This Book Rant is from Sarah (no, not me, a more different Sarah) who read a book with A Makeover Scene. One that was so preposterous she had to email me about it. She wrote me this a few months ago, but it’s never too late to discuss absurd makeovers, right? Right.
I just finished a book and I have a rant. I’ve never posted on here before, though I lurk all the time, so I hope you don’t mind. I’m sure people have commented on this problem before – but this was such an egregious case that I needed to vent to someone, somewhere. I hope it’s not an imposition.
Nevertheless: what’s up with romance heroes doing makeovers for their heroines? Is this supposed to show their sensitive side? I’ve seen this before (quite a bit) in regencies and westerns, and I guess I kind of bought it – or at least past over it without too much thought – in those settings (it’s potentially a lot more believable in times/places where a) there’s not much variety in available clothing anyway and/or b) women had serious sewing skills and could have re-sized and reworked the dresses for themselves off-screen or something) but I just encountered an extremely ridiculous variation on this theme in a contemporary. It completely soured me on a book that was pretty good up until that point.
The book is Lori Foster’s Jude’s Law. Here’s the gist: May is living with Jude for protection until stuff with the bad guy gets sorted out. She came to his house in a borrowed outfit that doesn’t fit, because she was on the run, and Jude won’t go get her stuff from her house because a) it might be dangerous and b) he doesn’t like her usual wardrobe.
Oh, and May is very pointedly a “larger” heroine, with boobs and a butt. She usually wears business suits to try to hide all that, but we’re told from the very beginning that Jude isn’t sold on her fashion sense. So, over May’s protests, Jude does some online shopping and has a whole new wardrobe shipped to his place overnight (while she’s asleep). In the morning, when the stuff arrives, May – reasonably enough, in my opinion – is dubious and thinks the clothes won’t fit.
Jude shoves a pair of jeans and a cami at her and tells her to change. May takes the clothes into the bathroom, falls in love with the fabric, and… you already knew that the clothes fit her to a tee, right? May is delighted, because of course SHE’S never been able to find clothing that fits properly, and proceeds to model everything Jude bought – which is a lot – for him.
Now, there are so very many things wrong with this, I don’t even know where to begin. For one thing, Jude doesn’t know May’s size. There’s no way he could even have sneaked away and checked it or something at night, since she comes to his house in an outfit borrowed from a (skinnier) friend and had previously refused his offer of buying her clothing, so obviously she hadn’t told him that info. Heck, Jude makes a point of being nervous about it before she comes out of the bathroom, since he knows that if he screwed it up then May won’t give him another chance to dress her (is she a doll, or something?). Ok, so Jude’s a famous actor, so maybe he knows style, and he’s been with a lot of women (though skinner ones), so maybe he knows women’s sizing?
Or maybe he’s been hanging out with Clinton Kelly? EXCEPT THAT HE CAN’T, BECAUSE AS CLINTON KELLY WOULD TELL YOU NOT EVERY BRAND’S SIZING IS THE SAME.
Heck, even within the same store, you don’t have a guarantee that everything that’s the same size will fit! That’s the awesomeness (and endless frustration) of women’s clothing! So how could Jude possibly pick out clothing that would fit a woman – a curvy woman, mind you – whose size he doesn’t know? And then, to get them ON THE INTERNET? I wouldn’t get clothes for *myself* on the internet, not unless I could get a guaranteed return, and even then I’d call it more of a longshot than its worth. I *certainly* wouldn’t trust my husband anywhere near a store (I highly doubt he knows my size… hm, does that mean he’s not sensitive?), much less the internet, to buy me clothes!
Second of all, there’s no way that Jude’s picks actually worked. Because we’re told – repeatedly – that May is busty. And the first thing he asks her to try on is a cami. As in, a cami SANS BRA. This, people, does not work. Not on any planet, not with any kind of planetary gravity. Physics is against you. If you have big boobs – or even moderately sized boobs – you need a bra with that cami. Period, full stop. Or hey, maybe Jude’s mansion is in a specially gravitated zone where boobs don’t droop without special help? Can I have one of those???
I don’t read many contemporaries – in fact, I generally avoid them – but this one particularly pained me because I was feeling great about it. And then… well, Jude bought May clothes and not only did the jeans miraculously fit (seriously?) but a cami defied gravity. Maybe now at least I’ve figured out what the book’s title is all about. Jude’s Law: the law that says that if a romance hero buys you clothes, BY GOLLY BUT THEY WILL FIT, COME HELL OR HEFTY BOOBS.
I could go on. I ranted at my husband, but he (like any proper male) laughed but obviously didn’t quite get why a cami is so ridiculous in this situation. Why on earth would a female romance novel author write such a silly scene???
Oh, girl, sing it, sing it loud. As I wrote to Sarah, isn’t that the BEST, when the hero can magically outfit the heroine in clothing that magically fits and flatters and is something she’d never have thought to try herself but is effortlessly chic? COME ON NOW.
This has happened in so many books, historical, contemporary, you name it. It’s hilarious. I think my husband would be horrified if he were charged with the task of buying me an entire wardrobe of clothing. Women’s clothing sizes don’t make any sense to me, much less him.
I think this is one of the ultimate women’s fantasyland elements of romance: a man who can shop for us without fear and who buys us things we’d never think to try ourselves. Amazing.