The other day a friend who works in book publishing put this up as his Facebook status: "'Blistering sexuality' — This is a quote on the back cover of a book I'm working on, and one of the many reasons I want to work in children's books." Ha! Yes, "blistering" and "sexuality" side by side would send me running to Dora's G-rated explorations. But his status update sums up probably the best part of romance novels — how well-endowed they are with wordplay.
Romance novels are mainly written for women. So it's only a given that words as unbecoming as vagina would be hidden under mounds euphemisms. And who better to know the best and worst of them than the authors of Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels, Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan. To see what they had to say,
Romance novels are known to throb with euphemisms. What are some of the best/worst?
Candy: My favorites are the ones that make body parts sound like kitchen disasters (quivering mounds, glistening orbs) or that make me want to protect my vagina with steel plating (throbbing spear of flesh, glistening sword).
Sarah: Fortunately, romances have moved past some of the more flowery and technicolor bizarre euphemisms — which were used at a time of political change and sexual ambivalence for women — and on one hand, I like the language currently employed. On the other, the humor value is epic. My favorite: "He burst like a ripe melon within her." I've never looked at honeydew the same way since.
Neither will we! Stay tuned tomorrow for more from Sarah and Candy.