A Different Kind of Porn – Nope.

doily-coatJack and I did some shelf rearranging this week, to aid me in my final week of book edits avoidance therapy. The adjustments meant losing about half a bookshelf’s worth of space, so I started looking at our diet and exercise, aging, and women’s health books.

And got really, really angry. So many books about how women can keep themselves from looking older – not being older, not keeping themselves well, just not LOOKING older. So many books on what to wear after fifty. So many books on how to be skinny – not healthy, skinny.

When Jack and I opened our bookstore, we got some books in from Playboy. We discussed whether to sell “porn,” and decided we’d go with a simple definition: if we felt like the books would harm our friends Teri and Gary’s three daughters (at the time ages 4-12, more or less) we wouldn’t sell them. (Teri is the one who traded us photocopies for free books when we first opened, for those who have read Little Bookstore.) That made it fairly easy to know what we felt comfortable selling.

So I applied the same rule to these “women’s health” books, and threw away 200 of them. Because if the girls had lived by their rules, they would have been beat down, joyless consumerists. Peh.

Here are the rules, Mollie, Maeve, and Millie: wear what makes you feel comfortable, sexy, happy, or powerful–whatever your moment or mood calls for. Put on make-up or don’t – and if you want to make your own we kept a few books on natural cosmetics and color choices for hair and skin tones. Be healthy, be that plump, skinny, middle of the road, or whatever else you and your doctor agree is working for you. Look after yourself mentally – don’t read books that try to tell you  how many of anything you should own. Don’t fall for the sale of fear.

And, as one of my favorite snark signs says, “Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. That’s expensive. Drag them down to your level. It will make them happier, too.”

Enjoy life, girls. We are enjoying the extra space in our bookstore – gained a whole shelf of space by tossing the porn.

 

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8 Comments

Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, home improvements, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

8 responses to “A Different Kind of Porn – Nope.

  1. Dana Coates

    Love your note. Morality is desperately needed at all ages.
    When my husband looks at an older woman, and states” bet she was a looker in her younger age”, he corrects the statement,even lame with such as now in her old age!!! After the stare down.
    Long time ago, I spent money for a style, haircut, all the products, I just had to have. Welll, on the way home thinking I could have purchased FIVE bester sellers, my choice of books. Since that day, I am natural and love it.
    I am me, God’s creation. So be it.

  2. Thank you so much for this insightful piece. I love your line “Don’t fall for the sale of fear.” Perhaps some day we will find ourselves in a more enlightened future where sales of books on inner beauty will be best sellers!

  3. Elizabeth Collins

    Congradulations, Wendy and Jack! I totally ignore other people’s advice on matters of what an “older” woman should look and dress like and do what makes ME feel good. I love mascara and lipstick but have grey hair and just smile when other women tell me they’re not that brave. At sixty, I’m the calmest, most peaceful me ever. I’m so glad you took those books off the shelf! Hugs! Elizabeth

  4. annie36b

    Long ago, I began to dress for comfort, and I decided I would a whole lot rather spend money on books than on hair coloring. I don’t know if I look my age or not, and I don’t really care. I figure I’ve earned the face I have, including a few wrinkles. I walk 3 miles daily for my health and enjoyment, spend a lot of time working in my little woods with a chain saw, and this spring I’ve been pulling brambles with my best bud, who’s 80 years old, and digging holes to plant some more little Norway Spruce when spring arrives. I also teach classes at a women’s prison one day weekly as a volunteer. I’m loving my life!

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