I remember when I was in college and I would joke with my friends about being the “token”
In our group I was the only black female and I would make jokes that I would be their “token black woman for the evening”. I always thought it was funny but I think it made them uncomfortable. They didn’t always know whether to laugh with me or just let me enjoy how funny I thought I was.
Being in my writer’s club here in California sometimes I feel the same way. Oh, not about being the token black, but about being the token erotic romance writer. When they talk about the genre I sometimes feel eyes on me. It reminded me of when I was in college and more often than not I would be the only black student in the classroom. When any subject on race relations cam up…everyone looked at me.
It also makes me feel like I am a walking disclaimer.
You know when you try to visit a site and it says
“Content Warning: The blog/website/ story that you are about to view may contain content only suitable for adults.”
That is what I am. There is always a “Content Warning” whenever my stories or my books are mentioned.
I guess is what happens when you write about sex or in my case…have sex as a major controversy in the plot. Peo
ple are warned about you and they get to make the choice whether they want to click on that button to see what you are all about.
That used to annoy me. I would get so frustrated that it was such a big deal. I would say to myself. “Why is everyone so afraid of sex? I mean, I understand that some people may choose not to read explicitly sexual novels, but it would bother me when I would get those looks as if to say what I was writing was smut.
I would get so offended even if those words weren’t exactly used. I just knew that I knew what they were thinking.
When new members want to join the critique group that I am in, they are given the disclaimer that there is an erotic romance writer in the group. They have to given the choice on whether or not they can tolerate sex scenes. I think that is fair but it feels uncomfortable sometimes when I finally meet those people and they give me the “oh, you’re the sex writer” look.
Yes, I am the walking disclaimer. I was the token black girl.
I deal with them the same way. With humor.
In a writers meeting there was an evaluation form that asks the question “What is your genre?”
There for a few, but I didn’t see my genre. Erotic romance. There were so many and I knew that they knew that I was here and yet there was not a slot for my genre. Then I spotted the Romance spot and next to it in parenthesis it read next to romance, indicate heat level.
I started to chuckle to myself until I realized the woman next to me was staring. I’m sure she wondered what the hell I was laughing at. I just thought that was funny and I was tempted to put,
Heat Level: HOT HOT HOT HOT!!!
Yes, I ‘m the walking disclaimer and yes, it can be uncomfortable sometimes. However, It is always good to pushed out of your comfort zone and It’s not like I’m going to stop writing erotica, or being black, or being a woman or being bisexual.
It’s who I am.
It’s my thing.