The Fictional Hockey League

Critiquing hockey romance novels, of which there are many. Overthinking it is the point.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Offside: Post 4

Chapters 5 & 6: Post Game Shenanigans

The game goes well for Billie—she scores 8 goals in her team’s 10-4 victory. (That’s 2 and 2/3rds hat tricks.) At first her teammates didn’t want to pass to her but once it became clear that she was their ticket to a win, everyone fed her the puck.

After the game, the team is heading to the bar (apparently the only one in town?) and Billie doesn’t plan to go with them, partly because she doesn’t think they’re ready to accept her and partly because no one asked her. As she showers, dresses, and dries her hair, she does let her thoughts linger on being a bit sad that Logan didn’t ask her to join them.

She stepped through the door and froze.

Logan Forest leaned against the wall, long denim clad legs crossed casually like he’d been there a while (87).

Drying my hair takes about 40 minutes. I have to assume that’s not the case for most women. However, we know from the previous chapter that Billie’s hair is waist length. I’m going to assume her hair is at least as thick as mine because if it were much thinner, it wouldn’t look good very long. (My hair is usually hip length. I just got 6 inches cut off, though, so I can’t say that it currently is without lying.) So drying her hair should also take about 40 minutes. If I’m being charitable and saying that hers is faster drying than mine, that she has a magic hair dryer, and that she’s leaving it a bit damp (since she’s only planning on going home anyway), she might have it done in 20 minutes. That’s still a really freakin’ long time for Logan to be hanging out in the hallway waiting for her.

But all he’s apparently waiting there for is to tell her good game, that Mike is an asshat (see previous post), ask if she’s going to the bar (but not try to convince her when she says no), and say that the guys will come around eventually.

So even Logan has as little to do with his time as the rest of this freakin’ town, even if he’s not up in arms about Billie playing.

Billie had been feeling pretty good, since she’d just played hockey and talked to Logan, but then she discovers that someone has keyed all four doors of her car, scratched “HO” and “Pussy” into the trunk and hood respectively, and slashed all of her tires.


I mean, I guess I can accept that some places have very segregated men’s and women’s teams, but there doesn’t seem to be any adult women’s teams in this town which to me suggests that they’d already have co-ed teams. But fine, I’ll accept that they don’t. And I can (kind of) accept that the men would be uncomfortable with a woman on their team and for the sake of fiction and friction/plot, I can even accept that they’d be angry about it. I think the idea of the whole town discussing/arguing about it is ludicrous, but I have already admitted that the small towns I’ve lived in aren’t like the ones in fiction. But to be so angry ask to take the time to cause significant damage to property? In the parking lot of a busy rink? (It’s described as having two sheets of ice and when Billie is leaving, both sheets are still in use and the concessions stand is open. People are clearly coming and going.) This is ABSURD.

Billie goes to call her grandfather for a ride, but he doesn’t answer. While she’s trying to figure out what the hell to do about the situation, Shane Gallagher (former convict, former boyfriend of triplet Bobbi) shows up and offers her a ride. This would be a ride on his motorcycle.

Somehow in my hockey scene I totally missed out on the motorcycle-riding hockey player trope. But just like the art history academic in the first two books of the FHL, here we have a second book with a biker player.

Shane’s proffered lift, however, is not to her house, as Billie assumes, but to the bar. It takes some doing, but Shane talks Billie into going in.

Chapter 6 opens with Logan at the bar, being cranky about how badly his breakup had gone.

The woman had gone into full blown cry mode and he felt like an absolute shit. She’d used the L word and even now it made him wince. But what the hell? He’d never promised her love (102). 

Our novel’s hero, ladies and gentlemen. Sigh.

Logan spends his time in the bar enjoying his view of Billie’s ass but not happy how his thoughts don’t like the idea of Shane + Billie. He stays long enough to tell Shane that he probably shouldn’t go for Billie given his (Shane’s) history with Bobbi, which is similar to his own thinking (that Logan shouldn’t go for Billie because of his history with Betty) and to continue to admire Billie.

Her fingernails were short, but coated with clear gloss. Billie might be a jock when it came to hockey, but she was all woman (107 comma error original).

So apparently wearing nail polish is how you’re marked as officially a woman, jock or not. Thank you heteronormative cisgendered writing.

Anyone who identifies herself as a woman is a woman. That means it doesn’t matter if she was born with a vagina, has surgically gotten herself one, or doesn’t have one. And it SURE AS HELL doesn’t mean she has to wear nail polish.

I might be mollified if the text had used “feminine” instead of woman. Not delighted, but mollified. Feminine has denotations of the sociologically constructed “norms” which are stereotypical and which keep people (of all genders) in strict categories. I believe feminine can mean many things, but in this kind of situation I’d accept it. However, the text here conflates feminine with woman, suggesting that to be a “real” woman, one must have certain characteristics, of which nail polish is one. As you might guess, I disagree. Vehemently.

Logan leaves the bar, deciding to go home and masturbate in the shower (not a joke). Evidently Shane is living in Logan’s over-the-garage apartment.

Logan glanced at Shane. “I’ll see you at home.”

“Sure will,” Gallagher answered softly. “But don’t wait up, darling” (109).

I’m not sure what to make of this. He can’t seriously be calling Logan “darling” because there’s no room for this kind of non-heteronormative expression in a heterosexual romance novel. On the other hand, the assumed sarcasm doesn’t make sense either.

Logan has a sleepless night, between his guilt over his breakup and his thoughts of Billie and his assumption that she has spent the night with Shane. So he gets up early, feeds his cat (who came with his house and is named “Weird”), and heads for work. It turns out that Logan is … I’m not sure what this would be called… He has a degree in engineering and owns a business which specializes in customizing cars and motorcycles. (And, much like Noel in the Christmas novella, he’s so good at his job that not only is his waiting list super long, but his most recent commission is a motorcycle for “some Hollywood talent agent” (116).

(In)conveniently, his shop is directly across the street from the town’s regular garage and the town’s only tow truck driver has left a clunker in front of Logan’s shop that clearly was meant to go to the garage. (Logan assumes that Ed the driver had too much to drink, since he’d been at the bar the night before and since in a town small enough where literally everyone is talking about one woman’s choice to play on the men’s hockey league, you’d think the tow truck driver would know the difference between the town’s only mechanic and the town’s only custom car and motorcycle garage.)

But of course, it’s Billie’s car, which Logan figures out when he sees the words scratched into it. So he hops into his truck and drives to find Billie with her hockey gear trudging towards home. The first thing Logan notices is that Billie is still wearing the same clothes she’d had on the night before so she might have spent the night with Shane. Then he notices she’s got tears in her eyes and offers her a ride.

Jealousy is not actually an attractive trait, Logan. Get your head out of your ass.


  1. In Canada, 5+ goals scored by a home team player in an NHL game, and some lucky Safeway shopper wins one million dollars. While that may not be directly related to this story, it does show exactly how unlikely a player is to score that many goals. As far as I know, Safeway has never paid out, although they may have been sweating during a Winnipeg Jets game last week.

    1. I let the goal thing slide here because Billie is supposed to be NHL caliber, playing against (admittedly high skilled) Beer Leaguers and scores do get run up by a single ringer (although I'm not sure you can be a ringer if you're already playing in the highest league) during amateur games. That said, I agree that it's unlikely. (Less unlikely, however, than Nickolai's umpteen hat tricks in Nickolai's Noel. More unlikely, though, since this is Billie's first game-- first time back on the ice!!!!!!-- since her concussion.)

      I had to go look at the scores and I assume you mean the Winnipeg vs. Florida game last week. Holy carp, that's impressive. I assume Luongo was pulled after a couple of those goals by Perreault? (Granted, I'm assuming Luongo was in net to start, I don't actually know. Hell, I only know that he plays for the Panthers because I like him and he was my favorite Canuck, and they were the first hockey team I followed. And due to a lot of weird vagaries, including his trade the day of a Coyotes/Canucks game, I have never seen Luongo play in person, despite multiple Canucks at Coyotes games, except when I was in Vancouver and in a seat so far away from the ice I would have appreciated binoculars and got yelled at by angry Canadians (my first ever angry Canadians, in fact) for leaning forward.