Monday, June 22, 2020

#MicroblogMondays: My first kiss & why e-books are so popular :)

In a recent online discussion among childless women that I was privy to, someone asked whether anyone else felt uncomfortable taking out books from the library with the word "childless" in the title.  One person commented that it's part of the cultural shaming we feel over our childlessness, similar to the shame that used to be attached to the words "gay" and "queer" -- words which the LGBT community has reclaimed. Someone else mentioned that commuters in Japan use book covers to keep their reading material private from each other -- and I commented that this is one reason why ebooks are so popular. :)

I was reminded (and recounted) an anecdote from my university days. A good friend of mine from high school told me she'd run into the guy who gave me my very first kiss, when I was 15. :) (Just before that, he was also my first slow dance -- to "Make it With You" by Bread. How very Seventies, right?)  She said he was carrying some library books on gay rights.

Now, this was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in the early 1980s -- and we figured he MUST be gay, because NO "straight" guy in that time & place would have been caught dead openly carrying or reading books on gay rights!  ("Straight" being the terminology of the time -- i.e., heterosexual.)(And I thought oh sure, OF COURSE the first guy I kissed would turn out to be gay, right?) But even then, in those less enlightened/less accepting times, I thought that was pretty gutsy of him.

I've Googled him several times in the years since then to see what he was up to. ;)  He's had a very impressive career with some major international development agencies, including as an advisor on LGBT issues. An article I found specifically refers to his experiences as a gay man.  So it's probably for the best that our (very) brief high school romance didn't go beyond a few makeout sessions and a few letters and phone calls before things petered out.

But I'm betting that these days, nobody on a university campus would blink if they saw someone carrying a book about LGBT rights. So perhaps it will be different for us childless women in another 40 years too.  :)  (And hopefully a lot sooner than that!)

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.  


  1. I really like this recollection, and the way you've related it to changes in society. You've got me thinking. I can't say I ever worried about taking "childless" books out of the library (before ebooks arrived - good grief that dates me), though I'm not sure any had "childless" in the title. And I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have put them on my desk after lunch! Hmmmm.

  2. I have heard about the Japanese book covers! Also I think there were covers designed for stuffy businessmen who wanted to read Harry Potter on the trains in England...I swear that's true! I love your comparison and the thought of caring a book openly as a brave thing. It's not the same but I totally read the Fifty Shades of Grey books on my Kindle because I didn't want ANYONE to know I was reading them... Ha! I have carried by CNBC books openly though, sometimes it opens up conversations and connections I wouldn't have known about. Interesting thought! And I love your first kiss story.