Beautiful Heroines? Bah! Humbug!
I must admit that my heroines need to have something ‘beautfiul’ about them – but it can be a wit, a great sense of humour of a sense of self.
At 13, when I started getting interested in boys, all the heroines in romances seemed to be head-turning, heart-stopping beauties, with bee-stung mouths. Long hair tumbled to their shoulders or was worn in a carefully tousled chignon, like Brigitte Bardot.
One look, one flutter of those eyelashes, and the hero would be smitten.
I’d already suspected that this was how things worked, because my best friend was beautiful, like a young Elizabeth Taylor.
When we started Grammar School, cool fifth-formers with Elvis quiffs would pass her crooning, ‘Wh-a-a-at is luurve, five foot of Heaven and a pony-tail.’ (The song goes on, ‘the cutest pony-tail, that sways with a wiggle when she walks.’ )
I, on the other hand, was more Beryl-the-Peril – small, sturdy, self-conscious, blessed with hair that frizzed in damp weather and a tendency to flush easily.
How could I ever inspire love?
Because this was how…
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