Voluptuous Catholic Paramours

BY HEATHER BLACKMORE

I love learning new words. Nearly every word I know I learned in some unremarkable, unmemorable fashion. There have been some standouts, however. I thought I’d share a few.

 

A popular teacher of mine in high school was preparing us for an upcoming vocabulary test. When he got to the word “voluptuous,” he blushed and stammered, clearly thinking of it in a particularly private manner. He gestured by loosely cupping his palms in front of his chest, as if he meant, but couldn’t say, “Characterized by large breasts.” In response, as if playing charades, one of my classmates called out, “Big hands!” It stuck. Since then, I know what folks think when they see a voluptuous woman: look at those hands.

 

In my early twenties, I fell in love for the first time. Moored by that committed relationship, I came out to my parents. My mother sent me a letter in response. In it, she said something like, “You are our daughter. You will always be welcome here. Your paramours will not.”

 

Okay, maybe coming out hadn’t gone over super well.

 

But I learned a new word. Paramour. It made me sound intriguing and dangerous, like, wow, little old me has an illicit lover! How Anna Karenina of me! And by at least one definition, my mother’s meaning was entirely accurate. My girlfriend and I weren’t married, and we were living together. Still, we weren’t being adulterous, and Mom had previously welcomed most of my boyfriends, so this edict was new. Safe to say that for my Catholic mom, I was not living the dream. Thus began a long road ahead, one filled with hurt and healing. And somehow, always: love. (I’ll be blogging separately about this.)

 

Fast forward two decades.

 

My 80+ year-old, politically conservative father has preordered my first novel, Like Jazz.Like Jazz 300 DPI I’m certain he’d have ordered my book even if he hadn’t needed something to get him over the free-super-saver-shipping threshold. He’s supporting my writing, and I’m thrilled. At the same time, I’m a little uncomfortable.

 

I’ve hinted to him several times about the topic of Like Jazz. “You do realize, Dad, that this is a romance, right? Where the main characters—two women, remember—you know…hug? And sometimes…kiss? And, um…you know, that sort of thing?”

 

“I like to think I have very catholic tastes,” he said.

 

I grew up Catholic. Most of my extended family is Catholic. They’re a fairly easygoing group. They don’t walk around quoting Scripture—which isn’t to say that Jesus Christ doesn’t come up a lot, particularly when the Vikings are losing. But when the conversation relates to your nuclear family, trust me, it’s different. “I know, Dad. That’s the thing. Probably not up your alley.”

 

“You do know what catholic means, don’t you?” he asked.

 

“Well, I know what I think Catholic means, and based on that, this isn’t necessarily the book for you.”

 

“Catholic means having wide-ranging tastes. Being broad-minded.”

 

Are you freaking kidding me? Well, if any being has a sense of humor, it’s God. “It does? Huh.” The capital C version I grew up with meant something vastly different from this lower case c. I immediately grabbed my dictionary. Oh my God. Dad’s definition was the first entry. Mine was last. “You’re right, Dad.”

 

Like I said, I love learning new words. Or new takes on old ones.

 

So…for all good catholic folk everywhere, I offer you Like Jazz. Enjoy!

Heather Blackmore’s debut novel, Like Jazz, will be available

from the Bold Strokes Bookstore on December 1, 2013.

24 Responses to “Voluptuous Catholic Paramours”


  1. 1 Shelley November 12, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    Great blog, Heather. Congratulations on the breakthrough with your dad. That’s a true victory.

    Like

  2. 3 Tq November 12, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    LOL… excellent blog. Looking forward to reading your book.

    Like

  3. 5 Dorinda Depp November 12, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Heather, your comments made me laugh. Grew up in a very religious Methodist family however the big difference was my family accepted me and welcomed my partner to xmas dinner. Dorinda

    Like

  4. 7 lizcaruso November 12, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Hi Heather, thanks for the blog. I can now officially tell my Mom that I truly am a good catholic! Best wishes on your new release.
    Liz

    Like

  5. 9 Lee Lynch November 12, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    This is wonderful. I look forward to more!

    Like

  6. 11 S.A. November 12, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    I enjoyed your blog.🙂 I learned about the difference between the big-C and little-c “catholic” while, ironically, attending a Catholic high school. Looking forward to your book!

    Like

  7. 13 S.A. November 12, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    (And kudos to your dad!)

    Like

  8. 14 Mary Kelly November 12, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    I love where this went! I also grew up in a very Catholic household and still regularly attend Mass, holding on to the small c catholic view. I like your father’s approach and I was also blessed with an understanding parent, who might not agree with my personal life, but loved me fiercely anyway and who supported me until the end. Blessings are in many forms! Look forward to your new book! Congratulations!

    Like

    • 15 Heather Blackmore November 12, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      Thanks so much, Mary. Indeed, you’re so right–blessings are in many forms. So glad you had a staunch supporter in one of your parents. Makes all the difference to have such an anchor. Thanks for your comments!

      Like

  9. 16 Devlyn November 13, 2013 at 7:29 AM

    What a great Blog, thanks for sharing. I am neither catholic nor Catholic but I do appreciate the humour one would get from the definitions. I learnt something new today which is always a good thing. Looking forward to Like Jazz and will surely appreciate the bits your Father will find difficult to read.

    Like

  10. 18 Kim November 13, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Heather, thanks for the entertaining blog and I look forward to your new romance novel.

    Like

  11. 20 jfaraday November 15, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    What a great story! Whatever anyone might say about Catholics, they do tend to have excellent vocabularies =) Looking forward to reading your book.

    Like

  12. 22 Nora Olsen November 18, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Very funny! Looking forward to the book.

    Like

  13. 24 Kathy November 23, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Hilarious and moving story, Heather–and a great reminder of the changes that are possible when people love each other and keep trying. (Just what we need as we head into the holidays!) Looking forward to Like Jazz–and to your next blog post!

    Like


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