Remember those 80s romance novel covers? Of COURSE you do. Bare chested, long-haired, totally hot, ripped guys, arms wrapped possessively around the doe-eyed adoring heroine. To wit:
Then in the 90s there was some drastic backpeddling, with dully innocuous covers which were neither tantalizing nor told much about the content within becoming common fare. Check out Judith McNaught’s Paradise, for example. Pearls and petals don’t tell you much, but readers also didn’t feel the burn of shame by reading these books in public as some had with the bare-chested Fabio covers screaming ROMANCE NOVEL! SEXY STUFF WITHIN!
So now we’re in the … two-thousand teens? Is that what how we’re referring to the present time? In any case, jumping to present day, we’ve got ereaders, people. Yea! Now we can really really disguise whatever we’re reading. And with this newfound freedom, I see the covers reverting back to those of yesteryear – meaning the 80s – but with a significant difference. For one thing, we’re not always getting a woman on the cover standing aside our requisite stud. No siree. We’re keeping him all to ourselves. There are lots and lots and lots of covers with just a smokin’ hot guy posing solo without any pesky woman draped all over him. And there’s something else that stands out on many of today’s covers: the male cover models are frequently tattooed. Oooh my. Is it hot in here?
I’ll say straight up – I’m a huge fan of tattoos. There’s something so sexy about them. Despite the fact that even cool grannies are sporting ink these days, there remains a bad boy element to a guy with tats. Like maybe he’s done some time. Or belongs to a motorcycle gang. I also like the permanence to them. It’s a commitment to get a tattoo, because unless you want to sit through painful electrolysis to get it removed, that tat’s staying put. It’s also not for the faint hearted. Having a couple of them myself, I can say with authority that getting a tattoo hurts, at least some of the time and in certain places on the bod. But yet … but yet. When I see a guy sporting tattoos, my interest meter definitely amps.
There’s a whole thing with tattoos in Kit Rocha’s dystopian erotic romance Beyond series. Our own Kiersten Hallie Krum, Madeline Iva, and I are all fans of the series (check out Kiersten’s blog on it here, and Madeline’s here), and tattooing is featured in it. Once someone is finally allowed into the main clan of the series and becomes a part of it, they “take ink,” and get tattooed to show their permanent allegiance. I like that. I also like that tattoos tell a story about the wearer. Not to say there aren’t people who just walk into a tattoo shop and decide to get a butterfly slapped on their ankle with no real affinity for butterflies other than they’re pretty. But more often than not the tattoo is chosen carefully and has meaning behind it. Those with tattoos frequently come up with the idea on their own and the artist’s design stems from that idea. So learning about why someone has a particular tattoo, why something is so meaningful to them that they made the decision to immortalize it on their bodies, is interesting, fascinating, and definitely downright sexy.
So, sexies, I leave you with tattooed heros to get you through your day. You’re welcome. 🙂