Some people say I’m indifferent, but I don’t care.

reviews

Any author who says he doesn’t pay attention to reviews is lying. Same goes for celebrities who claim to never read what is written about them. Authors are forced to deal with reviews because readers do consider them when making a purchase. Poor reviews, regardless of what motivated them, hurt the author’s income directly. The effect isn’t quite so direct for actors. Tom Cruise is going to get paid, whether you like him as Jack Reacher or not.

I bring this up because I was curious why there was such a dichotomy with E. L. James’ Fifty Shades, especially book one. It seems most readers love it or hate it. I wondered if this phenomenon was going to bleed over to my parodies. It did and that bothers me. If I were selling 75,000 copies a day, like James, I would similarly not give much of a shit. Since, for me, reviews translate into sales, which translate into a dinner of hamburger and happy hour draft or chorizo penne and pinot, I need to give quite a shit. So, I tried to find the reason for the polarity of the reviews, and believe I have succeeded.

Many women who love her book, hate my parodies and vice versa. I believe the root cause is battered woman’s syndrome. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Hear me out.

The main figure in her book is Christian, who is domineering and abusive. He makes innocent Ana do things against her will. He strips her of her privacy, innocence, and virginity. He controls her, much as he has controlled many women before her. Naturally, there’s no talk of him causing physical harm. Still, make no mistake: A man like this in your life may bring you to orgasm, but don’t be surprised when he goes too far.

As I read her books, his character angered me because the last thing I want to see is a woman turned on by a beast like Christian. We all know five years hence she’ll be telling an officer and coworkers she got the bruises from falling. She’ll defend him because his love is intense. It’s an addiction. The high is worth the pain of the prick.

So, in my books I played off this character and called him out for what he is: a disgusting, self-entitled, deranged, misogynistic animal who doesn’t know how to treat others properly. Women who love James’ books and love her Christian character, defend him by abusing me in reviews. They can’t attack my character (Mormon), because he’s a gentleman. Instead they attack his creator, without regard for the fact that my books are humorous parodies.

If these 1-star reviewers don’t find my books to be funny, I can live with that. I can’t teach funny. But, they write these hateful reviews and attack me and my trade personally, instead of being honest with themselves and other readers about why my books make them uncomfortable. They’re suffering from battered woman’s syndrome, and don’t want the man-in-the-mind exposed for what he is.

I wish I could have psychological profiles done on the reviewers. I bet the 5-star reviewers would be women who see the real Christian and refuse to submit to abuse. That’s my kind of woman: strong and intolerant of anyone attempting to control them. To you, my dears, I give SIX STARS!

Get Out of My Head

It fascinates me when people have such difficulty getting over an ex. She knows the ex didn’t treat her right. She knows he’ll drive her crazy. She knows he’ll disappoint her frequently. She knows he won’t change. She knows she’s better off without him. None of it matters.

The heart overrides the mind.

It’s a sort of addiction, isn’t it? Gosh, so many options abound, but none of them compare. I experienced something similar when I stood in the cookie aisle of Ralph’s. I wanted Double Stuf Oreos–not Single Stuf or that awful low-calorie version. Guess what? They were out. No DSO for me. There were no less than thirty tasty options surrounding the blank space on the shelf that represented the emptiness in my stomach and unfulfilled desire in my mind. Those other cookies could not compare. I hungered for DSOs and, regardless of my logic, my mind was overridden. I drove to Vons.

I try to be a supportive friend when speaking with an afflicted female. It’s not my finest skill.

“You just got done telling me how much of a shit he is.”
“Yep.”
“And you’re still going to meet him for coffee.”
“We’re just going to talk. No big deal.”
“He keeps you hanging on to that noose, doesn’t he?”
“I’m not going to hook up with him.”
“Bet you will.”
“I’m over him. I moved on.”
“If that were true, you would have left his text unanswered.”
“I don’t hate the kid. We just can’t be together.”
“Why?”
“The list is huge: He parties too much, doesn’t treat me right, isn’t financially responsible, and so on.”
“I bet the sex was good.”
“Legendary.”
“Ha! You’re hooked.”
“I am not. I can easily find another skilled lover.”
“Have I shown you my lick-the-tip-of-my-nose trick yet?”
“…”
“Fine. Go do what you need to do, feel guilty about it, and I’ll be here waiting to help you heal.”
“Aw.”

Maybe it came with age, but I don’t find myself addicted to much. I rarely miss my exes. Instead, I regret opportunities lost. Regrets fades quickly as I know Ms. Next is somewhere nearby, armed with smiling eyes, sugar kisses, and stemware.

The best advice I can give you, ladies, is if you’re addicted to a man you know isn’t good for you, find a way to get over him before you get hurt (again). That doesn’t mean you should settle for a convenient fellow who won’t hurt or stimulate you. Numb is dumb. Figure out what qualities your addictive man has that haunt you. Look for those in another man.

Cold turkey is an option you should consider. Lose his number. Delete his texts and emails without reading them. If he’s where you go, leave. Do these until the temptation wanes.

Don’t get a puppy. Don’t get another job. Don’t binge at Nordstrom. Don’t overdo the yoga.

Avoid the one who addicts you and seek the one who fits comfortably in your heart, mind, and conscience.