Calendar Girl (February) Chapter 2: Mia Models

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Calendar Girl (February): Chapter 2

After Mia and Alec indulge on “the best Chinese food I’d ever had” (Yeah, that’s right! Strike one, Wes.), Calendar Girl tries very hard to reassure the reader that all these men who are buying Mia’s services are actually totally okay dudes.

Alec carried me up to the loft and settled me on his bed. […] Regardless, he didn’t assume we’d be sleeping together, even after our kiss.

How chivalrous of the man who paid for a nude model and greeted her by sneaking up behind her and kissing the back of her neck!

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Intriguingly, Calendar Girl is pretty determined to prove that its man-of-the-month format/raison d’etre isn’t a love-’em-and-leave-’em James Bond situation. Mia reflects on how its “difficult for me” to not be with Wes. Or at least in his luxurious home.

It was difficult for me no longer being in Wes’s Malibu home hidden away in the hillside and snug as a bug in a rug in my bed of clouds. No, I was deposited onto a firm but comfortable king-size bed and surrounded by cool tones and textures.

I’m pretty sure this is supposed to be about how she misses Wes, but this really just reads like she misses how much nicer his expensive shit was.

After half a page describing the furniture in the room in intricate detail for some goddamn reason (“plenty of pillows to allow the user maximum relaxation” – is this a book or an IKEA catalog?), Mia reflects on what we actually care about: BOYS.

The fact that he kissed me at all was a surprise, but not by much. I mean, the guy spent a lot of time in my space. He’d touched me more in one day than pretty much anyone ever did in a day, including Wes, and I knew Wes really liked touching me.
Wes.
Nope, not gonna let myself go down that path. We’d agreed to be friends and move on from here. He knew I needed to do what I needed to do to save my dad, and I wouldn’t be doing it while abstaining. That just wasn’t me.

Man, I wish all my problems could be solved by dating a series of attractive, wealthy women. Calendar Girl makes forced prostitution seem pretty good!

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Don’t worry. I’m going into this more in three… two…

I mean, I hate to sound like a broken record, but this is gonna be a recurring problem throughout the 12-book Calendar Girl series. Mia’s problem doesn’t make sense, and the solution to it not only doesn’t make sense either, but it’s glamorizing her situation and conveniently ignoring that the clients in her situation are much more likely to be abusive human shitstains who see her as an object rather than hunky dreamboats who all want to pay money to fall in love with her for some reason.

And a huge part of why this is the story’s problem is the writing: none of it is convincing. I mean literally none of it:

I pulled out a pair of clean jeans and a Radiohead concert tee. Thinking back, Ginelle and I had rocked out so hard and screamed so loud at that concert, we couldn’t speak the next day. We didn’t care. Tom York was crazy talented

This would have been more convincing if Thom Yorke‘s name were spelled correctly.

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I’m sure Mia contains multitudes, but it’d also help if I weren’t 0% convinced she’s the kind of person who’d be into Radiohead.

Ok. I’ve gone on for quite a bit about the overarching problems with Calendar Girl, and those aren’t going away. Let’s focus on some summary now.

Alec makes Mia breakfast, and it takes Audrey Carlan about 4000 words to say “Alec has a neat tattoo”.

Once I was seated, he turned around, and I couldn’t contain the burst of air that left my lungs. Alec turned to the side, and his eyes caught what I was staring at, positively drooling over. On the left side of his back, from his shoulder blade and curling around his ribcage, was a giant black tattoo. It was a swirl of words written in French.

Mia asks him about it.

“It’s a poem from Jacques Prévert, a French writer. He wrote it in 1966.”

He goes on the explain what the poem means, but he led with “he wrote it in 1966” for some fucking reason, so I’m already totally checked out.

Mia asks about her clothes, since part of the contract details that the client is supposed to provide whatever clothes he wants the escort to wear for the month.

Alec grinned a full cat-that-ate-the-canary grin and then set his hands wide onto the counter, leaning closer to me. “Ma jolie, there aren’t clothes for you to wear because I don’t plan on having you wear anything while you’re here. You are my muse, and I want to see your body, curves and angles, as much as humanly possible.”
I blinked, opened my mouth, closed it, and then blinked again. He couldn’t be serious.

This is the point where I’d joke that Mia must be new here if that weren’t the premise of the whole story.

They start the actual modeling with Alec taking a few test shots of Mia posing, for no project in particular. Perhaps unsurprisingly from a story where the premise is that a girl starts a six-figure-a-month job with zero experience for said job, Mia is a natural at this too. Even Mia is starting to call bullshit on how this keeps happening.

“You’re doing fine,” he said.
A breath of air left me in a huff. “How is that possible? I’m not doing anything but standing here.”

Alec moves on to taking the shots he needs and tells Mia to “think of something sad”. Mia’s thoughts immediately turn to Wes, wondering what he’s doing right now and if he’s already moved on. She realizes this is a bad train of thought, and ends up thinking about her dad in a coma instead. Which is great, since he’s the entire reason this story is happening and he barely ever gets mentioned. Mia asks what the name of Alec’s project is:

“No Love For Me.”
Of course. It should be my fucking theme song. […]
“What’s next?” I asked with a renewed focus.
“We find you love, of course.”

I’m starting to feel like Alec’s art project might be a conveniently symbolic experience for Mia or something.

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2 comments

  1. Jennifer Layton Reply

    She’s misspelled Thom Yorke’s and Paul Bunyan’s names so far … are these books self-published? Any editor worth her style book would have caught that.

    4+
  2. wordswithhannah Reply

    The bit about being naked the whole time without exception strikes me as unsanitary but also I reiterate: HOLY SHIT, RUN, MIA, RUUUUUUUUUN.

    Mia seems to live in a blissful world where sexual assault doesn’t exist. Does it ever even cross her mind? If an unknown man hired me to live with him for a month and I wasn’t allowed to wear clothes per his orders, that would send up approximately a billion red flags. It takes this story out of any conceivable reality. It’s not that I expect an interlude on violence against sex workers in a fluffy romance novel but to completely ignore the topic all together and act like escorting as a line of work has no inherent dangers to it (you’ll live with super rich, interesting men! They’ll all be attractive! They’ll be soulful and empathetic and you’ll WANT to have sex with them so it’ll never be a problem when they inevitably want to take it further! And if anything ever happens, the police are super likely to take you seriously and not victimize you further!) doesn’t line up with anything readers know about the world.

    5+

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