I don't like Cloud/Tifa.
I don't hate it. I don't have a problem that it exists. I understand the reasoning why they work together as a couple. But as a pairing they do nothing for me. They don't float my boat. Not my cuppa. The thrill isn't there. I'm sure we all have our little things that work like that, the things that are popular with others that just leave us feeling flat. Cloud/Tifa, to me, is vanilla ice-cream among fandom's wild array of flavors, and I've always been a chocolate girl.
Give me a choice between chocolate and vanilla ice cream, chocolate will always win. Show me something convoluted and strange, like a handpacked combo of Bailey's and Tiramisu in a waffle cone, I'm on it ('twas delish, btw). Show me something that might even be a little painful, like a super sour lemon sorbet, I'll give it a go. I'll try every new flavor once. But good old-fashioned reliable vanilla? Meh. It's too plain. Too simple. To easy. My tastebuds lean another way.
Obviously palates differ. There are people out there to whom a good Cloud/Tifa fic is like heavenly summer berries and cream. And there are some people who just flat out love vanilla above all else. I'm not one of them, never will be.
Even so, it's not that vanilla has no place in my life at all. Sometimes that smooth, simple sweetness is the perfect background to something more convoluted on top. Can you imagine Peach Melba served with Mint Chip ice cream? Or Rocky Road? Big as my sweet tooth is, I don't think that's quite my thing. To me Cloud/Tifa as a backdrop pairing to other plot works wonderfully. Even an exotic new twist on the old vanilla cone, like this fic
, where Cloud's a lawyer trying to help Tifa get custody of Denzel in a messy divorce, can grab my interest and keep me coming back for the occasional scoop.
I love that the pairings that thrill me most on their own generally require a certain amount of effort to make believable, more than Cloud/Tifa for sure. That's part of the appeal. But trying to mix that kind of relationship wrangling with certain other plots can end up detracting from one or the other. It's too much of a good thing. White chocolate raspberry truffle deserves to be savored for its own sake. To those who have successfully mingled such flavors into a complex dessert, I salute you, but for the most part of my experience, less is more.
So you're more than welcome to your vanilla that to you may or may not taste like butter pecan, CloTi fans. I've already got my own favorite flavors and there's plenty of room in the shop for us all. *This screed owes its existence to thoughts on yaoi and Haagen-Dazs.