend zone? Or will Impulse make their friendship complicated in the nicest possible way?

Illicit Impulse was previously published by some other people before a very extensive revision for Loose Id. You can get your very own copy tomorrow as Lady Smut’s Smart Sexy Science theme week continues!

In the meantime, follow Lady Smut. It’s good for you.

Alexa Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and recovering attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

A Hollow Farewell: Abbie Mills Deserved Better

12 Apr
It's half past time to start holding writers accountable.

It’s half past time to start holding writers accountable.

By Alexa Day

(OMG, I’m so late. I hope all of you had ice cream while you were waiting!)

I don’t remember where I was when I found out Sleepy Hollow had killed off Abbie Mills. I do remember that I responded with a shrug. It’s not that I’m not grieving. I’m certainly not happy about this. But I’m not surprised.

Truth is, I didn’t start watching Sleepy Hollow for Nicole Beharie. I started watching for John Cho. I can refuse John Cho nothing. Sleepy Hollow killed John Cho off (the first time) at the end of the pilot. You see how they do.

By then, I was all about Abbie Mills, though.

It took a really long time for things to go wrong.

Abbie Mills and her fellow Witness, Ichabod Crane, had amazing chemistry right from the start. He didn’t understand a whole lot about modern life, but he was a strong and steady male influence in her world, where family and friends rarely stick around for long. An easy affection started to deepen into something else.

I was really looking forward to Something Else. I wanted this in large part because of how well the writers handled John Cho’s character, Andy Brooks. You want to see someone absolutely destroyed by unrequited love, obsession, and the eternal consequences of his actions? Watch John Cho act the hell out of that role.

I figured the writers knew how to handle Something Else. Sadly, it gradually became clear that the Sleepy Hollow writers and Powers That Be were willing to move heaven and earth (and other dimensions) to prevent Something Else from happening.

Katrina appeared at the front of a long line of More Appropriate Companions. When that soured, Betsy Ross was shipped in from God knows where, as someone who had apparently dated Ichabod in the past. It looked to me like the writers were actually really excited about pairing Ichabod with a feisty, independent, lady bad ass — they just didn’t want him with Abbie. Nor did it seem that they wanted Abbie with anyone else.

So. The female lead on a major network television show is just not supposed to have a love interest. Certainly not the male lead. Wonder why?

Because she’s black.

I complained about this with Magic Mike XXL. There’s really no reason for such an important character as Rome, in such a sexual movie as Magic Mike XXL, to be left in the corner. Except that she’s black.

Hollywood has no problem at all marginalizing black female characters. For many, many years, characters who look like me have served a single purpose.

They’re here to help the white characters.

Here’s one now.

Never has not knowing nothing worked out so well.

Never has not knowing nothing worked out so well.

Here’s another.

She is smart. She really is.

She is smart. She really is.

Look, here’s one more.

Don't be fooled. Rome spent the whole movie in the background.

Don’t be fooled. Rome spent the whole movie in the background.

And now there’s Abbie. I saw the writing on the wall when Ichabod stood over her hospital bed and reassured her sister, Jenny, that Abbie would pull through. She was so, so strong, he said.

Of course she is. She’ll have to pull through and be strong if she’s going to keep helping out, right?

But seriously, I knew this was the end of Ichabbie because I knew that in Hollywood, the strong black woman never finds a companion. That’s not why she’s in the story.

I worry sometimes that you all think I’m the only person angry about this. Please be assured that I am not.

Orlando Jones, whose departure from the series is its own story, raises a brow here.

Colleague Sasha Devlin.

Rebekah Witherspoon tweeted at some length, but this is one of the real takeaways.

The Washington Post sees it. Take note, especially, of Nicole Beharie’s now-deleted report that she wasn’t even included in the first incarnation of DVD commentaries.

The final insult is the suggestion that as a Witness, Abbie’s “spirit” might return one day. An awful lot of people wonder what shape the spirit will inhabit.

Actually, that’s not the final insult. The final insult was that the writers crushed Jenny’s hope for love and happiness by killing Joe (her mentor’s smoking-hot, super tormented son), too. Those two were just lovely for each other — their baggage matched — and the writers actually made her the instrument of his destruction.

Explain to me again why Joe here had to die?

Explain to me again why Joe here had to die?

Hope lies at the bottom of Pandora’s box. And there is hope here.

It looks like this.

Hope springs eternal.

Hope springs eternal.

Someone does know how to write a relationship that looks like the one Ichabod and Abbie should have had. A few weeks ago, I literally cheered when I saw the strong black woman start a romantic relationship with a popular television show’s male lead. I made a lot of joyful noises and a lot of joyful tweets, and loads and loads of fans are ecstatic that Richonne is real at last.

The rest of television needs to take notice.

Now.

I see a lot of people promising to right the ship by writing their own sci-fi and horror projects, projects that don’t put people of color first in line to be killed or marginalized. But should that long, long overdue job really be relegated to writers of color, whose projects are, in turn, often diverted far from mainstream outlets? Is there any reason in the world that Hollywood writers’ rooms can’t manage this right the hell now?

I left Sleepy Hollow a while back because I thought Abbie Mills deserved better. I know Nicole Beharie does. And while I’m optimistic about the rise of Richonne, I’m not letting anyone else off the hook.

It’s high time Hollywood was held accountable.

Are you following Lady Smut? We believe in having it all.

Dead On! Rejoicing for Richonne

23 Feb
Stuff, thangs, and a touch of bow chicka wow wow.

Stuff, thangs, and a touch of bow chicka wow wow.

By Alexa Day

I’m writing this on Monday, almost a full day after watching the most recent episode of The Walking Dead, “The New World.” I’ve spent most of the day staring off into space and smiling. Everything is right in my little television world.

Why?

I’ll tell you. Of course, here’s the usual spoiler warning, with the usual classic music video to give the spoiler-averse the chance to slip away.

Still here? Good. I bet some of you will want to play that video again so you can sing. I needed three or four times, so I absolutely endorse that. Go for it. This post will still be here in fifteen minutes.

Is it any surprise that “The New World” is a world of love? Apparently it is a surprise to some folks. But I’ll get to that in a few minutes. I want to hit some highlights first.

Daryl teasingly echoing Doctor Denise’s jazz hands.

Rick playing the annoying older brother to the hilt — subjecting Daryl to his music and later swerving so that Jesus tips over onto Daryl’s shoulder. I’m an older sibling myself, so I loved watching Rick enforce the ‘my ride, my music’ rule.

Rick playing the loving older brother to the hilt — reassuring Daryl as they watch a truck full of supplies descend into a lake.

Maggie reaching out to Emo Enid, to let her know she needn’t be alone now that she’s helped both Maggie and her husband.

Carl teaching his baby sister how to find her way home.

Michonne telling Spencer that he still has a home and people who see the best in him, even though his mother has died.

And then things got real.

Carl explaining to Michonne that he didn’t kill zombie Deanna because it wasn’t his place. The job belonged to her family, he said, to someone who loved her.

And then Carl says, “I’d do it for you.”

Michonne, hearing Carl say that he is her family and that he loves her in this deep, dark, zombie-apocalypse way, returns his promise and embraces him.

Damn, right?

I really didn’t think we would get any more than that. And I was good with it. You know I love anything that gives Michonne and Carl the chance to be family.

But there’s more.

Rick and Michonne wind up on the couch, asking each other about their day. Conversations like that are always kind of intimate. I mean, anyone can ask how your day went, but we only tell the truth to our loved ones.

They watch baby Judith on the monitor.

Rick offers Michonne the roll of mints he got for her in lieu of the toothpaste she requested.

In the quiet, they hold hands.

They lace their fingers.

They turn toward each other.

I realized after a moment that I was actually trying to get my eyes to open wider.

They kiss.

I was afraid that if I moved or breathed or blinked, this would all be taken away somehow.

They look at each other — okay, yeah! And they kiss some more.

An astonished little squeak popped out of my mouth.

Rick and Michonne are making out on their couch.

This can’t possibly be real. Is this real?

Is Richonne real?

And then we cut to an overhead view of the two of them in bed, naked and entwined with each other, their weapons leaning against their respective nightstands.

Aww, check out the weapons on their nightstands!

Aww, check out the weapons on their nightstands!

Seriously, superfan and longtime Richonne shipper Yvette Nicole Brown had the same reaction I did. She just didn’t spend as much time shouting delighted profanities at the screen.

#LifeGiven #Richonne! Thanks to whoever made this pic collage!

A post shared by Yvette Nicole Brown (@yvettenicolebrown) on

So let’s be clear.

Richonne is real. Holy shit.

I’m surprised that all of this happened so soon after last week’s episode, yes, but only because my expectations have been lowered by Television As Usual. Television As Usual would have made us wait forever for this. We’d have gotten innuendo first, then hand-holding a few weeks later, and then interrupted kisses, delays to protect the feelings of others, and then did-they-didn’t-they for the season finale.

I should know better by now. The Walking Dead is not Television As Usual. The Walking Dead goes There. Now. Whether you’re ready or not.

I was ready. Richonne shippers everywhere were ready.

A great many people, however, are evidently surprised by this.

Nathan Fillion, on Sunday’s episode of Talking Dead, said he didn’t see it coming. And before I could ask what television show that dude has been watching, I saw headlines from Entertainment Weekly about the “huge Rick-Michonne shocker.” The Hollywood Reporter calls this “Rick and Michonne’s Surprising New Dynamic,” but it should be noted that neither Andrew Lincoln nor Danai Gurira seems terribly surprised by the nature of their characters’ relationship. Danai in particular saw this coming some time ago, and so have the people who have been stopping her on the street to ask when this was happening.

Is this a huge shocker? On one level, yes. If I hadn’t been surprised, I wouldn’t have launched into joyful hysterics back there. I’m surprised to have gotten everything I wanted in the space of two episodes. But I’m not surprised to see these two together. Rick and Michonne have been a great idea for a pretty long time.

I mentioned it here. Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds raised the matter three years ago. Yvette Nicole Brown (who should have been on the Talking Dead couch on Sunday — yes, I said it) started shipping Richonne back in season three.

So who is surprised? I don’t think the comics purists can claim to be shocked by this, honestly. TWD established a long time ago that the television series is not bound by the comics.

I’ll make a suggestion.

The same people who are totally okay with the marginalization of Rome in Magic Mike XXL are probably astonished to see that Richonne is real.

The same people who were good with relegating the Storm-Wolverine smooch from X-Men: Days of Future Past to the deleted scenes are probably shocked to discover that Richonne is real.

People who are confused by my use of “marginalization” and “relegating” just now probably didn’t see Richonne coming.

Ordinarily, I’d be bothered by that.

But I’m not going to let the easily shocked people of the world steal my joy.

Richonne is real. And to hear the powers that be tell it, Richonne is not going anywhere right away.

We’ll go easy on the told-you-so.

Follow Lady Smut. We love it when two good people come together and see Jesus.

Alexa Day writes erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent and fictional worlds where strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and recovering attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

The Dead Deliver: Is This the Season of Richonne?

16 Feb
Just a walk through the prison in the quieter days of the zombie apocalypse. Aren't they cute?

Just a walk through the prison in the quieter days of the zombie apocalypse. Aren’t they cute?

By Alexa Day

I am delighted to say that The Walking Dead is back, and I’m relieved (but not surprised) to say that its return on Sunday was amazing. It delivered everything I’ve come to expect from The Walking Dead over the years — such a welcome change from all the shows that have begun to disappoint me. But there’s a specific reason hope springs eternal during the zombie apocalypse.

This is your one and only warning. This entire post is basically wall to wall TWD spoilers. If you haven’t seen the season six mid-season premiere, “No Way Out,” you probably don’t want to read any more of this.

All the spoilers follow this music video.

Still here? Good.

The season six mid-season finale, “Start to Finish,” found my favorite couple-to-be, Rick and Michonne, trying to deal with the tremendous herd of zombies that overran Alexandria. I actually felt bad for Rick at this point. He has, either through action or inaction, jacked up just about every safe place this group has ever temporarily called home, but the invasion of Alexandria really wasn’t his fault. He did everything he could to protect the place that gave him the first shave and hot shower he’d enjoyed in months. Things just didn’t work out for him this time around, poor thing.

Anyway, at the very end of that episode, Rick led Michonne, Carl, and a handful of others dressed in zombie camo into the midst of the herd. Jessie and her family are part of the human chain, and just as they start their long slow walk through the giant wall of zombies, Jessie’s son, Sam, starts up with, “Mom? Mom? Mom?”

I’m not a parent, but I’ve been a kid, and I can tell you that my mother did not need the zombie apocalypse to, shall we say, gently encourage me to ZIP IT after three iterations of “Mom?”

But Jessie just lets him roll. “Mom? Mom?”

I have complained about Jessie before, at the opening of season six. I could not understand what made Jessie a viable love interest for Rick when the two of them have walked a very different path through the apocalypse, when she could not reach the very deep, very dark places inside Rick, and when it was painfully clear that they could not parent each other’s children. Indeed, I dared to dream that Something Might Happen to Jessie and Sam, and maybe her older son, Ron, too, while we’re at it.

Sam isn’t strong enough to be among the herd. Rather than retreating to safety with Father Gabriel and Judith, Sam insists on staying with his mother. More importantly, Jessie indulges Sam in his fragility. She’s done it before. She won’t do for Sam what Rick has done for Carl; she won’t force him to face the new realities of the apocalypse. As a result, Sam buckles amid the multitude of zombies, and when he blows his cover, he loses his life. Jessie, powerless to prevent his death, and equally powerless to save herself once he is lost, also loses her life.

Once he’s lost his entire family, Jessie’s older son, Ron, chooses this exact moment to take a shot at Carl. Ron has long had an ax to grind with Carl, and he has a poor sense of timing. Stationed protectively behind them, Michonne dispatches Ron, but not before his gunshot claims Carl’s eye.

One family has faced off against the other, and Jessie’s family has paid the ultimate price. The stronger family has prevailed.

Jessie was gone.

I’m ashamed to say that I was delighted.

I’m not that ashamed, but still. Even as Rick and Michonne rushed Carl to Alexandria’s hospital, I sighed and thought, “Now *there’s* a family.”

As the doctor examines his son, Rick finally breaks. He drifts out into the darkness to face the herd alone with an axe and a handgun. Michonne is torn — she wants to stay with Carl, but she can’t let Rick face the herd alone. Once the doctor stabilizes Carl, she tells Michonne to go after Rick, and then my heroine does something that choked me up a little.

She kisses Carl on the forehead before rushing out the door.

The apocalypse has cost Michonne a son, but this new reality has brought her another.

Everything that’s happened in Alexandria has worked to bring Rick and Michonne closer together. Michonne has been Rick’s strong right hand, providing valuable advice, daring to argue with the Ricktator, and shutting Rick down when he starts to go off the rails. She’s always been good with Carl, knowing how to protect him, when to give him space to grow up, and when he needed to be a kid. Carl and Michonne have been family for a long time.

Now, as the sun rises over a very different Alexandria, Rick makes a promise to his son. Rick has seen a world worth saving, a future worth claiming, and a place worth calling home. He pledges to make those things real for Carl.

I know Rick can’t do all that by himself.

Jessie was a barrier to the relationship between Rick and Michonne. In “No Way Out,” the barrier was abruptly removed. I’m sure the story has plenty of obstacles in store for Team Richonne, but Sunday night showed us that Rick and Michonne are ready to take all comers.

I can’t wait. Every romance fan knows how persistent real love is.

Follow Lady Smut. We’ve got your back.

Alexa Day writes erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent and fictional worlds where strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and recovering attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

Searching for Satisfaction in the Season of Sweeps

17 Nov
Sorry, guys. Not even your super cute matching haircuts could save you.

Sorry, guys. Not even your super cute matching haircuts could save you.

By Alexa Day

This used to be my favorite time of year. Not because of the holidays. Not because of the change in the seasons.

This is the season of sweeps. I’m a TV junkie, and I used to love watching my favorite shows pull out all the stops to get my attention during this run for the ratings.

Who would become pregnant? Who has an evil twin? Would someone fall down an elevator shaft?

Anything could happen, and nothing appeals to me more as a writer than a world where anything at all can happen.

This year has been disappointing. I haven’t written TV off altogether, but my old standbys have let me down.

I was on the fence about Sleepy Hollow at the end of its second season. This season, it’s been scheduled opposite Scandal, which sends a pretty powerful message, right? I figured I had to choose between an actual (if dysfunctional) interracial relationship and the mere hope of one, so I chose Scandal. A couple of weeks in, I wondered if I’d been wrong (I’ll get to that in a second), so I took a peek at Ichabod and company during a Scandal commercial break.

During my peek, I gathered that Something Awful had happened to my second favorite lady bad-ass; Abbie had been hospitalized after a run in with the supernatural enemy of the week. Ichabod looked on, concerned, but he still manages to comfort Abbie’s sister and fellow bad-ass, Jenny.

“She’s strong,” he says. That’s right. He says Abbie’s so, so strong.

Well, so much for that, I thought. Abbie has officially crossed over from potential love interest (I know, I saw potential long after most people threw in the towel) and became Strong Black Woman. Now, I don’t necessarily have to have an interracial relationship in everything I watch, but you all know how much I hate seeing a perfectly available, perfectly compatible black woman passed over for no good reason. This was my issue with Magic Mike XXL, remember?

Why did we pass on Jake again?

Why did we pass on Jake again?

I went back to Scandal, but all is not well in the land of Olitz, either.

I’m relieved to find that Jake has finally wised the hell up and stopped chasing after Liv. I figured he’d be pouty and kind of psycho for a really long time once he came to grips with the idea that Olivia would never choose him, no matter what he did for her (and to her — the man’s a machine). But Jake is done. Liv doesn’t seem to understand that, but he’s been doing a great job of moving on.

As for Olivia, she has everything she wants. The most powerful man in the world has chosen a side — and it’s hers. Everyone knows they’re together. She’s sleeping in the White House. He’s popped the question.

And true to form, Olivia is pushing him away. Again.

She keeps calling Jake, though. Big ups to him for reminding her that he is now nothing to her.

I think this is part of the Olivia Pope mystique. I don’t think she’ll be able to make a choice that makes her happy — at least not for long. I don’t know why she feels this need to deny herself happiness, but I’m worn out. I’m tired. I don’t think I have time for any more of this.

Hope, however, springs eternal.

I don’t want to delve too deeply into The Walking Dead because it deserves its own post, but I will say that I am willing to overlook Rick’s little smooch with Jessie. For the time being. I can give Rick a pass because there’s enough story elsewhere to keep me occupied (are we about to find that Glenn and Negan are in the same place?) and because, honestly, this whole Jessie thing just started. I let Ichabod ignore Abbie for two seasons before I gave up.

Anyway, still watching The Walking Dead.

I’m also returning to Satisfaction.

Put very simply, Satisfaction is the story of a man, Neil Truman, who discovers that his wife Grace has been seeing a male escort. He responds, ultimately, by becoming a male escort himself.

Satisfaction is absolutely loaded with sex, my friends. Oh my, yes. If you’re not sure your TV regimen is sexy enough, consider adding Satisfaction.

I don’t know why I let go of Satisfaction during its first season, but when I peeked at it again a couple of weeks ago, well into the current season, I found that Grace has responded to Neil’s career choices by launching a male escort business with her husband.

Grace, I salute you, madam. Nothing like a joint venture to bring two people closer together, right?

I want to admit now, publicly, that I was wrong to ditch Satisfaction. I was led astray by two other shows that I knew or had reason to know would ultimately betray and disappoint me. I’m just glad Neil and Grace and their complicated, sex-laden lives are still here for me. I hope we can all make it up to each other during a lovely Thanksgiving binge.

But what about you, fellow TV junkies? What are you getting into? What are you giving up on?

And are you following Lady Smut? We won’t jump the shark on you.

No Roads Lead to Rome: The Tragedy of Magic Mike XXL

26 Jul

 

She's wearing the pants in this movie, neighbors. What a shame.

She’s wearing the pants in this movie, neighbors. What a shame.

By Alexa Day

Last week, I was struggling with my fears that Magic Mike XXL would turn out to be everything people said it was. A feminist stripper movie, which did not distract its primarily female audience with a plot or anything that might prove disturbing. Two hours of gentle reassurance that yes, you are pretty and men should be nicer to you! An evening of gentle hand-holding and slightly adventurous sexuality.

Basically, I was afraid it would turn out to be the gummy vitamin of stripper movies. Not frightfully stimulating, but good for you in small doses.

I also said I would eat all 800+ words of last week’s post if I was wrong.

And I was wrong about a couple of things. I was also right about something. Then, on top of that, I was disappointed by things I didn’t expect to disappoint me.

Because I will be able to eat words without spoilers, and because I think folks enjoy seeing a good bout of verbophagy, let’s start with the things I was wrong about.

1. Joe Manganiello. I didn’t mention Joe last week, so I can’t honestly say I was wrong about him. It’s just that Joe has been right in front of me all this time, and I didn’t notice him, which is kind of criminal. Last movie, I was distracted by the plot — and I do not apologize for that — so I didn’t pay quite as much attention to Big Dick Richie as I should have. This time, he’s got the best scene in the movie and the best line in the movie, so he’s harder to ignore. The first word I need to eat is Manganiello. It’s a pretty big word, but I was really wrong, so I’m going to eat it twice.

2. The dance. Is dance enough to sustain this movie by itself? Well, let’s adjust the question. Would I have paid full price to remove all the plot from this film and just watch hot, scantily clad men dancing about the big screen (or the stage) for my personal amusement? Yes. Yes, I would have. I do still need a plot, and I find the suggestion to the contrary a little off-putting. But I can totally be present just for dance.

3. The moral. I’ll be a good sport and eat some words here, but in all honesty, I think everyone has been wrong about the moral of this story. This is not a story about what women want. It’s a story about artistic authenticity. Before the movie takes a hard left turn, Mike and his crew have a long talk about the route to success. Success doesn’t come from trying to figure out what other people want (or used to want), says Mike. It comes from you doing you, and from your willingness to share that with the audience. It’s a frightening prospect for any artist, and watching each of the men slowly embrace the idea is the molten core that makes the film work. Each of them takes a huge chance on the idea, each of them is a little vulnerable during the process, and each of them is a better off afterwards.

Ultimately, women respond to authenticity. Doubt me? Ask yourself this: how did Big Dick Richie get a smile out of the girl at the convenience store?

For the record, I continue to object to a stripper story with a moral, but there it is. Last week, my colleague Madeline Iva alluded to the potential for a new brand of erotic romance, and I hope that’s what she is referring to. I think the genre would benefit from more artistic authenticity and less writing directly to a fickle market. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve pulled many an artistic punch because I thought that’s what the market wanted, and I have been the loser every time. That’s another story for another day, though.

This concludes the word-eating portion of today’s post. I cannot address the place I was right or my major disappointment with this film without disclosing a great deal of plot. All the spoilers come after this classic Toni Braxton video. If you’re trying to avoid that sort of thing, this is a good place to say goodbye for now. I’ll see you back here next week.

Still here? Great.

Last week, I predicted that “everything gritty and complicated and potentially unpleasant or challenging has been excised from the storyline established by the first movie.” Well, that happened. Everything and everyone that made the last movie complicated and challenging has been removed with near-surgical precision. Everything. Everyone. It left me shaking my head, but before long, something else drew my attention. I only mention the surgery here because I cannot pass up an opportunity to say “I told you so.”

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let us come to Rome.

We are introduced to Rome and her club, Domina, when Mike needs help. I won’t waste your time with sugarcoating. Rome runs a predominantly black club. Indeed, it certainly looked like Mike and his friends were the only people in the place who were not black, but that place was crowded, and I can’t say I saw everyone.

That bothers me a little. I have an issue with separate but equal entertainment forms, but I don’t have the space to go into that here, when I’ve addressed it before. In any event, Domina seems like a clear response to complaints that the first film wasn’t diverse enough. I myself didn’t care about that because the first film had enough story to keep me very engaged. I’d also prefer not to have diversity issues resolved by awkwardly sticking a large number of black people onto the plot with duct tape. But that’s not my biggest problem here.

From the beginning, when she sends another man out the room to talk with Mike, it looked to me that Rome was being set up as an asexual special helper. I wanted so much to see that Rome was going to be more than that. She certainly eyes Mike hard after introducing him to the club as a ghost (a ghost, by the way, is someone who disappears from a romantic relationship without so much as “it’s not you, it’s me”). She doesn’t even seem to be angry at Mike after the way he’s treated her in the past.

But that’s as far as it goes. Rome does make Mike work for what he wants, but she takes nothing for herself. I kept waiting for her to cozy up with Mike or one of his lovely friends. I know she’s done it before, so we cannot rely on the tired excuse that maybe she isn’t into the swirl. I even thought Rome’s age was an issue before I saw Andie MacDowell. But sadly, by the time Mike and his crew are upstairs for the only non-sexual afterparty in the entire film, I knew where this was going. Among other things, Rome helps Mike and his friends get to a house filled with authentic Southern caricatures, who are evidently acceptable sex partners. Then she disappears until he needs her again.

No roads lead to Rome.

She’s certainly a capable helper; she’s smart and confident and absolutely fearless. She’s compassionate and gorgeous and open-minded. She also seems to know the business like the back of her exquisitely manicured hand. And so I defy anyone to explain why she isn’t a better love interest than the women at Caricature House. I mean, I think I know what the answer is, but I want to hear someone say it.

Magic Mike XXL goes to great pains to make sure that its audience does not perceive Rome as a potential sex/romance partner for any man in the film. Mike performs to impress her and please her customers, but it’s clearly a matter of business, and he does so with tremendous reluctance. He confesses his relationship with Rome in a low mumble from the darkness of the back seat. I half-expected a fusillade of inappropriate responses, but Mike’s barely audible admission is met with silence. I wondered which would have been worse.

I would never have done this to Rome. Ever.

Part of my brand promise is that heroines like Rome, smart, sexy, confident black women, are at the center of the story, whether they’re in it for the sex itself or the romance or both. You should not find a woman like Rome — who is absolutely killing it despite the fact that this film keeps putting her in men’s clothing — helping other people and leaving the story empty-handed. Not in my stories. I know a lot of other romance writers are also living this brand promise; my colleague Tracey Livesay and I have had many an animated conversation about it. But when are we going to start seeing ripples outside our very narrow slice of Romancelandia? When is popular culture going to start catching up?

I guess it’s possible that an audience of 21st century American women is totally okay with this sort of thing happening to female characters of color. Maybe no one cares that this is quietly encouraging people to think that this is the proper place for female characters of color and by extension, women of color in the real world. I hope that’s not the case, but I guess it’s possible. It’s certainly easier to believe that than it is to accept that no one sees this trend at all.

Let’s return to Toni Braxton.

In the time before she joined the world of questionable reality television, Toni Braxton made the really sex-positive music video I included with this post. The elevator game is a pretty apt metaphor for my own love life (I’ve been a damned lucky girl, and I ain’t done yet), as well as the love lives of my characters. And so this is what I wanted for Rome. I wanted to see her picking and choosing (albeit from a more diverse cast of suitors), not helping and disappearing. I cannot understand why so many characters like Rome are being marginalized, and I don’t get what else I can do to stop this from happening.

But maybe Mike is as much part of the solution as he was part of the problem. Maybe I need to focus harder on just doing what I do and trust that authenticity will open doors for the characters I love so much.

I don’t have the answers. I just have a brand promise and a new determination to be authentic.

As for you, are you following Lady Smut? We’re keeping it real.

Make the Swirl Go Round for Loving Day

14 Jun
Just a sweet little world-changing love thing.

Just a sweet little world-changing love thing.

By Alexa Day

This past Friday, June 12, was Loving Day, a celebration of the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated laws against interracial marriage in the United States. Don’t worry if you missed it; lots of us swirl enthusiasts will be celebrating all month. So you still have two weeks to wave the flag for interracial romance and marriage equality! Let’s start with a fun fact.

There’s a popular misconception that interracial marriage was illegal everywhere in the United States before Loving was decided in 1967. That isn’t true. The Lovings were married very legally in Washington, D.C., in the 1950s. Interracial marriage was, however, illegal in Virginia at the time, and when the Lovings returned home, they attracted the attention of law enforcement. The Loving decision struck down the anti-miscegenation laws still in effect in 1967, but by that time, interracial marriage was already legal in several states.

Jeff Nichols is set to direct a new Loving movie, starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga. I’m going to try to keep an open mind about Joel and Ruth. I really will. But look at Grey Villet’s photos, which accompanied a Life magazine feature on the Lovings. (Especially that kiss up top. That’s a home-from-work kiss done right.) Then watch this trailer for The Loving Story, an HBO documentary from 2011. Maybe Jeff Nichols can reproduce that chemistry in the new movie. Maybe.

Fired up? Good. Let’s hit up some links.

Because I am very comfortable with my own horn, I’ll get mine out of the way first. I wrote about swirling throughout TV history, interracial historicals, and Harlequin’s interracial issues. I’ve also got two interracial romances out right now and more to come.

Facebook introduced me to Writing with Color on tumblr. My favorite post right now deals with describing skin color for characters of color — I absolutely love the way it uses natural descriptors like copper and bronze along with pictures to really demonstrate what those colors are. I also dig the fact that the post includes descriptors for all characters, both white and non-white. I couldn’t wait to use this advice in my last story, and I had a great time figuring out whether my heroine’s skin was mahogany or bronze (it’s actually closer to sepia). It takes time to make these descriptions precise, sure. But that’s a good thing. Hang out on Writing with Color for more smart ways to build these sensory and cultural details into your work.

I wish I had a dime for every time I heard someone say they couldn’t find good reads featuring authors and characters of color. “Gosh! We’d sure like to review more, but we just can’t find any at all! So we don’t!” Ever heard that? If you’re looking, too, try Romance Novels in Color, a newsletter featuring books with at least one protagonist of color. You’ll find enough reviews and blog posts, including lots of interracial and multicultural romances, to keep you occupied until next Loving Day. Not sure where to start? Check out the list of free reads and get to sampling.

If you’re still looking, head back over to tumblr for WOC in Romance. I love the blend of content for authors and readers, and you might find some new authors and titles to explore. These folks post regularly about new releases, including interracial and multicultural romances, so be on the lookout for those. I’m also very into the genre-specific lists; I found two sets of titles for paranormal romances featuring heroines of color.

All set for Loving Month? Well, not quite.

Get your history itch scratched here with People of Color in European Art HistoryLots of inspiration for interracial historicals there, and evidence that the interracial lurve all over the world has been around a lot longer than the last fifty years.

June is also LGBT Pride Month, so why not enjoy HuffPo’s 60+ photos from same-sex weddings? Love is all about infinite diversity, and who doesn’t love a nice set of wedding photos? (Seriously, I am hoping to be as giddy as that second photo if I’m fated for marriage.) Maybe the next generation will call June Marriage Equality Month. Maybe our generation will.

And finally, enjoy these photos from real Loving Day weddings.

Don’t forget to mix it up by following Lady Smut.

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