Throwing Shade

I don’t know if it’s an age thing or what, but when I hit my 40s and 50s, I found myself sitting on boards of various clubs and community organizations. I was off one certain board for a while, and they asked me to step back in because nobody else was a sucker recently.

So, last night we had to move the meeting to the home of one of the other members, a nice older lady. Widowed for 20+ years, I’d put her in her mid 70s. Old-fashioned, salt-of-the-earth, small town style, if you know what I mean. The kind that dotes on her dog when her grandkids aren’t around. The kind that always decorates for the holidays.

Anyway, I’m sitting in the least comfortable chair (because I showed up 5 minutes late it helps me to stay awake during the dull parts), and during the part of the meeting where they were arguing over the $7.95 in postage fees, my eyes were wandering around and I started noting the titles in her bookcase. Nora Ephron. Nora Roberts. Nora Nicholas Sparks. Wait, what’s that one? I can’t read the title.

I shift my attention back to the group. The postage was for a special mailing to promote some function or another last month, and did anybody bother to budget for the mailings, and how you can’t expect it to be part of normal operating expenses…

I scootch forward and surreptitiously tip my head to the side to read the title.


Oh dear lord, no, please, no…


*ears start tingling*

I calmly look back. The Treasurer and the Secretary are arguing about what normal operating expenses should be, and if we have this event every year then shouldn’t postage should be a normal expense…

And next to “Grey” I see three more similarly styled paperbacks. I squinch up my eyes to confirm what my brain has already assumed.

50 Shades…

*eyeballs start melting*

I look up again. They’re still droning on about whether the special mailings postage should be part of the normal office account or entered into a different account, and why does a non-profit community group need so many accounts anyway and who does the books so what difference does it make…

I stare intently at the books on the shelf. Is that… it is, isn’t it?

There are page markers in the god damn books! Actually goddamn bookmarks, just sticking out in the middle where our little grandmotherly, holiday plate decorating board member carefully placed them to find the good parts.

*head asplodes*

I look up again, biting my lip to contain my laughter.

“Finally, that’s settled. Can we move on to new business,  now?”

Yes, please. Let’s.



I happen to like a mature woman with a little experience.

Ms. Dana Sprecht

About Tom Allen

The Grey Geezer Dauntless defender of, um, something that needed dauntless defending. Dammit, I can't read this script without my glasses. Hey, you kids, get off my damn lawn!
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12 Responses to Throwing Shade

  1. You have to think they WANTED people to see and ask about it – otherwise, wouldn’t the book be somewhere else? Given that, I’d probably be the one that wandered over, noticed, then asked them about it after the meeting – just to see their reaction and what they would say about it. 🙂 I know, perhaps not very PC, but really, aren’t asking for it?

    Perhaps it’s their version of being an exhibitionist?


    • Tom Allen says:

      I don’t think she expected anyone to notice – she’s *literally* a little, old lady, and her bookcase had all sorts of pop crap books (sorry, no judgement intended).

      And I really didn’t want to ask in front of the others.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. thumper says:

    The bookmarks are the best part.


  3. And you keep giving me grief about looking at porn. I haven’t gotten anywhere near 70 yet.

    I was in Costco when the books were first popular and some woman was actually reading one of them in the store. I walked around her and when she saw that I had noticed that book was put down so fast and she was bright red. It was all that I could do not to burst out laughing.

    And Snake’s comment? That’s why I can’t take him anywhere… 😛


    • Tom Allen says:

      Half my amusement was because the little bit of 50 Shades that I actually did read was such crap.

      And about the porn: Women stereotypically are supposed to read bodice rippers instead of looking at pictures. Whatever that means.


      • I couldn’t read it because the writing was so horrible that it made me crazy.

        I never could get into the bodice rippers. I don’t know if that’s because the women are usually submissive or what. Give me a good visual any day.


  4. A very long time ago, I went to see Magic Mike. (Don’t judge. I went for the eye candy, not for the story.) It was a daytime matinee and the theater was nearly deserted. Nearly.

    Four rows behind me sat what can only be described as Grandmother’s Knitting Klatch. I’m not joking about that. From the tone of their conversation, I genuinely expected to turn around and see them all absentmindedly whipping their needles to and fro as they chatted.

    As I was by myself that day, I was having a lovely time eavesdropping while they talked about their grandchildren and cats … until … until their conversation turned to the 50 Shades series and all of it’s “juicier” parts.


    #Things you can’t unhear.


  5. Steve says:

    One of the real advantages of hitting your 70’s (and I speak from experience) is that you come to realise that having made your major contributions to “Society” – ie holding down a mind numbing job because you need the income to pay the mortgage and raise the family – no one sees or hears you . People walk past you because you are just another old “wrinkly”. People ignore what you say because they want to listen to something younger and brighter.
    Its Great !!!!
    It means you don’t have to care about your appearance (whats that poem that starts “When I’m old I shall wear purple”)
    and you can say what you like because nobody is listening anyway.
    And you can have 50 Shades of Sh** on your bookcase
    And you don’t give a fig for what people think when they see the books .
    Don’t ask me for a fig . I ran out of them years ago.


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