Pink Nipples, and Other Romancelandia Peculiarities

Every genre has its tropes and quirks, right? Mysteries have murders and murderers. Legal thrillers have complicated cases and courtroom drama. Fantasy and sci-fi have magical creatures or people with amazing abilities or feature the future or technology.

Romance has plenty of tropes–I’ve mentioned them in a few past posts–depending on the type of romance. And then there are the weird little things that have built themselves into like an almost romance-canon thing. That’s not explained well. Sorry.

Okay, you know how in fandoms, whatever the fandom-ee is sort of takes on its own life among the fans? In the Downton Abbey fandom, for example, there was a widely-held belief that Lady Sybil Crawley’s middle name was Patricia–because there’d been a photo in one of the Downton Abbey books of her carrying a briefcase with SPC stamped on it. And it just became like an established fact in the fanfiction and everyone wrote that in as her middle name, even though the show never confirmed it and then gave her another middle name in a later season.

Little things like that, which take on a life of their own.

You’re probably wondering about the “pink nipples. 🙂 That’s because romance heroines all seem to have pink nipples. It’s like someone wrote it in their romance novel once and all the subsequent authors followed. Of course, many of the Old Skool romance authors were (and the majority still are) white and maybe they had pink nipples and were just writing what they thought would fit for a white heroine. This isn’t an original observation, by the way, but something Alisha Rai said in a panel conversation at The Strand Bookstore:

Lisa Kleypas points out in the same discussion that hymens always seem to be very far up a heroine’s body. 
Romance heroes are a peculiar breed altogether. There are alpha heroes: strong, commanding (and often demanding), authoritative, sometimes brooding. They also often veer into stalkerish over-controlling behavior (particularly in historicals) and can’t seem to handle emotion terribly well. 
Then there’s the beta hero: maybe not the biggest or strongest or richest guy in the room, but he’s kind, charming, has some sense of emotions, and doesn’t often veer into creepy behavior. Often, though, a romance hero can be a mix of alpha and beta. For more on romance heroes: Alpha, Beta, Heathcliff
And then there’s also what Smart Bitches, Trashy Books referred to as The Boner Led Hero: We Are Not Here For Boner Led Heroes. Because I’ve read so many romances that have insta-lust in the first scene between the hero and heroine and it’s generally from the guy’s point of view. I mean, it can be sexy I suppose, but it usually comes across as skeezey and creepy. 
In historical romance, sometimes these types of heroes are Dukes of Slut; that is, a very wealthy lord who is brooding and angry, drinks too much, and sleeps with virtually anybody. 
But of course, in a romance, everything has to end in HEA = Happily Ever After. To be a genre romance, the story must end in an HEA.
What are some peculiar things in your preferred genres? 
Also, I changed the blog’s emailing from Feedburner to the better supported MailChimp and this is the first post that should go out via MailChimp. I figured what with GDPR and every other website sending my new privacy statements, that I’d take my wee list to another service that seems much more efficient and of better use. Hopefully, the emails will go out as they’re supposed to.

4 thoughts on “Pink Nipples, and Other Romancelandia Peculiarities

  1. Insta-lust is creepy to me. Totally takes me out of the story, because I honestly find it scary. I've realized that a lot of people think I write paranormal romance. I've noticed my cover designer more than once has posted one of my covers on instagram and used a paranormal romance hashtag. Plus I see it in reviews. Plus a buddy told me the other day that my covers look like dark romance covers. Plain paranormal is a thing. Or at least it used to be. I don't actually read a lot of paranormal romance. Some of it's scary. LOL! One of the first ones I picked up had vampire heads being ripped off by some muscly slayer guy in the first two pages. Blood everywhere. Too soon. Plus, it was too much physical body description. He was huge, of course, and she was tiny and busty, also, of course. It was laughable and horrifying at the same time. I quit after three pages. It was overstimulating. The last one I read and actually loved had a beta-type hero. It was really refreshing. I don't mind alpha dudes, it's just nice to see other stuff sometimes.


  2. There's a way to make insta-lust not creepy…and to make it mutual, I think, but it's usually just the hero and it's just fucking weird. The Boner Led Hero post I linked to is all about that. Someone reviewed Pearl on Goodreads and tagged it as \”antebellum.\” Which, um, lol, it's not 'cause it's *not set in America,* but okay. Just like your stories aren't paranormal romance. I've read paranormal romance once or twice and it's not my thing. 1) I don't like reading about scary things. I have no problem writing ghosts, just don't want to read about scary things. 2) Why are these people having sex with handsy ghosts? 3) Consent. I feel like ghosts, much like Old Skool romance heroes, don't really ask permission to get handsy.


  3. HEA or HFN, I've been told. (Which stands for Happy For Now, and if someone knows the difference between that and HEA, I would like to know.)Even though I consider myself a romance writer first, based on that criteria, one of my books isn't a romance because I went for The Downer Ending. Oh well. I think it was also in that one that I branched out and…wait for it…wrote about nipples that were more brown than pink! *faints from shock and horror*


  4. Yeah, HFN, too–but since we don't always see the couple after their story is done (unless there's a sappy epilogue or it's in a series), then it might as well be an HFN.But…gasp!–brown nipples, whut?!


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