Poem – old lady smell

She arrives, shaggy
shambling, shuffling
shopping bag in tow,
big enough for a child.
Barely able to lift it,
it contains all the cares in the world
and a bakers’ dozen of romance books.

dressed in flowers and lace
a bag-like shroud
big enough to cover
almost everything,
large, shapeless
stitched from ten thousand days
of regret and disappointments.

Her aroma arrives before she does.

A dance of cat
marking territory
relieving, discharge
doing a tango with her own
soaked through, layered
and a third partner,
waiting for the dance –
flowery perfume to match
with the other two
sometimes stepping on their feet.

Any one
would be enough
to stop me

but all three
arrest me, full stop
like a police officer
like a spike strip
like a strip search.

The day is over
from that point onwards.

More musings on romance novels – Power

I’ve noticed a trend with romance novels. The man’s economic or social position is always higher than the woman’s. He’s a duke, or a CEO, or something similar. He’s never an average guy.

Now, of course, this is fantasy – but notice that women are being told in these books that they are supposed to go up in status. They are never supposed to “settle”. Equal or lesser than them isn’t OK.

She’s a secretary, and he is the boss.
She’s a nurse, and he is a doctor.

It plays out, over and over.

Meanwhile, guys don’t read these books. They aren’t getting the script.

Perhaps they don’t need to read it. Perhaps they just know, based on our society’s expectations, that they are supposed to marry “beneath” them.

Men are supposed to be the breadwinners.

She’s the artist, and he is the neuroscientist. She’s the amateur writer, and he’s the professor. It is never the other way around.

She has the “fluff” job, the one that doesn’t pay the bills. Her income is extra. He’s the one in charge, and his way goes.

When one person controls the income, they have all the control.

So this is “fantasy”? This is ideal? Why would anybody want to dream about a passive life, where they have no control, no authority? Where things are done to and for them, instead of with?

Thug and duke life

I see trends where I work, and patterns. They aren’t always good ones. I see so many women reading books that actually make their lives worse. The library is full of good books that can help them make their lives better.

But, it is kind of like a buffet. There are a lot of choices. Not everybody makes the healthy ones. Sadly, the unhealthy choices just perpetuate the holes that they are in.

I see so many black women reading “Urban erotic fiction” and they are all single mothers. They haven’t caught the connection.

Oprah says “What you focus on expands.” If you put garbage into yourself, that is all you’ll get.

If you read “romance” novels where the guy treats you like a piece of meat and leaves you, you’ll imprint that pattern on yourself as “normal”. It isn’t normal, and it isn’t healthy. So when you finally get your “baller” or your “thug” – just new words for “bad boy” – and you get hurt by him, why are you surprised?

He beats you and insults you. You have sex with him to appease him or to get him to stay with you. Then you get pregnant and he leaves you. And all of that matched the pattern in the books you’ve been reading. This is what you have come to expect, and this is what you have been seeking.

Then you are left trying to raise a child by yourself, stuck in poverty. You both are at the bottom of the pile.

But then again, it isn’t just black women. I’ve noticed that the most common thing that obese, single white women read is “romance” novels. They get an idea of the “perfect” man who is going to sweep them off their feet and take them away to a better life.

Real men never match up to the men in the books that these women read. They are never ruggedly handsome, or dukes, or princes. They are average, and have faults, and are human.

So when these women do get involved in a relationship with a real man they get let down. He isn’t awesome or wonderful. He farts. He curses a bit. He has a temper. His parents are jerks. So they leave, because he isn’t up to their ideal picture they have stuffed inside their heads.

And their lives continue to be miserable.

It is just like with food. If a person eats artificial food, jacked up on extra sugar and fake flavors, they won’t know what real food looks like. They will think that real food tastes terrible when they come across it. They will get sick from all the chemicals they have been eating, but they will continue to eat them because they have ruined their taste buds for what is normal and healthy.

It is time to stop checking out romance novels.
It is time to start checking out reality.

On romance novels – just say no.

I so dislike romance novels. I dislike them for the same reason I dislike women’s magazines. They teach women that their value as a human being is directly connected with others, especially men

Women are taught to be submissive in these books. The latest series to drive this message home are the “Grey” books, but even light fare such as Christian or Amish fiction teaches the same thing. You aren’t anything unless you have a man.

These books in various ways are all about finding and keeping a man. Whether he is a doctor or a drug addict makes no difference. He’s male, and you must have him. Even if he is abusive, staying with him is better than being single.

Of course, people will say that it is just fiction. It doesn’t teach anything. But it does. It teaches what is “normal.”

The funny part is that men aren’t getting the same script. If they read fiction at all, they read science fiction or action novels, where women are afterthoughts, if they exist as characters at all.

How is a woman going to become a strong, fully realized human beings if she has role models that tell her she only has value if she is a wife and/or mother?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against those roles. They are perfectly valid and laudable. But they aren’t the only thing, and they sometimes aren’t the best thing.

Not every woman makes a good wife or mother, and it isn’t fair to make women feel guilty for not living up to that expectation when it doesn’t suit them.

There are also way too many books for women on how to find and keep a man, especially if she is over 35. I’ve not seen any similar books for men.

How come women have to do all the work? How come women are made to feel lesser than, or left out, if they don’t marry?

Part of it is economic. There aren’t that many jobs where a woman can support herself if she is single. The most common are teacher, nurse, and librarian. Sure, a woman could go into any field, but then she has another hurdle to overcome. There are a lot of social stereotypes that almost herd women into gender specific jobs. The jobs that fit the expected role or nature of women. Caregiver. Nurturer.

The interesting thing is that then there is an additional stigma attached to a woman who enters those fields and is single. It is assumed that she is a lesbian. While the stigma is lesser these days than in the past, it is still there and has to be contended with.

And once again, she is being defined by her relationship with a man, or in this case a lack of relationship. Since she does not have sex with a man, she is seen as other, and subsequently, as lesser.