Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Glorious Rearing Mantitty

Okay, right, so what happens is:

Some guy with half a shirt on and flowing blonde hair and a face that looks like someone made it with a hammer and chisel comes into the room. Or maybe he stalks into the room. Yeah - he stalks into the room in giant boots - only it's not a room.

It's, like, a giant cliff by the sea. And the sea is really angry. And the sky is unaccountably purple for reasons we won't go into and there's probably a horse somewhere. A giant horse with massive neck veins, neck veins that get even more giant when it rears on a constant loop in the background.

So this guy, right, he stalks onto the cliff with his shirt open all the way to the navel - maybe because his belly button needed air, who knows? - and then he comes across a woman. A woman with hair that's just been Elnett-ed to death and whose dress is the same tumultuous colour of the tumultuous sky.

And also, the dress is probably falling off her a bit. And when I say a bit, I mean a lot. A really massive amount. Anymore falling off of her, and it'd be around her ankles. I mean frankly, I can see her tits from here.

Though her tits aren't half as disturbing as her lipstick, which seems to be fluorescent pink even though this is clearly 1888. In a parrellel dimension.

So anyway, then this guy stalks to her and you know. Hauls her up to his gigantic overflowing mantitty, which so overcomes her that she bends far enough back to convince everyone watching this epic scene of ultimate romance that she's got some sort of double-jointed neck bone.

Of course, I have no idea how scientific the term "neck bone" is, but give me a break. The sky is purple and a horse is perpetually rearing and this guy is holding her in a pose that could only be described as agonising by any normal person.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is love. Or at least, that's what a lot of cover artists from the eighties seemed to think women thought of, when they thought of love. Even when the insides of the books had nothing to do with forcing a woman to prove she's double jointed, and almost no horses reared anywhere in the story, and Elnett did not exist in 1888.

Elnett doesn't exist in any of my stories, either. My idea of love is not Elnett. My idea of love is the turn of his throat as he lies there in the blue-ish morning light, skin like milk, eyes like glossy pebbles at the bottom of a lake. His hair is tangled so I unweave it with my fingers, and then we eat toast in bed until the crumbs roll beneath our bodies.

My love is the slap of a wooden sword flat against the back of her hand, and then him saying you're really going to have to do better, if you want to be a warrior.

My love is in the elevator, when she knows it's him, it's definitely him that rotten pervert bastard. And then he turns and his eyes burn a hole right through the centre of her body.

My love is him being the only one, the only one who wouldn't do what they did.

My love is a million things, a million stories about a million flawed men and a million flawed women, all of them strange and greedy and weird and not as easy as "well, this is what women know about love". I don't know a single story written by any woman that sounds the same as any other, because inside each - no matter what the world thinks of the covers, the titles, the heroes and heroines - there's a tale told about someone's heart and where it took them.

That is my love.


  1. Excellent post, Charlotte.

    You cracked me up with the description of the cover, and such an apt one.

    And I love the succinct description of your definition of love.


    PS, my verification word is "boilight."

    Boilight might be part of the reason behind the purple sky, don't you think?

  2. Purple. It's the passionate sky. Oh eff. I think I have a title for a novel. Does anyone else hear the distinctive rip of a bodice?

  3. Oh lovely and funny and so, so true-- both about the covers (I have a collection of them!) and how no two love stories are the same.

  4. Craig- thanks! And I love it when the word matches something in the post. My best one was "ponipple" in a post about Batman's body armour.

    Kathleen- if you ever write a story about passionate purple skies and ripping bodices, I will eat it up with a spoon. I may not even use a spoon.

    Kristina- I loooovvee the old skool covers. With the big loopy writing! Cried with laughter the first time I discovered Smart Bitches. Ahhh, memories!

  5. And now I'm just checking my comment is actually here. Look, it's right there! Hooray!

  6. I was just reading "Smart Bitches, Trashy Books" before I came to look at your blog. I lurve that site.


  7. Okay, I'll bite.

    What's Elnett? Is it anything at all like Angel Delight?

    Your posts are a cultural education, Charlotte - as well as a delight!


  8. Charlotte, this is delicious. Your post reminds me of a satirical site (I've lost the link) of romance covers with funny captions/titles such as "Lord of the Hissy Fit" (man with bare chest, sculpted face, no smile, flowing hair, folded arms).

  9. Garceus- it's totally the best.

    Lisabet- hairspray! Have got to stop using obscure terms for things no-one's ever heard of!

    Jean- Hee hee- glad you liked it. I love both embracing the genre, and poking fun at its foibles, so anything like that gets me!