What was your first romance? Did someone tell you it was unsuitable?

What was your first romance? Did someone tell you it was unsuitable?

Thinking about this Unsuitable discussion coming up Monday (previous post), I’m curious what you all would say. Do you remember your first romance? One book specifically or just discovering someone’s Harlequin stash?

Did anyone make you feel it was unsuitable in some way? (Was it a conscientious mom saying, Hey, you’re too young to read something with sex in it, or was it a more insidious kind of judgment?) Have you always felt free to read what you want without judgment from others, or have you sometimes felt self-conscious?

The title of this talk series came out of the memories so many people here on campus had of that kind of judgment, so I’m curious what your own experiences are.

4 Comments
  • katje
    Reply

    I think I read my first romance when I was eight or nine, I seem to remember this was when we lived in Queens, so around 2nd (?) 3rd grade(?).
    This was back when almost ALL the covers of romance novels involved a half-dressed woman swooning in a half-naked man’s arms, so my mother was EXTREMELY perturbed. I had to sneak into the romance section to flip through them while my mother waited in line to check out more acceptable things…like The Last Unicorn…
    I still remember one of the first ones I picked up involving a noblewoman or a princess of some sort and a Highly Unsuitable Man, but not much more than that.
    I think what my mother found most worrisome other than the sex or whatnot, although that did disturb her, was the worry that I would have “unrealistic ideas” about love, relationships, marriage, sex, etc.

    October 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm
  • rube
    Reply

    My first was a Joanna Lindsey book which was in a box of garage sale books. I was maybe 12? My (conservative, non-native English speaking) parents didn’t check the contents of the box but _I_ was aware that I needed to hide the book; I’d already internalized the idea that it was forbidden.

    (Over the years, the parents unwittingly dropped a lot of bounty in my lap and I never said anything.)

    October 23, 2014 at 7:11 am
  • katje
    Reply

    …I honestly think that a large part of it is the fact that 80% of the marriages in my extended family are miserable, gut-wrenching things. My grandfather separated from my grandmother and lived with his mistress when my mother was in grade school. One of my aunts married to escape her home life and ended up unhappy and divorced. Another one is still married but her husband literally stresses her out to the point of ulcers. I will save you the drama of my uncle and all the affairs that go on in my mother’s family/social circle — so I think my mother thought it best not to allow me an overly rosy view of the world lest I end up like my aunt, or worse.

    October 23, 2014 at 11:23 am

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