I sighed. Waited.
"I don't get it," she finally said.
I asked her what she didn't get, might as well get it over with.
"Well," she went on, her lips twitching, "Last week, you were reading Beckett's Endgame and this week, you're reading...what? Let's take a look." She picked up the book again and held it up for my perusal.
"Here Comes Trouble by Donna Kauffman," she read out loud. The cover of the book sported a man laying in a bed, obviously post-coital, with a bewitching half smile on his I-could-use-a-shave face. Bing looked quizzically at me. "Can't seem to find anything um....meatier...to feast your eyes upon?"
I held up my hands in submission. Guilty as charged. Once in a while, I like to read a trashy romance novel. I just do. Shoot me. I can't help it. I like a good read and sometimes this qualifies as a good read for me.
"Sorry," I told her, blithely. "No apologizing for my reading choices. Sometimes, I just need to wallow in some heat."
Bing shook her head, a little judgmentally, I thought. I didn't much care for the smirkiness on her face either.
"It's just," she went on, "It's just that you can do so much better if you want to read some steam, honey."
I strode over to the table and picked up the gauntlet she had thrown down, unwisely, I thought. I am a good debater and I wasn't in the mood for smarminess or cutting remarks.
I picked up the book and gazed fondly down at the male model on the cover. I sighed happily. "Sorry. No apologies for my book choices. Sometimes I just need....this," I answered, pointing at the dimple in the man's cheek. His facial cheek.
Bing didn't push it. She had already let me know her opinion. Her job was over. She left for work, kissing me on the cheek and telling me, tongue in cheek, that she would be happy to act out any fantasies I had at the end of the day. I didn't answer. No need to.
Because no way in hell is she going to be believable as a champion poker playing hot dude who dresses in jeans and black leather, rides a motorcycle and happens to stumble upon my inn in a remote area of Vermont. Not going to happen soon. Sorry, dawg.
I know it is silly. I know this.
This book is fluff. Silliness. A piece of easy pleasure that is not impeccably written and will win no awards.
But, so the hell what? I LIKE it. I NEED it. On a cold March day when work is over and I am laying in bed, once in a while I just need to read about hot sex between two almost strangers who decide to graze on each other over a kitchen table. And of course, the man has no problem with long, long, long periods of cunnilingus. His penis is large and according to the author, "pulsing with the need to slake his thirst for her mouth"."
Ok. I'm good with that. Actually, I'm not all that picky. I don't need it to be a poker playing man. It could be a poker playing woman, I'm up for that. It is the personality that draws me in neat as a pin. The quiet, well endowed, thirty something stud, who is weary of his Las Vegas ritual of winning millions on a daily basis across a poker table. He wants to get away, to travel and rest his mind, get away from the glitz and the glam of the painted women who keep throwing themselves randily at his manly self. He gets on his hog and rides off into the unknown, ending up at a quaint bed and breakfast in Vermont, run by a tall, quiet, classy but plucky forty something woman with a sad past and a need to be by herself.
Oh yeah. When their eyes meet, it is just a matter of time. They spend a few days lusting quietly for each other as they rescue kittens from trees and prepare dinners together in the inn which has no guests because Vermont is having a spate of unseasonal snowless weather. The first two sex scenes are in predictably real-life horrendous places to have sex: once in the kitchen with him slamming her up against the kitchen wall while she wraps her legs around his waist and the next one, in the shower. I have no idea why this scenario seems to play out over and over again in trashy novels, but it does and it works. Now, in real life...we are talking about major back and butt bruises for the woman and a hellacious backache the next day for the guy. And honestly...does anyone REALLY enjoy shower sex? Really? The only up side is that the clean up process is a snap. The rest of it is a scary slope of trying not to slip and fall or slam your arm through the glass shower door. And no one ever talks about how fun it is when one of you throws their arm up in the air and hits the cold water faucet and suddenly...yep...the proverbial cold shower. Or worse...the hot water faucet faucet and getting third degree facial burns. But...in these novels, it works.
And then, well...the heroine always end up crying in the shower because she never intended to let him see her so vulnerable, so open and aching with the need to get the life fucked out of her. And does the hero roll his eyes and think, "Oh, fucking great....she's bawling...what the hell do I do NOW??" Nope. He is touched, charmed by her womanly weeping and it makes him want to dry them both off with a big fluffy towel and go make her dinner.
Right. Bull shit. But...anyway. Sometimes I just need this nonsense and I am not apologizing. Just like I don't apologize for watching SURVIVOR, AMERICAN IDOL and THE AMAZING RACE, or for liking velveeta cheese or peanut butter and potato chip sandwiches. Or marshmallow fluff. Or some Barry Manilow songs.
Never apologize. Unless you are a Republican. Then, yes, you need to say you are sorry. RIGHT NOW.
I am only half way through the book and I would bet my mortgage that pretty soon some dark evil thing will cloud up their delicious fuck nest. Some creepy person from one of their pasts will show up with a loaded gun and take her hostage, causing our hero to lose all control and nearly kill himself trying to protect her virtue, or what is left of it now that he has pretty much plundered her fields all to hell.
The ending will be happy. I am pretty sure that they will get married. They usually do. You would think that this alone would snap me out of my need to keep reading these books. I mean, I am a married person. Just because you are married, it doesn't give you a license to a blissful life. Nope. It can sometimes boomerang on you big time. Because, as the other half of a couple, you now get to see that whole person that you married, not just the side that plays nice all of the time. You get to see those warts up close and personal. And show yours too.
The romance trash books make it all seem like this could happen to you too and you could easily own an inn in Vermont and get fucked standing up in your kitchen by a stranger who rode in on a motorcycle and paid for his room with a wad of hundred dollar bills and didn't blink twice.
It is called escapism, I believe, and we all need it now and then. Well, at least I do. Just like that grilled velveeta cheese sandwich that I ate for dinner. And the oreo cookie for dessert.
Not that being part of a couple in reality is not great. It is. Sex with someone whom you love deeply and know well can be pretty damn nice. When you are making love and one of those funny sounds comes sliding out of you, you can laugh and whisper, "I swear that wasn't a fart, I swear it!" You can both laugh and go on and nothing is lost or ruined. It's just all part of that soft nest you share, the comfortable one that you depend on whether you admit it or not. You don't ever have to worry about your partner wanting you to dress up like a nurse unless you are both into that (which I am so not, sorry) or endure a long sweaty nasty dance on a sandy beach, because frankly, sand up your crack is not pleasant. You can be yourself and there is a great luxury in that.
But...something in me, in you, in most of us, likes to close our eyes and escape a little bit into a fantasy of boy meets girl or girl meets girl or boy meets boy. It's the human condition and we are all forgiven for being just that: human.
So, tonight, after Idol, I have a date with a book. Do you?