Don't be sorry - it was interesting rambling. I do think it's possible for two people to conceive of themselves as soulmates without falling into the traps xtricks
talks about so well in his journal.
Another post you might want to read is here
. It's a spinoff from xtrick
's post and makes very good points. It also prompted a lot of my thinking for this post.
Something else I'd like to cover - but I think I need to think more about it before I do - is how gender differences in expectations and views of "romance" figure into this. There was an essay I wish I could find again that someone pointed me to months ago, that was a slash writer basically responding to gay male objections to slash. She talked about what she got out of a kind of slash that feminizes men and also objectifies men's bodies, as well as the romantic aspects of it. She was presenting this as a woman's
view and basically saying that men don't have to like it, won't like it, aren't expected to like it, but it's ours.
Only it's the kind of slash I hate, and I felt like yelling "Ain't I a Woman?" when I read it. I do
want my sex to be realistic, and I don't think that means I value male aesthetic more than female literary aesthetic. If anything, I think that a lot of "romantic" slash is not so much feminine in its imagination as heterosexual.
Anyway, I do actually have more complex thoughts than that about the essay, and about the whole concept of a romantic male/male erotic stories written by and for women, but I think I need to both find that essay and reread it and think some more about that.