Friday, January 30, 2009

Hi, my name is Allison, and I love Twilight

Oh, the burning shame and humiliation. I'd rather confess to pinching babies or tipping pregnant women. Everybody I knew was doing it, but I was so smug, so sure that I was immune. I didn't make fun of them (everybody has their weaknesses) but I felt quietly superior. Come on... a girl and a vampire? And there was a werewolf? What else... she gets into a four-way with the vampire, the wolf and a mime? (hey, mimes are scary).

I have mentioned that I do like my junk-food lit. I like mysteries. I like science fiction and fantasy and sometimes horror. But I'm generally impervious to romances. Even if a mystery looks good, if the jacket copy mentions some ruggedly handsome detective solving the crime while fighting a dangerous attraction to the beautiful but wounded sister of the deceased, I'm out. I know there are only supposed to be seven stories and all the books in the world are only variations on those themes, but it seems to me that romances have an even more limited template than any other genre -- it's just hard to find variations interesting enough to hold my attention. I believe people when they say good ones are out there, I'll even read one if someone puts it in my hands with a strong recommendation, but I don't seek them out.

So what the hell was I doing in the checkout lane at Costco with that slick black cover smirking up at me from my basket? Beats the crap out of me. My husband was away, my kids were at birthday parties, I was sleep-deprived enough to have thought that killing two hours in Costco ON A SUNDAY was any kind of an idea... clearly my immunity was low. I was supposed to be shopping for something for dinner and what I ended up with was a teen romance, six bottles of body lotion and eighteen blueberry muffins (what the hell, I could always send Eve out hunting and foraging again, right?)

It was like sinking into a narcotic fog. I tried to pull away from it, but it was like quicksand. I've tried to figure it out, but I can't. I think maybe they've figured out a way to embed microscopic subliminal messages under the words. Because it's not like you can in any way articulate what's so freaking compelling about it. When you break the plot down, it sounds idiotic (go ahead, try it). So why is it like chocolate-covered crack?

At least it's not just me this time. I do have the occasional inexplicable lapse where something that would normally pass almost unnoticed gains a stranglehold on my psyche for some reason. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer when Buffy had to kill Angel? That laid me out for weeks (and now that I've told you that, I have to kill you). When I was pregnant with Angus, I was reading this fluffy mystery series about a female Egyptologist who excavated pyramids etc. with her hunky archaeologist husband and her son in the early nineteen hundreds. They adopted some orphaned girl, and as their son and adopted daughter grows up, you can see a romance developing between them. The author kept dragging it out so you'd think for sure THIS book couldn't end without them declaring their love, or kissing, or shaking hands or something and Jesus Christ, another book would end with agonizing repression and noble renunciations and aneurysm-inducing misunderstandings. And who gives a crap, but I was pregnant and hormonal and this author was at least in her sixties and I was seriously on the verge of writing her a letter saying look, lady, if you die before you get these people alone in a tent in the Biblical sense, I will be seriously vexed. I felt like I couldn't go on with my life until this got resolved.

I wonder if it's like that thing when pregnant women started eating raw potatoes and mustard or yak hair or whatever, because they're lacking some vitamin or enzyme that they don't know about. When I was pregnant with Eve I had an overwhelming desire to abuse inhalants. Also, we were refinishing the basement and I could barely restrain myself from licking the drywall dust (I know, I know). I found out later that this was indicative of severe anemia -- unfortunately I was afraid my midwife would lock me up if I confessed, so I was gazing longingly at my baby powder for way longer than was necessary (once at Kelsey's the waitress asked if I wanted my wings 'dusted' and I almost kissed her).

I think I might really be onto something here. There must be some periodic momentary deficiency in my psychological make-up that makes me occasionally susceptible to sappy, overwrought romances. I don't think it's actually lack of romance -- I never actually want to be the character, and if I actually want romance it's not hard to get it (or a reasonable facsimile); plus, the drywall dust wasn't actually going to raise my iron levels (I don't think). Maybe I can get some kind of syndrome named after me -- maybe there's a vaccine!

So there you go. It's not my fault. I feel so much better.

Besides, I'm sure I can quit any time.

6 comments:

alison said...

I tried to like that book. But I didn't. I didn't hate it, I just couldn't stay interested in it. I gave up and started "The Private Patient" by P.D. James instead. Much more my cup of tea, or glass of wine. And it's not the vampire thing either. I'm totally addicted to a fantasy/urban/noir series called the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, that has wizards, werewolves, vampires, faeries, etc. I just didn't like all the teenage angst and the poor clumsy Bella being controlled by the beautiful, intense, controlling Edward. She's not a very empowered role model for teen girls.

NoisyBluebird said...

I just have one sentance.
"Your husband was out of town?!!!"
How unfortunate for him :).

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