What’s with cheesy detective fiction sex scenes?

I’m an avid reader. I enjoy both print and digital… and audio (which I definitely consider as reading, even though I’m listening). Mostly, I listen to self-help books, like most other women her in their 30s. I don’t know what we’re looking for, but we won’t stop even when we find it.

Occasionally when I’m knee deep in self-importance or self-loathing, I need a break. And oftentimes, I reach for some sort of light-hearted fiction.

This time, a detective fiction. While mildly cheesy, these types of books keep my interest because they are easy to digest and can suspend my disbelief… with one very major exception: the sex scenes.

Why? Just why do they have to be soooo overly pornographic. Real sex isn’t like that! Even movie sex isn’t like that. Why must cheesy book sex be like that? When I’m sighing and rolling my eyes, it’s not believable.

For instance, can we stop claiming that virgins have orgasms their first time. It doesn’t happen. It’s never happened, since the beginning of time. I don’t believe you and you lost me. (talking to you, Grey books.)

Second, grown women don’t walk around in a “teddy” alone, in their apartments for no apparent reason. It’s uncomfortable. It’s a wonder women wear them at all since we got the right to vote.

Those are all the examples I can think of for now. Let this be a message to fiction authors everywhere. When it comes to writing about sex, do more research. They say it’s better to write what you know. (smirk)

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You’re the asshole

Someone cuts me off in traffic.
A-hole! (I don't know why I censor this word when I'm alone in my car.)

The coffee at work has a drop left and the last person didn't start a new pot.
What an a-hole!

People talking, meeting and joking behind my desk all hours of the work day.
Shut it, a-holes! I'm trying to work.

Good morning? Good morning! Stop telling me Good Morning!
A-hole.

I don't want to talk to you. I don't want a hug. I don't want a fist bump. I'm here to work!
Annoying a-holes.

"If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you're the asshole."
-Raylan Givens

This is a great reminder on perspective. That morning a-hole can impact my entire day and leave me with a horribly bad attitude. It makes me into an a-hole. If I let it roll, and move on. Those people who WANT to talk to me are no longer annoying a-holes, they are caring friends. (Sometimes caring friends need to know when to shut up, but that def doesn't make them a-holes.)

Me to Jimmy Johns employee: I'd like mayo on that slim.
Anonymous Jimmy Johns employee: It's procedure to not put sauces on these sandwiches.
Me to JJ employee: But, can you just do it? I mean, you have mayo back there, right?
Anon JJ employee: Well, no that's against our policy. I can give you mayo packets
Me to JJ employee: Policies and procedures aside, I have two hungry, messy little boys in my nice clean car and mayo packets will wreak havoc back there. They can barely open them! So I'll be opening 4-5 mayo packets while driving.
Anon JJ employee: I'm sorry ma'am that's all I can do.
Me: *pulls up to window*
Anon JJ employee: Here you go ma'am, we made sure to give you lots of mayo… Packets.

What a bunch of a-holes.

Toastmasters to a married woman.

"I'm tired."
"I have a headache."
"Didn't we just do this last week?"

When I first started going to Toastmasters, I wanted to go all the time! I'd go to Toastmasters every day if I could (maybe a couple times a day, if the mood struck).

In those first several months, I looked forward to Toastmasters meetings, I did extra practice on the side, writing and re-writing speeches until I was satisfied, I dreamt about Toastmasters.

Then I got comfortable. I went through the motions. I showed up for the obligatory meeting, feigned enthusiasm, but over the span of minutes, I was bored… then, without warning, I'd be called on. Suddenly, my heart would start racing, I'd stand up to speak extemporaneously, adrenaline pumping, sometimes I got a chill down my spine. And I'd leave feeling a renewed vigor. A zest for Toastmasters again. It was that good. Why don't I do this every day (a couple times a day when the mood struck)?

The next time someone proposed that I go to Toastmasters, I sighed. Ugh. I'm tired. I have a headache. I have too many things on my mind. Didn't we just do this? When the opportunity presents itself, why do I resist? I know it's good for me. I know it's enjoyable.

Then, I realized how familiar my excuses sounded.

Toastmasters is like sex.

Addiction

I’m an addict.

There I said it. That’s the first step, right? Admitting it? Well I admit it. Shamefully.

I can’t stop buying plants. I can’t stop deadheading, pruning and digging. I can’t. 

I thought I was done buying plants this year when I got 2 giant Crape Myrtles to flank my front sidewalk. There. Beautiful. Half off. And I’m done. 

It’s too hot to keep planting anyway. All that’s left at the nurseries are scraggly, half-dead close out plants. I’m done. My garden is almost full. It looks nice. I’ll maintain and won’t plant another thing until next year. Well. Maybe I’ll pull some perennials out of my pots and put those in the ground. There. Done. I did get these free succulents. I’ll put those in pots inside. There, that looks super classy. Now, I’m done. What else could there be. I’m done.

Lowe’s has 75% off all plants on Sunday?! What!?  I won’t go. I don’t need anything? Why would I go? It’s probably all dead stuff I don’t need to try to revive anyway. I’m avoiding Lowe’s. 

This morning I went to Lowes and bought 20 more plants for $30! Guess I better get to planting. If you think about it, I’m doing something good for the earth by planting more plants. My house looks nicer. I’ll get a nice tan. It’s hard work, which is fulfilling. This is a good thing. It’s not a problem… just one more plant.

 I can stop anytime I want.

I’m not an addict.

Contribute more than you criticize

“How might we…” is a phrase that behemoths like Google, Apple, IDEO and others swear will facilitate more open and productive brainstorming. In a group setting, it’s intimidating to throw out new ideas. It’s much easier to say no to everyone else’s ideas than to step into the arena and prepare for tomato-pelting. That’s why everyone does it. 

Except me. 

I’m an idea-giver. Ideas well up inside me until I feel like I’m going to explode, then I have to let it out. I have to say it. Embarrassing or not. I just do it. And it sets me up for all kinds of failure and tomato-pelting. But I don’t care. I do it anyway.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t criticize an equal amount. I criticize. Some might say, I’m judgmental. It’s human nature to be a little judgmental. It’s how we know to not go home with the creepy guy from a bar. It’s why we won’t let the pedophile babysit our kids. A little bit of judgment and criticism is ok. That’s not exactly the type of criticism I’m talking about. I’m talking about when we look at others’ creativity and say “That’s not good” or something else negative. 

When I hear phrases like “contribute more than you criticize” it reminds me of why I started this blog in the first place. I need to check myself regularly. Am I passing judgment and not putting myself out there to be judged? (Hides Audible review screen)

Among the 5 books I’m reading and the 3 books I’m listening to, am I writing? Am I creating? 
Am I contributing?

Freak!

That’s what Josh Hein called me as he slapped me on the back in the church parking lot on a cold night in 5th grade.

Freak.

What did that mean? How was I a freak? What were my freakish features? I don’t want to be a freak.

Those thoughts swirled through my head as I cried and twirled my hair around my fingers. My hair. That I’d labored long and hard to make “perfect” for that evening’s mass. My hair. That was incredibly difficult to manage. My hair. On top of my head. My freakish head.

Why?

That slap on the back changed the course of my night, and at least for the next few weeks (ok months). And, for whatever reason, maybe insecurity, maybe mildly traumatic, I’ve remembered that night from time to time. Why did Josh do that? I thought we were cool? I mean. Weren’t we cool? I’m certain it wasn’t because he “liked me.” (I hate that and I wouldn’t do that to anyone I liked).

I thought about that night most recently when I was picking up groceries at Walmart with my family. As I was loading, some guy hung out the passenger’s side of best friend’s ride (like a SCRUB, thanks TLC), and yelled “Nice **** for a little boy!”

I froze. I didn’t turn around. I was thrust back to 10-year-old Danielleā€“ shy, insecure, proud of her ‘do that took hours to perfect. I’m 35 years old. I’m being called a freak. I shuttered. I got back into the car.

What did that mean? How do I look like a boy? What were my boyish features? I don’t want to look like a boy.

Those thoughts competed with my very adult thoughts of: Don’t let some dumb kid bother you. You’re a woman. You’re not a kid anymore. Let it roll.

And those thoughts competed with my friends’ thoughts of: He’s a bully. He’ll say anything to make himself feel better. He’s probably jealous. He probably likes you.

I choked back tears as I twirled my hair. My unmanageable, messy hair on top of my head. My boyish head.

I tried not to give this event a second thought but the thoughts kept creeping back up, third thoughts and fourth thoughts. I sought reassurance by telling this story to my close friends and I got what I wanted, unsolicited compliments and offers to “kick his ass.” It helped. They’re great.

I didn’t realize why it really bothered me until I matched this story up with something that happened 25 years ago. It was Josh. He was calling me a freak again. He was slapping me on the back and invalidating me. Years of growth, success, unabashed vulnerability and just plainĀ life-living and here he was again, to bring me back down.

And it worked! Why? Why did it work?

Why do strangers with an opinion have so much effect on us?

Why do THEY make US feel like freaks?

Abuse punctuation for the right reasons

“It is my destiny to know people who abuse punctuation.”

I nearly spit out my coffee when I heard this line from “Hidden Bodies.” Caroline Kepnes sure has a way of developing a psychopathic murderer whose sense of humor aligns nearly perfectly with mine.

Joe Goldberg (said murderer from Hidden Bodies and YOU) was talking about his coworker and later landlord, who were so overly enthusiastic you could see the exclamation points flying out their mouths.

omg-exclamation-pointsNaturally, he’s extremely annoyed. I, too, am annoyed. Joe and I, we have a lot in common, less the whole vengeful stalker, killer bit. Joe and I also agree that it’s pretty difficult to hate someone who is that enthusiastic about nothing, about life.

I’m not the cheerleader type (shocking reveal, I know), and cheerleaders annoy me (equally shocking). But… sometimes you need that extra positivity on an otherwise mostly negative day.

I used to have a neighbor, I nicknamed him “Gipper” because he was always eagerly waving and shouting his obscenely friendly “Hi-diddly-hos!” It was almost surreal. I suspected he was some sort of serial killer (we still don’t know for certain). However, when he bounced around his yard with his 4-year-old daughter, I couldn’t help but smile at his ridiculous, annoyingly good parenting.

Over the years, I learned a thing or two from Gipper. Friendliness goes a long way and positivity doesn’t have to be forced… and it’s possible to use exclamation points for emotions other than anger.

Today, I welcome those who abuse punctuation. Five exclamation points in an email used to annoy me (no one is that excited about cookies). But now, it’s a little infectious.

Have a good week!!!!!