Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why I'm stroking my husband's...leg

Yesterday, my husband shaved his legs.

No, he didn’t follow up by donning my best negligee and asking me to call him Katie. Believe it or not, there’s a fairly manly reason for it.

If you’re new to this blog, you should know Pythagoras is obsessive about exercise. He starts to twitch if he doesn’t run every day. When he tells me he’s going for a “quick bike ride,” he means he’ll be riding 90 miles straight up the side of a mountain.

This is actually the reason for the leg shaving. It’s a trademark of competitive cyclists. Watch the Tour de France or any high-level cycling event and you won’t see a leg hair anywhere.

Reasons for this vary. Some say it’s for aerodynamics. Others claim it makes road rash easier to treat after crashes. Another theory is that it facilitates post-ride leg massage.

But let’s face it – if it were an issue of aerodynamics or wound cleaning, wouldn’t they shave their arms as well? And while Pythagoras might wish for daily post-ride leg massage, the odds I’ll be providing this are about the same as the odds he’ll learn to rub my shoulders without copping a feel.

Which leaves you with the real reason cyclists shave their legs – because cyclists shave their legs.

Simple enough.

Cyclists have always shaved their legs, so cyclists continue to shave their legs because that’s what they do. It’s how they pick each other out of a lineup.

I thought about this last week when I attended the monthly meeting of the Mid-Willamette Valley Romance Writers of America and realized I am largely ignorant about the habits of romance writers. I didn’t join the group until after I landed my book deal in February, and I’m still trying to learn the ropes.

Is there a secret handshake? A hairstyle I should adopt? A special way I’m supposed to pat my colleagues on the butt at the end of each meeting?

I’m only half joking here, because I really don’t know. While everything I’ve written over the last eight years has had elements of romance, it wasn’t until this book deal came along that I really thought of myself as a romance author. I’m still not sure what that means, so I mostly feel like the weird kid in the back of the room worrying someone will notice she’s not wearing the right socks.

If you’re a romance author, can you clue me in? Are there any habits I should be aware of or secrets I should know? If you don’t write romance, what are the trademarks of authors in your genre? Can I spot a paranormal author by the antennae sprouting from her forehead or a thriller writer by her muscle shirt and big tattoos? Please share in the comments.

I’ll be waiting with my razor at ready, just in case there’s a rule requiring me to shave my pinkie toes.

21 comments :

Susie Kline said...

You crack me up! But, seriously, if you find out the secret handshake, could you pass it along to your readers?!

xo Susie

ps my husband is the same as yours.

Shadow said...

You know, I read somewhere that all Romance Writers painted their fourth toe on their left foot neon green... *wink*

Janet Reid said...

All romance writers are required to send a bottle of scotch, and a picture of Pythagoras to 240 West 35th, #500, New York NY 10001.

JentheAmazing said...

My husband is similar, except, he doesn't shave his legs. He already has things going against his masculinity. Like his affinity for Broadway musicals (Rent is his favorite), his ability to paint toenails (with designs) and dye hair better than most salons (look at my head for proof), and his love for HGTV (not the masculine "I'm going to build shit" shows, but the "this is how you decorate a kitchen" shows).

I'm not sure where I was going with this, but I have this nagging urge to "out" him, even to people he'll never know/meet.

Anywho, like you, I'm not sure I've really caught on to this whole, this is how writers look and act thing. At writers gatherings, I'm normally the one in the corner playing with Play-doh or solving math problems, because I am just that freaking cool.

Linda G. said...

I write quirky paranormal urban fantasy romantic mysteries. You can tell the authors of this very particular sub-genre by the confused looks on our faces.

BTW, you know what your blog needs? A Pythagoras Gallery. You could post pics of him in all his sports-related outfits. Oh, and one of him shaving his legs.

Summer said...

I think it's the butt-grabbing. Yep, pretty sure.

kristina said...

I hear ya on the secret handshake thing. Back in the day of employment, I could go to a district level meeting and immediately know if I was in conversation with an elementary, middle or high school teacher. Just look at the clothing and accessories. No way I could teach elementary since I can't match my socks let alone a beaded necklace to my holiday themed sweatshirt.

As far as wacky athlete issues, my DH has started whining about needing to get a skirt to facilitate changing clothes during Hood to Coast in a few weeks.

Makes being a couch potato so drama-free!

Alexa O said...

Ok, I have no idea what romance writers do when they are alone together (I suspect it has something to do with scented candles and chanting), but I am in love with the mental image of Pythagoras (who, in my mind, looks a lot like Jim Carrey, for some reason) with his leg balanced on the edge of the tub and a pink Gillette razor in his hand.

I like to think he is using pink shaving cream and is also wearing a green mud mask on his face. On his head is a crisp white towel-turban.

Thank you, that made my day!

Elizabeth Ryann said...

I'm completely shocked that there is not a semi-hairy leg accompanying this post. And it would only be fair if he used your razor for it, since you borrowed his toiletries so recently.

I don't know the secret handshake, though. I tend to sit near people who look nice and say, "Hi! I'm Elizabeth." Then smile. It seems to work pretty well across the board.

kd easley said...

I write mysteries. You can identify mystery writers in a crowd when you overhear one say, wow, that would be an awesome place to find a body. Their friends will usually jump in with what kind of injury the body sustained and who might have put it there. They will have this conversation while calmly sipping tea and eating scones.

Jeannie said...

I write contemporary romance and I've been a member of my local RWA chapter for a while and I can tell you there is no secret handshake. However, chocolate seems to be its own food group for our kind.

If your group is anything like mine, you will find yourself among some wonderfully supportive people, at all stages with their writing, who want to share stories and learn more about the craft.

From your blog, it's fairly obvious you'll fit in fine. Here's some advice from the sandbox: smile, be nice and share.

Danica Avet said...

*frowns* I'm still new at this whole writing thing myself, but after the conference, I think I have a small idea of how to recognize each other, at least by conversation.

Romance writers don't like to wear bras. Not because they're feminists who don't feel the need to conform, but because they don't like to leave their houses when they're working. Pajamas/sweats seemed to be the dress uniform, the style up to the writer. I'm still waiting to get to that point of writerdom. I'd keep the bra, but would gladly wear pajamas 24/7 if given the option.

Maybe there's a fee you have to pay to the RWA to be able to do that? Like you get a license that states: "Danica Avet hereby has the right to wear pajamas (or other items of extreme comfort) at any time she deems her most creative as provided by RWA Bylaw Chocol8(b)." And I can carry it wherever I go and when people stare at me, I can take it out to prove I can do it because I'm a romance writer.

That was a really long comment. Sorry!

Kristen Lamb said...

All the romance authors I know seem to find ways to bring up the topic of sex toys, fetishes and edible garments...no matter the topic of the current conversation.

They are worse than 8th grade boys...but I guess that's what makes them so fun.

Thriller authors have guns...lots of them :D. Well, I am a Texan too. So Texas thriller authors probably have higher than normal ammunition stockpiles.

Bess said...

Hi Tawna! I love your blog - I've been reading it for a while now, and you've inspired me to start my own :)

I write YA, and attended my first Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators conference in 2007. At that point I was deep in college, and not really reading anything current. Everyone had a copy of this little book called "Twilight." When I asked someone who Edward Cullen was, I found myself immediately shunned.

So I guess that goes down as "Do your homework. No - the other homework."

Tawna Fenske said...

Susie, uh-oh, you mean there's more than one Pythagoras around? Heaven help us all.

Shadow, the fourth toe on the left foot? Crap, I did the sixth one. Now what?

Janet, I tried to just send Pythagoras himself, but he didn't fit in the PO box.

JentheAmazing, your husband sounds like a kick in the pants!

Linda G, I just proposed the photo gallery idea to Pythag. He did not look amused.

Summer, will try the butt-grabbing at the next meeting. If I get slapped, I'll tell them you made me do it.

Kristina, as the daughter of one elementary school teacher and one middle school teacher, I know what you mean :)

Alexa, I'm cracking up at the idea of Pythag looking like Jim Carrey. I think he bears an uncanny resemblance to Daniel Craig (which pleases me greatly) though a friend who dislikes Daniel (how could she?!?) says she doesn't think so.

Elizabeth, I actually tried to get a pic of the hair-covered bathtub when he was done shaving, but he knew what I was up to and destroyed the evidence. Sneak.

kd easley, do most mystery writers also have police records? :)

Jeannie, I've noticed the chocolate thing for sure! Maybe I'll start bringing some to meetings.

Danica, I'm totally cracking up over your bra comment. Alas, braless hasn't been an option for me since puberty, but I do appreciate the need for comfort!

Kristen, wait, how did you know the mantra of romance writers everywhere? "They are worse than 8th grade boys...but I guess that's what makes them so fun."

Bess, great point about knowing the genre! I've always been a pretty good reader of romance, but I could be better about knowing who the big names are.

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

Trina said...

You can also tell cyclists by their tan lines -- wrists, ankles, mid-thigh, forehead, and upper arm. God, is there anything hotter?

Patrick Alan said...

I think my perspective on how to hang out with other Romance writers might be slightly skewed. My advice? Find a body guard.

I'm pretty sure there's a gambling joke on the over/under that Pythag will cop a feel. Speaking of which, my wife's shoulders look tense. honk honk.

Patty Blount said...

*sits up* OOO, when you learn the secret handshake, will you share it with the class?

Also, when you start your book tour to promote your first release, suggest you offer Pictures with Pythagoras opps. Seems to have a fan club already!

JJ said...

I used to be a swimmer and all the guys shaved before meets. They shaved pretty much everything though--legs, arms, chest--everything. We had shaving parties! ...it's exactly what it sounds like.

Don't you romance authors have sumptuous boudoirs and awesome silk robes to lounge around in? ;)

Tawna Fenske said...

Trina, I must agree wholeheartedly, cyclists are HOT!

Patrick, not a day goes by that I don't pity your poor wife :)

Patty, I was just telling Pythag last night that he's got a fan club on my blog. Since he doesn't regularly read the blog, he was worried. "What the @#$% have you been writing?"

JJ, ah, yes...swimmers! Pythag has been hanging out with them more and more since he started triathlons, and he was a little taken aback by the whole-body shaving. I think that made him a bit nervous! And yes, we romance authors do indeed have sumptuous boudoirs & silk robes. I'm wearing my silk underthings beneath my holey yoga pants right now, as a matter of fact!

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

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