Don’t tell me what to do unless we’re in bed together
Don’t tell me what to do unless we’re in bed together
My mom once told me that I was cute and I was pretty, but I wasn’t truly beautiful or attractive. This was one of the things that stuck with me over the years in a negative way. I’ve been able to move past it lately. I feel pretty, cute, beautiful, and attractive. I’ve even felt downright sexy with certain people who shall remain nameless. But, basically, my self-esteem in that area is up.
The other night1 she told me that I wouldn’t be a good mom someday. Her reasoning was that when I get upset with Amy for things like peeing on the couch that I “ignore” Amy. I recognize myself getting upset and I tell my parents to take care of her/keep an eye on her for a little while, while I calm down. I don’t yell at her. I just take a break. I pointed this out and my mom said, “With a kid, you can’t do that.” When she said this, I pointed out that as a child, she would put me in a playpen, leave the room entirely AND make sure the door was shut when she would get upset.2 I almost pointed out to my father, who was agreeing with her, that he had a bit of temper and tends to lose control of it, that maybe my handing off for a little while and cooling down isn’t the worst reaction to have.
And I realized that she was sort of moving on to my next insecurity.3 If the appearance thing doesn’t bother me as much as it used to, then she has to have something to give me a hard time about. I don’t even know if she realizes that she is doing it or why she does it, but I don’t particularly appreciate it.4 I can’t exactly bring it up with her because that would lead to an argument, which would lead to a “I’m so aggrieved” speech by her and a rehashing of everything that has ever gone wrong in this family. Quite frankly, I just don’t want to deal with that, so I just try to smile and not pay attention to this sort of thing.
I know I still have issues that I need to work on. I admit that. I also know that it’s possible that I wouldn’t be a good mom, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for her to decide to bring me down like this.
Her doctor told her to do this because, as a baby/toddler, I tended to apologize anytime my mom would be upset. ↩
Not that she doesn’t still do the appearance one from time-to-time. I showed her the picture of me with red lip gloss on the other day that I was feeling confident about. She told me that I looked completely washed out and that I should never wear that color again because it looked so horrible. ↩
I’m pretty sure the “you won’t be a good mom” thing was partly a result of Nana showering me with positive attention over my weight loss and treating me like I wasn’t the biggest person in the family anymore. It moved her back some. I’m pretty sure about this because the comments came just a few hours after the visit with Nana. ↩
There are some books in life that you know your life is better because of. This isn’t one of those books. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have read this book if I hadn’t checked it out at the same time as I checked out the first book in the series. I didn’t like that book and I didn’t like the continuation of the neurotic drama that is Dominique Baylor’s sex life.
Like with the first book, everything was clinical. I know that Dom wants to be a doctor, but it almost felt like the author was trying to give the readers a sexual health lesson. It also had the tone of “we’re going to explore casual sexual relationships, but if you have them, then your life may be vapid/meaningless”.
Another repeating theme was the obsession with appearance. I know that Dom is 18 and that is a big emotional thing for an eighteen year old girl, so maybe it could get a bit of a pass. The big exception I have with giving it that pass is that it seemed to imply that because Dom was now at a lower weight than she was before that she was smarter and more worthy of praise than she was at the higher weight. It might give readers the idea that people who are bigger are less intelligent or less deserving of respect. It focuses on judging a person based upon their body alone and that’s a very dangerous path for thoughts to take.
The characters within the book are annoying. Well, there aren’t really any other characters than Dom. Sure, she’s staying at her parents’ apartment, she’s with Guy, she talks about Cal, and she has conversations with Amy, but it feels like everything has to center on pleasing Dom. With her very neurotic personality, it’s impossible to please her, so there are around 225 pages of Dom just whining. She’s a horrible friend. She’s extremely judgmental of anyone who doesn’t bend to her ideas. She regularly disparages Amy’s sex life (again) and continues on her sex-negativity even as she uses Guy as a sex toy for the Summer. She would actually judge Amy for simply talking to or flirting with a guy because (to Dom) this behavior is something that should happen between two people who are working towards getting married and having lots of babies one day. And when she realizes that this outcome isn’t going to happen with Guy, what does she do? She doesn’t stay away from him. She uses him to get off. He doesn’t sacrifice the cutesy stuff in the relationship to have sex, she does. And when he wants to do other stuff, she’s controlling and manipulative. It’s really like she becomes this huge train-wreck of a character.
The writing in this book wasn’t horrible, but it was worse than the first book. There was little actual insight and there was no real entertainment value. Because it wasn’t a complete suckfest, I’m still going to go with two stars, but it just barely earned that second star.
Life is so much harder than it seems like it should be. The things that should be instinctual aren’t always. For example, dating. It seems like a straightforward thing. Two or more people like each other. They hang out. They kiss. They have sex. Simple stuff. It should all be straightforward for you.
But it isn’t.
You know how you feel about the other person, but you don’t know how they feel about you. And if you’re prone to anxiety1 or shy2 or insecure3 or me4 , trying to figure out what to do can be an emotionally draining experience. And you don’t know how to figure out how to deal with the situation. You can ask friends5 or Google it6, but the only way to find out for sure is to ask the other party. This means you have to make yourself extremely vulnerable and expose what just might drive someone you like as far away from you as possible. This is risky. And only you can determine if it’s worth the risk.7
The willingness to put yourself out there in this way is scary and even more emotionally taxing. But you do it anyway. Then you wait. Or I wait.8 And that’s more stressful, but it’s better than sitting on your hands wondering what the fuck is going on.
Why can’t it be easier?
There isn’t an easy way to say, “Hey, I really like you and I want to know if you like me the same way. I want to know if there’s more to us than just smushing body parts together. I don’t need a ring or a specific number of dates with your or anything. I just want to know that if one of us is having a bad that we can call the other one and cheer that person up. And I want to know that if we’re smushing our parts together and we don’t have a condom or the condom suffers some kind of catastrophic failure that we don’t have to worry about going and getting STD checks because we’re only smushing with each other.”910
Why doesn’t that way exist?
It should exist.
It would make things easier.
Or maybe it would make things harder, because they might not like you enough to do more than the kissing and the sex. And how do you deal with that? Is it okay to keep going in a situation like that? What if you want more? Do you leave it, even if the sex is good and you really like the other person, if they end up saying they will never give you more?
Why can’t there just be an easy way to deal with this kind of stuff?
like me ↩
like me ↩
like me ↩
It’s my blog, so the fact that it’s ABOUT me shouldn’t shock you. ↩
And this is really the best option until you start thinking that maybe you’re too neurotic for even the best of friends. ↩
Don’t Google it. Between the RWNJ and the PUA sites, you end up hating yourself and the world so much if you do this. ↩
When you have impulse control issues, it’s always worth the risk, even when it isn’t. ↩
Because this is about me. ↩
Obviously, referring to a use of backup birth control so that there aren’t any pregnancy scares–though, pregnancy scares can happen on backups or with condoms, which a lot of RWNJ and just regular people don’t even seem to know, but should. ↩
I have totally over-used the word “smushing” for this post, haven’t I? ↩
Nana has been receiving bills from Haband. The weird thing is that she’s never ordered anything from them. Ever. And the items aren’t coming to her. In fact, the shipping address that they’ve got is to a property that is owned by Orchard Brands. That property is in Massachusetts, a state she’s never even been to. Strange, right? That’s what my whole family has been saying.
And when we’ve tried to clear this up? They say that she’s ordered the stuff. How do you order stuff when you’ve never had a catalog or even heard of the company before? And why would you order it and send it to a place she’s never been? She doesn’t even know anyone who lives in Massachusetts. It really doesn’t make sense, but Haband is being stubborn and saying that the orders are legit.
They even want my grandmother to pay them $14.95 a month for their VIP club, which is another thing that they say that she ordered. Obviously, she didn’t, but I guess they want or have to bill her for it. It’s ridiculous and disgusting that they are billing an 81-year old who didn’t know about them before this incident and who definitely didn’t buy anything from them.
I hadn’t really heard much about this book before I read it, so I definitely didn’t have any preconceived notions about what it would be like. I didn’t even read the reviews by others on here to see how they felt about the book, so there was no bias. And, when I started the book, the first fifty or so pages seemed okay-ish. It was certainly better than two stars at page 50 than it was at the end.
For a work of realistic fiction, it was very unreal. The characters didn’t act or talk like teenagers. Even awkward teenagers don’t act like this. Some of the scenes almost came off as clinical and robotic in nature. Actually, a lot of them don’t seem like they would fit in any story for children, teens, or adults. They’re just very boring and weird.
For a romance, it had a lack of romance. Wes and Dom love each other, but there’s no rhyme or reason to why. I know that you could argue that that’s true for all romances and for love in general, but this book is especially bad at telling the story of why this guy is even her boyfriend or her first love.
It has a very sex-negative vibe. Amy is almost always degraded for being open to different types of sexual activities. The relationship between Dom and Wes portrays sex as being something that is always painful and awkward for girls, where guys will have orgasms and girls will always have to fake it. I know a lot of women do have that sort of experience, but we don’t really need to teach young women that it has to be like this. Sex is something where if you expect it to be painful and bloody and awkward, then you are more likely to have a painful experience. I’m not saying that the book needs to be smutty or anything like that, but give girls some hope that they aren’t going to be injured in sex acts. It’s also really disturbing that any time that Dom is looking forward to or thinking about sex that something bad happens to her or to Wes. That is another sex-negative vibe to have.
As for other things that really bugged me: Playing up the trope of a redheaded female character as sex-obsessed was really annoying. That may seem like a little thing, but since it’s an actual recognized trope for works of fiction (and, worse, a stereotype of redheads in the real world), it really isn’t all that little. There was also a bit of fat-shaming. You have a character (Dom) starting her first year of college, so there’s the mentioning of the freshman fifteen, which might be okay. What isn’t okay is that her mother starts telling her that she should order certain foods so that she can me more like her old self. When the character asks if it’s about her weight going up, she finds out that it is. When she turns to her father for support he says (and does) the following:
He emerges from behind his menu. “I agree with your mom. Guys can be a little overweight,” he says, pinching his gut with his hand, “but girls can’t.”
This is for her gaining enough weight so that her clothes just snug on her. In other words, she might have gone up one size and her parents are giving her a hard time. She’s also just been injured when she was exercising. When it continues and she goes to leave the table her father does the following:
“Dom, you’re blowing this way out of proportion,” Dad reprimands. “We’re staying put, and let’s have a nice dinner, for Christ’s sake.”
She’s basically been told that she isn’t allowed to be offended by their comments. That’s just wrong. If parents act like this, it is totally fine to get upset with them. This behavior is reprehensible. That she’s eventually treated like she overreacted after their comments have (naturally) hurt her feelings is so disgusting. And she ends up feeling both ashamed of her body and of her feelings being hurt. That’s not okay. And the way it is portrayed is not okay either.
And there’s the somewhat minor character Calvin. He might become a friend or a future boyfriend for her. Who knows? But the way that he acted when they first met was a little on the creepy side. This is another thing that probably would be best left out of books meant for the young adult age group. This might teach young people to allow this sort of behavior in their interpersonal relationships, which is a bit twisted and potentially dangerous.
It isn’t all bad, but the good parts of the book just aren’t enough to overcome the bad parts. The plot is really flat. The development of characters is flat. There are some insightful paragraphs, but they are truly few and far between. And there’s a quirkiness to certain parts that I enjoyed, but by the end of the book, they had disappeared. The humor, the fun, and everything good about the book was gone before the book ended. That’s not good, so this book is getting two stars because it was not executed very well.
If you haven’t heard of the craziness that is Kathleen Hale, then prepare to be schooled. I need to rant about her exploits in craziness. There are some people who are just so messed up that it baffles me how they even function. Kathleen Hale is one of these people. Maybe her success in getting published or in staying out of prison is that people feel sorry for her. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t look like she could be all that threatening, but looks can be deceiving. After all, I bet that bunny didn’t think Glenn Close looked all that threatening.
Kathleen Hale is a writer.1 Her debut novel came out earlier this year. According to her, there were people who loved it and there were people who hated it. According to her own
confession article, she seems to understand why people might be a little turned off by the book, at first. But then she fixates on one negative review in particular.2 Most people3 tell her not to engage with that reviewer, but she chooses not to pay attention to the warning. Instead, she does background checks, travels to the reviewer’s house (multiple times), harasses the reviewer on the phone (multiple times), checks out the reviewer’s personal social media accounts, and then writes a “pity me” story for The Guardian about how this reviewer wasn’t completely honest online. The story outs the reviewer and gives away some pretty personal information about the reviewer.
Most people aren’t completely forthright on the internet. At least, not in public spaces. There are little things that they might decide to fudge. If a person wants to review books under a pseudonym, let them. Chances are they do that because they feel safer doing things that way. Do you know what might make them feel less safe? An author coming to their house because they made a bad review. That’s
sort of totally fucked up.
And it isn’t the first time that this particular author has done this sort of thing. In 2013, Hale wrote about a childhood acquaintance who made false accusations about Hale’s mother molesting her.4 Her solution, as an adolescent, to finding out that her mom had had charges filed against her was to throw peroxide on the accuser.5 She got arrested, but was released. After this, she monitored the girl’s AIM buddy list. When she finally saw the girl sign-on, she sent her multiple messages. Police showed up at her house and she was shocked. And she tried to grab the spotlight while explaining her harassment of the girl.6
She wanted the pity again, which is really all she deserves.
Well, that and jail-time.
Somehow, she has people supporting her in her bad decisions. There are people on Twitter who have called anyone who points out that she’s a stalker a psychopath or a sociopath. Except that they’re missing that those of us who point this out are empathizing with a person who’s been stalked, doxxed, and humiliated by a writer over a bad review. Yeah, that requires a real lack of compassion. I was unaware that feeling sorry for the victim of a crime was a socially unacceptable thing to do.
I hope that Hale gets the help that she obviously needs. If she doesn’t, then I hope she joins some Luddite organization that makes it harder to stalk people she doesn’t like. And I hope that people will seriously consider putting Hale on their personal author/book blacklists because having an opinion on her books could be risky.
For more on this whole situation, I’d recommend checking out the post about it on Dear Author.
Considering how many blacklists she’s been placed on, maybe I should say that she was a writer. A successful career in fiction may be a pipe dream now. ↩
She also harassed a person who wrote a 3-star review. ↩
Her mom is not one of them. She actually encourages her to continue finding more out about this girl. ↩
“Her” meaning the acquaintance, not the writer. ↩
An action her mother thanked her for. ↩
Her step-mom: You know that girl has bigger problems than you do.
Police officer: You think after everything else the girl needs this?
Hale: Those charges were dropped. We sued them back for defamation of character but we lost a lot of money and now there’s nothing we can do. Just because Lori is messed up doesn’t mean I’m not.
Police officer: Aren’t you the one who attacked her with some kind of chemical? I wouldn’t go around pointing fingers if I were you — you’re the lucky one. ↩