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Underneath Your Clothes, There’s an Endless Story

By On May 17 2012, 3:00 am


In 2001, Shakira released her album “Laundry Service”.  On that record is the excellent song, “Underneath Your Clothes”.  Her lyrics tell us, “You own the place where all my thoughts go hiding, right under your clothes is where I find them”. When we read our romance novels, aren’t we all waiting for that scene where we finally get to see the secret underneath the hero’s clothes?

The first “secret” revealed by the undressing of our hero is to what extent our hero is muscled.  Authors commonly give us above average height heroes, but the men are put together on a spectrum of muscle mass.  My favorite hero body type depends on the novel setting.  I love a Viking to be a man that resembles something just this side of a wall.  Thick, muscled biceps should catch the flickering firelight as he lifts the fur mantle from his chest and lays it on the ground for his woman.  While calves don’t get much ink, my mouth always waters at the graphic description of buckskin breeches straining across my Regency heroes thighs.

Modern day heroes I like to picture longer and leaner.  A designer suit hangs well on the smooth swimmers body.  Once he tosses his jacket aside and rolls up his pressed white shirt, I want to see lean, corded forearms…perhaps a foreshadowing of territory farther south?

And what about when the sheriff finally puts down his gun and unbuttons his staid brown shirt.  I catch my breath imaging the rippling abs of a man who spends his tormented nights beating up the police station’s punching bag.  The open shirt shows us just a hint of the golden hair trailing down to the waistband.

There is one more treasure hidden beneath the hero’s clothes that holds appeal for many readers.  That certain appendage is difficult to blog about while “stopping at the bedroom door”, so forgive my puns.  Personally there are certain “lengths” that writers go to that push me out of the fantasy, but who I am to say that isn’t exactly what the next reader wants.  Needless to say, I am certain that no matter the words the author uses, each reader applies their own idea of proportion perfection to visualize the vampire lord’s “burden” when eases his need in his lonely marble shower.

Isn’t that part of the appeal in escaping into a romance novel?  Every romance reader can create “her territory” underneath the hero’s clothes. If the author insists her Viking is the hulk without all the green, how can she stop you from picturing 6’1” of lean flesh who could be Ryan Gosling’s body double?

~Margo Lukas

Half Moon Rising

"…a story too thrilling to put down."


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