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You've started to repeat yourself now, and if I replied, I would end up repeating myself too. I don't see the point of that. So, since we've both said what we want to say, I suggest we stop now and agree to disagree.
If your point is simply to persuade me that I shouldn't be writing m/m romance because egalitarian relationships were as unlikely between two men as they were between a man and a woman in the past, then I'm afraid that makes no difference to me. Even if I was persuaded that all m/m relationships everywhere had been unequal, I would still be writing slash.
Some certainly did, but others didn't. As with anything human, there's a wide variety of responses even in a single culture, depending on the individuals involved. Similarly, some of my characters call themselves by women's names - Sweet Bess, for example. Some dress as women - Lt. Mitchell in "Desire and Disguise," for example. Alfie has experience of the London cruising grounds, where he could pick up a guardsman for a quick shag around the back of the Inns of court. And some - like John - have been closeted and in denial and don't have any experience of the scene at all.
I understand that you think I'm wrong. All I can say to that is, read Rictor Norton, and then read the source documents that he has archived. In a choice between using actual court reports of the 18th Century for evidence versus research about homosexuality in a different country in a different century, I choose to believe the 18th Century evidence.
And yes, there is evidence that when it came to the 18th Century navy, the cases which got taken to court martial were largely cases of men with boys. There are also records of cases where the partners were both the same age and rank - and they were whipped and dismissed from the service rather than being court martialled. There is no one size fits all expression of homosexuality in the 18th Century any more than there is nowadays.
Of course I tell my stories as a modern writer would, with the values of a modern writer. That's why - although I know man/boy relationships existed, I don't choose to write about them in a romance context (except to have Alfie horribly disappointed that Farrant refused to have one with him.) But that doesn't mean that I am playing fast and loose with history. I'm choosing between alternatives which were all recorded as existing at the time.
A very convincing picture comes out that, in the 18th Century at least, the gay scene was very much already in its modern mode of dealings between adults, with the whole set up of gay bars (Molly houses) and cruising grounds that we are familiar with.
So I'm afraid I'm going to have to say that I did do my research first, and my books reflect the actual historical details of the 18th Century as far as it is possible to know them through modern scholarship. If you're interested, I definitely recommend Mother Clap's Molly House by Rictor Norton http://rictornorton.co.uk/molly.htm as a really eyeopening bit of research as well as a very entertaining book.
It's really kind of you to pop in and give me some encouragement. I needed it today!
Ooh, what should I read of Wayne's then? Can you recommend anything in particular?
LOL! I like the sound of that. I'm all for nice complicated plots with lots of intersections and sub plots. I like a book to have texture and complexity, and you can do all kinds of interesting mirroring and contrasting of themes that way :) So I am sure it will be worth it, even if it's making you pull your hair out at present! At least having an ending will simplify things because you know what you're aiming for.