Thursday, November 29, 2012

Time to Stop the Hair-Tucking Madness!

I was reading Bookpage the other day and came across this passage that had me burst out laughing:

Dear Author Enabler,

Recently I've noticed that in every book I read, at some point, someone tucks a lock of hair behind the ear of another character. . . . What is going on? Is there now some kind of rule that EVERY novel has to have a hair-tucking scene? Is there some super-hair-tucking-editor somewhere who checks to make sure it's there? It's driving me crazy.

Kathleen Winkler

And the answer . . . 

I'm so glad that you brought this crisis to my attention. You are the Paul Revere of American readers, riding through the countryside warning us of an invasion of hair-tucking in fiction. And you are not alone in your concern. On May 25, Cyndi Tefft tweeted, "Almost every romance novel I've read has the guy tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear, yet men rarely ever do this." There is an epidemic of hair-tucking going on in American novels, and it is up to us, the readers, to call attention to this imminent danger. 

Why did this make me laugh so hard, one might ask. Well . . . that would because my work in progress does include a hair-tucking incident, which I guess will need to be replaced by something else in the second draft. I honestly didn't realize this was such a cliche. I included it when two of my main characters first meet back in 1941. The guy reaches over and tucks her hair behind her ear. I included it because I felt it was a somewhat brazen act for two people that had just met - an act of intimacy that would be unexpected, yet - given the source, welcomed.

As for the assertion that men don't actually do this - yes, I would venture that is a correct assumption, but perhaps that is why it is the stuff of romance novels. Men do a lot of things in romance novels that they are not necessarily inclined to do in real life. That is why we call it fiction, and why, at least in part, women indulge in the romantic fantasy of a novel.

But, in order not to be trite, I will think of something else . . . back to the drawing board, at least for that scene.

For those of you working on a romantic novel - does your work-in-progress include a hair-tucking scene? Is this really as much of an epidemic as these writers seem to think?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Anne:

    LOL at your post. I don't have a hair-tucking episode in my book, but occasionally my husband will tuck my hair behind my ears to tease me because he knows it annoys me.

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