Yes, it’s an odd question to kick off a blog, but I figure every woman (and maybe more than a few men) have an opinion.
I hold nothing against a bare-chested hero like Kris Kennedy’s DEFIANT hero. (Okay, for the record, if he asked me to, I would hold myself against him!) This man is rugged, strong, has serious intentions and he’s even struck a pose reminiscent of the Steadfast Tin Soldier. The fact that his five o’clock shadow is more pronounced than any chest hair? I’ll admit–I’m intrigued.
I grew up in the 70’s, an era where my pre-adolescent brain imprinted James Bond’s lightly-furred chest as an image of masculinity. But in the 21st century, I find that more than our romantic heroes of literature and screen are sporting waxed chests along with their washboard abs. On a recent cruise, I realized that easily three-fourths of the adult males on board had little or no visible body hair on their torsos, chests and backs.
Even Old Spice has changed from their salty sailor returning from the sea to that hip guy sporting a towel, who appears to be clean-shaven everywhere. Well, at least everywhere we can see.
Chest hair has gone from “hot” to “not.” It’s even spoof-worthy, as evidenced by Austin Powers and that rug of his that proclaims his mojo. What happened to that firmly-entrenched belief held by women of previous generations–that chest hair was a sign of virility?
When I turned in my first contracted book to my editor, she praised many elements of my story. One change she urged was to have me remove any mention of hair on my hero’s chest.
Seriously? I thought. (Yes, I was young and naive in those days, er, last summer…)
I’ve since learned that romance editors, agents and many authors crave smooth rippling muscles. But I’m curious about readers. Does that hold true for everyone? Is the romance industry perpetuating a myth by delivering only sleek pecs to their readers—or is that really what readers want?
So join me and cast your vote: Chest Hair or Waxed Bare. Which do you prefer?