So believe it or not, we’re over halfway done with the first novella in the Calendar Girl series. How are people feeling about it? Should we do book 2?
Calendar Girl: January Chapter 6
Mia has only seen Wes in the late evening the past week since he’s been so busy with work. But on the plus side, she’s been able to have lunch with his… mom. And the wife of the director of his current movie. Which is important for her to do as his escort.
To be fair, it definitely seems like Wes isn’t very good at this whole “escort” thing either.
Wes didn’t have a problem with it either. Said it was great I was making new friends while he was busy. He seemed to be more concerned with me being bored all day rather than the potential blurring of any emotional lines by me hanging out with his family and getting close to his coworker’s wife.
Wes, these are horrible decisions. But then again, your mom picked out your escort, so I’m guessing this isn’t Wes Problem #1.
You know what isn’t a problem for Wes though?
Wes could have been a gold medalist in the art of cunnilingus.
Some joke about how Ryan Lochte is probably horrible at giving oral goes here.
Wes surprises Mia with a surfing lesson, because they are very good at boundaries. Mia gets into a fight with the surf instructor about finding a wetsuit in her size. I don’t wanna be that dude on the internet reading books written by women and criticizing shallow and unproductive attempts at feminism, buuuut… you tell me what this looks like to you:
“Should fit. You’re what, five ten, a hundred and forty pounds?”
“Five nine, and didn’t your mother teach you that you don’t ever discuss weight with a woman?”
Amil shook his head and laughed. “Can’t say that she did.”
“She fell down on her job,” I said, deadpan. “It’s rude, and women hate it. You married?”
Her shook his head.
He shook his head again, still grinning.
“Case in point.” I clapped my hands together as if I’d just proven Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Yo, is she angry or taking the piss? We’re getting inconsistent tone between “deadpan” criticism and the self-undermining “as if I’d just proven Einstein’s theory of relativity”. I’m not saying this couldn’t be an embarrassing experience for her or that he couldn’t have been more tactful, but we’ve got some “ALL women HATE this” gender essentialism that is somehow both scathing condemnation AND the butt of its own joke? How did a cliche “don’t ask a woman about her weight” joke get THIS complicated?
Speaking of needless complications (and celebrations of outdated gender norms, so, you know, Team BBGT’s bread and butter):
“I can carry my own board, you know…”
His eyes twinkled as the sun caught them. “I’m certain there’s a lot of things you can do, sweetheart. But I wouldn’t feel like a man if I didn’t help my girl.” […]
Did he just say that?
“My girl?” I asked before the thought could turn into something wickedly emotional.
He grinned. “Yeah, you know what I mean.” He shrugged.
Um, no, I fucking didn’t know what he meant.
Ugh, boring! Are there any really weird “men are like X, women are like Y” comments in this book we can talk about instead?
“Don’t be a scaredy-cat.” Wes [made] a mutilated meow sound for effect. Men just can’t make kitty noises.
Ok. More seriously, now. Moving on. Mia’s surfing lesson goes pretty well, and she talks more about her pre-escort life, which this book totally glossed over in a rush to get to the sexy times, so AKA brand new information:
Usually I was cheering on my sister, Maddy, or my best friend, Ginelle, and her dancing. Even when I was in contemporary dance and had kickass performances, I still didn’t feel this sense of accomplishment.
Wait, Mia used to dance? I thought she used to be an actress? Or was interested in writing? Obviously, people are complex and it could totally be ALL of these things, but it’d be nice if Calendar Girl told us anything about Mia before we went on this adventure with her. Reading this novella is like when a friend of a friend goes on vacation with you and every day they do something mildly weird and assume you’ll be on board with, like tell everyone they’re chipping in on a gallon of milk or something.
They make out on the beach. It’s implied that it’s their instructor doesn’t feel that awkward about this because he just laughs at them. Guess I can’t say I’m not doing the same thing, surf instructor.
Mia takes some time to remind the reader that her situation with Wes is totally not romantic. Or she’s reminding… HERSELF? I know. None of you saw this shit coming.
[Wes] wasn’t kidding when he said he didn’t have time for a real relationship. The woman who commits to him is going to spend a lot of time alone.
As evidence, just look at how little time Mia and West spent together during this… wait…
He’ll need a woman who has a full life and career
“How the hell am I going to let you go in eight short days?” […]
“It is what it is. What it has to be,” I reminded him.
He leaned forward and touched our foreheads together. “But what if I don’t want it to be?” He said the one thing that both of us agreed should remain unspoken. The thought, the mere suggesting of more, went against everything we’d negotiated when I signed the contract.
This makes sense, because feelings are complicated, but what if this made… less sense…
Even if I wanted more, which I couldn’t wrap my head around right now, it wasn’t possible. I still needed a million dollars, and my dad still needed saving. […] Regardless of the fact that he’s a drunk, that he’s spent too much of his time gambling and drinking away our financial stability, he was still one of the only people who truly loved me.
Oh my god, this is a gold mine. Where do I even begin? How the story’s done no work showing her relationship with her father and demonstrating why his absurd needs are worth her taking on single-handedly? Why she has to do it single-handedly? How ridiculous “character we haven’t seen owes another character we haven’t seen an unbelievable amont of money” is as a premise driving a romance that has nothing to do with any of those things? GUYS, IT’S TOO MUCH. I AM OVERWHELMED. THIS MUST BE HOW MIA FEELS ABOUT THE MILLION DOLLARS SHE NEEDS FOR REASONS JUST ROLL WITH IT.
“Don’t,” I whispered […]
“Okay, I won’t,” he said with a finality that spoke of his renewed commitment to keep this as it was meant to be.
It’s a little ironic it took almost twenty words to convey “finality”.
Mia has a small realization about how difficult it’ll be to leave Wes and wonders if every client will be this way over the rest of the year. Wes and Mia have an awkward conversation about how, hey, they can still totally stay friends afterwards. This’ll probably last for about a chapter.
When they get to their fancy social event that evening, Mia runs into that one film exec’s wife who she helped solve all her marital troubles by telling her she should have a baby. This is apparently an ongoing subplot in this book. I’m just gonna skip it, because that’s mostly what this roughly 100-page book does anyway.
I’d never really been affectionate with many women, just Ginelle and Maddy for the most part, but I felt a connection to Jennifer.
I like how this book is moving on from telling-not-showing about friends who are apparently in Mia’s backstory to telling-not-showing about friends she has met over the course of this book.
The chapter ends with a revelation that Wes renamed the love interest in his next movie to Mia.
I blinked a few times, moisture filling my eyes as I looked at Wes. “Why?”
“Because you matter.”
Wes, you are terrible at this escort thing.