In Hot Pursuit of Boat Hair

We've joked before about the misplaced weather patterns on romance covers. To quote Candy, sometimes, the grass exhales. Forcefully. And in multiple directions! It's enough to stump even the most attentive of meteorologists. I bet Alabama weathermaster James Spann would be all kinds of sleeves-up, suspenders-on if actual wind patterns matched this cover:

Edith Layton - For the Love of a Pirate - her hair blows one way, his another, and the ocean is about to smash them into some rocks


The ocean! His hair! Her Hair! What the hell?! 

Historical covers are full of windy confusion. But this week, I received a review copy of a book with a cover that just confounds me, wind-wise. It's clearly logical wind, and it's all headed in the same direction, except for this one part. Have a look:

Book Shirtless guy driving a boat with a bored expression, alongside a woman whose hair is perfectly smooth.

First, who bounty hunts on a high-speed boat in jeans? (And wow, he must be the most bored bounty hunter, judging by the facial expression).

Second, pull your pants up, young man. Though my compliments to your aesthetician on a superb wax job. 

Third, WHAT is UP with the WIND?! 

If that boat is going fast enough to kick up that much spray – and they're not nose-down towards the bottom of the ocean, swamping the boat – it's probably pretty windy.

I mean, look. There's spray over here:

Huge plumes of water behind the boat


There's spray over here:

more boat spray, and his seat appears to be glowing white behind his jeans-clad backside This cover is weird yo

And no, I don't have any idea why his chair is glowing.


Hell, there might even be bubbles over here:

More spray behind them, which oddly looks like bubbles


This boat is clearly flying at some high speeds. Bored bounty hunter moves fast.

But what about her?

She's cool: 


her hair is perfectly smooth with, like, two whisps behind her. WHAT THE HELL


OH, COME ON NOW. What the hell is that? BOAT HAIR, people. A boat traveling with that much spray would produce Epic Boat Hair. 

When you google boat hair, you get some amazing results. Like poeple with their hair twisted into actual ships and bedecked with small crafts. Like you do. 

Engraving of a woman whose hair is shaped into a three masted ship.

There is even a Tumblr tag devoted to boat hair of that variety (of course there is. we are only moments away from fuckyeahboathair).

But this is not the Boat Hair of which I speak, the hair which should, normal weather and air current patterns prevailing, be affecting the woman on that cover. 

This, my friends, is Boat Hair. 

A woman with her hair blown into a near perfect mohawk.


This is boat hair. 

Boat Hair


THIS is boat hair: 

Woman with her hair blowing in every possible directions Because BOATHAIR


There's even a two-page boat hair website. If ever there was a site with huge hairy potential, it's that one.


But you know what boat hair is not?

It's not this.

her hair is perfectly smooth with, like, two whisps behind her. WHAT THE HELL


That's standing in a studio to be photoshopped later hair. That is In-Romance-Novels-We-Never-Have-Morning-Breath-And-We-Don't-Have-Boat-Hair-Either-Fool hair. 

That is ridiculous. 


General Bitching...

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    LMAO, I never paid attention to the wind directions on covers before. Although, I think his hair would probably flatten out a little too!

  2. 2
    Nan Comargue says:

    As a long-haired person, boat hair and its just-as-evil sister, top down in a convertible hair, are truly to be feared.  Nothing kills the mood like pulling out your hairbrush and yanking out great big clumps of your hair after a breathtaking ride.

    Yet I have to say that I enjoy the pretence of maintaining perfectly tousled locks.

    Dashing around at a zillion knots?  Your hair stays prettily dishevelled.  Well over the speed limit on a sunny day?  Your honey still stays coifed.  That’s my romantic fantasy.

  3. 3
    megsan says:

    maybe the wind is blowing from behind perfectly counter-balancing the force created by the speed boat – cos that’s totally how wind and other physics stuff works i’m sure…

    alternatively she has doused herself in the stuff James Marsden so lovingly sings about “What get’s a girl asked out to lunch…?”

  4. 4
    RowanS says:

    No, no, no. She is obviously wearing The Boat Shield ™, a specially carved wooden cap that fits over one’s long tresses, so that only a few strands escape. Custom-stained to match your flowing locks, The Boat Shield ™ keeps hair tidy in the windiest conditions, as shown by Jennifer Love Hewitt in this advertisement. Available at Walgreens, CVS, and other fine retailers.

  5. 5

    Never mind her hair – why aren’t they cold?  And where are the life-jackets, people!

    Jane – who wants people to wear thermal underwear on romance covers more often…

  6. 6

    Hahahahaha!  As a person with long hair, all I can say is rock on.  Keep exposing the tyranny of falsifying boat hair depictions for the good of us all! ;)

    (And a million thanks for the laugh this morning.  It was needed.)

  7. 7
    Holly Gault says:

    In that first cover, the Wind of Many Directions has bent light so that their weak shadow is to the water side of them instead the strong shadow (based on the highlights on their bodies) that should be on the right.

    Light Source. One of the first lessons taught in Drawing 101.

  8. 8

    Living in Kansas, I get boat hair when I walk to my mailbox. I can’t get my hair that calm and smooth if I’‘m standing in an airless closet.

  9. 9

    OMG, you made me laugh so hard. LOL. I’ve never paid that much attention to things like wind and hair on a cover, but I will now!

  10. 10
    SB Sarah says:

    I can’t believe I haven’t noticed this before, but in the “For the Love of a Pirate” cover, where is her other leg?!

    That’s almost as alarming as the dual sources of light, per Holly, and the many directions of wind.

    I wonder if James Spann can give us some explanations as to how the wind is doing that on those cliffs – or on that boat with her hair. :)

  11. 11
    Mary says:

    Maybe it’s a touching love story about a pirate with a wooden leg and a young noblewoman who is ALSO missing a leg. I would read the shit out of that.

    I would also definitely read any romance novel that had a cover featuring boat hair.

  12. 12
    VandyJ says:

    On the first cover, the wind blows her hair, but not the dress?  Magic wind indeed.

    I get the feeling the the boat is the only thing in “Hot Pursuit” on the second cover.  They both look bored out of their minds.

  13. 13

    His knees, his knees! And location, location!

    Asking as someone who has trouble kneeling on a carpeted floor while playing with kiddies, can’t they find a sandy beach somewhere to fool around on where they won’t be swallowed by that incoming wave and ground to bits against those rough rocks/cliffs?

  14. 14
    Lostshadows says:

    I’m guessing lots and lots of hair products are involved.

    (at) least84-the number of cans of hairspray used per person, per cover.

  15. 15

    This is what a windy heroine should look like!

    <img src=""

    Is the hero named Chad?  That picture is totally of a guy named Chad.

  16. 16

    Whoops, I guess that sorta HTML don’t fly.  Think Bridget Jones.

  17. 17
    Inez Kelley says:

    I can forgive the boat hair (magnanimous person I am). Since I have naturally curly hair—it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, trust me—and have often awoken looking like a strange tropical fish or climbed from a convertible resembling a cheap knock-off Troll doll after licking a light socket, I can respect the desire to airbrush that horror out.

    What I can’t stand is the clothing choice. The jeans sans shirt on a guy is bad enough, but who the hell wears a semi-formal dress ON A SPEED BOAT?! True, I have been subjected to a few WTF clothing choices on covers and just have to deal with it, but cover artists, come on, use some common sense. What’s wrong with some nice board shorts and a tankini?

  18. 18
    sandra says:

    Are the Kardashians moonlighting as cover models these days? And on first glance, I read the author’s name as L’Oreal. Maybe that’s what’s keeping her hair in place.

  19. 19
    Maite says:

    Didn’t EGS have some magical fairies whose only purpose in life is to make sure hair looks great no matter the wind?
    Can’t remember what they were called.

  20. 20
    Anony Miss says:

    Right now I am seriously bemoaning the loss of ability to ‘like’ comments.

  21. 21

    Maybe there is “product” out there…instead of Bed Head, it’s called “Boat Head”…designed to allow only those few delicate strands to sway gently behind the heroine.
    “Convertible Head” is another version, but it cost’s more, and you can only get it if you order in the next ten minutes.

  22. 22
    pklagrange says:

    Thank you, thank you for making me laugh so hard I spit out my coffee!!

  23. 23
    Sandypo says:

    I never notice these things (well, almost never) but I’m glad there’s someone who does, and who cares enough to research it and prove their point so completely.  As usual, another job well done, Sarah!

  24. 24
    LovelloftheWolves says:

    can we talk about the perspective on “hot pursuit”? Because that alone is whiggity-whack.

  25. 25
    kkw says:

    Has anyone read any Lorie O Claire books? Could she possibly be bad enough to deserve this cover? Because I look at that cover and I think no way am I going to read that POS. I am mostly inured to crappy romance covers, but that one just screams sail on by. Am I being unfair? I know that writers have little control over the cover. Because that’s best left in the hands of marketing professionals. Clearly. Do her publishers secretly hate her and are undermining her to get out of the contract? Or did someone actually think anything about the cover was a good idea? I just don’t understand. If they figured the book sucked and no one was going to read it, why are they publishing it? I guess people will buy anything, but still, isn’t it their job to make the buying enticing? Maybe she can sue them.

  26. 26
    April says:

    A lot of spray, yes, but no wake that I can see. Maybe they aren’t actually moving and were just dropped from the sky by a helicopter. It would certainly explain the lack of boat hair, though I would expect the characters to be posed in a crouch of some sort for the landing.

    It’s either that or Aqua Net.

  27. 27
    stef says:

    i needed a laugh…that boat hair did it for me!

  28. 28
    Cara says:

    hot chick bounty hunters: impervious to wind and humidity

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