The Fictional Hockey League

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Offside: Post 14

Chapters 18 & 19: The Date

Billie has prepared for her Date Under Duress by raiding Bobbi’s wardrobe, which seems like a pretty shitty thing to do a) without asking and b) when your sister isn’t even speaking to you at the moment. But as I’ve discussed recently in the comments, I’m an only child, so what do I do know?

Make sure you look good.”
She thought of his words and frowned. I’m an idiot. I should have worn a pair of stinky old track pants and my stupid, still wet, bunny slippers (298).

Yep. I agree. I’m all for getting dressed up if you want to, but Billie has spent the day being worried about this bet date and fretting over wearing makeup, which apparently she never does.

All that said, she also realizes, as Logan gets to her house, that she’s aroused. I’d just like to point out something that romance novels (and erotica) often forget—just because someone’s physically aroused doesn’t mean that s/he has to now have physical intimacy.

Regardless, Billie’s big concern is over her nipples.

Crap. There was no way she could waltz downstairs with the unmistakable nipple salute that was out there, front and center. No way in hell. Logan would never let her live it down (299).

Three things. First, this text is obsessed with engorged body parts and not letting other people see said engorgement. (I’m fairly certain that Logan has spent most of this book with an erection.) Second, is Billie not wearing a bra? She’s wearing a sweater (purloined from Bobbi) that bares her shoulders, so admittedly it’d have to be a strapless bra, but … a bra? Right? Not to mention, sweater suggests something pretty heavy and nipple concealing. I grant that she could be wearing a thin bra and thin sweater, so I’m not suggesting that this is impossible, just unlikely. Finally, third, front and center, eh? Where else would they be?

(She grabs an “old and out of fashion” leather jacket to hide herself (299). I’d’ve just put on a different bra because if she’s concerned about her nipples at the moment because she’s aroused, want happens if she just gets cold later? She has no idea where they’re going.)

Her father is clearly not as lucid at this point as he was that morning. He recognizes Logan as one of the Forest sons, but upon seeing Billie, he’s horrified.

“Since when do you paint your face like that? Like a cheap whore” (302).

This makes me wonder just how much she caked on, that he’d noticed it. As far as I can tell, the comment is only here to make the exit from the house tense, in combination with Bobbi’s arrival. The sister snarks at Billie for stealing her sweater (fair point) then insinuates that Logan takes all his very many dates to the same restaurant.

The restaurant in question is in “the city”, meaning it’s not the Lonely Single Bar and Grill of New Waterford and he tells Billie once they’re there that he’s never actually brought another woman there except his mother.

It was a realization that only dawned on him as the words fell out of his mouth (312).

Not exactly an epiphany there, Logan. I guess as readers we’re meant to think that this makes Billie very special—she’s not one of the women that Logan has kept at arm’s distance for the sake of casual sex. On the other hand, given his weird mental commentary about his mother at the fund-raising gala, it just comes off as Oedipal.

Speaking of hearkening back to prior behavior, remember how when Logan saw Billie in her sports bra and boy shorts in the locker room it made him want to piss in the corners of the room? I don’t know if this is a step up or down, but at the restaurant Logan gets angry at the fact that various men in the restaurant are checking Billie out. “he fought the urge to go all caveman and tell them to back the hell off. She was his” (311).

Um, ew? She’s her own, for starters. If Billie is uncomfortable by the looks she’s getting, that’s one thing, but Logan doesn’t get to be an asshat about it. Or rather, he does, since I’m not the one writing the book, but it doesn’t make me think highly of his character. … Then again, I haven’t really liked Logan since the early chapters so I guess it’s not much of a surprise.

Dinner essentially gets fast forwarded through until they finish desert and both of them are erect again. Seriously.

His heart began a slow, steady beat—one that immediately went south and woke up his cock. Damn, he shifted in his chair trying to alleviate the stress between his legs (315).

Her chest heaved as the pulse at the base of her neck told him exactly how hot and bothered she was – though the luscious nipples that strained against her sweater wasn’t’ something she could hide, either. They begged for his mouth. For his hands and tongue and whatever else he could use on them (316).

Unfortunately, and this is only my opinion because it’s very subjective, the text is so busy telling readers how aroused these two are for each other by describing physical reactions but it doesn’t bother actually creating that feeling of lust (and, for a romance novel, preferably also budding love) between the characters. For all that I’ve railed about how stupidly over the top I think the Great Gender War of New Waterford Beer League Hockey is, I could totally accept it (with minimal snark) if I actually felt like these two characters had something between them. Instead, the text just gives me a running, practically minute-by-minute commentary on how engorged their genitalia are.

(If you can't see the video,  you can click here for it)

Logan hurriedly calls for the check as he realizes that he doesn’t want to just have sex with her once and get Billie out of his head, instead he was “kind of seeing it as more of a permanent thing” (318) by which I assume he means a permanent relationship, not Billie permanently bed-ridden. However, when Logan finally gets Billie to his bed, she promptly feels sick to her stomach and passes out drunk. Sexy.


  1. Call me oblivious, but I have gone through life without once noticing if guys around me have inappropriately-timed erections. Maybe I need to stop looking at people's faces when I talk to them. Yet in romance novels, there are always so many physical clues that couples are hot for each other. That's very handy.

    I agree 100% with a desire to see genuine caring develop between the hero and heroine. For me, that's the real question: why do people fall in love—not lust, but love? That's why I have trouble with the whole billionaire/famous genius falling for the nobody girl. I understand that average readers like to put themselves in the heroine's shoes, but she needs to have some personal qualities other than her averageness. There is much to admire about Billie as an Olympian, a skilled hockey player, and a strong personality. But does Logan actually appreciate this? Maybe she reminds him of his mother? Euw.

    I am girly-screaming about the fact you quoted 10 Things I Hate About You! This is only one of my favourite movies. We are kindred spirits, for sure.

    1. If you are oblivious, then so am I. Maybe it's something that some girls have and others don't. Or maybe it's a skill you receive if you level up by reading enough teen magazines or something.

      But yeah, romance novels tend toward the shorthand, the visible signs of oh perfect a couple must be together, instead of having them get to know each other or fumble their way about. And to be fair, I suppose we wouldn't want to continually read about awkward first kisses and concerns over "does he think I'm too fat/skinny/flat chested/short/whatever??" But still.

      How could I *not* quote 10 Things, once I noticed the quivering member trend?!? :D