Hubby and I hosted a church dinner this last Saturday at our house. About 10-15 of us get together once a month, bring potluck dishes and consume lots of wine. It’s always a blast.
I still don’t quite know how I ended up telling the story about my grandmother and “The Almost X-Rated Garage Sale” but I did. I realized the next day, I’d been laughing so hard I’d left off half the story! Since y’all are my posse, I’ll give you everything here (except the parts that would get me disowned).
It all started with the “color of the covers”… The covers on Harlequin/Sihouette romance novels that is.
I’m trying to figure out where I first heard this but I distinctly remember getting the following information at a writer’s meeting:
The colors on the covers of Harlequin and Silhouette category romances tell you about the amount of sex you will find in the books. (At least they used to.)
Note: Category romances are the ones that come out each month – you order them by line (Intrigue, Blaze, Special Edition) so you know what you’re getting in terms of sex and relationship.
- Pastels such as pink or blue will have no actual sex scenes and will end in marriage.
- Deep greens, blues, purples will have at least one sex scene and will end in marriage.
- Red covers will have multiple sex scenes and do NOT have to end in marriage.
Here’s a great post on what Harlequin has to say about their covers.
To get back to Saturday night…
A male/female discussion was in full swing when I sat down at one end of the table, I just kind of turned it on it’s head with this comment:
“Hell yes, romance novels are like female porn. Even my grandmother was into the red covers–”
“The ‘red covers’???” (This got asked simultaneously by three people.)
I had a moment where I looked around and re-grouped, realizing that I wasn’t in a crowd of romance writers, who would probably know I was talking about a Harlequin Blaze (or at least a sexy book).
So I explained the color coding system above and one of my guy pals said, “You’re saying your GRANDMOTHER read those books?? How did you even find that out?”
Anyway, several years back, I clued my female relatives into the whole “Red Covers” thing. Several of the ladies immediately went in together on a monthly subscription. My mom’s best friend got them delivered to her house because she has a covered porch. (Remember this is a small town in Missouri.)
She’d read them and pass them on until everyone who was interested had gotten a peek. We had a fine time talking about the anatomical impossibility of some of the scenes and, when one of the authors described a hero as “God of Beefcake,” all the ladies in my family laughed themselves senseless.
When my grandmother passed away, we found tons of Blaze novels and various “red covers” at her house. She never said a word…just somehow made sure she was the final stop on the “Red-Cover Train.”
They were cleaning out my grandmother’s bedroom when one of them opened the drawers of the bedside table. Her mouth dropped open and all she could say was: “Oh. My. God.”
My other aunt walked over and peered over the first one’s shoulder before sitting down on the bed and saying, “Oh. My. GOSH” a ton of times.
Apparently, there were some…um…personal massagers in that there drawer.
My mother, being who she was (hilarious), immediately started cracking jokes about “what a big bang the garage sale was gonna be.”
My favorite gems:
- Maybe we can curtain a corner off like they do in the video store and sell them in there. (Everyone wanted to know how she knew about the adult section in the video store.)
- We could have PG-13 and X-rated sections – one would just have the Red Covers and the other would have BOTH.
- What if we get some of that raffia like they have at the mall and tie the Red Covers together with the massagers?
- Do you think it would make things more upscale if we included a pretty washcloth like they do at The Body Shop?
I was over in California, just busting a gut laughing about all this. I didn’t get to see any of the items in question, but I heard about them for weeks.
Finally, the garage sale weekend came and I could NOT wait to hear all the details. I called my mom the minute I woke up on Sunday and asked, “How did it go??? Did you get arrested for porn trafficking?”
“Your aunt wouldn’t let me do it,” she said. “She was afraid we’d end up in the Daily News and she’d have to go into seclusion.”
“Well, what did you do with all of it then?”
“We gave it to Goodwill.”
And the jokes started all over again…
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen at a garage sale? Have you ever sold anything you were embarrassed about later? Ever been written up in the paper for it? Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!