My girls are obsessed with the library. It seems to be their favorite place in the world. They want to stay for hours, and it makes me happy since I used to work at a library.
As I stood waiting for my oldest daughters, a librarian approached me. Now, I'm not dumb and I immediately knew why she came closer. She would act like she wanted to help me find a book, but really she was just being nosy. The point is, I know how librarians work! I've taken lunch breaks with them and everything!
See, they reel you in by acting helpful, but when you're not listening, they try guessing what types of books you like.
"See that gentlemen," I once heard a librarian say years ago, "he's into romance. I'd bet a million dollars on it."
"Him?" I asked, but I knew better than to bet on it. I also figured old Helen had helped so many people find books, she had all their genres memorized. "Fine," I said, "what kind of books do I like best?"
She put on her glasses, these big . . . thick things, and then appraised me. "By looking at you, I'd said Jane Austen?"
"Wrong!" I was so happy I could have peed--well maybe that's a bad comparison, but you get the point. "Jane's all right, but I LIVE for fantasy."
"So, you're one of those." She pursed her lips and nodded.
"What's wrong with fantasy?"
"Nothing, I'm just shocked that I guessed wrong. You look too proper, and I think you're making it up."
She giggled then and went back to her desk. "I knew it was fantasy all along. You're always off in your own world anyway."
I still don't know what she meant. Hopefully she said it endearingly, but I can't really remember.
So, anyway, back to yesterday.
This old librarian approached me. She had eyes of silver and hair to match. I knew she was religious because before she came closer, she'd been reading some book about Mormons being right.
For the record, I AM NOT Mormon, but there are about a million of them around here. Sometimes it's hard being the minority. When I grow some guts, I'll tell you about that . . .
Well, the lady looked at me and smiled. "Can I help you find something?"
"Sure, do you have any suggestions?" I asked her because I knew she'd already pegged me for a certain type of reader. If you ever want to know what people really think of you, go to the library.
She thought for a minute, then nodded discretely. "You know what, I have the perfect thing for you! I've only recently found this author myself, but I think you'll love him."
The old woman winked at me, grabbed my elbow and pulled me to the back, dark section of the library. I thought for sure she'd pegged me for an Austen lover--everyone does.
"Do you like vampires?" she asked, shocking me.
"Ummm . . . I guess they're okay." But I smiled inside because she'd still guessed WRONG--ha ha.
"Well, try this out for size." She shoved two books toward my chest and I couldn't help but grab them like we were starting a game of football.
"What are they?" I asked.
"They're romance. But us librarians consider them soft porn for women."
I almost swallowed my gum. Was this a joke? The elderly woman probably wore LDS garments that had been dipped in Holy Water and she wanted me to read porn? "What?" What kind of a reader did she think I was! I knew I'd worn a push-up bra, but that didn't make me a porn lover.
"Just try it out," she said. "I'm pretty religious and there's nothing wrong with reading a GOOD book every now and then, if you know what I mean." She winked, grinning like a ghoul.
I blinked, once . . . twice. The old MORMON librarian was an erotica fanatic! I broke down then and confessed all of my sins.
"K, the point is that I used to work at a library."
"You know how all librarians can usually guess what types of books patrons like reading?"
"Yeah, I guess," she said.
"Well, I wanted you to make a suggestion so I could see what you really thought of me."
She laughed so hard, I thought she'd get Alzheimer's right there in the erotic section.
"Oh, I like you," she said. "Maybe you aren't as stiff as you seem. You want to know the truth?"
"You remind me of myself fifty years ago. I thought I could bring you here so you'd loosen up. There's no point in being wound up all of the time. Plus, erotica is fun."
I just gaped, but after a minute I couldn't hold it in. I started giggling too, like the day I first went to sex ed. "I like you, too." I smiled. "But I don't think I'm ready for this just yet."
"You didn't expect this from me, did you?"
"No," I said very quickly.
"Well, it looks like we're both wrong." She tapped a book that looked proper even though it was in the spicy section. "Never forget that," she said. "You can't judge a book by its cover. You're not a square and neither am I."
"Agreed," I said before grabbing a Terry Brook's book and checking out with my girls. I'll never forget that librarian, or the fact that she'd taken me to the dark side of the library. I know I didn't actually read Erotica, but I still feel courageous anyway. After all, I went to the dark side, and I'm still here to write about it!
On a side note, would you ever read Erotica?