The Fictional Hockey League

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

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Offside: Post 11

Chapter 14: Seriously, book? Seriously?

(The Commissioner is still hoping for regular MWF updates, but can make no promises to said regularity for the next few months, alas. This semester, and the Commissioner's Real Job and other events, have been tough and threaten to continue to be. Also, for a mostly-unrelated but very cute picture of my vampire cat, check out yesterday's random Tuesday post.)

When we left off, Billie had just been revealed to have been standing behind a group of her friends(ish) bickering about her. Chapter 14, however, backs up a bit to when Logan first enters the party, as Billie is already there and is instantly aware of him as soon as he arrives. I’ll spare you the multiple paragraphs of praise for how well Logan has grown into a man and how she’s now a woman and not a girl.

Billie is alone at the party because Connor (Logan’s veterinarian younger brother) who brought her, has abandoned her for an animal emergency. (In case you’re wondering, since this is a Halloween party, Connor had been dressed as Superman.) Gerald, her sister’s creepy significant other, notices Billie all alone and checks on her, which is sort of nice of him, but Billie just responds by thinking that in his Rhett Butler costume he looks like an antebellum porn star. She makes her excuses to escape him, mainly so that Bobbi doesn’t get even more mad at her (the sisters are not talking, ever since the Public Display of Lust inna Driveway), and this is when Tracy calls her over….

Which means that Billie wasn’t actually standing right behind Eric Toothless Logan during the last chapter but somewhere vaguely nearby?

After admiring how Logan looks, although not knowing what he’s dressed as, Billie reflects upon the fact that there had been only a single, solitary costume at the costume-store in her size. Seriously? And what was said costume? Naughty angel. Because of course. So it consists of a nearly transparent dress, a body suit under it, feathery wings that are shedding, and thigh-high white boots. This is not Billie’s usual garb and thus she’s uncomfortable.

I can imagine a costume rental store being picked over, but completely out of any other costumes? And Billie couldn’t choose to instead just throw something together from her closet? I grant you, my closet (with my longing for a return to my goth days, random pieces from renaissance faires, and various pieces that have been used for plays and thus might be useful for another one) is probably more interesting than Billie’s, since her only interest seems to be hockey. But even so—surely she could throw something together. Or borrow something from a friend. (The thigh high boots are already borrowed from Tracy.) Something that she’s more comfortable in.

But no. That wouldn’t serve the plot or make Logan’s mouth water.

Logan and Billie make super awkward small talk about how Logan doesn’t know what he’s dressed as (he only wore whatever his mom sent), that Billie got home safely the night before, and her stitches (which have gone from 8 to 10 since actually getting them.) Then Logan says that the previous night shouldn’t have happened. He means that Sociopathic-Seth shouldn’t have attacked her, but  Billie assumes that he means she shouldn’t be playing.

“Logan, I know I asked for it. I mean, I stole the puck off Seth more times than I can count. And I shot at Cronkwright real steady, and not just at Cronkwright,” she licked her lips but was unable to stop the train wreck that was her mouth. “I mean, I hit his helmet at least a dozen times. Hard. A dozen hard shots to the head and, well, at least five or six at his crotch. I…” (235)

Remember how I wrote in post 8 that I didn’t think it was a problem that Billie didn’t rein in her skill and played better than the others? I’m not sure I agree completely with myself any more. I mean, sure, steal the puck from Seth—that’s just playing smart. But to consistently aim for a goalie’s head kind of sucks. (There’s hints that the goalie is an asshat but it’s not shown so I can’t say whether he deserves it.) It’s also just bad playing. You don’t aim at the goalie. The goalie is there to stop the puck. The purpose of the game is to get the puck past the goalie and into the net.

Maybe Billie’s not in Sweden anymore because the concussion made her forget the purpose of the game.

Anyway, Billie gets cut off by Logan grabbing her arms in order to tell her that she did nothing wrong and that he’d told Sociopath-Seth that he has to behave or get kicked out of the league.  Billie doesn’t seem to know how to respond to this and there’s a long moment of allllmooooossssst kissing, but they’re interrupted by Logan’s mother having taken the stage to announce that it’s time for the Live Auction and Billie immediately starts to get nervous.

Apparently Connor had talked Billie into auctioning off one-on-one coaching with her, as the auctioneer announces.

Silence greeted his words. Not total silence mind you since there were a few snickers that rang out (239).

Traditionally, as it turns out, the Live Auction is held late in the evening and Billie hadn’t planned on being there for it. But since Logan’s mom moved it up, she was still at the party. Even so, there were 20 minutes of auction between the announcement of “Hey, we’re starting the auction” and “Up for bid, Billie Jo Barker’s coaching skillz” so I don’t know why Billie didn’t, like, leave the party.

The auctioneer gets flustered, since no one is bidding.

“What is wrong with you folks? This is a great opportunity for your child or grandchild.”

“Or your husband,” someone quipped.

“Hell, maybe she’ll give a team discount,” Sabrina Fairfax threw in… (241).

Hey everybody! Public Slut Shaming! Fun! Isn’t this year’s Charity Fundraiser just the bestest ever?! Come on, everyone join in! Fear the potential for another woman’s sexuality! Billie wants to play hockey with men, that whore! So clearly she must be sleeping with EVERYONE. The entire team at once! Orgies in the locker room!

Seriously, I don’t get this book.

Bobbi-Jo, however, has had enough and she pushes through the crowd to snap at Sabrina. Weirdly, the text doesn’t say what Sabrina is dressed as (only that she has “candy red lips pulled back in a sneer”) but Bobbi-Jo is dressed as Scarlett O’Hara. I like to think she’s in the curtain dress as all this happens, but the text doesn’t specify.

The two women are snapping at each other and it seems like Bobbi might be about to physically attack Sabrina, so Logan bids a thousand dollars.

As one does.

Well, it’s pretty clear that Billie is the best player in the league so maybe he can learn from her. On the other hand, since I’m certain they will sleep together by book’s end, he’s also sort of proving Sabrina’s point.

Also? The auctioneer announces, “Sold! To the man in black” (242). So I like to think that the chapter actually ends here with Johnny Cash having purchased Billie’s hockey lesson.


  1. Sorry, I haven't commented. I have been reading, but I've been really busy and it's still weirdly complicated for me to comment. Half the time, the comment-name thing doesn't work for me. Not your fault though.

    I will make this a mega-comment.

    First off, I did remember this whole sexual substitution plot point, and wondered when it was going to come up. Interestingly, I never thought of it as sexual assault, I only saw it as hugely improbable. They'd have to be really, really identical and since the sisters seem so different it seems ridiculous that you could have sex with one and think it was the other. Especially since she was a virgin. But what do I know? I was an only child, and while my mom referred to the cat as my "brother," I have no personal knowledge of how siblings share things. In any case, it's always interesting to get another perspective and raise my own consciousness.

    Next, I'd like to talk about the previous post. I think that women playing hockey are decidedly unsexy, and that's how it should be. They are playing for enjoyment and not to be on display. So, if Billie wanted to attract men, then helmet hair, stinky equipment, and bulky clothes are probably not the biggest turn-ons. Being in the proximity of men can actually occur in places other than dressing rooms.

    Also, she fired nearly 20 shots at the goalie's head and crotch? No way. Didn't she also score nine goals, or something? That means she had at least 30 shots on goal. Even for beer league, this seems excessive. If she's showing off this much, I'm not surprised the opposition hates her. I'm only surprised her own team isn't piling on as well.

    And regarding Tuesday's post, your vampire cat is adorable. I have a cat who sits on my lap during games too, and is often the best part of the evening.

    Finally, can we assume you're not going to the opening of the FSOG movie tonight?

    1. You're not the first person to tell me that it's difficult to comment here. I wonder why that is and how I can fix it? (Because I LIVE for comments, seriously.)

      I, too, am an only child and the family dogs were my brothers/sisters, so I understand. :) I was willing to handwave the improbability of the sexual substitution for three reasons. 1. It happens in Shakespeare multiple times (where it's usually referenced by academics as a bed trick and I'm now realizing that holy crap they/we need to call a spade a space), 2. The text makes clear that Logan was slightly drunk, and as much as I hate that society tends to describe men as unable to control themselves, he was a teenager in love and lust, emphasis on teenager. (He does, however, in the next chapter, think about how "special" his time with Betty was, so clearly they have fallen victim to Romance Sex, but that's a rant for another blog post.) 3. ... I don't remember what the third reason was because I have had about a half-dozen interruptions while writing this paragraph, but it may have been something about cliche and plot and blah blah blah.

      I'll admit that when I read the chapter, I didn't think about the fact that this was, in fact, a case of Rape by Deception. (I thought it was more a case of "is this past history really necessary?") But as I was writing this post, I got more and more angry about it, thinking about it from a real world point of view. If I had been in Logan's position, for example.

      I haven't read more than the next two chapters (Billie's dad suddenly cogent in time for breakfast and Billie giving Logan his hockey lesson) but I'm willing to bet he never thinks of the bed trick as rape and that he gets over the deception incredibly quickly.

      Teenagers have been known to do Really Stupid Stuff and I suppose there's been no last damage (except of course how Logan feels about Betty and his distrust of her family in general and possibly also a lingering distrust of women and head games that might have led to his inability to settle down with anyone who says the L-word. So ... maybe.) What I'm trying to say here is that Billie did not have intent to rape Logan, and that they were stupid teenagers, so I suppose I'll forgive them. I'm less forgiving of the author and the narrative for glossing over the fact that what Billie did was, really, rape.

      I wrote today's blog post back on Tuesday and have, honestly, been nervous about it ever since, so I'm grateful for your comments.

      Speaking of comments, I'll reply to the rest of them in another comment because I'm nervous I'll lose all I've written thus far.

    2. As for women playing hockey, and whether they're sexy when doing so, I agree almost 100%. They should, indeed, not need to be on display for men's enjoyment while playing (OR while doing anything else, for that matter.) On the other hand, I've been told by some guys who love hockey that it's sexy that I play. So whatever floats someone's boat, but hockey gear? Not sexy. Stinky and bulky. But yes, *exactly*-- if Billie wants to sleep with the whole damn town, that's her prerogative (and that of her partner(s)) but there are FAR, FAR more likely and easy ways to do so than via beer league hockey. FAR. What it boils down to is the policing of women's movements based on sexual shaming. And what's so interesting is exactly what we've both been pointing out-- how here it's INCREDIBLY illogical and yet it's still working. Billie almost quits the team and she's pariah in the town.

      And OMG, yes to your point about shots on goal(ie). For her to take that many shots, she's basically just playing against the other team's goalie, no one else on the ice. For her to take even half that many shots, she'd have to be fed the puck by her own team constantly, which for all that they're warming up to her, I just don't see happening.

      Thank you for the kind comment on my vampire kitty. :D Given that I'm a Coyotes fan and given their season thus far, I know what you mean about the kitty snuggles being the best part of the game, frequently. ;)

      And last, regarding FSOG... no. I'm actually ALL FOR the opening up of society to talk more about sex, particularly non-mainstream sex. I'm all for women reading erotica of whatever flavor floats their boat(s). I am not, however, for the film versions of poorly-written erotica that has influenced millions of people in dressing up stalking and abuse as (completely misunderstood) BDSM.

      (I am, however, all for schadenfreud-istically enjoying articles about how the stars of the movie can't stand each other and reviews of the movie that snarkily point out the same things I've mentioned above re: abuse vs. bdsm. So at least I'm getting some pleasure from That Movie's existence.)