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50 Shades of Uncomfortableness

I clean homes for a living. Most of my clients are older retired women active in the community and our church. For the past few months, I’m seeing this book sitting on most of their coffee tables. The book title, you say? 50 Shades Of Grey.

For those who don’t know, the book is pornography, much more extreme than your normal Harlequin romance. The problem I’m having is how these women think it’s ok to leave it out in the open for all to see? Call me old-fashioned, but I believe anything that has to do with sex should be kept in the privacy of your own bedroom.

Now I’m noticing the amount of women reading this book in public places. If a man pulled out a Playboy at the coffee shop, that would be a little creepy, right? What kind of advances are you welcoming, especially from a male stranger who has read the book? It’s scary!! While I’m not condoning the actions in the book, there is a time and a place, ladies! Keep it classy! 1020-12

I think the home is private and while I wouldn’t suggest leaving possibly offensive reading material in plain view, one’s home is your castle to do as you please with the caveat that leaving skanky items in common areas is an invitation for guests to come to some unflattering conclusions about you.   The OP is technically not a guest but rather a paid employee and I believe the employer has a right to expect discretion from his/her employees.

{ 144 comments… add one }
  • shadowfox79 October 24, 2012, 4:27 am

    I have a couple of points to add here.

    Firstly, “50 Shades” is erotic romance, not pornography, nor is it the same as reading Playboy.

    Secondly, while I think the book is crap, I disagree that erotic romance novels are automatically “skanky items” which invite “unflattering conclusions”. What do we conclude – that they read books? That they’re interested in sex? Gosh, how terrible.

    Thirdly, the OP’s comment that reading erotic romance is welcoming advances from strange men is just plain wrong. If I read crime fiction am I asking to be murdered?

    However, I do agree that it’s not up to an employee to pass judgment on their employer.

  • Libby October 24, 2012, 4:46 am

    Really? This sounds more like it was written by someone trying to sell more copies of the book. Don’t feed the trolls etiquettehell.

    As far as the question of whether a homeowner’s possessions that relate to sex should be confined to the bedroom, it is none of the house cleaner’s business what possessions are located in which part of the house.

  • Mer October 24, 2012, 4:46 am

    I would like to point out difference reading a text book in public and looking a highly visual publication with large and probably rather questionable pictures. While reading a book, whatever the content is, you are not subjecting any other people to material they might find offensive, unless they are literally reading over your shoulder. Which is rude. However pictures are far more outstanding and harder to avoid seeing even if you are minding your own business. This is the reason I would find pulling out a Playboy rather more offensive than reading this 50 Shades of Grey.

    I also would point out that for normal person stranger reading any kind of material does not mean reader is welcoming any kind of advances. Or would you say a person reading about evolution theory is welcoming angry Christian advances? But there are always creepers around, that is true. However quite often your actions do not protect you from them. It’s like with any other kind of bullies, if you are avoiding one reason to be bullied, they certainly find something else.

  • Kathryn October 24, 2012, 5:13 am

    ***this is applicable to my church context and conservative beliefs and thus won’t apply to every church-goer/Christian***

    I would speak to your minister about it. The fact is, porn is demonised from the pulpit because it’s lusting after another woman, which equates to adultery (a href=http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5:28&version=NIV>Mat 5:28). Sometimes the woman is real, sometimes she’s not. 50 SoG is women lusting after sex with a man that isn’t their husband, so it too is adultery. Yet, we don’t often see erotica demonised from the pulpit.

    I’m not a fan of attacking members from the pulpit, but if the minister is aware, he may be able to throw in something about it in a sermon, or have some kind of seminar for men and women in the church on the topic of sex and sexuality.

    Alternatively, if you have a personal relationship with these women, maybe you could tactfully, gently bring it up and express your concern.

    But all that I’ve said is trying to address the heart of the people involved, rather than the etiquette of leaving such a book on the table. Maybe they’re all reading it in order to write reviews on their blogs and thus skipping all the explicit stuff?

  • Sarah October 24, 2012, 5:28 am

    So if a man pulls out a playboy, it is creepy. But if a woman pulls out the book she is inviting negative male attention? Is this the new trend in victim blaming? “She was asking for it. She was reading 50 Shades of Gray.” Stop the victim blaming.

    Normal etiquette dictates that you don’t interrupt or harass people reading in public. Street harassers will bother women (and sometimes men, though it is mostly women) whether she is reading 50 Shades of Gray or the Holy Bible.

  • jessica October 24, 2012, 5:29 am

    to be honest i think the OP is way too uptight about this. Ok the book is terrible, but the offending cover, isn’t offending her.

    Since she is not reading it. you seem to be condemming women from the church for reading a book.

  • Amber October 24, 2012, 5:31 am

    I think the comment “what kind of advances are you welcoming” is a really unfair thing to say. I’m not interested in the book myself, because I think it’s a badly written load of garbage, but I think it’s entirely inappropriate to suggest that anyone who reads a particular book (or dresses a certain way, etc) is “welcoming” some kind of advance.

    If a person makes sexual advances on another person based solely on a book they are reading, without looking for any other positive signals of interest, they’re misguided at best (and possibly a sex offender at worst). Suggesting that a woman is essentially ‘asking for it’ because of her choice of reading material is known as ‘victim blaming’ and is outright offensive to any victim of sexual assault.

  • coralreef October 24, 2012, 5:31 am

    It’s a book, not a live show, so unles the reader starts quoting from it out loud to all and sundry or shoving the pictures in someone’s face, I have no objections to them reading it anywhere.

    And reading those books is asking for advances from men? Sheesh, let me get out my long-sleeve, turtle-neck, floor-length (dark brown) dress, you know, because wearing anything else may send the signal that I’m looking for someone to proposition me.

    I feel the OP is looking for offense where there is none.

  • Bint October 24, 2012, 5:45 am

    This is ridiculous. 50 Shades is nothing like Playboy. Playboy has pornographic images all over it. The other is an erotic (if incredibly badly written) novel, and a tame one at that. Nor is any woman ‘welcoming advances’ by reading it in public. That’s a ludicrous position. ‘Well, your honour, she WAS reading 50 Shades! She was asking for it!’ Good Lord.

    I am almost embarrassed by this post because of the ignorance it reveals towards a huge branch of literature. By your standards there are several other famous books that should be shut away when you come round to clean. Do you get offended if you see Lolita or Dangerous Liaisons lying around? Do you even realize how old-hat and hackneyed 50 Shades is? Have you heard of Fanny Hill?

    I would strongly suggest you mind your own business and do the job you’re paid for without condemning how your employers – or indeed anyone else – chooses to read.

  • Lo October 24, 2012, 5:58 am

    shadowfox79 said it all!

  • ferretrick October 24, 2012, 6:00 am

    Oh, good grief. MYOB, number one. You are an employee paid to do a job. What the owner reads is not your concern. Number two, the covers are quite tame. Number three, the book is not pornography. Writing explicitly about sex does not equal porn. Number four, your comment that women are inviting advances by reading it in public is ugly victim blaming of the worst kind and would be completely offensive if it wasn’t so laughable.

    Sorry if there’s any misspellings in my comment. See it’s hard to type with my eyes rolled this far up in my head.

  • Sarah Jane October 24, 2012, 6:04 am

    I’m having trouble ascertaining the OP’s issue here. I’m not sure what standards of etiquette she is expecting from a client/housekeeper relationship. I would think it would encompass any standards of a business relationship. Meaning, the business is to be compensated for cleaning the house. I don’t have the opinion that a housekeeper should be personally impacted by any item in the client’s home unless it is illegal and should be reported. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the client to expect that.

    As far as reading in public, I make it a policy never to automatically assume someone is reading for their own pleasure (be it entertainment, inspiration, or cheap thrills.) As far as I know, they just might be reading 50 Shades for literary research, to write some type of review, or simply to be more informed with regard to what others are talking about.

    P.s. Haven’t read it myself, and won’t.

  • Amandaelizabeth October 24, 2012, 6:12 am

    I thought that the bit about them being older and retired was offensive. Since when has age been a reason to restrict one’s choice of reading material.

  • Lauren October 24, 2012, 6:23 am

    wow…this post was kind of offensive to me. I wouldn’t want the woman I hired to clean my home to pass judgement on me because of a book I read.

    Katherine – I appreciate your disclaimer but many of us are neither church-goers nor Christians. I myself am a non practicing Jew and if you ever brought this up to me in a Christian context, I’d probaby politely tell you that it was none of your business. Perhaps you wouldn’t do so knowing my religious affiliation, regardless I hope you don’t make a habit of sermonizing to your friends, so rude!

  • CaffeineKatie October 24, 2012, 6:34 am

    If the OP is so offended, she should find another job. If not, dust it and MYOB. As for reading in public attracting the wrong kind of attention? I always carry a book with me, and my personal appearance is about as frumpy as you can get. I still have people say “what are you reading?” as an ice breaker. Every reader does, I imagine. And we all deal with it. And yes, add my vote to “yes Fifty Shades is very badly written crapola”–I can’t imagine why any one would read it, but I will defend their right to read this brain pollution so we can all be free to read.

  • Dot October 24, 2012, 6:37 am

    While 50 Shades of Grey is pretty much a trashy sex novel (I’m having trouble calling it “romance”, as a fan of romance books myself), I have to agree that the homeowner should be able to leave what ever she wants in her home. However, because of busybodies like the OP, I would recommend hiding it or anything else that might be embarrassing if you know someone might see it.

  • The Elf October 24, 2012, 6:38 am

    I’m no fan of 50 Shades of Grey. Aside from the not-my-particular-kink aspect, it started as self-published Twilight fan fiction. Really, that’s all I need to know to put it on my “pass” list. I’ve got a pile hip deep of books I want to read. I’m not going to make room for this one!

    But I have to defend it here. 50 Shades isn’t porn. It’s erotica. Now, you might wonder as to the difference. Well, it’s not clearly defined. One might say it was a little grey. If I had to draw a distinction, I’d say if it has images, it’s porn. If it’s words on a page, it’s erotica. So, if you pull out a Playboy and look at the centerfold in a coffee shop, anyone who casually glances your way will see a little cheesecake. If you pull out 50 Shades and read, someone would have to make an effort to read along with you.

    And FWIW, there’s some pretty steamy Harlequin style romance books out there! They’re just usually more vanilla. No one seems to have a problem with them in public view.

    Further, 50 Shades of Grey has become mainstream. There were articles about the popularity of it in major, well-respected newspapers! This grants it a leniancy you’ll not see with, say, Anne Rice’s Beauty series.

    So, 50 Shades of Grey on the coffee table, fine. In fact given the mainstream aspect to it, the book might have been placed there delibertly as a conversation starter or a status thing. Hey, look! I’m reading the same book as everyone else!

    Don’t get me started on the “welcoming advances” thing. No. Just simply, no.

  • Raymee October 24, 2012, 6:40 am

    I though that as the hired help you should be non-judgemental and show a little discretion.

  • --Lia October 24, 2012, 6:49 am

    Condoning the actions in the book or condemning them?

    There’s something else that’s unclear. Is the problem that the women leave the book out for the house cleaner to see or that they leave it out where their friends can see it? If the problem is that the house cleaner can see it, a reminder is in order that it’s none of the house cleaner’s business. If the problem is that the friends can see it, oh wait, that’s not the house cleaner’s business either. Perhaps the problem is that the (fiction) book is about sex, and the OP thinks no one should be enjoying sex, or at least no one (especially older retired active church going women) should be enjoying (fiction) fantasies about a sort of sex that the house cleaner doesn’t approve of.

  • OP October 24, 2012, 6:49 am

    Wow, I apologize for ruffling so many feathers. I’m not knocking or selling the book. (I did read it and it was poorly written, but the subject matter gets you past that. 😉
    I will NEVER bring up the book with my clients, or disclose their personal information to anyone. Now that I know the story, it’s just a little uncomfortable since my clients are old enough to be my grandmother. Maybe I’d have a better story if I accidentally walked into one of their “Red Rooms”. LOL

  • Spuck October 24, 2012, 6:51 am

    I think when it comes to 50 Shades of Grey, nobody would have know what kind of book it was if it had not caught the media frenzy at just the right moment. The fact is you don’t know what books are erotic novels unless you know which are erotic novels. That novel with a cover with a man and woman looking at one another with bedroom eyes could just as easily be an adult erotic novel as a trashy teen romance. I think people should be more discreet with this particular title because of its notoriety, but other than that you can just be more discreet with an erotic novel than you can be with a playboy magazine.

  • Chris October 24, 2012, 6:52 am

    @Kathryn- I find everything you said to be offensive. Everything. Further, your religious beliefs, or the beliefs and practices of your church, have no application in this situation. And your suggestion that the OP approach the minister and/or the homeowners will have a negative impact on her livelihood. When you are employed in a capacity such as this, where you work in the private homes of your clients, you are expected to maintain professional, and especially discreet, behavior. It is NOT your place to judge nor is it your place to spread gossip.

    @OP- I shall be plain and blunt: get over it. You are employed to clean the houses of these women. If they were leaving objects of sexual pleasure (toys and the like), you would be in a reasonable position to speak privately with the owners to ask they put these items away before you arrive because of health concerns. That book does not put your health or well-being at risk therefore you have no right to comment on it. If it is such a big deal, your ONLY option is to terminate the employer/employee relationship.

    Frankly, I feel that the degree of sexual repression our society lives in is reprehensible. Now, I do agree there are limits we should keep (such as not having graphic material, the Playboy is a wonderful example, in public), I don’t think that things such as erotic novels should be hidden. All we’re doing is continuing to perpetuate an association of shame with sex. And there is no reason to be shameful of sex. If we, as a society, encouraged productive and healthy sexual habits and discourse, the rates of infidelity and sexual assault would almost certainly drop. We ARE sexual creatures, and we DO have a sexual health (both physical and emotional) that we must maintain. Repression on the scale that we see in society, and especially pressured upon us by the current dominant religions, is unhealthy.

    Before I am accused of such, I am NOT advocating that we become excessively promiscuous. I’m NOT advocating teaching or encouraging children to experiment with sex. I’m NOT advocating things such as rape or bestiality. These are examples of other NEGATIVE sexual practices. If you prefer, abstinence until marriage can be perfectly healthy. Seeing, and sleeping with, a single person can be healthy. But, if approached in a sane manner, open-relationships and casual relationships can be JUST as healthy. Proper preparedness can ensure that pre-marital sex is healthy and safe. Experimenting with different acts (such as BDSM and other fetishes) should be approached with care and deliberation and, as such, are PERFECTLY healthy behaviors.

  • Brian Katcher October 24, 2012, 7:04 am

    Wasn’t this an SNL sketch, where women were buying Kindles so no one would see them reading ‘Grey’?

  • Esmeralda October 24, 2012, 7:12 am

    I put myself through college cleaning houses. And the truth is, people leave things lying about in their homes that would surprise you. I have seen all manner of items of a sexual nature, illegal drugs left in plain view, and the like. As a professional, I simply did my job without comment, reminding myself that one’s home is a sanctuary of privacy, and their choices are not my concern.

    Honestly, a spicy novel left out on a woman’s coffee table would not cause me to raise so much as an eyebrow, in the great scheme of things. I agree with the majority of posters who feel that a housekeeper should focus more on their work, and less on their client’s dubious taste in literature.

  • INeedANap October 24, 2012, 7:14 am

    50 Shades of Grey is a lot LESS steamy and sexual than a lot of Harlequin romances, with a much more subtle cover. Frankly, you’ll get more steam out of the average monthly printout of Harlequin Intrigue than the faux-taboo nonsense in 50 Shades.

    Also, if it bothers you, I think you could ask a lead-in question, something to the effect of “Would you like me to put away any of your personal reading material for you in the future?” and see what the owner says. Maybe they left it out accidentally?

  • Rio October 24, 2012, 7:14 am

    OP, I strongly suggest letting your clients know that you judge them and look down at them for this, so they can have the opportunity to fire you and hire someone who will mind their own business. It’s possible that you have their business because they felt like being charitable to a fellow church member, and it’s only right that they know their trust in you is sorely misplaced.

  • Jenny October 24, 2012, 7:19 am

    Criticizing people for what they read in their own homes is nutty. And the idea that people would get approached in public reading it is massively silly. I ride the subway and everyone was reading this book mid summer.

    Remember folks, people said the same stuff about T.H. Lawrence back in the day. You wouldn’t bristle at seeing a copy of “Sons and Lovers,” would you?

  • Sazerac October 24, 2012, 7:19 am

    If I saw such a book on the coffee table where I was visiting…or employed? I’d thank the heavens that the person was reading. It’s an activity far too little engaged in these days anymore.

    Other than that, it would be “none of my business.”

  • Amanda October 24, 2012, 7:23 am

    I’m extremely curious about something. Indulge me, please.

    OP states that the book is pornography. Unless the OP has actually *read* the book, OP is making the most interesting assumption about something which she has no absolute knowledge–one person’t treasure is another’s trash, etc., etc., and relying on someone else’s review to condemn literature is very akin to literary gossip. If the OP has read the book, then she is being hypocritical. Either way, OP, your best bet is to mind your own business and quit making assumptions that you have no way of proving without bringing into question your own character.

    As to Kathryn’s point, anyone who I hired to work around my house condemned my literary choices in the name of religion would quickly find herself without a job. Anyone who gossiped about my choices in literature to my religious advisor would have some serious questions to answer (see previous paragraph) and would then find herself without a job.

  • The Elf October 24, 2012, 7:24 am

    Ah, so the problem is the age of the women? They’re old, not dead! A healthy sex life well into one’s golden years is positively correlated with a healthy mind and body. We should all be so lucky.

  • Erin October 24, 2012, 7:31 am

    To quote my mom, at least they’re reading!

  • ferretrick October 24, 2012, 7:34 am

    Brian beat me to it. I was just going to say, apparently Amazon is really missing out on a marketing tool-Buy a Kindle so judgey people won’t know you’re reading 50 Shades of Gray!

  • Angela October 24, 2012, 7:37 am

    If this was my house cleaner I would tell her to find another job if she was so uncomfortable. It’s NONE OF HER BUSINESS. And as for advances, women who are brave enough to openly read the book in public just might be able to shut down unwanted advances.

  • Angela October 24, 2012, 7:39 am

    Kathyrn, I am an atheist and you would not want to hear what I have to say about a religious busybody who wanted to “express her concern” over my reading material.

  • Justin October 24, 2012, 7:39 am

    This seemed rather tame to me, but I work in computer repair and did home repairs for over 8 years, I have plenty of I found porn stories. However when doing work in people’s private spaces such as homes or computers you have to check your offenses at the door and do the job. If you are easily offended you probably need a change in jobs. If someone cleaning my home came and told me they found offense in my choice of reading material the answer would be simple:

    “I’m sorry you feel that way, but I accept your resignation.”

    With regard to public reading, not my place to judge. People read what they enjoy and we all have different tastes, that’s great since it means there is a huge variety of books out there for everyone.

  • Not Amused October 24, 2012, 7:39 am

    NOT a fan of “50 Shades…”. I read an excerpt to see what the hoopla was about, and was deeply unimpressed.

    Anyhoo, here’s my 2 cents. If you are being paid to clean someone’s home, what you see is really none of your business. The fact that these ladies are old enough to be your grandmother is irrelevant. Just because your mind is blown by the idea that they might have an interest in sex is no justification to judge them. If it bothers you that much, don’t work for them.

  • Raven October 24, 2012, 7:47 am

    1. 50 Shades isn’t porn, in the sense that it isn’t visual, like a Playboy. It’s words on a page.

    2. Kathryn, I don’t know where to begin with your highly offensive, ridiculous statement… but I will say that (as a Christian) I disagree with pretty much everything you said.

    3. OP’s mention of age is really, really sad. Are older women not allowed to be interested in sex? Would OP have been more comfortable if the clients were in their 30s and 40s?

    4. What goes on in other people’s homes is their business. OP is an employee, not a guest, so there’s no expectation of “company preparations.”

    5. Finally – (most?) women like sex. Why is this still an issue? I’m sick to death of women with sexual appetites being painted as “loose women” when it’s perfectly normal. Lose the smelling salts and fans – it’s a new world out there!

  • Wolfgirl October 24, 2012, 7:48 am

    @ Kathryn – Seriously??? So you recommend that the OP goes with;
    “Say, Woman-Who-Empolys-Me-To-Clean-The-Dishes, I’ve seen some books around the house which you pay me to clean which may or may not be erotic fiction, and I have thus concluded that you are lusting after a man you isn’t your husband. Which (as you will KNOW as a church goer/Christian) equates to adultery. I’d like to express my concern about that. Perhaps you’d be interested in attending my church’s seminar for men and women on the topic of sex and sexuality?”. (NB pretty much paraphrased/quoted from Kathryn’s post)

    Bah ha ha, really?? I would bet a significant amount of money that that would go down like a ton of lead bricks.

    Seriously though, regardless of how much I would like this conversation to happen purely for my own amusement, it should be obvious that this would be far far beyond the bounds of general and business etiquette and employee/er relationships.

    Ditto to OP thinking this is any of her concern. If however the OP wasn’t ever considering raising this with her employers, then what is the etiquette issue here? Sounds just like a whinge about the state of morality today; not what this site is for surely?

  • Coralreef October 24, 2012, 7:48 am

    OP, your customers are retired, not dead. They are allowed to have whatever books or toys they want in the privacy of their own homes.

  • Peas October 24, 2012, 7:50 am

    Honestly, this crosses the line from politeness to prudishness.

    And the victim blaming is atrocious. No woman “invites” unwanted attention. That’s why it’s called “unwanted.” She should feel free to read whatever books she wants without worrying that someone will say, “Well, that guy isn’t leaving her alone, but she deserves it!”

    As to the OP – she’s old, not dead. Old people enjoy the more intimate things in life too. I agree with the person above who spoke to the repression and villianization of s*xual desire. It’s natural and healthy to be interested.

  • Christine October 24, 2012, 7:58 am

    “…it’s just a little uncomfortable since my clients are old enough to be my grandmother. ”

    Or, it could be viewed as inspirational unless you are looking forward to the special day somewhere in your old age where you lose all sexual need and stimulation.

    Glad you could express your shock here, though. My first job was as a maid and I agree that sometimes you see things that make you want to anonymously shout, “Seriously!” But you can’t because you know the job going in. A book wouldn’t have a shock factor for me, but we all have different boundaries and I hope you were able to get it out of your system. If a client has to clean their house before you come to clean their house, its not a good fit.

    I can’t get on board with the last portion at all. Book with sexual content, asking for it? Only if she is noticeably panting while reading.

    How jaded does it make me when “especially from a male stranger who has read the book?” makes me immediately think: oh, thank goodness, he reads books.

  • sv October 24, 2012, 8:00 am

    I honestly cannot believe this post made it to Etiquette Hell. OP, you are a paid employee who is required to clean up your employers houses. That’s it. You are not their minister, teacher, friend or mother. What they read in their own homes ( or elsewhere, for that matter) is entirely up to them. If these women are finding some degree of sexual liberation from it or even if they are just having a good laugh at the terrible writing, good for them. And to imply that they should have no interest in it because of their age…! I’m astounded.

  • Bint October 24, 2012, 8:02 am

    @OP: your opinion of whether the book is good or not is not what’s offensive. I refer you back to the nasty victim-blaming and your judgmental attitude pointed out so often above. Will you address those too, or will you just leave it with ‘LOL’ and a brush-off that makes it painfully clear how unrepentant you are?

  • AMC October 24, 2012, 8:05 am

    I agree with most of the ppl here that the OP is in another person’s (employer’s) home, and they have a right to leave their possessions wherever they please. Also, reading 50 Shades of Grey in public is not the same as looking at naked magazine pictures in public, and it is NOT an invitation for advancements from strangers. I have a right to read what I please on the bus/subway/airplane without being harassed.

    This reminds me of an episode of ‘Sex in the City’ where Miranda hires a housekeeper, Magda, who stumbles upon some personal items in Miranda’s bedside table and throws them out.

  • Lo October 24, 2012, 8:06 am


    You’re catching a lot of flack for your comment and I believe you will catch a lot more. I just want to let you know that even though I disagree with it I think your heart is in the right place and I’m throwing you a bit of support for your good intentions.

    I dated a catholic once who had a similar approach to perceived transgressions. I couldn’t go to Mass with both him and a catholic friend of mine because she participated in the Eucharist even though she didn’t believe in transubstansiation. (laymens terms, taking communion without believing in the legit transformation into the blood and body of Christ). He felt that if she was taking it “falsely” it was his duty to notify the priest because it was a sin against God. I felt very strongly that this was ridiculous so I refused to let the situation occur.

    I dont believe in transubstansiation either and I was raised in a Protestant (evangelist) home so I would never participate in this part of Mass, however what she did was between her and God and as she’d already had first communion it was well within her rights to participate, even though I wouldn’t have done so in her position.

    Point being, there are always aspects of one’s own faith that don’t live up to the ideal. I do believe that much like in etiquette, calling out someone for their “sinful” behavior is… well.. you know what they say about glass houses. It’s really only appropriate for close friends when they’re asking for criticism or forgiveness and getting the clergy involved is really outside the realm of what’s acceptable, I feel comfortable saying that even as a Christian. Some may disagree but I’m a firm believer that no good can come of this kind of interference, even when it’s kindly meant. And I know you did mean it kindly.

  • Sarah October 24, 2012, 8:07 am

    @OP- So no comment on the victim blaming? And you have yourself all worked up over a book you read yourself? Simply because they’re older? You have got to see that is ridiculous, and that your discomfort does not mean they are being rude or are wrong. Seriously. You read the book. They read the book. You don’t get to judge them just because they’re older, or because they read it in the privacy of their own home instead of restricted to the bedroom.

    @Kathryn– I’m a Christian and think your solution is ridiculous and offensive. Going to the minister and asking him to attack the church members from the pulpit? These woman are the OP’s boss. Your suggestion is rude and inappropriate.

  • clairedelune October 24, 2012, 8:10 am

    It’s the nature of a housecleaning job that one sees incredibly private aspects of one’s clients’ lives. Unless the OP has reason to suspect that they’re leaving items around to subtly harass her, it’s none of her business–leaving something in a public part of the house on cleaning day does not translate as “leaving it in the open for all to see”. She shouldn’t assume that, because it’s out while she’s there, it’s also sitting out next to the canapés during dinner parties.

    As far as @Kathryn’s suggestion, I’m beyond appalled–and I say this as a Christian. Taking information that one has learned in confidence (and being trusted to clean someone’s home is most definitely being taken into their confidence), and tattling to the local minister in the hope that the minister will publicly shame that person, is one of the more spiritually bankrupt ideas I’ve heard this week.

  • Jay October 24, 2012, 8:10 am

    If you didn’t know the book by its reputation, you’d never know there was anything “wrong” with someone sitting in a coffee shop reading it. THAT’S certainly a major difference between this book and Playboy.

    OP is being very prudish, imho, trying to dictate what others can read in public, when it has no effect on anyone else. Very controlling.

  • Audra October 24, 2012, 8:18 am

    I believe everything I want to say has been covered. However, I do disagree with Kathryn- the housekeeper should not be tattletelling to the minister nor should she speak to her employers about it. She is there to clean the house, not judge what her employers choose to read. I think both of those things would not only be rude, but way over the top. If OP really has that big of an issue with it, she should quit cleaning those particular houses.

    To the OP- really? Out of all the things in the world to be upset about, you pick the fact that older women are reading an erotic novel? Since when do books have age limits? The whole thing about welcoming advances is ludicrous.

  • egl October 24, 2012, 8:35 am

    1)Unless someone is reading out loud, reading any book in public is rather different than reading any picture based magazine in public. You have to work at it to be accidentally exposed to the content.

    2)These books are available for sale at my local supermarket. They’re not exactly an uncommon public sight.

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