Evil Auntie Peril, who cracks me up, wrote in the following: There is the historical association: male long hair = virility. From Samson to those wacky Merovingian reges criniti (“Cut my head off, but no, don’t take the hair!!!”) to Fabio, the legend continues. Which begs the question, do flowing locks counteract the girly aspects of man-titty, or enhance it? Or are they subliminally evoking the unbridled passion one is guaranteed to find beneath these covers?
As for those of us with a fancy for the follically-challenged, I think Suzanne Brockman once wrote a hero with a receding hairline, but he never made it onto the cover (sniff). .
So true, the manly hair being a sign of virility. I agree that it is odd that the women on romance novel covers often have long, long, LONG hair and it is possible that they are subliminally echoing the virility of the man with their unbridled manes of peculiarly-colored hair.
But EAP’s comment at the bottom, about Suzanne Brockman’s hero with a receeding hairline made me ponder: how much does it matter to women today whether a man has a receeding hairline? Does it bother any of us? I think this might be the secret equal to women’s obsession with weight. We all worry (well, many of us do!) about our weight and whether the men in our lives notice our cellulite, our saddlebags, our muffin tops.
I’ve had a few conversations with male friends – who are profoundly unwilling to discuss their hairlines until prodded with the stubborn force of Sarah’s Will – wherein they’ve told me it is their biggest personal fear, that they will lose their hair. One friend of mine told me that her husband, who is a tall, muscular, kind, and incredibly talented carpenter, looked at her with a panicked expression when he realized he’d lost some hair and asked her seriously, “Are you going to leave me?”
While this has nothing to do with romance novels, it does touch on romance, attraction, and images of virility – which we here at SBTB like to skewer at least once a week! So – what’s your opinion: if a man loses his hair, is he out to pasture or is can he still be a hotty mc hot hot? Are we all holding on to the idea of a man with thick, luscious hair as the ultimate sign of handsomeness (and don’t forget those mantitties!) or is it ok for a romance hero, or a hero in our real life romances, to have a slighty-less-than-full head of hair?