Lovefool 08.22.11 | Skimming the Dirty Parts

Lovefool decides to give yaoi another chance with Tired of Waiting for Love, the debut title from DMP’s crowdsourced translation group, the Digital Manga Guild.

 

 

So I haven’t really read much yaoi. It’s nothing against it, really, it’s just not something I’ve ever ended up investigating. Part of it is because, let’s face it, I’m kind of a prude and yaoi has a reputation for being a little…um. It’s got a reputation for being a bit graphic and I get a little eeked out by that stuff. Part of it was because I’m not sure that I would find something to identify with. Which isn’t to say that I find a little piece of myself in everything that I read every single time. That’d be silly. However, having said that, I’m no superhero but I want to make the world better. I like to, when I read something, be able to find a tiny glimmer of myself in it. Because I’m selfish, maybe, or because this old brain is having a little difficulty stretching out into the shapes that it used to, the shapes of other, different, curious. I don’t know. Either way, yaoi just hasn’t really been up on the priority list.
 
On second thought, though, dearest nerdlings, it’s probably the first reason. I probably haven’t read much yaoi because I’m a total prude. This isn’t new to anyone who knows me even a little bit or, frankly, anyone who’s read my work for PLAYBACK:stl when I’ve come across something a little blue. I skim the dirty parts in all those romance novels that I devour as extracurriculars unless they’re tasteful. I always make icky faces when people in movies get serious about making out. And this isn’t to say that I have a problem with sex itself. I’ve addressed that before and I know that you’re all still having sex out there. Straight sex, gay sex, boring sex, sex with toys and dirty words, sex with all sorts of deviant things, probably, you freaks. Some of you may be having sex as I write this and that’s cool, just don’t text me about it. Ten years ago, that might have been different. We could’ve compared notes until the sun came up. It’s just that I’ve happened to grow up into someone who thinks that sex is deeply personal, even 2-D, fictional sex.
 
But yaoi isn’t something I can really continue keep off of my radar since it is, in fact, kind of a big deal in the manga world. And since the folks over at eManga, Yoko Tanigaki especially, go out of their way to hook us up with a variety of reviewing options, popping over there to see what the story was for myself seemed like the thing to do. So I logged in and, lo and behold, they’re promoting Saki Aida and Yugi Yamada’s Tired of Waiting for Love, a book whose cover features two attractive dudes snuggling on a couch. But in a manly way. With a dangling cigarette, which indicates that it is totes dudely. Okay, I decide, this is a good place to start. “Look! They’re pretty,” I said, “and they’re smoking.” I love people smoking in things because I miss smoking and I’m a sad old girl who lives vicariously though comic characters sometimes.
 
Given this promising start, I blithely cracked it open and I made it eight pages before someone in a prison cell went down on someone else complete with tiny little “slurp”s to represent the sound. EIGHT PAGES. SLURP. No, really. Upon further investigation, yes, there’s an explicit sticker on there and I did have to tell it I was 18 but, EEP, A PENIS. There’s a pretty tattoo and some yakuza action, too, but jeez, that was far more surprising than maybe it should have been. I might have even blushed. Lord knows that when Mr. Jameson popped in to see what the squeak was about, I actually closed my laptop.
 
But that’s an unfair representation of the book, right? Eight pages and then getting eeked out is not what we here at Lovefool, Inc. are about, so I cracked open the laptop and went back to it. And what I discovered is that boys’ love isn’t really much different from any other kind. Sure, it’s a little smuttier, but there was a kitten adopted and some noble deeds that ended in our heroes being reunited. There might be some rival gangs duking it out, too, but that’s okay. It’s flavor. The heart of Tired of Waiting for Love is relationships, though, just like any other book we’ve mentioned here. Well, the sex wasn’t like many of the other books that cross my desk but, okay, we’ll roll with it. Eventually. The themes, both good and bad, that I often talk about here in Lovefool were all there for the ticking off. There was friendship between the big burly bartending hero and his friends that he still had from when he was in the yakuza, enough of a friendship that they backed him up when he did something brave and foolish. There was a bit of a power dynamic that bothered me, but it’s the same old thing. Just because the damsel-in-distress is a dude-in-distress, that doesn’t make it cool.
 
I’m told that yaoi has a pretty solid readership among teenage girls and I can almost see where it would appeal. (For more on this, Aimee Levitt, friend and RFT writer extraordinaire, covered the local Bishie Con, which sounds both completely adorbs and terrifying.) First of all, it’s an automatic subculture for people to fit in when it seems like you don’t fit in anywhere. Frankly, being a teenage girl is a little terrifying if you’re thinking about what you’re doing even a little bit. There’s all this stuff going on—with sex and love and trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing in this big, scary world—that can make it tough to feel like there’s anything solid in your life. And I can see where yaoi would’ve appealed to me as a teenage girl for the exact opposite reasons that I’m afraid it won’t appeal to me now – there’s no easy place for me, a suburban girl, to fit in there, really. A teenage Lovefool would’ve thought the whole thing was just risqué enough to make her more interesting for having read it and that it had enough of a story to keep going. As an adult, I can see where it appeals to people in between places in life trying to figure out where they’re going or knowing what they’re doing and just enjoying the ambiguity. Both the teenage Lovefool and the grownup version, though, would just skim the dirty bits. | Erin Jameson
 
Click here to preview or purchase Tired of Waiting for Love at eManga.com.

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