Mon
Jun 19 2017 8:11am

What Is Your Squick Trope?

We talk about squick words all the time—words that gross us out in romance novels (I'm looking at you, moist). However, squick can apply to many things, so today I want to hear about the tropes that squick you out? What do you not like about them? Have you found exceptions? 

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22 comments
Scarlettleigh
1. Scarlettleigh
Really really squick me out in a non sexual way? People moving on too fast after someone dies. I read one book where the heroine sleeps with her "work husband" the day of her husband funeral.

And then I was thinking of reading another book by an author but when I read the reviews of her first book, they said she had a character do the same thing.

I really like Kristan Higgins books although she used this theme in one of her latest books. The heroine sleeps with someone after her husband had only been dead three months -- I worked around that one but it did kind of bother me a bit--but not a full squick. Three months is not the day of the funeral.

And in the same vein -- I dislike books where the heroine is pregnant with another man's child and finds a new love --especially when she was supposed to be so in love with her baby's father.

And in the same vein --characters having sex, having been married, dated --whatever -- one family member and then moving on to someone else in the same family. Kristan Higgin did this one too<g> You know that an author is an excellent author when you accept things that normally bother you.
Dr. Opossum
2. Dr. Opossum
I can't stand romance novels that begin with the hero kidnapping the heroine, So much of the plot then revolves around the hero (it is almost always the guy doing the kidnapping) having the justify his criminal action to the heroine in a convoluted manner. And this plot is so damn common! It has ruined books that I would have otherwise enjoyed like Ilona Andrews' Burn for Me or Amanda Bouchet's A Promise of Fire.
Dr. Opossum
3. Kim2801
Step-brother,- sister,- mother, -father. I've seen TOO much of this lately. Feels almost (!) incestuous...
Kara
4. keen23
Shapeshifters. Animals to human form really bothers me. Nicole Peeler's Tempest series was the worst of it. Her boyfriend has a dog form and she calls him "Puppy." It's so cringe worthy.
lauralee1912
5. lauralee1912
@ Scarlettleigh - Kristan Higgins and Lorraine Heath are two writers who tackle subjects that may bother me in other writers' words. Waking Up With the Duke is an example where deft writing makes the story work.

Step-whatevers are the biggest squick trope for me. Just nope, nope, nope. I understand that with today's blended and re-blended families it is bound to happen, but the thought of all the baggage is daunting beyond the squickiness for me. There are billions of people on this planet, just go find someone else.
Kat
6. an.iron.butterfly
Step-relations. BIG nope-nope-nope. "Forced seductions" and abductions too close to "dubcon" (aka dubious consent). And the one that really annoys me...secret babies. Just. Ugh. ANY kind of reproductive co-ersion is just wrong, from either partner! They are NOT the foundation of a good relationship, either.

The treatment of childfree women, childless by chance or choice women as either objects of pity or derision. Childfree women are not selfish, not cold or commitment phobic, not incapable of compassion or love. They may even like kids, but simply not want any of their own.

Childless by chance women may have wanted children but can't or couldn't have them for any number of reasons, and may have made peace with that. Some may have greived or mourned it or may be in the process of dealing with their indivdual reality. Seeing childfree, childless by chance or choice women stereotyped in novels is really, really annoying and can be a DNF (do not finish) or spur me to call it out in a review.
Dr. Opossum
7. Diana Lloyd
I'm not a fan of the step bro/sis love trope that seems to be popular lately. I don't get it. And, yuck. Fish from a different pond people!
Dr. Opossum
8. Jennifer H.
This whole 'step' thing bothers me as well. But I really don't like when a heroine is pregnant with one guys baby, but in whatever way shape or form starts a sexual relationship with a different guy. I just don't understand it from either perspective, but I really don't get how a guy could sleep with a woman who is obviously pregnant with another guys kid. It grosses me out.
willaful
9. willaful
Incest for sure. Most of what's written now is more fauxboo, which isn't an absolute deal-breaker for me, but when I read the book and it turns out that the conflict is they think they're related, I'm icked out, even though I know it won't be true.
Dr. Opossum
10. MichelleF
Reforming rakes. I just cannot get over the disease and pregnancy risks they've taken. Nothing says I love you like pox.
Dr. Opossum
11. Helen I.
Triangles. Can't stand indecisive and clueless people.
PeggyC
12. PeggyC
@Helen I. OMG! So much this! I can't even read love triangles. Even if it is by a favorite author. ESPECIALLY if it is a best friend/bf/gf thing. Just...no. I am always rooting for at least one person to be all, "Screw this," and walk away.

And the step thing is a total no.
Dr. Opossum
13. WonderWoman17
Threesomes (usually mfm) where the two guys are brothers. Nope nope nope.
Dr. Opossum
14. NC Bookwoman
I can't stand large (20+) age differences, especially when the woman is quite young. Marginally less creepy in historicals but it still bothers me there.
Dr. Opossum
15. Ruptured Goggles
This is something I see more often in fanfic than published fiction, but if I see the words 'no happy ending' or hear that's how it is going to end in the reviews, I'm not reading it. I'll read literary fiction if I'm in the mood for dark or ambiguous endings, when I read romance (or fanfic) I want my HEA damn it.
Anne Ohlrogge
16. krissieo
It takes a lot for me to like a triangle, and threesomes are icky, but I really hate when a child is troubled or in danger and the parent starts lusting after the rescuer (teacher, soldier, cop, whatever). When your child's hurting you don't think about sex.
Adria Reyes
17. adria03
@an.iron.butterfly nails it about childfree women. And I've said this before, why don't childfree women get romances? I'm talking about women and men who actively don't want kids finding love together. We DO exist and we DO want to have our fantasies too.

- A childfree woman.
Dr. Opossum
18. Dondon
Even in on-going series, I get freaked by having what I thought was a HEA suddenly become a happy-for-the-moment. When my hero/heroine becomes ambivalent to or even (gasp) cheats on their one true love, it spoils everything I read the ROMANCE genre to find. Keep the romance in my romance and leave the on-going and much too realistic lack of HEA in the chick lit or popular fiction categories. Please?
allyson55
19. allyson55
Probably not a trope but the squickiest situation for me is the treatment of anal sex. The female has never had anal sex and the guy talks her into it and - lo and behold - it's only uncomfortable for a second then she loves it! Really?? Don't think so. The male is usually very well endowed and if there are two guys, well, one in back and one in front at the same time and she's squealing with delight? No, just no!
If I read menage I want all parties involved, not brothers with one woman, eww, and not two or more guys pleasuring one woman. That's just weird. Shouldn't everyone be involved with everyone? I prefer MMF.
Hero or heroine moving on too soon after a death or break-up. Give them time to grieve or fume, let them have some me time.
Jennifer Proffitt
20. JenniferProffitt
@allyson55, mutual touching of all parties is a requirement when I read menage! So I totally feel you.
Dr. Opossum
21. bookish37
MichelleF "Reforming rakes. I just cannot get over the disease and pregnancy risks they've taken. Nothing says I love you like pox." And talking on and on and on about his conquests as if the heroine winning some "prize"
Dr. Opossum
22. SpiritedMuse
Some of my squickest tropes have already been hit on(family members, dubcon, and for sure moving on too soon). But I will add two more. When an author doesn't have a proper handle on BDSM dynamics and think that because they write the hero as domineering that automatically makes him the perfect Dom! No it does not. Hell, I read a story once that pretty much read like an assualt novel. And the author had the audacity to make it seem like it was perfectly natural for him to still be appealing to his ex-wife. Ugh, hell no, when you have been assualting her during a family setting at Christmas no doubt!

The other trope that really squicks me out. Is MMF stories. Where the couple is clearly and very happily involved in a gay relationship. But suddenly there needs to be a chick in there to make them so complete. I'm not against real life polyamorous couples if that is their thing. But dude, don't do that to fictional characters. Like having a chick in there, some how normalizes the story some how.
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