My mom had mentioned that sometimes people will complain about the books, and then my grandma feels bad, so I took out the V. C. Andrews (Celeste, April Shadows, and the first in the Wallflowers series: Misty) and also the Harlequin Temptation Single in the City book (because of the cover; Edit: And flipping it open, the excerpt pulled for the pre-page is totally soft-core porn.). I had forgotten that probably 80-90% of the adult book section is Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, and assorted other romance novels. We also have Dorothy Sayers, P. G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, Dan Brown (Angels & Demons), and -- in the kids' section -- one of the Harry Potter books. Oh my conservative evol church :) I actually want someone to complain about Harry Potter being there so then I can argue that we shouldn't be selling romance novels, because I vehemently and honestly believe traditional romance novels are more damaging.
I also snagged The Seventeen Book of Answers to What Your Parents Don't Talk About and Your Best Friends Can't Tell You because it's copyright 1972 and the source of this post's Subject line (well, my reaction to it was this Subject line). I may actually keep this and give them money. It's not wildly entertaining, though certainly interesting. Of course I immediately looked for the sex/gay parts when I started flipping through it. The subcategory "Homosexuality" (under "Sex") has the following 4 questions:
* How should you feel about a homosexual?
* The man I love is a homosexual.
* Will I ever be normal?
* She must be a lesbian.
The first two do a decent job of saying we don't know what causes homosexuality and you should treat people with decency and respect period. The fourth one is fairly decent as well. The third one, though, is a fifteen and a half year old girl who sounds pretty gay to me, and I certainly believe that sexuality is (can be) fluid and that adolescence especially is a time of exploration, but their response included basically no validation of the possibility that she might really be a lesbian. I'm actually gonna type up this one. I'm sure you can imagine my mental commentary as you read.
Q. My problem is that I am sexually attracted to women rather than men and boys. (Because of my appearance, which is very feminine, I have been quite popular with boys and girls.) I first noticed this many years ago when I could think of nothing but one of my schoolteachers. I am now fifteen and a half and it still occurs. I usually feel as though I am in love with women of about fifty rather than girls my own age. No one knows my secret. Even though I don't enjoy it, I have necked with boys and I want my life to be normal. I put off writing this letter hoping I would change, but I keep getting worse. Please don't tell me to see a doctor. I could never tell my parents or face a doctor. What I want to know is will I ever be normal? Will I ever be excited by a kiss as other girls are? Will I ever be happily married? Please help.
A. Your feelings at fifteen and a half are neither uncommon nor abnormal. Girls in their young and middle teens frequently have crushes on their teachers or even on older girls. Being emotionally drawn toward a woman you admire and whose qualities you'd like to emulate can be an important transitional step in breaking away from your ties to your mother; such an in-between attachment offers a sort of security aid on the difficult road to developing your own independent personality and femininity. For a girl, moving on to romantic-heterosexual love is even more complex than for a boy. He has to turn from loving his mother to loving another woman, but girls have a two-stage transfer to make---away from Mother and then toward the other sex as well. One girl may need more time than another to untangle all her feelings and work through her fears of sexuality itself, perhaps, of the male as something threatening, or simply of her own possible inability to cope with either or both.
When you begin to accept yourself as a young woman, boys and dates will become more interesting and enjoyable. Meanwhile don't force yourself to kisses and caresses you don't want. Try to become friends with a boy as a person first, and the other feelings may follow. If you continue to feel troubled about yourself, by all means do talk to some competent and understanding adult (often it's easier with someone other than your parents). If you don't feel comfortable with anyone you know, see if there is an adolescent or mental-health clinic or a Family Service Agency near you. Have no fear---all professional counselors know how many girls go through similar stages. There is little you could tell them they haven't heard before! Remember that accepting yourself as a human being means also not being ashamed of any of your very human feelings. And learning to understand them---even if it means consulting an outsider---is the best way to gain their fullest potential.
My parents don't have facebook, so tonight I showed them the link I'd posted on Monday. I also shared AIR DOES NOT LIKE YOU and America: Beware the penguin agenda.