At Barnes and Noble this morning (because, goddamn it, Borders is gone) with my 13 year-old daughter in tow, I teased her that the cover my book wasn’t nearly as embarrassing as usual. This means no kissing or naked bodies. Sigh.
I am notorious for scandalous covers. For many years I was embarrassed by them as well, and admittedly to some extent I still read the extra steamy stuff on my kindle where no one can see.
For the most part though I figure if someone wants to judge me by the cover of my book they can have at it. Because I read really good books and I figure they’re just jealous.
The cashier overheard us talking and laughing she said that customers buying “50 Shades” often ask for a bag because they are uncomfortable. Hello. Regardless of content that cover is TAME. Really tame.
Really really lame.
These people are embarrassed because of the content (hot sex, bsdm, whatever) and because it has been so widely marketed, others know what they are reading. This is sad. They are embarrassed because they are reading an explicit book about a sexual relationship. Because thinking/reading about sex is….bad?
I will confess–I think about sex. I like sex. I read books that have sex in them. Sex is a fact of life. Shocking eh?
Do video game buyers ask for a bag when they buy Resident Evil 4, or Narc, or combat Elite or any of the other myriad video games with exceptionally violent covers as well as game action?
No, they proudly leave the store with their product, heading directly home to kill, murder, maim, torture, shoot, blow up etc etc.
We all know they’re thinking about murder and death. Why aren’t they embarrassed? These games are extraordinarily brutal, body parts flying everywhere, blood and guts–the sound effects alone can give nightmares. Gross.
Why is sex, which is (should be) a happy thing embarrassing, and violence acceptable? Personally I find it frightening that we are more comfortable with violence than sex.
It makes me sad.
When my youngest daughter was very small (the same one mentioned above) she used to drive her sister crazy by being so accepting of ‘bodily functions’.
The birds and the bees discussion went something like this:
Kids: how are babies made?
Me: (driving the minivan). the mom and the dad sleep together and a little while later a baby arrives.
Kids: really, how are they made?
Me: (realizing I am not getting out of this, but I also believe in answering questions not avoiding them). So I described the whole 9 yards. From beginning to end.
There was some significant, heavy, silence in the car.
Older daughter: gagging sound, “oh, gross. that is so disgusting. I am never doing that.”
Younger daughter: Hmm. It’s just natural.
Aside from that being a funny story, my point is that early on their attitudes were completely different. (In defense of my older daughter she is now much more accepting and willing to talk about ‘personal’ issues.)
Sadly, the “That’s just natural” seems to be loosing out to the inherent (insert denomination here) prudishness of our country.
I get that we can be embarrassed by our internal thoughts or shy about revealing what we like or don’t like. Or shy about sex in general. That’s what being a grown up is about–learning about yourself and how to ask for what you need and want.
I don’t get that we are so, eh hem, repressed that we are controlled by fear that a stranger might know that we are thinking about sex. SEX. So much that we need a bag for a book cover with a tie and hand cuffs on it. Sheesh.
Sex — thats the one that makes us feel good. Violence — hurts.