Has This Ever Happened to You?

The following is actually and old journal entry from my deviantart.com account. Yes, I mention fic work. That’s right, I like to write fanfics. My best friend Blue is actually the true fanfic genius but I help her here and there and we bounce ideas off of each other like crazy. This was my first REAL experience buying paperback romance novels off the shelf. Before I always borrowed them from friends… And shockingly after this ordeal I managed to go out and do it again (like a year later). Just so you know, it’s not any less embarrassing the second time.

So here it is, my romance novel shopping story:

So I had quite the adventure today and it only got better when I got home and told my friends about it. I love them to death but I WILL get you back for this BlueQuartzFoxy and SpammishRice girls.

It started with the fact I needed to do some romance research for fic work. Blue and I are planning a parody of Harlequin romance cheese and I got a few reviews telling me my lemon scenes needed less technical factoids and graphic description and more fluttery metaphors. I’m open to change and adaptation plus I don’t balk at a challenge so I compiled a book list of romances that appealed to my interests that I knew I could read through. Sure it was ninety-three books but I’m an avid reader and I have a membership card and coupons.

It takes a lot to embarrass me usually. I’m a very easy-going gal and I can take as well as I give with teasing. Even still I was a bit out of my league in the romance aisles surrounded by rippling pectorals on bare male chests and swooning vixens cradled in their arms. I had a bit of trouble navigating the shelving system and so I boldly went to the customer service desk for help, managing to stutter through what I was looking for and putting on a good show of false bravado even as my voice squeaked enough to burst an ear drum. The woman at the counter, an ex-hippie gen woman in her golden years it seemed, kindly escorted me back to the romance section and helped me look, chatting with me and making the experience more bearable.

I was under the impression that since the book descriptions were reasonable and funny the covers wouldn’t be the typical embarrassing fantasy fodder one usually imagines when it comes to romance cover art. I was naive and young… Foolish and optimistic.

I was freaking WRONG.

The nice sales woman handed me eight books from my list. ALL of them had cheese covers. And then my rock in the stormy sea of the romance aisles left me to go help some other lost soul, leaving me abandoned and confused in no-man’s-land cradling eight books to my chest. I’m proud to say… I didn’t cry guys. I didn’t cry.

So then I had to make it from point A to point B, the registers where I could do a speedy checkout and forget this traumatic experience. It couldn’t possibly get any worse, right? I could just make a few jokes and laugh it off then flee like an escaped prisoner.

Everything was going well and my perpetual blush had died down to a reasonable pink flush as the cashier got to the last book. It was the one that had the worst cover: A Fabio-tastic Grade A piece of oiled up man meat with flowing blond hair and stubble. My hell was almost over.

And then the book wouldn’t scan.

One would think it’d take two, maybe three max to figure out the barcode was wonky so either use the inner front cover barcode or else input the numbers manually. One would think but they’d be wrong. It took SIX associates looking from the humiliating cover, to me spontaneously combusting on the other side of the counter, and back to the book before the situation was resolved.

I don’t get it. Do these people have a panic button that they press when optimal embarrassment situations appear? I’m sure there was a silent alarm and flashing red lights in the break room.

Anyway they finally remembered basic check out procedure and I fled like a bat out of hell with my husband. Oh? Did I forget to mention him? Yeah, David was there too. He abandoned me the minute we walked in the door and I had to hunt him down using my psychic wife powers.

In the car he asked me what had me so upset and I just showed him the cover of one of the books. “So? It’s hot when chicks buy that shit” he said, laughing and driving me home. He would later build me my book shelf to make me feel better, but only while doing it topless, pausing to imitate poses on the covers of my new books.

Getting home and finally able to laugh at the situation I hopped on messenger and recited my harrowing tale to my gal pals that were online at the time. I expected laughter. I did NOT expect them to look up the titles and then laugh at the covers and character names. They are good; I’ll give them that.

Overall I’m more entertained than mortified now. I also have newfound respect for my sister-in-law, Lisa, since she can pick up books with covers just as ridiculous, carry them around the store, and openly buy them without batting an eye. I almost want to go through the experience again for the rush: Like a rollercoaster without the line or amusement park fee.

But I think I might just buy all my paperback romances online from now on.

P.S.

I got them (my friends) back. While they were laughing at my misery they started reading book descriptions and reviews and got totally hooked. Welcome to my world, ladies. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. * wink *

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