My latest post started the same way all my art posts do: I found a beautiful piece of digital art, and was working backwards to write something personal for you, inspired by the art.
For this Emmy Lupin piece of a woman with red hair against a pink background, wearing a sweater with ‘no thanks’ emblazoned across the chest; I wanted to write something … whimsical.
I like to think I’m an upbeat, lighthearted kind of soul; basically like Anne of Green Gables, post-adoption and pre-Gilbert — remember when she was just fucking around the woods with Diana, making shit up? That’s me.
I searched through my notes app looking for the kinds of hastily thumbed thought nuggets that I store in there for the very purpose of later spinning into content.
Instead, I stumbled across a typo-ridden record of something I witnessed at an airport weeks earlier. A woman on her own, reading Jojo Moyes Me Before You. It was the edition with Daenerys Targaryen on the cover in her gorgeous red dress, leaning over Hottie McHotHot, staring into his eyes.
I love seeing people read books I’ve read, it makes me feel a kind of unspoken kinship. But anyway, I just smiled to myself and left her to her own devices. I’m Anne Shirley not Emma Woodhouse.
I took a seat next to two dude bros in shiny suits. Not my preferred company. I dislike dude bros because of all the empirical evidence proving they’re complete and utter shit, but a tired gal emerging from the arse end of a 12 hour day doesn’t really want to sacrifice the one cushy remaining seat because of some DB’s.
I shucked some layers (the most annoying thing about travelling is how many layers you need; will the plane be boiling or fucking freezing? The only sure thing is that it won’t be normal and consistent) and settled into my seat. The dude bros were talking about the lady reading Jojo Moyes.
“She’s hot, bro”, one said.
It’s true, she was.
“I call dibs.”
I thought: she’s not a fucking sandwich mate; your dibs don’t mean shit.
“[something I can’t decode from my notes, although I’m certain it wasn’t respectful, heartfelt and moving].”
Then the fatal blow:
“She’s reading one of those Fabio books. She’s ready for the pulling.”
Read that back.
Read it twice.
They decided this woman was READY FOR THE PULLING because she was reading a ‘romance’.
I put on my headphone (keeping one eye on my Stranger Sis, of course, so if the dickbags went up and bothered her I could offer backup. I didn’t bother addressing their bullshit because a) it’s not my job (mothers, brothers, sisters, dads, wives, friends, girlfriends; if these dude bros are yours, come get them); and b) I know e x a c t l y what misapprehensions those dudes were languishing under because I’ve heard them my entire life:
Romance is for lonely women.
Romance is for ugly/stupid/boring/insert-misogynistic-adjective-here women.
Women who read romance crave dick, Any dick.
Well, WRONG; you stupid m’fuckers.
Women who read cis romance crave stories about empowered women, with obstacles and personal journey; featuring interesting and devoted men.
Not losers who think that women enjoy being preyed upon by gobshite bros on a fucking economy flight.
There is no such thing as an ugly woman or a stupid woman; and we are all lonely and we are all socially exhausted and we can read any thing we fucking want to! WE ARE ALL THE FUCKING THINGS AND THE ONLY COMMON DENOMINATOR IS WE WANT NONE OF YOUR SHIT.
I really don’t know how woman shelved their rage for a better time before the notes app. Mine is a whole cesspit of infuriating things I’ve experienced, seen or heard; which I don’t always have the emotional bandwidth to process or turn into cathartic content at the time.
Thus, this week’s post is a collection of things which are whimsical in my own way, and then one quick ragecap (that’s a rage recap, ya welcome) about something that made me fume.
It’s a thematically messy post, held together by someone else’s beautiful creativity. And if that’s not an on-the-nose metaphor for my life as a romance reviewer, I don’t know what is. #selfburn
Anyway, I don’t generally wish unpleasant emotions upon my friends, but I hope this story made you angry. I don’t want to be alone with this kind of frustration and impotent rage. We readers can’t solve the dude bro fuckery, but at least we can endure it in solidarity.