Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Hair Straightening!

Canadian Sarah (There’s only one?! A travesty!) writes:

I was wondering if you could help a Canadian bitch out. I am looking for a
contemporary category romance that I read in the mid to late ‘90’s. To
be honest I don’t remember much about the plot or character names. I
believe there was some mystery or action thing going on. What I do remember
is as follows:

Hero: Pretty standard romance novel dude (tall, dark and handsome) with an
alpha outlook. But, I remember vividly a scene where he paints the
heroine’s toenails and declares himself to be a male feminist. Also, he
had a gay butler/chauffeur/personal assistant that the hero rescued from
being beaten up outside a gay nightclub. I am not sure what the hero was
doing outside said nightclub, but whatever.

Heroine: I am not sure what she did for a living, but I believe she worked
in an office. I know, that narrows it down to just about a billion different
careers. She had curly hair that took her a crazy amount of time to
straighten each day. I remember the hero wondering what was taking her so
long to get ready each day, the guy had no idea she had curly hair. Hero
also thought she had a great butt (so much for the feminist claims).

I could do an entire website of just HaBOs, I swear. Some of the ways in which you all remember romance plots are so similar to mine, I love it.


Help a Bitch Out

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  1. 1
    Kristina says:

    This sounds like on of Susan Elizabeth Philips’ novels… I don’t remember the part about the curly hair but the gay housekeeper rings a bill. I think it was “Heaven, Texas”

  2. 2
    Lil' Deviant says:

    OMG!!!!  I have read this book!  *starts digging through boxes*  Now to remember what it was.

  3. 3
    Becky says:

    I wouldn’t swear that it’s not some other SEP, but it’s definitely not Heaven, Texas.

  4. 4
    Vi says:

    The gay butler appears in SEP’s Lady Be Good.  The hero is a golfer, Kenny Traveler.  The heroine is an English headmistress.  I can’t remember her name (Lady Emma Wells-Finch maybe?) or if she had curly hair.

  5. 5
    Jessi J. says:

    Sarah, would that be possible/plaussable to set up a HABO site or at least a page dedicated to them, maybe get two or three habos posted a day…. cause that would be just awesomeness!! (yes my intentions are purely selfish (laughs))

  6. 6
    Cakes says:

    I was thinking Lady Be Good about the gay butler, but I can’t imagine that hero painting her toe nails! I did really enjoy Lady Be Good and read it a couple of times, but the “male feminist” thing would have made me gag.

  7. 7
    Cassie says:

    Um, colour me confused, but why can’t a male feminist appreciate a woman’s derriere? As long as he doesn’t think that’s her only good quality, and as long as he’s not all ‘Get in the kitchen and make me a sammich!’, I think he’s allowed to find her physically attractive. Feminism’s not about denying women’s sexuality!

  8. 8
    Lotta says:

    @ Cassie

    Word.  I also know plenty of straight guys that occasionally walk past gay nightclubs (I live in VANCOUVER for god’s sake), would definitely defend a gay man being beaten, and are far sexier for it.
    Can’t wait to hear what this book’s called – sounds like fun!


  9. 9
    Danielle Davis says:

    I know I have read this one too…I immediately ran for The Hideaway by Meryl Sawyer, but I don’t think that was it…I’m going to follow this thread, cause I know I have this book, but for the life of me I can’t remember what the title is…

  10. 10
    Emily L. says:

    Definitely not Lady Be Good by SEP, I would’ve remembered a painting-the-toenails scene. Good luck finding it!

  11. 11
    LizC says:

    Oh crap. I think I’ve read this book too. Are we sure it’s not Lady Be Good? I got rid of my copy when I moved so I can’t verify. I hope someone figures it out so it’ll stop bugging me.

  12. 12
    RfP says:

    I have no idea what the book is, but my imagination is running wild over what’s anti-feminist in his admiring her butt.  Does he…
    Tell her it’s her best attribute?
    Mention her “tramp stamp”?
    Call her a nice piece of ass?

  13. 13
    Emmie says:

    I just finished reading “Lady Be Good”. There is definitely a gay assistant/housekeeper/butler in that story, but no toenail painting and no hair straightening.

  14. 14
    AgTigress says:

    No idea about the book, but I just wanted to support those who have pointed out that men who respect women as human beings and support their rights in society as independent persons are still allowed to admire their bottoms.  Also their legs, breasts, etc.  There is no inherent contradiction.  They are also allowed to hold doors open for women, or offer them a seat in a crowded train, without being accused of being patronising or patriarchal.

  15. 15
    Brooks*belle says:

    Have nothing to add that will be of any help whatsoever.  But reading these posts that mention gay assistant/housekeeper/butler make me need to watch The Birdcage again—just for Hank Azaria’s character.

  16. 16
    Sarah McG says:

    Hey all!
    I’m the Canadian Sarah posting the question. Thanks for the help trying to find the book! It wasn’t a SEP book for sure, that much I know. I remember it was a modern category romance. And it possibly took place on the west coast. Oh, and I think Hero and Heroine met on a plane on the way there. I think. I read this in high school and the toenail painting scene just stuck with me. And no, I do not have a foot fetish. Not that there is anything wrong with that! Thanks a bunch!!

  17. 17
    appomattoxco says:

    I remember reading a toenail painting and the H getting the h to keep her hair curly because he liked it. I think it may have been published earlier than the 90s because I was off category romances then.

  18. 18
    Susan/DC says:

    Definitely not what Canadian Sarah is looking for, but the movie “Something New”, starring Simon Baker and Sanaa Lathan, has both the curly-haired heroine and the toe nail painting scene.  He’s white, she’s black, he’s “the gardener,” she’s the up-and-coming professional.  It was a fun romantic movie and well worth putting on your Netflix queue for a summer evening.

  19. 19
    Annmarie says:

    I’m commenting just so I can eventually buy this book when we know the title.  The whole hair straightening without hero knowing appeals to me.

  20. 20
    FD says:

    And I’m commenting for those purposes also, although I’m thinking it’ll be a re-read because it sounds incredibly, infuriatingly familiar.

  21. 21
    Chicklet says:

    But reading these posts that mention gay assistant/housekeeper/butler make me need to watch The Birdcage again—just for Hank Azaria’s character.

    He’s a combination of Lucy and Ricky!

  22. 22
    Alex Ward says:

    I’m commenting just so I can eventually buy this book when we know the title.  The whole hair straightening without hero knowing appeals to me.

    Me, too :) It sounds great, and it’s definitely not by SEP

  23. 23
    Meganb says:

    @ Susan/DC Done, it’s on my queue.  Sounds awesome.

    I spent 7 years as a firefighter, and during that time whenever some guy admired my ass (hey, they were vocal—why can men talk about body parts but not emotions?) I sort of considered it a perc to make up for all the sexist, pig-headed, unconsciously misogynistic things they did.

    All.  The fucking.  Time.

  24. 24
    Michelle says:

    I’m also interested in finding out what this book is, it sounds really interesting.

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