Five Sentence Fiction: “Education” [Fearless]

The prompt for this week’s Five Sentence Fiction from Lillie McFerrin’s blog is BLUSH, and I’m using it for a little bit of a side story for Fearless.

In all my stories, I like to play around with gender roles in character relationships. Most of my characters follow pretty traditional roles, especially in my romances (there’s nothing quite like having a man who knows how to be a hero), but I also like to mix it up a bit: women can be bold hotheads; men can be tender-hearted romantics.

One interaction I always enjoy is the mentor/mentee relationship, no matter who plays which role…though my women tend to be the more cultured gender:

“Education”

This rosé was making him a bit dizzy (he was used to the clean simplicity of an ale), yet, she was still talking, perfectly normally, as though they hadn’t cleared through the bottle over the last hour.

“In America,” she said, tilting her glass back and forth in opposition to her head, “they call this type a ‘blush.’”

He blinked over at her, slowly, as he swallowed back the last, then muttered, “Why’s that?”

She settled her stemware on the table, then raised her eyes to his, and traded her cool glass for the warm angle of his cheek. “Because that’s what it makes you do,” she said with a tickled giggle, as she pushed him down to the floor, the taste of her lips sweeter than any wine.
By Neeta Lind (originally posted to Flickr as IMG_2397) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Ah. Nothing like letting affection ferment a bit with the bottom of a bottle…!

What gender roles do you like to observe – or disregard – in your stories?

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17 Comments

Filed under Short Stories, WIP: Fearless

17 responses to “Five Sentence Fiction: “Education” [Fearless]

  1. Wow, I’m smiling. Nice easy reading story, which made me feel ….mmm. I felt like I was in the room with her.

  2. Assertive women who can hold their drink… some men just don’t stand a chance. In answer to your question, nearly all the women in my stories are strong and feisty; the only story I ever wrote where the female was a wimp just didn’t hang right for me, and I never did anything with it. Good one, I liked this.

    • Thanks, Sandra.
      I agree that feisty women are almost always more exciting…both as characters and for the men in their lives. ;)
      What I find grating is a woman who is great at everything, with no flaws or vulnerabilities. That’s just uninteresting to me.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. And how delectable a taste it was. I’m sure the wine was good too. :D
    I always enjoy these romantic little interludes, as you do them so very well. The warmth in the atmosphere, the light mood between the two, even the mischievous predator finally snagging her prize.
    And I personally don’t think gender plays as much a role as the food chain does. There are those who pursue and those who are taken. The gender of each could be swapped effortlessly.

    Excellent work with this one!

    • You make a good point, Shade. I, too, like that back-and-forth between two people, and I love when they can swap roles even in the same relationship.
      Thanks for commenting. :)

  4. Amazing how much could happen in just five sentences. Very nice, and I liked the playfulness of it all. Easy to imagine, too.

    I guess I tend to disregard the really girly women types, where they are constantly afraid and don’t find courage in the end or are basically useless sacks of meat. Even if they were frail, I would like to at least see a strong personality where they do try to fight back against some kind of adversity.

    Of course, that doesn’t just apply to women. The really cowardly guys that have the same inability to find inner strength kill me, too. Like those books I told you that we had to read in class, I was ready to start a bonfire because of characters like that.

    • Yes, those damsels who are just there to be damsels are pretty annoying. Anyone who helplessly screams all the time in a horror movie, for example, I can’t wait for them to die. :D

      I do think fear is okay – it’s human. And different people overcome fear in different ways; not all of them pick up a chainsaw. Same thing with vulnerabilities; we’ve all got them. I like characters to grow, though. Whether that’s a man coming to grips with his own limitations, or a woman learning to rise above them, I want to root for someone worth rooting for. :)

      Thanks for commenting!

      • Nice responses about characters/people and what we go through in dealing with life. I share your point of view. Randy

      • Okay, the fear thing I’ll buy, since I was thinking of one of the books I read. The kid knew he didn’t want to shoot up the school and was scared to tell his friend “No.” He ended up going along with it, even if he didn’t fire a shot. I guess by ‘fear’ I was going with the idea of being too scared to do the right thing instead of the being chased by a chainsaw-wielding freak. My bad.

        But yes, character growth is a huge must for me!

        • The chainsaw was just a more vivid example. :)
          I think all kinds of reactions to adversity can be believable; we don’t always make the best choices when faced with difficulty. Humans are notoriously creatures of inertia. But, yes, there has to be growth of some kind.

  5. A different, fun take on the prompt. I liked it!

  6. lisashambrook

    That conjured up some lovely, blush inducing imagery! Really enjoyed this piece!

  7. Ooh-la-la!

    Mmm, gender roles is an interesting topic. I guess I’d have to say that I don’t like to generalize for the most part, but I want to be careful not to seem unbelievable, either. I think when we decide on gender roles we also have to take into account character motivation over the course of the book.

    • I agree, Kate: motivation/characterization – so long as it’s handled believably – makes all the difference in gender roles. I still like playing with them, though. :)
      Thanks for the comment.

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