Sometimes We ARE Lonely. With Cats.

funny pictures - . . . Choose Wisely.

I think someone high up in Romancelandia’s being interviewed today and Twitter is a-buzz-buzz with it. Things Have Arisen that Always Arise when someone of the romantic reading persuasion is interviewed. I know ye old stereotype has been around for a while, and what’s the use of pandering to them or letting them get our knickers bunched. Right? Right. But still.

This laughing at female readers – both by men AND women – because some of us womenz read and own cats is so extra virgin silly. I wonder, really, what their point is. What, they never get lonely? I’ll just ignore the cat part, for now, but when it comes to being lonely – who hasn’t been so at some point in their lives? Do you hear me romance reading naysayers?

YOU ARE FULL OF CRAP. If, you know, you think you’ve never been lonely. Or compensated for it with something that comforted you.

I admit it. I am sometimes a woman who is lonely and reads and happens to multitask and pet my cat at the same time. I have to. He sits there and head butts me, swipes at me, nips my hand or finally jumps on the couch behind me and chews on my hair if I do not obey him. I find this utterly adorable and will often hold out just so he will jump behind me and start chewing on my hair. Bring it, cat, Oh Master of the Pettings. (Some people have told me they think this is kinda gross, his chewing on my hair. So I just tell them aren’t they lucky it’s not their hair then. My cat, my hair, we like it, that’s that.)

My husband works an extra lot. Sometimes when I’d rather be having adult interactions but can’t because of this I may choose to – gasp – read a book. Yes, I sure as hell have been lonely a lot in my short lifetime. When I was in college for the first few quarters – a mere, admittedly, 40 minutes from home – I was so incredibly lonely I could have chosen to weep for months and do nothing else. Instead, every Friday after classes (7 a.m. till 6 p.m. 5 days a week for over 4 years, people) without fail, I went to the local Books-A-Million and I’d buy a book. A romance book. I’d read that thing like it was my lifeline. Because it was! I’d also at that time pet my then cat, Simon, a gorgeous little yellow tabby that always knew when I was sad and needed a sympathetic presence. God I still miss that cat. The day he and I met is forever emblazoned on my brain. It was one of the happiest partnerships I’ve ever had with an animal.

Actually, all of the cats I’ve ever had came equipped with that intuition. Dogs have it, too, but we needed to stay low-profile in college and cats were generally easier to take care of than dogs at that time. But back to it, raise your hand if you’ve ever been sad, and suddenly your napping or grooming pet had eyes only for you? Maybe they sidled up to you and gave you that brush of affection they so love to do. Maybe they climbed into your lap and graciously presented themselves for a proper petting, their expression supremely pleased. And you did and it helped you to just get it all out and able to move on. I’d raise both my hands but I’m typing at the moment.

It’s also a proven fact that pets help lower a person’s blood pressure and stress levels. My cat has never complained about how stressed I can get. Or lonely. At times. Any cat I’ve owned gets such wondrous love and affection any time I can give it, but that bond we always had came out strongest when they knew how sad I was. They also just happen to do some of the craziest, zaniest and outrageously funny things imaginable – yet another plus.

So you know what, romance naysayers who think you’re so clever with your titters and snickers at us lonely women who read romances and own cats?

Fuck off. No, srsly. Take your not-so-very-witty selves on and do whatever else it is you do to make your own lives better and forget about us lonely women and our awesome cats. Please don’t disturb the pile of porn on the floor that is my TBR Land.

I just can’t wait till the day I read romances, own cats and wear pearls. No pearls yet. What else do I need so people can point and laugh and pretend they’d never do the things they’re laughing at me about? Wine – sometimes I have wine with my books, loneliness and cats. I sure hope that counts!

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31 comments

  1. I don’t know which stereotype is more insulting, that romance readers are lonely women who can’t get laid, or that lonely women who can’t get laid have cats… Honestly, as a proud romance fan who also happens to own a cat I’m annoyed! If there’s something I have learned after getting to know the romance community is that women who read romance novels live quite fulfilling lives, they work, have kids, are in stable relationships and study, sometimes they do all those things at the same time while reading an impressive amount of books a year. As usual behind the stereotype hides someone ignorant and jealous…

    • What gets me is – so what if we’re lonely sometimes and have cats? Cuz, like, some of us are and do! There’s nothing wrong with it! But I’m with you as well. We also definitely have fulfilling lives.

      • Of course we feel lonely once in a while, everyone does, there’s nothing wrong with that, It’s healthy. I read a book when I do because it makes me feel good and it makes me happy, I enjoy it. We all use different coping mechanisms to deal with our issues.

    • You’re doomed! DOOMED! Run! Panic! Unlatch the cat from your lap and wail while beating your breast! :D

  2. Agh, another one of those? Why are they (whoever they are) so interested in who reads romances and why? Cats? Really? Sigh… who cares! Who cares what they think? I don’t.

    They obviously have too much time in their hands and need to pick up a book. Maybe reading will help their tendency toward being narrow-minded and judgmental.

    • Maybe so! Otherwise, WE are the source of their amusement. We can put it on our headstones. Here lies KMont, for she amused many with her loneliness, porn and cats. LOL!

      • Mmm… yes. I think I’ll go buy some pearls and a cat to further amuse that crowd — after all there doesn’t seem anything else out there to amuse them. What the heck, let’s give them something to talk about… right? Pearls are beautiful and cats help relieve stress. The whole ensemble will go well with a pink twin set, gray hair, rampaging hormones, lonely nights (with everyone that hmm.. supposedly we don’t have in our lives) and piles of books.

        Love the headstone idea… *g*

        • I’ve always loved pearls. So glossy and shiny and smooth. Pretty colors, too. What’s not to love about pearls? Poor pearls, can’t believe some talk about them like they do.

  3. Screw ‘em and read away. I’ve always prefered books and pets to people. People come with way to much shite for me to be interested.

    Add a polyester pantsuit – multi patterned earth tones hides cat hair better – to the pearls and you will be absolutely terrifying.

  4. Ohhhhh Kmont…..dear you have hit a nerve….lol (ebil laugh). I’m discovering in this journey of gray hair, rampaging hormones and gads…(I’ll loan you my pearls girlfriend : ) ….work, marraige, aging parents, etc. That those of us who have some escapism in our lives do live healthier mental and physical lives & are much more broadminded and nonjudgemental.

    Screw the narrowminded twitterverse et al who dare to dis what they know nothing about! Oh, and I have 4 cats…. : )

    • Do you mean I’ve hit one of your nerves or mine?

      If mine – that’s not really so. I was just trying to point out how utterly silly people are towards women who read romances, and maybe own a cat or two or five. The continued bandying about of the stereotype amuses me more than anything, because, well, in some ways it’s true! And sometimes people DO get upset by it, but I say embrace it. Yes, we get lonely sometimes – so what. So do the people laughing at others about it. I bet those same people, a lot of them, are animal lovers, too. I DO agree though on telling them to go screw themselves anyway heehee. And yes, we definitely still have fulfilling lives! And if cats and books make up some of that, all the better.

  5. I was speaking of mine….and just like anything else that we tend to relate to, there are truths buried in what we relate to. I loved your comments for that reason; as usual, your unique perspective made me laugh. : )

  6. Great post! Hear, hear. I don’t have a cat right now, but I like cats, dammit. And OMG can I relate to being lonely. My husband is gone 12 hrs a day, six days a week. Being a stay at home mom is a very lonely job. So is being a writer, come to think of it. I have two lonely jobs. *cries*

    This is why I spend so much time on the internet. I also tend to write lonely heroines. The feeling of being isolated or at a distance from others is one I’m all too familiar with.

    • Our husbands sound exactly alike. When mine finally does get home most evenings I will just start talking and talking and I know he must want some quiet at some point. But I have been craving another adult to talk to, especially him. Even though I have a day job and others to talk to during the day, I know how you feel! Once you get home, it’s another story to be by yourself there constantly.

  7. Ug, those stereotypes are ridiculous. I do like cats, but I like dogs too. Actually, I like many animals!

    And I do like romance, but I haven’t really felt lonely.

    • What’s most amusing to me is how funny the stereotyping people think they’re being.

      Yes, let’s not forget the rest of the animal world – all animals are welcome! :D Well, some *might* have to stay outside, but…yeah!

  8. I am not ashamed of reading romance. Even though some people look down on it. I don;’t care, I enjoy reading, am totally addicted. And not because I am lonely, I can read at birthday parties and in the middle of a crowd, or home alone. Dont have a cat due to allergies, but do have a parrot, and since a week, a canary.

  9. I gave up my romance-novel reading shame about 5 years ago and discovered I don’t really care what people think of what I’m reading. I’ve decided that given the number of people I know (at work mostly) who proudly declare they don’t read ANYTHING at all, that I am a freaking intellectual giant for being a voracious reader of any sort of literature. Also, I have a cat and a pit-bull. I own a pearl necklace (insert obscene joke here) but it is not a “strand” of pearls per se.

  10. TOO funny.

    What about those of us that read romances when we’re lonely AND when we aren’t:?? I have a husband who travels and is sometimes gone for days or a week at a time. I get lonely when he’s gone and I only have the kids for conversation. Like the rest of you, I’m not ashamed either of being lonely or of seeking escapism to offset it. How is reading a romance lower on the scale of escapism than watching back episodes of House, for example? Or sitting in front of a baseball game on TV? I don’t understand this hierarchy in the minds of romance nay-sayers at all.

    Also, I really do think that the whole “lonely female romance reader/cat lady” stereotype is intended to be code for what such naysayers really think — that romance is an unrealistic substitute for a good sex life when you can’t make the latter happen in real life. And those of us who read romance know that this is simplistic and insulting.

    • Yeah. There’s a largish gulf between “I’d really like to have some company, but meanwhile, I have this book, and also I have cats” and…Jean Teasdale.

      I mean, there is that lady, she exists, and going down that path is one of my fears in life, but that’s an entirely different alchemy than “romance + cat + no/busy husband”. Even if you don’t want a relationship, even if you have a relationship or a wide circle of awesome friends or whatever, sometimes there are nights when everyone’s out of town. Sometimes there are nights when *you’re* out of town.

      Happens to everyone. Happens to me. Sometimes I play video games; sometimes I break out the Mad Men; sometimes I pick up a romance novel. Knowing how to entertain yourself on your own is a plus, not a minus–who are these people who never have to do this? Because I bet they’re kind of annoying to hang out with.

    • My take on it?

      “How dare women have active and sexual fantasy lives? Why, if they can occupy themselves during an evening or three alone, they’re less likely to settle for Schlubby McBaseballCap, and we can’t have that–men might actually have to start putting a fraction of effort into their appearance and social skills! THE HORROR!”

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  12. I’m with you, Kmont. Fuck ‘em. Piss off and live your life and I will live mine – which includes lots of romance novels that I read for pleasure, entertainment, comfort, solace, inspiration, escapism… the list goes on. I like reading books about love and people finding love and having great sex and winding up happy and connected. I think that’s AWESOME and I can’t think of anything else I’d rather read. (I like writing them, too!) Those people who don’t get it are the sad ones. They are missing out on fantastic chest aches and laughter and tears and amazing emotional journeys. They’re the losers. Big Time.

  13. What Sarah Mayberry said.

    A book is a book. I read a hell of a lot more than all those ‘smart’, ‘fulfilled’ people who say all that garbage. I believe that makes ME the smarter, more rounded person.

    I’ve read ‘literary fiction’ that had more sex and romance than half my romance books. It seems if the author has a penis it’s high art, and if they don’t it’s a trashy romance. Fair? I believe not.

    • Amen, SH!
      I think it’s because true “literature” doesn’t allow for an HEA. It’s somehow more “meaningful” if things crash and burn than if love saves the day, and if that’s the case I’d rather be living an HEA than a “meaningful” life, thanks, old white guys.

  14. Amen!

    It’s really quite disappointing how narrow minded and judgmental folks can be about other people’s reading preferences. It’s a form of prejudice, don’t you think? “A preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.” Right? So when people go around making public statements, generalizing ANYONE who reads romance as lonely women with cats is just asinine and really pathetic.

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