Friday, May 22, 2009

She Came Through The Bathroom Window

The other day I was reading over my newest book and realized my contemporary heroine who’s all woman mentioned something about makeup only once. That got me to thinking how in books that I read (not chick lit) rarely do the women wonder how their makeup looks or worry about it wearing off during a date, having torrid love affair or saving the world. I don’t know about you, but no way would I ever let a man who I haven’t been married to for at least a year or more see me without some makeup. How often have we read a contemporary novel and the hero say something about her having a “natural” look? In other words, no makeup. Yes, I know most of the heroines are in their twenties, but I can promise you even with the beautiful skin I had at the time, I wore at least blush and mascara.

Then let’s talk about heroines enhancing their attributes. Women love to highlight, bleach, or color their hair and men notice. They like those extra miles we go through to look better. Sure they’ll tease you about hiding the gray, but they’ll look long and hard at the blonde with the oversized plastic boobs. Do you really believe them when they say, “Honey, I rather have the real thing in my bed”? Right. If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you. More and more women are coloring their hair and having breast enlargements because it makes them feel better about their body and the men don’t complain. None that I know of, that is. So instead of just having spies change hair color when they’re undercover, include the woman who works in the office and falls in love with her boss or manages the ranch and goes into town to meet her sweetie. Hey, she can have a boob job too.

Okay, there are some aspects of what humans do that I prefer not reading about especially if it has to do with the bathroom. Yeah, there will be times in comedies it can be used, but the only scenes I’m interested in that include a bathroom are when they’re sharing a shower/bath, using the room/countertop for privacy to satisfy their unexpected heat during a party, or by showing tenderness as they tend to cuts and bruises.

Well, anyway, these things make me think of ways to make my heroine more believable, real. I already pointed out flaws such as her face being a little long (THE PREACHER’S SON) or her hips being a little wide (A SHERIFF TO CALL HER OWN) or her “defect” being hidden with makeup and a sexy gown (OUT OF THE SHADOWS). Yet each hero knows in his eyes, no matter her faults, she’s beautiful.

What do you like to add to make it real?


Christine said...

Excellent observation! You're right. In my first book (which remains in a box in my closet) I did have my heroine do her makeup and look in the mirror. Wonder if that's why it didn't sell? JK--the writing was subpar at best, but she was not a totally natural beauty. I might add the element back in again.

And yeah, no way would I let a guy see me without my war paint on until he knew me well. Now I am watching my darling daughter go through all the pains of being perfect for her first BF and it brings back memories. LOL

Karen Beeching said...

When I write younger heroines, I definitely have them worry more about make-up, hips, and overall appearance issues. Lately my heroines are in mid-thirties and have survived events in their lives that keep them from focusing too much on these things.

I used to be worried about this type of stuff when I was younger, but by the time I was dating my second hubby, I would be without make-up, my hair everywhere, and my attitude was ... deal with it, sweetie.

Very good points, Carla. These are issues I definitely consider whenever I write my characters, but I write the characters based more on their age and background than anything else.

Wonderful blog and it has me thinking!

Carla Swafford said...

I remember when my girls were first old enough to start wearing makeup, I took them to Merle Norman to buy their foundation and get lessons on applying it. It was so exciting to them.

Carla Swafford said...

Thanks, Karen. Funny thing about me and makeup. The older I get, the more I wear, trying to hide the wrinkles. LOL!

Christine said...

Wrinkles... mmm... I was doing my makeup one day and had a line on my face I thought was a blemish so I put tons of my mineral makeup on it--to no avail. It was a crevice created by a wrinkle LOL.

I guess that's why we lose our eyesight?

Diane Richmond said...

Listen, every woman I know has insecurities. They make us human. I try to instill some physical or mental insecurity in each of the women I write about. I think it adds a sense of realism to our characters. God knows I have a whole list of traits that I would like to hide/change or delete.

People who have no flaws are not interesting to me. I don't know any of them in real life. Maybe they live in another neighborhood.

Good blog. It gives me something to consider when describing my characters.

Carla Swafford said...

So funny that you mentined eyesight, Christine. I had told my husband he needed to get "real" glasses as the store bought ones weren't doing the trick. Then I instantly regretted it. If he could really see again, then he'd see all my wrinkles...I like for him to think I'm still young. LOL

Carla Swafford said...

I agree with you, Diane, people with flaws in books and real life are way more interesting.

Louisa Cornell said...

I agree. I try to give each of my heroine's some flaws - real and perceived - to make them more real. You learn a lot about a person in the way they deal with their insecurities.

Carla Swafford said...

And so true, Louisa. Everyone has insecurities and through those insecurities readers identify with the characters.

M.V.Freeman said...

Everyone here has made excellent points.

I like flaws, sometimes I prefer funny ones (like addiction to handbags and fancy shoes).

As for make up. I can honestly say I forget to mention it in my stories--maybe because for years my job required that I do not wear make up while at work.

Except my eleven year old has been eyeballing eye shadow. I think I'm afraid now.