With the Fifty Shades of Grey film due out on Valentine’s Day, and with the plethora of billionaire stories that have burst on to the scene since the 50SoG phenomena, I found myself wondering the other day while I was doing the ironing just what it is about billionaires that we find so appealing.
OK, I suppose that sounds like a stupid question. People are always curious about how the other half (or in this case less than 1%) live. That’s only natural. And who hasn’t fantasized about how their lives would be different if they won the lottery or a long lost relative died and left them with a fortune? So here are just a few of the reasons I think billionaire romances appeal to readers so much.
It they can buy it, they can have it. Billionaires don’t have the financial constraints the rest of us constantly live with. Helicopters, jets, palatial mansions in south France, yachts the size of the QE2 are all just an afternoon’s shopping spree. There’s something very appealing about the freedom that buys, which leads me to my next reason.
THE RULES DON’T APPLY
If money is no issue, then many of the rules that apply to most of us are no longer relevant. While money may not
LIVING THE LIFE
The typical billionaire story involves a billionaire loving or at least lusting for someone who is very average. And while we read that story, we fantasise ourselves right into that role. We become the character who is wined and dined, whisked away in the private jet and shopped for by a very exclusive personal shopper. In essence, we get one helluva makeover, readying us to walk in the rarified air of the billionaire’s world. It’s the luxury and adventure of our fantasies along with the hot nasty steamy sex of … er … well … our fantasies.
In billionaire novels the polished, airbrushed look of wealth is associated with the look or our dream guy or girl. We want our billionaires to conform to our personal fantasies of what sexy and rich look like, and it’s amazing, though not surprising, how often the two go hand in hand. If we’re going to have a fantasy man, he might as well look good AND be rich. And of course, he will lust obsessively after US!
Our billionaire must suffer or have suffered. No silver spoons in these stories. Our billionaires must have suffered tragedy, been raised by crack whores, lost a loved one, had an abusive childhood, secretly suffer from self-doubt, self-loathing, horrible nightmares, think themselves unworthy of love. In the eyes of readers, there has to be a cost for wealth. Most of us can’t really imagine what it’s like to have that much money and power. If we’re being honest, we resent the hell out of people we feel have it but don’t deserve it. We find it gratifying to know that, yes, the wealthy really do put their pants on the same way the rest of us do, and they don’t get off without suffering. We need to see that suffering to make that love connection.
SALVATION IS AT HAND
Enter the love interest, just your ordinary girl/guy (insert your own name here) whose soul purpose in the story, as in all love stories, is to rescue the hero from himself, lift him above his self-doubts and heal him. The heroine’s job is to bring the wounded hero, even if he’s a surly billionaire, to a shared HEA. There’s something very satisfying
BALANCE OF POWER
It’s essential to the story that the love interest has something to offer to the billionaire that he needs, craves, can’t buy with his money. No one really wants to read a story about two perfect billionaires falling in love with each other in their perfect billionaire world. I’m convinced the billionaire story works because if offers the non-billionaire reader a balance of power. There’s something outrageously satisfying about an ordinary person having exactly what a billionaire needs, but can’t buy, what a billionaire is willing to give up all his/her wealth to have. The HEA in a billionaire story is that balance of power, when the billionaire and the ordinary heroine come to a state of equilibrium that allows love. Because the contrast in the beginning is so great, the achievement of this balance of power can be spectacular to watch. And the HEA can be very satisfying because of that contrast.
There! That’s K D’s analysis of our romance with the billionaire romance in a nutshell. The Brit Babes would love to know what you think!
If you love billionaire stories, the Brit Babes have a big surprise coming up for you very soon. Stay tuned!