Classic Clinch Clench

This may sound odd, but…I was looking for new fodder for cover snark, and after looking for several minutes at appalling computer-generated images, I found myself longing for simpler days—days when a woman didn’t have hair, she had tresses, and they flowed, oh how they flowed. Days when a man proclaimed his masculinity by daring to tuck his unbuttoned shirt into his belt. Days when a woman knew her place: kneeling at a man’s feet, gazing up in supplication, the froth of her skirts throwing themselves with gentle futility against his rock-hard thews.

Only one thing could assuage my hunger.

Clinch covers. Up on the chopping block this week: Avon Romance.

That’s right, kittens. Grab your panniers and set your hairspray to “Stun.”


Candy: It just occurred to me that clinch covers are where bad bridesmaid dresses go when they die. WHY exactly these two clowns are attempting to stretch this woman’s hip flexors while she’s wearing one is a question for the ages.

Sarah: Behold, the Avon checklist: Mullet? Check. Black pants, no shirt? Check. Heroine with absurdedy big, absurdedly curly hair? Check. Off the shoulder dress with possibly surgically augmented boobs about to burst forth in nippulous delight? Check and double check. Barefoot and showing of flexed calf? Check. Ribbons flying out in a flirty approximation of girly erection? Check.

The only difference is the whispered inner monologue of the posing heroine. In the first one: “I got my shoes at Payless’s Buy-One-Get-One Sale. But I only got one. Wonder what I did wrong?”


Candy: Is there some sort of modified Bernoulli’s Principle at work on romance novel covers? Seriously, look at how crazy her ribbon is going, while his hair is baaaarely fluttering…in the opposite direction. Is there some sort of low-pressure system that magically manifests itself underneath ribbons and


flowing tresses? Unless the woman had just run full-tilt-boogie into the dude.

Sarah: “And if I look at him from this angle… nope. It’s still a mullet.”


Candy: I take my crack about bad bridesmaid’s dresses back.

Clinch covers are where bad 80s prom dresses go to die.

Also bad 80s prom hairstyles.

Sarah: “You’d think he’d lay down his shirt for me so I wouldn’t get grass stains. Then again, this dress is the color of bile.”


Candy: Porn-stache-tacular! I also love the vaguely angry look on the guy’s face. “GODDAMN SKIRTS, GETTING IN THE WAY OF MY SHIT. RRRRRRRRGGGHHHH. HULK SMASH.”

Sarah: “What is he doing with my dress? Hiding a dribble spot? I’m closing my eyes and thinking of…anything but that.”

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Dayle says:

    I can’t seem to wrap my brain around the logistics of the second cover. She’s not kneeling, but since I can’t find her left leg, I can’t tell how she’s standing. Some kind of advanced yoga pose? And they’re on only a slight slope—is he really that tall and/or is she really that short? Or…??

  2. 2

    Hey, is the guy in that second cover Rob Camilletti, Cher’s bagel boy? It totally looks like him.

    I love covers like these, I really do. Except that last one where it looks like the guy is performing an unnatural act with her dress.

  3. 3
    DS says:

    I would be really, really happy if there was a kite on the end of the ribbons in the first two covers.  What you don’t understand in that the ribbons are each a couple of hundred feet long.

  4. 4
    Lorelie says:

    I swear I think I actually see nip on that first one.

    And my 10 mo old just looked at the second one and giggled.  He’s developing good taste already, I see.

  5. 5
    Carrie Lofty says:

    On that first one, where are they? Rocky mountain high? She lost her shoe at Base Camp #2 and the rest of the expedition’s been killed. Oh noes!

  6. 6

    Where is that shoe? I want to read it just to find out. I’m getting a barefoot and pregnant vibe.

  7. 7
    Bron says:

    It’s morning here, and my blurry morning eyes read the tiny blurb on the cover of Confessions of a Viscount as ‘The delicious pose will keep you away.’ Yep, they got that right.

    What amazes me about these covers is that as well as the men being short of shirts, none of the women can afford corsets or undergarments, other than the occasional petticoat.

  8. 8
    LauraF says:

    I can’t seem to wrap my brain around the logistics of the second cover.

    The hero is so manly and strong he can carry her entire weight with just a gentle hand on the small of her back…

  9. 9
    Kismet says:

    As a curly haired brunette…. all I have to say about the first two is, there is no way those curls would have existed before gel and hairspray. I still remember my hair before I discovered them

    …. I refer to that look as the atomic poof.

    And did jeans exist in the days of pioneer dresses?

    truth96…. speaks for itself doesn’t it ;)

  10. 10
    snarkhunter says:

    That second picture should be LOL-captioned “BLOW JOB: UR DOIN’ IT WRONG.”

    And that last one…anybody else ever watch Passions? Looks to me like TJ’s temper is getting the best of him again.

    (That’s some gorgeous hair on the woman, though.)

  11. 11
    Wryhag says:

    White dude with ebon mullet seems to have lots of splainin’ to do. Two redheads and a blonde in compromising positions?  Whoa.  Hoping for his sake one of those ladies doesn’t have the temperament of, say, Lorena Bobbitt.

  12. 12
    Gemma says:

    Re: pose in number 2. He hasn’t got his arm wrapped around her, just his hand on her back. Perhaps he’s got a fistful of the back of her bodice? Er. That would work if she’s “as light as thistledown”. (A heroine must never have mass, after all.)

    And about the leg? Um…. well…. if she had just the one, she’d weigh even less? Pass.

  13. 13
    Gemma says:

    Someone has to work ebon mullet into their next book. Priceless!

  14. 14
    Nanny says:

    If we can have “Rock of Love with Bret Michaels,” can we have “A Chance at Love with Lando Calrissian?” And then use that cover as the PR image?

  15. 15

    I dunno, I kind of miss those days.  When a cover was a cover and bigod you knew exactly what you were getting!

    But the snark is always delicious, so thanks for taking it for the team.

  16. 16
    Sian says:

    And why oh why oh why do the heroines have RED HAIR like 80% of the time in romance? No offence to my ginger sisters, but come on… it doesn’t happen THAT often. And yeah, occasionally it’s teamed with alabaster skin, but most of the time red hair goes with freckly skin, blotchy skin. (hell, I’ve got brown hair and my skin’s blotchy too – happens to all of us)


  17. 17

    Hulk smash!!  Hahahahaha.

  18. 18
    Tina C. says:

    Like Lorelie, I’m pretty sure that I see nip on #1.  (And why does her facial expression read as “guppy-like”?)

    I’m a bit more concerned with the poor heroine in #3, though, who, despite her youth and supine position—a position that I usually find the most flattering to my not-so-gravity-defying breasts—appears to be wearing hers somewhere around her naval.  Is she malformed?  Is it due to a tragic decolletage accident?  Was she built by Picasso?  We may never know.

  19. 19

    According to a Jean history page, denim and jean (a type of twill from Genoa) were both used in making work pants as early as George Washington’s day.

    In 1872 Levi Strauss started making copper-riveted “waist overalls.”

    So the jeans are not nearly as disturbing as the fact he’s wiping himself off with her dress.

    Love the cover snark! Cleavage-a-licious!

    (my code is Blood18, which is something you don’t see enough of on romance covers, even the vampire ones)

  20. 20
    Emily says:

    Is it just me, or are the two people on the first and second covers the same two people? Maybe A Warrior’s Taking was Deliciously Wicked?

  21. 21
    Tamara says:

    “A Chance at Love with Lando Calrissian?” And then use that cover as the PR image?

    ha ha ha! You’d need a Colt 45 in the photo cos it works every time!

  22. 22
    Yvonne says:

    Oh boy! You guys had me at rock-hard thews!

  23. 23
    CantateForever says:

    Okay, Cover 1: She is wearing one golden sandal. Ouch, and… where did the other one go? Also, the dude in that cover looks like he got an arm transplant from that golden armband to his forearms. I mean, that is totally a different person’s forearm photshopped on there. It’s hurting me.

  24. 24
    Kate Pearce says:

    thank you for cheering me up-I’m crying now… :)

  25. 25
    Danielle says:

    I love the background image for the first one, but wtf is with that guy’s torso? He looks like he’s trying to emulate those Egyptian paintings, with his feet one way and his torso another. Ow! And who decided to give her only one shoe? I can only conclude that they wanted her barefoot but the ground was too hot, so they compromised.

    As for the strange height differential in the second one – He must be standing on stilts, surely?

    (And as an aside – why do romance heroes all have to be 6’6”? Where are all the short romance heroes? I’m only 5 feet tall, and I want a hero I can reach without a stepladder. *grumbles*)

    I would be really, really happy if there was a kite on the end of the ribbons in the first two covers.  What you don’t understand in that the ribbons are each a couple of hundred feet long.
    Hee! I photoshopped one in just for you:

  26. 26
    SarahLynn says:

    Homeboy’s armband in the first cover must be a little too tight based on the bulging veins in his lower arm and upon seeing the fourth cover, my first thought was “Why is he adjusting his junk?”

  27. 27
    Raela says:

    Thanks for the laughs.  I lurve the hundred foot ribbons. Why don’t they (the women) just float away like balloons—er—umbrellas?

  28. 28
    SonomaLass says:

    The kite is fabulous, Danielle!

  29. 29
    Kismet says:

    Homeboy’s armband in the first cover must be a little too tight based on the bulging veins in his lower arm

    It’s for the roids don’t you know. I wonder if he was one of the guys outed in Jose Canseco’s new book.

  30. 30
    Soni says:

    When I saw #3, the combination of the author name and the cover dude resulted in an automatic reaction that will probably only be funny to geeks:

    Leeerroooooooooooyyy Jenkinnnnnsss!!!

    [ video: ]]

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