"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Faking It by Elisa Lorello

I stumbled across this book in my Amazon recommendations and fully expected it to be a waste of time and money. But it was short- so not too much time. And it was only $0.99- so not too much money. So I tried it anyway and was pleasantly surprised.
Don't get me wrong- it's a little too far on the side of liberal chic-lit for my typical taste but considering that largely it was as deep as an onion skin it brought up some very good points. 

The basic premise is: the heroine is hung up on her lack of sexual experience being the reason for continuous failed relationships and so seeks the service of a male escort to teach her about sexuality. 

Dirty, right? Wrong. It's actually quite tender. It's a far cry from a forum letter and ends up being a heartfelt story about a woman who has had her sexuality trampled on from the beginning and finds herself unsure, insecure, and scared to death of rejection. She hates her body, she feels unworthy, and she's certain that all signs point to a deep seated 'wrong' in her own character. I don't know about you, but a few of those feelings sounded uncomfortably familiar to me.  Even with all of her insecurities Andi (main character) doesn't come off as whiny in the least. As the reader, you don't get bogged down in a 'poor me' story. The overall character development is a little shallow but you still root for them and feel bad for them as they struggle through their tribulations. The story veers off a little into a typical 'romantic comedy' type, following the formula exactly and that's a little, puke-in-your-mouth but aside from that... 

One of the thoughts this book brought up for me is how, as adults, we may say something offhand or without much thought that to a 7 year old completely changes his or her self image. Kids absorb everything and assign their own theories and meanings. An off hand comment about the way a doll is dressed may very well shape the way that child sees his or her own dress. Wow. The thought that I may make some irresponsible comment to my niece one day that damages her self image or compromises her self esteem and/or confidence is terrifying. 

The other debate-from-the-couch this story spurred is the ageless argument of 'stud vs. slut'. We've all heard this argument, probably had it with someone at one point. A boy loses is virginity and is commended. A girl loses hers and is shamed. Even the phrase 'lost his/her virginity' is a farce because we don't actually use it when we speak of boys. Boys 'finally get laid' or they 'score'. Girls lose their virginity. But except in heart wrenching cases of violence, how is virginity lost? I don't think it's even something we can 'lose'. Unlike car keys, one's virginity just doesn't become misplaced. How is it that a girls' virginity is lost rather than something she chose to give? Sometimes phrases like 'she gave in to him' are used. I've never heard it used with positive context or tone. It is always said with a downturned mouth, a sad shake of the head. I think in an attempt to protect young women from unplanned pregnancies the method has turned to one of trampling sexuality so that it's essence is bad and wrong. If you can keep a girl from having sex you can keep her from getting prematurely pregnant. But what happens when she's in her 30's and can't look at herself naked  in the mirror because she thinks that's dirty? What do we tell that 'girl' then? That now it's o.k.? Now it's natural to want to be touched and desired but before it was dirty and wrong? If mental programming were a switch we could turn off and on that method would probably work beautifully but it's not. The teenager that is made to think sex is a bad thing will be an adult that struggles with those feelings in her marriage later on. I'm not a parent and I'm certainly not a picture of perfect mental and emotional health so I would never assume that I know what the right answer is but I can't help but think there must be a way to teach sexual responsibility while still allowing a healthy view of sex and sexuality to develop.  

What about the age old- 'he's only after one thing'? Yes, I'm aware that where pubescent boys are concerned that's probably true but it's not the truth of the statement I'm challenging it's the message that gets to the girl. 'He doesn't want anything to do with you if you don't have sex with him. You're not good enough for anything else with him so just forget it because that's all he wants.' It sounds extreme looking at it from adult eyes but a teenage girl's life is built on extremes, so is it really that big of a leap? What if there was a way to teach a girl more about her worth so she could approach the boy who only wants one thing with a solid sense of knowing she deserves more? Then she could make the decision to NOT have sex based on her greater worth and not on her lack of worth to him for anything else. Semantics? Maybe. Worth thinking about anyway? I think so.

You will find an official plot line description at:

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