“Opposites attract” is one of the most enduring themes of romance. I’m a giant sucker for any version of the “beauty and the beast” story, and I’ve used it plenty of times in my own work, pairing a down-home farm boy with a flirty goth guy in Hainted, and an innocent intellectual with an experienced private detective in Widdershins.
But why do we find this pairing so powerful?
For starters, we all love drama, and reading about two people who don’t seem to have anything in common is about as dramatic as it gets. They grate on each other, but the spark of conflict is close to the heat of passion. We wonder how on earth they’ll ever get along, let alone fall in the love. Opposites attract is a guaranteed bumpy ride, and we eagerly strap in to watch the conflict.
But beyond the conflict, a good pairing of opposites means complimenting each other’s strength and weaknesses. Each partner has something the other needs: the stay-at-home, down-to-earth guy needs someone to teach him how to live a little, but the party boy equally needs someone dependable to give stability to his life. The differences that seemed to separate them in fact are what makes them a perfect match.
Do you like “opposites attract?” Read any good books playing with the theme that you want to recommend? Share with us in the comments below!