Calendar Girl (June) Chapter 7: Aaron is Even More Horrible Than We Imagined

nooooooo

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Calendar Girl (June) Chapter 7:

We’ve complained a lot that all of Mia’s clients are super wonderful and she has a great time on all of her jobs, presenting an incredibly idyllic picture of what being a high-end escort is like. As you can tell from the title of this post, this chapter finally addresses exactly the type of trauma someone in Mia’s position might experience. I’m going to say right now, some of this is handled well, but by the end of the chapter I was scratching my head about how I was supposed to feel about what happened.

Before we get into the heavier themes, let’s enjoy the terrible dream sex Mia has with Wes:

He tasted of the earth, the ocean, and all things beautiful.

The earth and the ocean have distinctly different flavours, neither of which is particularly good. Think back to the last time salt water got in your mouth or you ate dirt as a child. Do you have an erection? A lady boner? I didn’t think so.

He encased as much of my breast as he could, kneading the heavy tissue surrounding it for good measure.

It sounds more like he’s checking Mia for breast cancer than partaking in an erotic encounter.

I came, hard, bouncing on his cock as he bathed my womb with his seed.

Quality aside, that is one of the most innovative ways to describe a man coming inside of a woman I have read on this blog. Do you think Carlan agonised over a way to describe Wes coming inside Mia, and when she finally settled on this line, she just leaned back in her chair and was like, “This is my masterpiece”?

Okay, now the creepy stuff:

As dream!Mia and dream!Wes get it on, Mia implies that some of the things she’s feeling are not happening in the dream, and it becomes apparent long before she wakes up that someone in the real world is touching her.

Mia wakes up naked in her bed with Aaron touching her. Mia demands to know what the fuck is going on:

“Don’t act like you weren’t enjoying it.” His tone was a sneer. “I heard you moaning, sighing, licking those sweet lips”— he tugged the knot of his tie and loosened it—“ rubbing your legs together wantonly, as if you were ready to be taken. I have to admit it was enticing as hell.”

Let’s ignore the fact that nobody would say, “rubbing your legs together wantonly, as if you were ready to be taken”, and focus on how awful this situation is. There’s no good explanation for Aaron’s actions…or is there?

“To my delight, you were thrashing around in bed, naked, clearly needing something to assuage the tension I could plainly see in your body.”

Oh! Everyone knows it’s not rape if you barge into a woman’s room while she’s naked, asleep and having a sex dream! And he was basically helping her “assuage the tension”, it’s all so clear now.

“Aaron“— my voice shook, and his eyes narrowed—“ I’m not feeling well. Your father and I drank too much last night. I need to sleep it off. You shouldn’t have come in my room without knocking.”

I have to say Calendar Girl nails how often women have to rebuff men in a way that minimises their lack of desire for the man and instead turn it into something beyond their control. Mia stresses that she’s not feeling well and how it was rude he came into her room without knocking instead of telling him she doesn’t want him and that coming into her room and touching her while she was asleep was a deeply disturbing transgression.

But now, a moment of comic relief:

His lips came down and pressed into the skin of my neck. “Mmm, you taste sweet. Like pure honey.”

Pure honey.

You mean to tell me that TWO men, in quick succession, have used this very specific, ridiculous way to describe how Mia tastes? I CALL BALONEY, BOOK.

Mia throws up, and only then does he stop his advances. Shockingly, he shouts for Kathleen to come in and take care of Mia, not at all hiding the fact that he was in there. This means he thinks he’s done nothing wrong or believes Mia can’t/won’t do anything about it.

Kathleen runs in and helps Mia get into the shower. She then asks Mia what happened, and is 100% supportive and wants to tell Warren since he’d never stand for what Aaron did. I can understand why she doesn’t suggest they call the police, but I don’t want Aaron to get away with this and just get a slap on the wrist from his father!

I shook my head and placed my hands on her shoulders. “It’s okay. I’m fine. He was a little inappropriate, yes, but we’d been flirty the last couple of times we’d seen each other. I handled it. Everything is fine. There is no need to make a big deal out of this. It won’t happen again.”

nooooooo

NooooOOOOOoooo!!! Oh man, I can understand why Mia would say this, but it is still so heartbreaking to read the understatement of the year, “He was a little inappropriate” or for Mia to try to assure Kathleen/herself it won’t happen again.

I nodded quickly. “I know, and I get it. I think it was implied before, and he may have reacted on it at the wrong time. That’s all. No harm done.

Oh my gosh I hope the lesson at the end of this book is to not feel you have to downplay sexual violation.

Mia doesn’t really reflect on why she tells Kathleen not to say anything. I’m okay leaving some of that as guesswork, but I think for once the story could have benefited from some clarification here to highlight reasons why it’s hard for women to come forward in these situations and why Mia is particularly vulnerable in this line of work.

Here’s where the chapter gives me a lot of mixed feelings. Mia calls Gin, and there’s a bit of a side-story about how Gin is down in the dumps and also trying to figure out her next moves in life. It’s the least annoyed by Gin I’ve ever been.

When they start talking about Mia, I figured she was calling her best friend to talk about what happened. Instead, Mia expresses concern that she’s too attached to Wes and is even having sex dreams about him, and she decides not to tell Gin what else happened because she would be upset. So the end of the chapter is just Mia worrying to Gin and then herself about whether she’s in love with Wes!

The reason my feelings are mixed is that on the one hand it seemed outrageous to me that Mia was sexually assaulted but then only seems to care about what having a sex dream about Wes meant and being stressed about being in love with him. On the other hand, maybe this makes complete sense as Mia doesn’t want to think about what happened, so she’s finding something else to occupy herself with and worry about. I can actually see how this is a legitimate coping mechanism, and I don’t blame Mia for just not wanting to think about it. I have no idea how it’s going to be handled in the rest of the book, but for now, I think Calendar Girl actually did a good job with this, and I hope it actually affects the rest of the series.

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4 comments

  1. Jennifer Layton

    I really hate this “sexual assault as erotica fodder” trend. Twilight does it in a non-sexual way with Edward literally dragging and carrying Bella around, often against her will, and having her say later that he was just trying to protect her. I recently had to drop out of a creative writing group because two of the women, inspired by 50 Shades, were writing and sharing assault/non-consent fantasies as their projects, and I didn’t want to hear it anymore. Yes, some women do have fantasies like this, and it’s a free country so they can write whatever they want. I’m just a bit worried that it’s gotten so popular in published writing.

    5+
    • Pip

      I totally agree with you! Sexual assault and violence is never done for an actual moving reason that helps development, it’s nearly always thrown in for edge, drama or as risky erotica, and honestly, it really sickens me. I’ve nothing against this sort of thing being discussed intelligently, but it never is; it’s always for titillation and it feels really disrespectful to me. Although, with regards to Mia and her reaction, I can sort of relate to the whole ‘think about something else to distract yourself’ way if coping, having been in a similar situation. Though, not as extreme or upsetting. Anyway, great post as always 🙂

      3+
  2. wordswithhannah

    Given that this is a work of fiction entirely created by Audrey Carlan and not someone’s memoir, I’m okay with passing judgment on Mia’s reaction of “I was sexually assaulted but what’s really important here is navel-gazing about my not-boyfriend”. The one tiny point I wanted to give in her favor is that Aaron is clearly in the wrong and is not supposed to be a romantic option because of it, but then I get depressed that this even needs to be stated and I take that tiny point back again so I can nurture it and give it to someone who truly deserves it.

    It’s also depressingly realistic that it takes her being violently ill to make him back off.

    4+
    • 22aer22 Post author

      The more I think about it, the more upset I am that Kathleen in this scene didn’t get more upset when Mia tried to explain that their flirting earlier gave him the wrong idea and that they should let him off the hook because of this. For Mia to understand and have another character in the scene get through to her would have been good. I’m starting to get worried it’s not going to come up again at all since the next chapter doesn’t seem to even mention it.

      5+

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