What the Feck (WTF): YES I’m reading a Romance…. SO?!

Posted July 28, 2014 by Jennifer in What the Feck | | 32 Comments

Cat Says WTF

What the Feck?! (WTF?!) is where we discuss bookish topics that had us thinking WTF?! while reading a book, talking to others in the book community or book news. Stop by on Mondays for new topics.

Judgmental A-Wholes:

What are you reading?


So a few weeks ago I was sitting in the waiting room, waiting on my car to get serviced. (Which I was there from 8am to after 2pm but that’s a different story and subject.) Luckily I had my Kindle with me and I got a book read with all that waiting time.

For the most part, I kept my head down reading while I waited. Not making eye contact because I was engrossed in my book. Then an elderly woman sat down next to me (even thought there were plenty of empty seats and she could have given us an empty chair buffer between us, again another issue for a different time.)

See her out of the corner of my eye looking at me. I think, what, is she just going to stare at me or is she trying to read what I’m reading. She looks back at her phone then looks back at me. Then comes the question, what are you reading. I tell her, THEN CAME YOU by Jill Shalvis. She then tells me she’s not heard of the book or author. I tell her it’s a romance.

Then I get the judgmental look and she says, “Well, at least you are reading.” REALLY?! I almost cussed an old woman out. REALLY?! At least I’m reading. I wish I had told her it was erotica to see the look of scandal on her face.

Then she starts talking about books and authors she likes to read. Thrillers, mysteries, etc. I told her, “Oh I don’t read that kind of books.”  It did it as rude as I could. (Now I’m not judging people that read those genres. I actually have some on my TBR but because she was all judgy with my romance book I wanted to be bitchy back.)

She starts to tell me about one of her favorite books (I don’t remember what the title was cuz I was halfway listening to her). She warns me that it has some “bad” language in it and little trashy parts (sex) but it’s nothing perverted.

Trashy, perverted…. REALLY? Oh, could I have really gotten her by telling her that I read BDSM and other hardcore “perverted” books?

She finally asked me if I’ve read Nora Roberts (I’m sure this is the only romance author’s name she knew.) I told her no I have not but I have her crime mystery series on my TBR and I’ve heard it’s really good. She was shocked that Nora Roberts, a romance writer, wrote “quality” books. When I told her that Roberts wrote the series under another name, J.D. Robb, she gasped. “I love that series.” Yep, you old judgmental crone, that series is written by a romance author so SUCK IT.



There’ve been tons of articles like Men, stop lecturing women about reading romance novels and other posts about the romance genre and how people judge the readers of the genre. Have you ever been judged because you read romances?



 **What the Feck will be on break for the month of August as we bring your STOMP vs ROMP for the 3rd year but will be back in September**


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Owner/Blogger at The Book Nympho
I coexist with my husband of 15 years, our 11-year-old son and two chilled cats in the Deep South.

After 17 years I've finally finished my BA in English (no I do not want to be a teacher). Before majoring in English I would not have touched anything labeled "classic", but I have enjoyed a few along the way in my college career.

While I hated to read growing up, I am now an avid book reader and audiobook listener. I love rejecting reality one book at a time. I only read fiction within my favorite (at least to date) genres which include: most romance (paranormal, contemporary, D/s, BDSM, M/M)Urban Fantasy, and a few YA (mostly PNR or UF from favorite adult authors, but I'm slowly stepping out of my comfort zone after enjoying a few contemporary YA novels in adolescent literature class I took).
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32 responses to “What the Feck (WTF): YES I’m reading a Romance…. SO?!

  1. Hi, Jennifer!
    I know EXACTLY how you feel (I actually wrote a post about it last week http://ofdragonsandhearts.com/2014/07/thursday-thoughts-bookish-shame/ ) – I hate judgemental people. I’m really glad you managed to get one over on the old bat! 🙂 I really don’t know why people like to judge others for their reading choices, when music, food and clothing preferences never seem to bring about such outrage and scorn… I really like reading romance (and erotica) and I hate that I sometimes feel guilty because of other people’s opinions.

  2. OMG! Yes, Jennifer. At least you;re reading. Like all the time! LOL I think when she told me what she reads, I would have had to say, “well, at least you’re reading,” just to toss it back at her. What I don’t get – why strike up a conversation with someone who’s reading if you’re only going to judge what they read? Go sit on the other side of the room and judge in silence so I don’t have to stop reading to deal with your condescending attitude. Ugh!

  3. Marcia Berbeza

    The other thing to consider here is that the older woman who started this thread was lonely. It could be this trip was the highlight of her day and she was just reaching out for a little human interaction. While you were trying to read, this could have been one of the few opportunities that she had that day to talk to someone face to face. Be kind, if God is good, one day we too may be old and in need of conversation.

  4. Marcia Berbeza

    I tried to respond earlier and my cell phone wouldn’t let me. 🙂 I get this crap all of the time. I am a school librarian, and people are startled that I read romance (gasp!), paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy. I don’t care for Jodi Picoult (I work in the city, if I need a good cry, I read school records.) I read for entertainment, I read to explore, I read to be happy and to be taken out of myself. I do not read tragedies, and very few dramas, unless required. I do enjoy a good murder mystery, but I don’t want it too realistic. As I said, for me, I read to escape reality so that I can sleep at night and not be haunted by bleakness.

  5. My husband takes a book (usually a mystery cuz that’s how he rolls) to work to read on his lunch break. He gets only 30 minutes and a lot of time he gets interrupted with questions like, “Whatcha doin’?” “You reading?” “Whatcha reading?” or a question that is work related and is still bookus interruptus. It drives him insane.

    Anyway, I just don’t understand people. Especially the holier-than-thou in the bible belt. *grinds teeth* I wish that had been me and I had been reading some of my monster porn. I would’ve had so much fun with that. hehehe

  6. I don’t get people. The majority of a lot of genres have romance in them. I mean WTH?! And that’s what most women read anyways. Anyways it was none of her business. You see someone reading. Don’t bother them. Period. B/c most of the time they don’t wanna be interrupted while reading their book.

  7. Yodamom

    “What a judgmental old bitty”, my first thought) ” “What a sad closed minded woman, to limit herself so much” my second thought. I get nicer as I think about this. I used to be that nasty little bitty,(except I was young and turdy) I judged a book by it’s cover and the reader too. Then I grew up- I read a book with the cheesiest romantic cover ever IMHO and I was wrong. Honestly it was such a poo pooed gene for so long, it was hard to break the wall built in my brain. School, society, media, all of them formed these walls, it’s up to us to break them down. I not cured yet-Phew thank god for e-readers. 😀

    On the other hand, intrusive types seem to be attracted to me whenever I want some “alone time” I get the questions, the looks or the weirdo trying to make eye contact so they can converse about whatever ! I swear just going to the doctor seems to be a social event for many GO AWAY PEOPLE THIS IS MY ONLY ALONE TIME.

    • It’s like if I read a “nasty” romance then I swing from my ceiling during sex (yeah right) so if she reads murder mysteries and about serial killers does that mean she’s taking notes on how to kill someone?

  8. What rude lady! And I’m using the word “lady” in the wrong content..LOL I never had this happened to me, mostly because I’m listening all the time, but I’ve noticed that people are more incline to ask you “what are you reading” when they see you with a book than “what are you listening” when they see you have your headphones on. And I think is because they know you won’t hear them ask – listening seems more private, and they feel like they are interrupting. So why in the world do people think is OK to interrupt when you reading?
    I hope you get what I’m trying to say..LOL

  9. Wow. People can be so rude. If it’s not judging you by your choice of reading material it’s judging you for something else. *eye roll*

    I grew up in a family where romance was looked down on. In fact, I recall overhearing conversations about the trashy Harlequin category romances my great-grandmother would read only while on vacation. The conversations were always about how smutty they were and there were giggles and guffaws shared between she and my mother about the ones they’d passed back and forth on an RV trip where they’d highlight “the good parts”.

    Naturally between that and my later religious upbringing the whole genre was treated like something only the uneducated and immoral enjoyed. If we were reading fiction it better be a mystery. It wasn’t until my love of UF lead me into the romance shelves that I realized how silly the attitude was and got over my own discomfort at letting people know that I like romances (and erotica for that matter).

    I think there are many people out there with the same bred-in prejudices and misconceptions that if they accidentally read a romance novel… would probably be pleasantly surprised. I tend to make myself unapproachable in public spaces if I’m reading but sometimes I kind of wish people would ask just so I could enlighten them. 😉

  10. A lot of history’s greatest classic literature are romances – i.e.: Pride & Prejudice, Great Gatsby, Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, Gone with the Wind, and so many more. I don’t know my people have to be rude and judgemental about it. Not all romances are the same and not all are smut. Although, I do like when they are a bit dirtier. That woman was plain rude and I like how you “shocked” her by letting her know one of her favorite series was written by a HUGE and POPULAR romance writer. Ugh! I hate judgey people like that and I’m sure you probably read more books than she does.

  11. Damn, that was rude of her! Kind old lady my ass . . .

    Sadly, yes, I have been judged — from strangers that ask me that question in a waiting room to friends that do not understand the genre, to family that looks at my books and pulls a face “You read smut books?”. To everyone who’s ever judged my reading taste (yes, even my family, though I still love you dearly!), I have one thing to say — F*ck you very much and have a nice day! 🙂

    I will read what I want, when and where I want, as long as it makes me happy. You do the same, with whatever genre you prefer, and we’ll get along just fine!


  12. This is why I HATE it when peeps ask me what I am reading. I usually prefer to be rude and say ‘a book’ instead of giving them a title, because this type of conversation usually ensues, or they just have no idea what I am talking about. What a waste of time! Way to get into it with an old lady at the garage BTW. LOL Only you. 😉

  13. When things like this happen I just remember the words of wisdom my grandfather shared with me, “Opinions are like assholes, Everybody has one.” It makes me giggle and I just continue to read what I want. 🙂

  14. I get this with YA a LOT. I’ve been told YA is fluff, it’s for teens, it’s brainless… you name it. It makes me mad.

    HELL YEAH AT LEAST I’M READING! But not only that, YA Lit produces some of the finest works. And hello! Maybe those people have never heard of famous works of literature like Huck Finn or A Wrinkle In Time? Or perhaps everything by J.D. Salinger?! You know…classic books they make children read in school?!

    People make me mad when they get judgey.

  15. I’m kind of jealous that you had a real life conversation about books, even if the other person was a dork, lol. I never get the chance to talk about books with another real life human being sigh….

    • Right?! Even the few times I’ve talked to others (co-workers, family) about books they don’t have a clue. LOL

      I was at my parents this weekend and I finished up an audio book then picked up my Kindle to start another book. My mom said, “you’re reading another one?”

      Yes. Yes I am.

    • I have a co-worker that once told me that an author I was reading was going to hell because she was being dangerous with her views of demons, witches and angels in her FICTIONAL book.

      I hate living in the bible belt. It needs to be called the judgmental a-hole belt.

      On and she thinks it’s gross that I read M/M. I’m sure she prays for me everyday. LOL

  16. Oh. My. GAWD. “Well, at least you are reading”? SERIOUSLY? I don’t even know what I would have done, but that is ridiculous. I hate it when old people think they can say whatever the hell they want b/c we young whippersnappers are supposed to respect our elders. I can’t even . . .

    ALSO–I had no idea J.D. Robb was Nora Roberts. That’s hysterical. Nasty old woman . . . *grumbles*

  17. Part of the problem stems from men controlling the publishing arena and the awards system. No matter that the whole industry is propped up by the astounding sales of romance books. With so many people, men and women, reading and BUYING books in the romance genre, does it even make sense anymore to continue to trash the genre?

    Until we get to the place where we stop hiding what we are reading, judgments will continue. I said this at Rabid Reads last week…gone are the days where I do that anymore. I use encounters like Jennifer’s as a chance to enlighten, as she did. Why do you think Roberts used a pseudonym for her mystery series? Because of people like her.

  18. Just the fact that she sat right next to you speaks volumes, hasn’t she heard of personal space ? I don’t see how mysteries/thrillers are so much better than romance ! You were really polite, I would have moved to another seat away from her 😉

  19. Thankfully, I haven’t had any experiences like that (yet). How rude was that woman?? Obviously she just hasn’t read the right books!

    But. I will now be honest. I used to have the same judgemental opinion of romance. I know – I’m ashamed to admit it. However, I was never rude to others because they liked it, but I did think romance was all bodice rippers etc. My opinions changed quick time when I eventually read one.

    After pulling the stick out from my own arse, I realised that romance is just an AWESOME genre. I even read M/M now and erotic romance. I can’t get enough! Because of my misconceptions, I’m much more open minded about all genres. I never judge. I read it first and then if I don’t like it that’s fine, but I never look at someone else and think badly of them. People just have different tastes. I think that if a book is well written, has great characters and a great story, then it really doesn’t matter what genre it’s in.

    Great post, Jennifer!