Back when I was in college (way back in the day), my best friend and I were lucky enough to live in an apartment complex that had a pool and during the summers we spent as much time as possible soaking up all the sun’s rays. And because we were 20 years old and were tight and toned, we wore cute little two-piece bathing suits for maximum exposure (I would KILL to have that body now, btw). We wanted to be exotically tan, but we didn’t want skin cancer so we carefully applied our SPF.05 sunscreen before spending six hours by the water. On reflective blankets. In the middle of July. (Do you guys remember those reflective mats people used to use? It was shiny on one side so as to attracts ALL THE UV RAYS for maximum tropical glow. Bonus points if you slid off your shiny metallic mat due to the half bottle of baby oil you glooped all over yourself.)

Our preferred entertainment while we baked ourselves crispy was to read cheap paperback books. Specifically, books of the Harlequin Romance variety. I scoffed the first time D told me she read romance novels but she said, “No, seriously you have to read at least one – they’re HILARIOUS!” I can distinctly remember standing in the smutty book section at our local Walmart reading the book descriptions to each other to see which ones sounded the most ridiculous – we brought the winners home to read by the pool that afternoon.

We spent many hours that summer reading passages to each other and rolling from laughter due to phrases like “he dipped his finger into her honey pot” and “she could barely wrap her hand around his hard shaft because of its girth”. We gasped for breath and our abs hurt from laughing so hard because OH MY GAWD! The word “girth” made me giggle like a 12 year old boy. And I’m sorry but if you can barely wrap your hand around it, you should probably run away. For your own health and safety. *Ahem*

No offense to anyone who reads these types of novels and I’m sure they’re more sophisticated today than they were twenty-ish years ago, but the ones we read were predictable and awesomely ridiculous, which made them so much fun to read. The hero was usually the strong, brooding type (with massive girth, obviously) and the heroine always had a heaving bosom and a cascade of wild flowing hair. They would hate each other at first, but then some conflict threw them together and eventually the would succumb to the ever-increasing tension between them. Then he would profess his undying love to her and carry her off into the sunset. It was mindless and over the top and WE LOVED IT.

I haven’t read a good bodice-ripper since then, but I’ll admit that sometimes during the dog days of summer, I’ll think back on that time and wish I had a good smutty paperback and hours to spend reading. Maybe next summer I’ll pick one up while I’m shopping for SPF275 sunscreen to read while I sit by the pool in my cover up and floppy hat. I’ll still probably giggle at the word “girth” though.