Why, yes, I do hate myself for writing that post title.
Calendar Girl (March): Chapter 4
Tony takes Mia and Hector to his family’s restaurant, where his family has their weekly family dinner in their private room. The tone for the “best chain of Italian restaurants in America” gets set pretty early:
I laughed under my breath when I got a gander at the ties they wore. Pasta. The ties had pasta dishes printed on them.
It gets better.
“Did you see the ties?”
Hector smiled and grinned. “My idea, actually.”
Okay, wait. So Hector is so involved in the family business that he’s suggesting goofy-ass employee dress codes AND regularly showing up at family dinner? And no one is wondering about that?
Now, of course, Tony does seem like he’s putting in a significant effort to hide his sexuality from his family. And we haven’t met them yet – he might unfortunately have good reason to.
Tony tells Mia to “follow my lead, and don’t be surprised if I touch you… a lot”. Mia talks about how hard it is for her to be touched by such an attractive man who’s involved with someone else, who’s a man, who she’s also fond of. Sure, Mia. Your problems seem like the hard ones right now.
They go into the private room to meet Tony’s family. Now, you might recall that the previous Calendar Girl book featured a French man who was pretty much only French by virtue of saying “oui!” or “ma jolie!” all the goddamned time. So we can assume that Calendar Girl‘s portrayal of an Italian family is gonna be one big stereotype too, right?
Everyone at the table yelled over one another, used hand gestures in the air as if they were swatting away flies, and pushed at one another when they spoke.
“Mama,” Tony said and then stood tall and gestured to me. “This is Mia, my fiancée. Mia, this is my mother, Mona Fasano.”
I smiled and said, “It’s very nice to meet you, Mrs. Fasano.”
Her lips barely twitched in reply.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this only indication that Tony springing a previously unmentioned fiancée on his family that he’s very, very, very close with is sort of a weird plot hole if you think about it for two seconds.
Speaking of how Calendar Girl asks us to suspend a lot of disbelief, this is the most convincing performance Mia can give as the fiancée:
“I like to eat, Italian food being my favorite,”
Don’t worry about that stopping Tony’s ploy dead in its tracks. None of the other characters talk like real people either.
“Your hips are nice and wide, good for giving me grandchildren.”
“Uh… um…” Now that came of nowhere.
“Ma,” Tony attempted to interrupt. Again, didn’t work. […]
“Yes, you’ll give me beautiful grandsons.”
HAHAHAHA YES. Why does she talk like a fuckin’ soothsayer in a Greek tragedy? This is amazing. “Yesssss… you will give me grandsons. And on the last full moon of this calendar year, the prophecy shall be fulfilled.”
Tony tries to make the best of it.
“Come on, sweetheart,” Tony said, leading me to the other side of the room.
Sweetheart. That’s what Wes called me. He would think this scenario was a hoot. Maybe even put it into one of his movies one day as a romantic comedy.
Doesn’t Wes exclusively write war movies? Am I paying closer attention to Calendar Girl than the titular calendar girl is?
I could see the disappointment in Hector’s eyes that Tony didn’t sit next to his true mate. It was all so depressing. Two men, clearly in love, feeling as though they couldn’t be together because of society, family, business, and obligation. […]
“Don’t worry. By now, missy, I’m used to it.”
You know, this is a fair bit deeper than I was expecting from Calendar Girl. I’m pretty interested to see where this goes now that we’ve broken from the monotonous love-’em-and-leave-’em formula. Maybe I went into this series with too low expectations?
For the next hour, I was introduced to all four of Tony’s sisters.
…okay, yeah, that being said, no way in hell I’m summarizing this until Calendar Girl also proves that any of its minor characters are of lasting consequence.
In case you think I’m being unfair, just know there’s a whole conversation about how Tony’s youngest sister’s boyfriend looks exactly like Sylvester Stallone. Mia points it out to the reader and then again to him. Twice.
Slightly more interesting is that one of the sisters mentions that Hector is the company’s lawyer and has “been around so long, it’s like he’s another brother.” It also turns out that they know that Hector is gay! You might wonder if this means that they are cool with gay people, but this is Calendar Girl, and it’s hard to tell if anyone likes their gay friend Hector, or if they like their gay friend the gay stereotype.
“Look, Mia, let me lay it out for you. Hector is gay. He knows the best places to shop”
For fuck’s sake. I can see the ending of this book now: “Our brother? Gay? But… but he doesn’t even like shopping!”
Angelina gripped my hand. “Let’s get together this week! Tomorrow maybe, for shopping? We have to get a dress for the release of the new Fasano’s Frozen Food line next week.”
I have no issues with frozen food and I’m not super close with the Italian side of my family, but this concept of a nationally recognized Italian chain that’s apparently “the best Italian in Vegas” starting a frozen food line even made me die a little on the inside.
Dinner winds down, and as they leave, Tony and Mia stage a passionate kiss to try to convince Tony’s mom the relationship is legit.
He tilted my head, and his tongue dove in. I was not expecting to be kissed like that by Tony. A gay man. A gay man with a partner. Things were not adding up.
Mia, you just met this dude yesterday. You don’t know if, I dunno, maybe he’s bi? Or terrified about his family finding out his sexuality. Wait, actually, haha, you do know that last one. It’s the plot of the whole book.
he gripped my hips and pressed close. That’s when I felt it. Well not it, exactly. A lack of it. He was not hard. There was absolutely nothing happening down below.
CASE CLOSED, LADIES AND GENTS. HIS DICK DIDN’T GET HARD AFTER KISSING MIA FOR FIVE SECONDS. NOW WE CAN BELIEVE THAT HE’S GAY.
Tony’s mom gets “a look of pure joy filling every wrinkly in her face”, which makes Mia feel guilty. Hector also gets angry, refusing to listen to Tony’s pleas that it was just for show. Mia tells the reader that she felt hurt too because “there was a definite twinge of the lady parts when he held me and kissed me the way a man kisses a woman he’s lusting after”. Yes, Mia. Your problems are just as bad.
To her credit, Mia does her best to help them move past it.
“It meant nothing. Mona was watching. He wasn’t even turned on. Only you could do that to him.”
Pretty good! Just stop talking right there and, I dunno, don’t make it about you somehow?
“Believe me, I know when a man wants me.”
Goddammit, Mia is going to be the worst throughout this book, isn’t she?
Mia suggests Tony and Hector take a cab, go to a bar, and have some time alone, away from her, and she’ll just see them in the morning. They all agree, but Mia’s night isn’t over yet!
The limo took me back to the penthouse, and I’d just made it into my room when my phone pinged with a text.
From: Wes Channing
To: Mia Saunders
Can you talk?
Do you think he saw the artwork Mia did nude modeling for a famous artist for in the last book? Do you think the remaining nine books are all going to come up with a reason for Wes to dramatically call Mia once a month until this is all over?