Midnight Kisses
by Kimberly Raye, contemporary (2000)
LoveSpell (The Time Of Your Life), $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52361-2

In the first few chapters of Midnight Kisses, I'm introduced to Josephine Farrington who is

(a) Panicking because she is approaching 35, the oldest spinster among her acquintances,
(b) Reads and follows comedy, sorry, fashion and women magazines like Cosmopolitan religiously,
(c) Pays to attend seminars to find a Perfect Mate,
(d) Moans that the small amount of chocolatey cereal she took in an impulsive non-health food binge is going down to her thighs, and
(d) Spends three pages analyzing a kiss.

My mouth was so wide open a bat can set roost in my oral cavity. To top it off, this woman is supposed to be a scientist, an MIT graduate with an IQ of 180. I sincerely hope that this is a joke, a parody of those "modern" women caricatures.

Imagine my dismay when I realize the author is really serious about making our Ally McBeal Deluxe the heroine. Josephine remains a seething mass of neuroses, insecurities, and a complete emotional mess from page one to the end, and she gets her man. Oh boy.

Our heroine is beautiful, drop dead gorgeous, and has no social life whatsoever. She can't meet any nice guys, despite her beauty and bra cup size, and she spends her free time bitching about her lack of boyfriends with her equally neurotic girlfriends. So she decides to make her own perfect man, with the help of hunk-posed-as-nerd-scientist Matthew Taylor. Matthew has his own agenda in helping her, and he is determined to keep things platonic no matter how much those bra cup size is making him salivate, but one mistaken phone call leads them both to murky territory of mistaken identities and more Adventures of Yuppies in Neurosis City.

MK is made unpalatable from the get go by the really dumb reasons why our two bland yuppies can't commit. Parents divorced, not ready for commitment, etc etc etc. It doesn't help that our heroine takes four pages of painful psychoanalyzing before she can pick up the phone to call Matthew. Or another four trying to figure out whether Matthew meets her Ten Commandments or not. And after the Orgasm, I'm surprised she didn't suffer a nervous breakdown.

My mom always told me and my sisters that the best way to get a man is not to try too hard. "Let them know you're not interested, and they'll come begging," she said. Too bad Josephine and her fellow sad female buddies never met my mom. I could smell Josephine's hysterical desperation at beating the biological clock, and seeing how her IQ degenerate with subsequent turn of the pages drowns the few admittedly funny scenes in the story.

I'm completely disgusted by the vapid, clingy, I need a man NOW! attitudes of these women. It's not only Jo, there's also a beautiful receptionist who pines like a dumb puppy for an ex. Beautiful, secretly envious bridesmaids taking three pages to decide the color of their dresses. A drop dead beautiful PI who has to turn to an andriod to feel like a woman. All drop dead gorgeous women unable to get laid. Is there a vandetta against beautiful women going on that I am not aware of? And did the Mensa tester left out the negative sign when she or he filled in Jo's IQ in the form?

The only saving grace of MK is Jo's Amazing Nipples. It's really funny how every other page has those poor bubbies throbbing erect and pouting whenever Jo fantasizes about Matthew's alterego or hears his voice. After page 150, I start to feel sorry for her. I hear ice really helps, Jo.

MK is a story of insecure women going through hooplas, forsaking dignity and brain cells in search for the Perfect Mate myth propagated by the silly women mag they read religiously. It is also a story about some pretty hilarious - and probably painful - nipple conditions. But I won't consider it a romance. It's more of a sad illustration of how bland and how stultifying life as a yuppie of the 21st century can be, especially when common sense is completely forsaken in some convoluted mating game.

It's easier just making a trip to the local adults store and buy a few DIY accessories, Jo.

If I want to hear beautiful women bitching about their sad lack of love lives, I would turn to Sex In The City, thankyouverymuch. At least in that TV show the women do it with style, wit, and class only Pity Poor Bo-Peep Josephine could only dream of.

Rating: 17

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