The Bickersons Discover Romance

I have not disappeared! I have a guest! She arrived last Tuesday, and she’ll be with us for another two weeks or so.

We met about three years ago in Devon at a mutual friend’s wedding.  I was in the wedding party seated next to the father of the groom (and having a fantastic time hearing his stories), and she was seated next to a dreadful guy who wouldn’t stop sharing–and demonstrating–his views on women.  Suddenly, she appeared next to me and begged to sit next to us citing the horrible behavior of her table companion.  I’m not sure if we broke any precious “wedding” rules, but I wasn’t going to send her back to that table.  That guy had been pestering me all night as well except he kept touching my bare shoulders while trying to imitate what he thought was an American Southern accent.  She and I sat together and ate lemon posset while doing our best to avoid Terence the Ironically Misogynistic Lech.

We can thank Terence for his rude behavior, however, because we got to be friends because of it!

So, she took her first grand adventure across The Pond to our house.  My husband asked before she arrived, “Does she know what she’s getting herself into?” I told him that I thought that she did.  At least I was pretty sure that she did.

She has done splendidly simply being in our home, but our home is intense.  I take it for granted just how, well, annoying my kids can be, and I say that with maternal affection.  Grace and Milly are always setting each other off.  Grace is sensitive to tone, and Milly delivers information with the tact of a nuclear bomb which translates to constant bickering.  Eadaoin is high affect and loud so she sounds like she’s yelling all the time, and everything is one, big drama.  Doireann is the family executive so she, too, comes off as autistic in her delivery style i.e. she would make a terrible diplomat.  I am accustomed to all this bickering, but a guest is definitely not.  Putting myself in her shoes, I suddenly felt stressed out! Good grief! I wanted to move out! It’s like living with The Bickersons.



Oh, the bickering.  Bicker, bicker, bicker.

“She’s touching me, she’s looking at me, she said something in a tone, I don’t like your tone! Well, I don’t like your face! It’s just my face! Well, I don’t look like that! Well, your face is weird! Well, your mom’s face is weird! Wait, that’s MY mom! MooOOOooom! She just said that your face is weird!”

Not exactly the picture of relaxation.  So, we’ve been doing rather than being.  The less time spent indoors the better although my girls can bicker and argue anywhere.  They can fuss in church, they can fuss at home, they can argue in the store, they can bicker doing chores! They will not eat green eggs and ham.  They will not like it, Sam I Am!

We’ve dragged the girls around the city to all our favorite places, and we’ve had a good time.  The day before yesterday, we found ourselves at Half-Priced Books.  It was a welcome respite after showing our guest all the posh spots in the city.  As we entered the venue, she declared, “Now this is a place I like!”  The girls love Half-Priced Books, too.  It feels like a treasure hunt.  You never know what you might find.

At some point, Grace decided to randomly pull romance books off the shelf to mock the covers and titles.  I don’t know why 13 year-old girls find the covers of romance novels to be so titillating, but they do.  Granted, a title like Caught between A Jock and A Hard Place is bound to draw attention, and, admittedly, some of the covers are ridiculous.  The bodice-rippers are amusing to be sure, but some of these contemporary romantica covers with Abs McQueen posing and preening are eye roll provoking.  And the names for the male protagonists? Dare, Chance, Thunder, and Dawg? They sound like male strippers working at a club called The Acrotchalypse, and these dudes are the featured four horsemen!

As I was perusing the fiction section, I could hear Grace snickering.  Then, Eadaoin got involved so the volume increased.  “Ohmigod…EEEW!”  I started giggling.  What scandalous cover did they find? Was it a Harlequin novel? One of the older classics with real people on the cover with their 80s hair? Was it one of the newer books with a supernatural theme? A paranormal romance? A woman petting a wolf with a title like In The Heart of The Beast or Wolf’s Heart? There are those cowboy romances with very cheesy titles like Lassoed by Love.  That is not what ultimately led Grace and Eadaoin to shriek with embarrassment.

I finally wandered over to the Romance section in a feeble attempt to bring some order to their chaos.  We were in a bookstore after all.  Grace and Eadaoin were showing me various books with their idea of scandalous covers, but none of them were.  They were just mildly awful in that Fabio-Wears-A-Pirate-Shirt-And-Looks-Like-Captain-Morgan way.  They never actually found any truly sexy images until Grace pulled out this book:


I had to take a picture of the book to immortalize the moment. Notice the title of the book next to Private Lessons–Dark Crossings. Another winner.


She took one look at Private Lessons, blushed beet red, and dropped the book on the floor like it was radioactive.  She immediately covered her mouth and started giggling and looking around nervously.  Eadaoin, of course, was drawn to the book.  She leaned down to pick it up, but as soon as she saw the cover she leapt away from it as if she might catch a virus by simply being near it.  “Ohmigod…uh…what…what the…Mom! They’re…look at his face! He’s…uh…they’re about to…what is this book about? Wait, are all these books about…? Are these romance books about…SEX?” And the light went on.  “You mean they aren’t about dating people? Like meeting people and going on dates? They’re about…sex?”

I was trying so hard not to laugh.  I wanted to throw myself on the floor and roll around.  Full on cackle.  In fact, I think I did because someone shushed us.  We were shushed three times! To say that Grace and Eadaoin were horrified is an understatement.  “Why would anyone want to read about that?!” More cackling.

Fortunately, Milly and our guest were nowhere near us when this went down.  We were able to leave mostly unharmed although now Eadaoin and Grace know that romance novels are really about sex in one form or another.  My curiosity was piqued when we returned home, and should any of you feel interested in reading Private Lessons, it is available on Amazon for Kindle.

Another day in paradise…

Resources (some beach reading perhaps?):

Private Lessons by Julie Leto


Banker Grant Riordan was a bit of a stuffed shirt—until “Harley” showed up on his doorstep and sent his libido skyrocketing. Hired as the “entertainment” for a bachelor party, Harley dressed like an exotic dancer and had the eyes of an innocent. Unfortunately, after a little accident, she didn’t have a clue who she was….

Harley might not have known who she was, but she definitely knew who she wanted. Sexy, serious Grant made her heart race and her body tingle. But he definitely needed to loosen up—and Harley was woman enough to help him do it. There might have been a few holes in her memory, but she had no doubt she could give Grant some very memorable lessons….



6 thoughts on “The Bickersons Discover Romance

  1. Ha. That’s hysterical.

    Fortunately, they didn’t run into any dinosaur romance novels. In case you are unfamiliar with this genre:

    A little known fact: the word “herpes” is derived from “herpetology” because of ancient dinosaur-human interactions. 🙂

    So, you met a woman at a wedding a couple of years ago, and she just flew across the Atlantic to visit you? Those are some impressive friend-making skills.

    BTW, you should have punched that dude at the wedding.

    • OMG! Dinosaur porn! I wrote a post on that!

      My husband and I nearly died reading about that. He read all the titles out loud to me. Oy vey…then my oldest daughter overheard us and got involved and discovered mythological creature “romance” novels! Romance with griffins and trolls! I mean, REALLY? REALLY? I’m still trying to figure out human interactions for goodness’ sake.

      Yeah, Terence was NOT exactly well-mannered. If I hear another Texas joke I might just cry. I should be praised though for MY good manners. I’m a tall Swede so this guy asks, “Is everything big in Texas?” First of all, I am not BIG. I’m just tall. Secondly, That’s What SHE said.

      But, I didn’t. I just smiled and walked away. No punching. 🙂

  2. We have very similar senses of humor. “That’s what she said” is one if our lexicon’s most useful phrases.

    How tall is tall?

    BTW, my memory is somewhat unreliable these days, so it’s entirely possible that I learned about dinosaur porn from reading through all of your prior posts.

    • I sort of hope that you did NOT learn about dino porn from me. That is not a claim to fame that I want now that I think about it. I’ll just blame the person who showed it to me. We all learned about it from her–the transitive property It’s mathematical.

      Oh lord, the Question. How tall am I? Uh…can I lie here? Okay, so in heels I’m very, very tall. Fine. I am 6 feet. I blame my father for this. He is 6’5″. My mother is 5’10”. She just *had* to date a tall man. Fortunately, I live in Minnesota now which was populated by a bunch of Scandinavians who are either as tall as I or taller. No one notices me now. And all their children are either chunk monsters or giants who tower over me in the 6th grade. My neighbor’s uncle, who is from India, once asked me if I had Viking blood as he’d never seen a tall, blonde woman before. How do you respond to a question like that? “Only on Tuesdays, Ravi.”

      But, as I said, I am not “big” as tiny Southern men of French extraction will call a tall person. Being called “big” is one of my few buttons at this point that goes back to high school. I have been asked every version of the question, “How’s the weather up there?” that is known to man and “How tall ARE you anyway?” And my favorite: “Wow, you sure are big.” Violence may commence at this one.

      I always think of a large German farm wife engaged in wrestling pigs who goes by the name Helga or Brunhilde. She would be able to open a beer bottle with her ample bosom and crush a man’s head with her thighs.

      Yeah, that’s not me. I can hardly open a jar without help and there’s nothing ample about anything on me except maybe my hair. Tall. Not big.

      Aaaaaaaaand now aren’t you glad you asked? Actually, I kid. When Terence, that guy at the wedding, kept touching me and asking me if everything in Texas was big, I really did want to do something I’d regret. It’s like one of those moments in a movie when the protagonist has finally had it: “Don’t call me BIG!” and then shoots someone. “Are you talkin’ to me?”…”Are you callin’ me big?”

      OMG…I have a problem.

      • Lol. I am a little over 6’4″, so I was allowed to ask. You are short. 🙂

        My kids are tall, too. And my daughter, in addition to growing taller, has feet that keep getting bigger. She’s quite proud of her size 11 feet. I don’t have the heart to tell her that she will feel differently when she is older (she’s 13).

        I didn’t realize one could attend a wedding and feel up the guests without getting slugged.

      • LOL…no, I don’t suppose one can attend a wedding and grope the guests without some kind of a consequence, but, honestly, if I punched every dude who groped me I’d be a felon!

        Your daughter has size 11 feet?! Well, Grace is 13 and has size 10s. My feet are a 10, but they won’t get any bigger. I can’t speak for Grace. My other daughters were NOT a size 10 at 13 so I have NO idea what’s going on there. The rest of her doesn’t match. She’s a bit out of proportion, but perhaps that’s to be expected?

        You *are* tall, but no one has ever called me short. How refreshing.

        I’m short. Awesome. ::grin::

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