I’m a guest today at the Novelists, Inc. blog on “Five Ways of Thinking About a Writer’s Conference.”
As for my own personal blog, I’ve been wondering something. Where are all the romance heroes with beards? Or even moustaches?
I’m thinking about this because Maxime, hero of The Duke & the Pirate Queen, has a beard. The man on the book’s cover does not have a beard; I’ve rarely seen moustaches, much less beards, on the covers of romance novels. Or on the characters inside romance novels. Or even in erotic novels, for that matter.
I recently read The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne; it’s a historical set during the French Revolution. For most of the novel, the hero is bearded, or more accurately, stubbled. It’s part of his disguise. I believe, though, in “normal” life he is cleanshaven.
Three major characters in my World War One-set novel The Moonlight Mistress (Pascal Fournier, Noel Ashby, and Gabriel Meyer) have moustaches. In that case, I considered their facial hair to be an important part of the historical worldbuilding; it’s early in the war, and they don’t yet have the gas mask issue that led some soldiers to shave. But also, I like moustaches. Again, the man on the book’s cover does not have a moustache, though I am pretty sure he represents Pascal. Maybe there’s some kind of marketing thing going on with all these cleanshaven men. Or maybe models just don’t tend to have facial hair.
I wonder why that is? Facial hair, I suspect, is more commmon in historical romance set in certain periods when, well, facial hair would be more common. Is there more facial hair in Western Romance? I can’t bring examples to mind. Does this trend hold over time?
Do readers just not want to imagine the scratchiness? Anybody have any thoughts on this?