So glad we’re back to Calendar Girl this week! Things are already batshit insane.
Calendar Girl (May): Chapter 2
Mia nervously prepares to meet her little sister Maddy’s boyfriend and parents, but she’s excited for her sister.
One day, she’d make a good man the perfect suburban wife.
Or something like excitement.
This turns out to just be the tip of the iceberg, as most of this chapter is everyone’s weirdly specific vision for what Maddy’s happiness should entail. Everyone, of course, does not generally include Maddy.
Let’s start off light. Mia asks Maddy if she’s decided on a major.
“Did you decide on your major? I know you were waffling in the sciences a couple months ago?” Internally I chanted, Please no forensic science, please no forensic science. I could just hear the question now. What does your sister do for a living? “Oh yeah, she cuts up dead people.”
Glass houses, Mia.
But then when Maddy actually tells her that she decided on biochemistry, Mia couldn’t care less!
I tuned out most of what she said because honestly, she started speaking geek and my filter was on.
Mia mostly just gets excited when she learns about what Maddy can do with that (instead of, idk, why her sister is interested in it at all), and gets excited that she’s going to pursue a PhD and make money. Guess Mia doesn’t have to turn her filter on for that.
Then they arrive at the boyfriend’s house. Mia meets Matt and his parents, and gives a careful answer about their own father that dodges why he’s in a coma. And no more than two lines of dialogue are exchanged between everyone before this happens:
“Okay, everyone.” Matt stood up and held my sister’s hand. She looked up at him with diamonds in her eyes. “I have an announcement to make. […] I’ve asked Madison to marry me, and she’s accepted!”
Mia is understandably caught off guard by this, but apparently Mia’s wild, wild escort world isn’t bizarro world this time around:
Squeals of excitement came from his mother, and a loud clap and a response that sound [sic] like Santa Claus saying his “ho, ho, ho,” echoed around the room from his father.
…why would someone react like that? “I’m getting married.” “HO HO HO” “Are… are you laughing? Why are you laughing at this?” “MERRRRRRY CHRISTMAAAAAAAAAS.”
Mia ends up wordlessly storming out and trying to process what’s going on, because for once Mia and I are both on the same page about nothing in this book makes sense.
Had I stayed at that table, I would have lost it. Ripped my baby girl away from the clutches of suburbia and not stopped until I got her clear of this ridiculous notion that she was going to get married… at nineteen.
Wait, so suburbia’s bad now? Didn’t this chapter start with Mia wanting Maddy to become a suburban housewife? Yeah, I know, the key difference was eventually, but the mental gymnastics in this chapter are going into high gear in three… two…
Twirling around, I came eye to eye with Matt. His face showed remorse but not enough for me to believe he’d take it all back.
Ok, Calendar Girl. How does this make any sense?
“I’m sorry I didn’t ask you first, but after last weekend…”
“You mean when you stole my baby sister’s virginity!” I roared
Matt points out that that part’s not any of Mia’s business, which is fair, if not dangerously tactless.
“Not that it’s any of your business. Madison is a grown woman, one whom I love very much. What she gave me was a gift, one I’ll treasure always.”
I mean, it’s not the w-
“One I never want another man to have in this lifetime.”
Now it’s the worst.
“What makes you think you need to marry her? Right now?” […]
“Not right now. Were going to get our bachelor’s degrees first. […] I just wanted the commitment. For her to know that I’m hers and she’s mine.”
Soooooooooo this is 100% about treating her like a possession, then. Just so we’re all on the same page here when Mia comes around and thinks that her sister getting engaged days after losing her virginity to a guy who’s also just taken that step for the first time is a good idea, because obviously Mia is going to come around since there’s nothing but forced happy endings in this story, that the actual explanation for why we’re ok with this is because Matt wants to own Maddy.
Now, I don’t want this to sound like I’m being down on people who get married young, people who find love with their first and want to get married, or people who just wanna live in the suburbs with their spouse and kids someday. But the way this dude is saying things like “I never want another man to have [her]” is kind of batshit bonkers possessive. And definitely doesn’t actually explain why it’s ok that they’re rushing into a commitment. ESPECIALLY since they JUST had sex for the first time and this is really really rushing into things and it’s super weird that everyone in this book is so readily ok with it.
“I want her to have something concrete, because we’re planning to move in together… soon.” […]
“Seriously?” I growled.
God, it’s a weird day on the blog when I’m in agreement with the main character.
ANYWAY, READY FOR MATT TO SOMEHOW BE EVEN MORE OF A DICK?
“I don’t like where she lives […] She’s alone, unprotected.” He shook his head. “Unacceptable.”
Imagine the kind of dick you have to be to make “I’m worried about your safety” sound condescending.
Mia is persuaded because she doesn’t like where Maddy lives either. Not enough that she could use her newfound, excess wealth on moving her to a better place instead of on a trip to Hawaii, but then we wouldn’t have a contrived reason why Mia is ok with her sister getting engaged to a dude who just had sex for the first time and told her he never wants her to do that with another man in her life.
“I just don’t want her to make a mistake. You guys are so young.”
“And we’re going to take it slow.”
Maddy comes outside at this point, because why involve her in this conversation about what she wants for her future. Mia and Maddy talk and they’re cool now. Mia starts singing Bob Marley to Maddy and explains to the reader that she used to sing it to Maddy when she was younger, which in any other chapter would definitely be the most ridiculous thing in said chapter.
Matt’s family is totally cool with all of this.
[Matt] chuckled. “No, I think they probably can relate to impulsivity and the response from the family. They met and got married within three months of knowing one another. To them, I’m just following in their spontaneous footsteps.”
Nothing says spontaneous like doing the exact same thing someone else did.
“My boy will take excellent care of your sister, I can promise you that.” Mr. Rains beamed with pride. “He’s got his head on straight, but you can’t deny a man in love. When the Rains men fall, they fall hard and fast and for life.”
Ok, seriously, did Audrey Carlan read Jamie McGuire’s Maddox Brothers novels right before she wrote Calendar Girl, because this is the second time it’s been weirdly similar.
Later, Mia wonders if the reason why she reacted so badly is because she’s jealous her sister’s getting “her happily ever after before I did”, or if it’s the strangeness of how she’d been taking care of Maddy all her life and now she doesn’t really have to do that anymore.
Somehow I’m still pretty sure it has something to do with how her sister got engaged to her first boyfriend a few days after they lost their virginity to each other even though they’re not going to get married for years just because her boyfriend wants her to never have sex with anyone else in her life. I dunno, just a theory.