I did a lot of vacation reading last week, and one thing that jumped out at me (not literally but if it had been it would have been awesome) is the relentless pursuit of cliches when describing nipples.
I'm sure you know what I'm talking about here: there's a sexy scene, and the characters undress. The sex scene – which is, it seems to me, more often from the male point of view than the female – includes a catalog description of the heroine's body.
First, I don't know why there's a need for a list of descriptions for each part, particularly the breasts. There are times when I see the catalog of naked parts and skim right over it, because it seems necessary only because the reader might need to be reminded THEY ARE NAKED NOW SEE THE NIPPLES?
Lately, the nipple descriptions are the ones that catch my attention… because they're all the same. The female nipples are pert, rosy, ruches, puckered, taut, and most often compared to fruit, like cherries, strawberries, or berries in general (no use of kumquat that I've found).
The monotony and sameness of these nipples is starting to bug me. It reminds me of recipes that suggest a dish might be great with a “crisp salad” or a “loaf of crusty bread.” No, thanks, I'll have a salad that's three days old and limp, possibly slimy, and I prefer my bread inside out, no crust.
Overstating the obvious is one thing, but I keep running into these nipples of monotony. Here, a handful of cherrypicked (snrk) examples.
Cool air kissed her skin, and Lucy was mortified to discover her breast bared, a small little apple cupped in his hand, with a dark berry for a nipple.
“Cherries,” he murmured as his thumb and forefinger gently pinched….
Pride & Passion
Pink nipples. Like ripe cherries. He'd always liked cherries.
If anything, her nipples were harder – ripe cherries begging to be plucked.
He bent to take one nipple in his mouth. She tasted sweet, like ripe cherries, like a ripe pomegranate he'd tasted once in Mexico.
Luc's eyes glittered darkly as he looked down at her breasts, the areolae surrounding the nipples a deep dusky pink, those nipples dark and swollen, like two ripe berries waiting to be tasted. Eaten.
His head lowered so that he might taste one of those berries.
Annie and the Red-Hot Italian
Her nipples felt like ripe berries rolling between his fingers, and suddenly he was overwhelmed by the need dot taste her, to draw her nipple deep into his mouth.
The Touch of Fire
He tore the fragile lace, but her breasts were released to him, her hard little nipples like ripe berries. A delicate, fragile pink. Hard, stiff.
Coyote's Mate, Book 2
I do have to give a few props to Karen Anders, who worked actual cherries into the nipple scene:
Her nipples puckered, tightening into hard beads that looked as delicious as two cherries.
She curled her hand around the nape of his neck and drew his head downward….
Reaching into the colander, he grabbed a few cherries and crushed them, releasing the juices locked inside. Then he smeared his fingers over each of her nipples and heard her suck in a breath.
While many of the women in romance have berry nipples (which sounds like the name of one of Strawberry Shortcake's less savory friends) men are not execpt from nipple cliche, either.
One flat male nipple came into view and she circled the areola with a fingertip.
Leaning forward, she braced her hands on the mattress next to him and licked first one flat male nipple, then the other.
She found his flat, male nipples and teased them.
She looked down at her breasts, then over to Eirik's flat male nipples.
The Tarnished Lady
I'm personally not a fan of the “flat male nipple” because if it were not a “male” nipple, WHAT THE HELL ELSE WOULD IT BE?
Copper pennies, that's what. Duh.
His skin gleamed like brown satin, the small flat nipples like dark copper pennies.
Somebody Killed His Editor
She toyed with his male nipples that were flat as copper pennies and felt delight when they became erect.
The Dark Earl
His chest was wide and smooth, the muscles defined and his nipples as dusky as two copper pennies.
Secrets & Seductions
Do yourself a favor, and do not search for “nipples ripe berries” or any other variation of nipple monotony on Google:Books. It's worse than excerpts from Longarm, let me tell you.
So what to do with all these nipples, all this nipple monotony?
We need MORE NIPPLE DESCRIPTIONS!
Ergo, it is Nipple Contest Time. Your task: come up with a description for nipples, male, female or both, that can stand in place of the cliched description. You don't have to reference fruit, flatness, or currency. You can compare them to whatever you want. Your job is to describe them as best you can.
I will be judging the entries in 48 hours, but you can “like” the ones you like best to try to sway my voting.
The winner shall receive the people's ovation and fame forever, and a $25 gift card to the bookstore of their choice. Whee!
Standard disclaimers apply: I'm not being compensated for this giveaway. Must be over 18 to win, while wearing flat cherries. Your nipples may and should vary. Sometimes they even look like thumbs.
Now: go forth and describe nipples with better descriptions!