Let’s Get Physical

Gekko asked, regarding a romance novel we’re both reading…

I do wonder if it’s standard and required for nipples to be dusky pink? Also, must the guy be “handsome” and “hard bodied” all the time, or are there romance novels where the guy is a bit pudgy and squishy? Not that I find “Mike” off-putting (yet)! I mean, I’m all for good looking, hard bodied males, lord knows! I just wondered if there was a standard.

I think that in novels where the heroines are Caucasian, the nipples are pretty much universally described as some shade of pink, though not necessarily “dusky.” I’ve just glanced through a few books on my shelves and found these descriptions: “rosy peaks” and plain “pink” … that’s it from a cursory check. Frankly I was surprised I didn’t find more flowery phrases, but then again, most sex scenes are written from the female POV, so the reader is given her feelings and descriptions of the hero, not the other way around. The scenes that are from the hero’s POV are more likely to be ones where he has to chase some bad guy who’s abducted her.

All romance novel heroes are handsome and fit, though it is acceptable to have a war injury, not that this can ever affect performance in bed obviously. A hero is not “squishy,” physically or morally. Speaking of that, James Bond would not be a true RN hero because he has sex with women already in relationships. Idk what made me think of James Bond. Weird! 🙂

Heroines, though, can be all different. Some are  young and slim; others are older and curvier. Jennifer Crusie writes overweight heroines and makes them super-sexy. They can be anywhere from petite (short) to supermodel height, and don’t always fit the established standard of beauty, while the male lead in general must be classically good-looking and over six feet tall.

Isn’t that interesting? Don’t we always assume that romance novels give unfair stereotypes of women, but maybe we’re looking at it the wrong way around. Remember that women are largely writing these novels, as fantasies for other women.

Oh, the novel that Gekko and I are reading is called Fiona’s Fling ~ you should buy a copy for yourself!


8 responses to “Let’s Get Physical

  1. Hrm, well, yes, but navigating Mike’s hot body isn’t on my list. Funny, a novel that I think about but don’t spend time writing would qualify as a romance with a few very minor tweaks, but it never occurs to me to physically describe the two main characters. OK, a head-turning black woman, but she’s in an environment where any woman turns heads. A white dude about thirty who’s athletic enough, but so what? Must be a guy thing. Mostly I want to describe the inner workings of steam engines.


  2. OK, WTF, WordPress? Why does my name still ink to my fake WP page?


  3. Cuz you care about dwarfs?


  4. Maybe for the same reason that when I comment to yours from my phone, it always rings twice. Grrrr.

    Romance novels must have loads of physical descriptions and sensory deets. They can also have descriptions of steam engines, spaceships, snake-infested jungles, etc., depending on subgenre.


  5. I totally bought it just now – I’ve been in kind of a romance novel mood lately. Sometimes that happens around Christmas because of all the sitting around eating cookies. Not that cookies are sexual. But sitting around eating cookies requires a book. Otherwise you just look like a big fat pig who’s doing nothing but eating cookies.


  6. And you know, while we’re speaking of the jargon. I want to know why contemporary romance novels can use the word cock but historical romances have to come up with funny euphemisms.


  7. Cuz only historical people on HBO series say things like “fuck” and “cock.” Other old-timey people used euphemisms.


  8. That’s not true at all. The old-timey people on Showtime also use the words fuck and cock.


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