Operation Chest Hair Part I: In Which I Look at Girls Through a Manly Lens

I write about teenage girls. That's my comfort zone, but I recently got an idea for a story from a man's point of view.

This made me nervous. I'd written boys before (not without difficulty), but this new story was about a Man’s Man. You know, the kind of guy that drinks black coffee and crushes rocks with his bare hands.  To be honest, I didn't know if I had the balls to pull it off. And thus, Operation Chest Hair was born, in which I analyze Man Books in an attempt to raise my testosterone level. 

I had two criteria for books to analyze. First, the book had to be narrated by a man. Second, it had to be written by a man (a manly man, if you will), to ensure accuracy. On my dorm room bookshelf, I had two books that fit: Barry Eisler’s Rain Fall *, about half Japanese assassin John Rain, and Alex Bledsoe’s The Sword-Edged Blonde, about freelance sword jockey Eddie Lacrosse.

Now I know that men are complicated, multidimensional, creatures, but for the sake of analysis, I needed to focus on specific themes. Today's topic:  women (an important topic for men).  I wanted to see how these characters looked at potential love interest. To narrow things down further, I focused on early encounters when they're getting to know the gal.  So when you're ready, grab a beer, slather some Rogaine on your chest, and let's dive right in.

[Actually, one more clarification. I want to be clear here that I'm not attempting some kind of complex analysis of the male psyche. This is a writerly exercise focused on picking up aspects of voice from a certain type of male character in the specific situation of meeting the future love interest, so please don't read more into this than I intended... ]

Okay, now we really can begin.

In Rain Fall, John Rain first sees jazz pianist Midori when she performs.

I watched Midori's face as she took up her post at the piano. She looked to be her mid 30s and had straight, shoulder length hair so black it seemed to glisten in the overhead light. She was wearing a short sleeve pullover, as black as her hair, the smooth white skin of her arms and neck appearing almost to float beside it. I tried to see her eyes but could catch only a glimpse in the shadows cast by the overhead light. She had framed them in eyeliner, I saw, but other than that she was unadorned. Confident enough not to trouble herself. Not that she needed to. She looked good and must have been aware of it.

Later on, they meet and get a chance to talk. Here's how Rain describes her this second time.

For the first time, I was in a position to notice her body. She was slender and long limbed, perhaps a legacy from her father . . . Her shoulders were broad, a lovely counterpart to a long and graceful neck. Her breasts were small, and, I couldn't help but notice, shapely beneath her sweater. The skin on the exposed portion of her chest was beautiful: smooth and white, framed by the contrast of the black V-neck.

What about Eddie Lacrosse? He first sees Liz from afar as she's fighting off three bandits.

In the center of the triangle stood a slender, redhaired girl, as tall as me though with that willowly quality so many country girls possess. She had short hair and was dressed like a man, which actually made her look more feminine. But this was certainly no helpless maiden.

After he helps her in the fight, he takes a closer look.

Then she faced me, and I got my first close look at her. She had wide shoulders and the kind of trim narrow body that spoke of hard muscle beneath her baggy clothes. A deep scar cut through her right eyebrow and touched her hairline, where a streak of white sprang from it.

Here’s what I noticed.

1. The men are looking at both the woman's face and body.

So it's interesting. In both books the guy sees the woman from far away at first. Then she moves closer, and in both books, the guy makes a point of taking a closer look.

In terms of physical description, it’s very precise language, often mentioning specific body parts (long and graceful neck, small breasts, wide shoulders, hard muscle). Which brings me to point two.

2. The men are looking at clothing in relation to the body.

For example, Midori’s black clothes contrast with her skin. Liz’s clothes make her look more feminine. And sometimes, it seems like the guys are more interested in looking through the clothes then at them. :-)

I was curious about how this compares to YA heroines, so I grabbed a pile of books off my shelf. It seems like teenage girls are much more about the face. A few do mention the guy's body, but it's very general language, usually referring to build.

For example, Elisa from The Girl of Fire and Thorns gushes about her King Alejandro’s friendly smile and beautiful teeth. Aly from Trickster's Choice spends four sentences describing Nawat’s face and then mentions that he is "6 feet tall, with a wiry build." Cate from Born Wicked sees Finn’s freckles and notes that he's no longer scrawny. As for her other suitor Paul, he's taller, has a mustache and beard, and “looks quite the gentleman in his frock coat.” Katsa from Graceling notices Po’s gold earrings, his rings, his dark hair, and his eyes. The only allusion to his body is that the neck of his shirt is open.

I was curious as to whether the focus on face rather than body were more because of the YA heroines’ age or their gender. So I picked up Karen Marie Moning’s Darkfever. Darkfever is an adult romance, and the Mackayla Lane is no innocent flower. What does she notice in the first meeting between her and Jericho Barrons?

He didn't just occupy space; he saturated it. The room had been full of books before, now was full of him. About thirty, six foot two or three, he had dark hair, golden skin, and dark eyes. His features were strong, chiseled. I couldn't pinpoint his nationality… He wore an elegant, dark gray Italian suit, a crisp white shirt, and a muted map patterned tie. He wasn't handsome. That was too common a word. He was intensely masculine. He was sexual. He attracted. There was an omnipresent carnality about him, his dark eyes, and his full mouth, in the way he stood. He was the kind of man I wouldn't flirt with in a million years.

So there's certainly nothing shy or innocent about this description, but even Mac describes the Jericho’s body with less detail than his face or even his clothes. (Note also, that Cate from Born Wicked also describes Paul’s frock coat and other clothing in detail.)

It's not like these women never look at a guy's body if it's there in front of them. In Graceling, there's a delightful scene in which Po takes his shirt off and Katsa makes a heroic effort not to gawk, and Mac gets quite a few eyefuls in the Fever series. But in general, there's less of an effort to develop x-ray vision.

There was one notable exception to this trend: Bella Swan from Twilight.  Bella notices early on that Edward’s forearm is "surprisingly hard and muscular.” In later scenes, she gushes over his “sculpted, incandescent chest,” and his “scintillating arms.” Does this have something to do with Twilight's mysterious ability to drive teenage girls into a hormonal craze? Hmmm…

Okay, moving on ...

3. Both John Rain and Eddie LaCrosse specifically mention the woman's attractiveness early on. And not just that she's good looking, but also whether or not she knows it.

“. . . she was unadorned. Confident enough not to trouble herself. Not that she needed to. She looked good and must have been aware of it.” – Rain Fall

“She was cute rather than pretty, and I just bet eshe knew that and it bugged the hell out of her.” -TSEB

YA heroines were less straightforward about physical attraction. Elisa does mention that Alejandro is beautiful, and Bella definitely notices Edward. Other heroines, however, simply note a pleasant face or don’t mention that the guy is attractive at all (thought it’s implied). As to whether or not he knows he’s good looking, the closest I found was from Graceling.

Then he raised his eyebrows and hair, and his mouth shifted into a hint of a smirk. He nodded at her, just barely, and it released her from her spell. Cocky, she thought. Cocky and arrogant, this one, and that was all there was to make of him. 

And one last observation.

4. Both men mention how the woman's attractiveness affects and/or distracts them.

“What the hell is wrong with you? I thought. You've got nothing to do with her or her father. She's attractive, it's getting to you. Okay. But drop it.” -Rain Fall 

“Yes, she was attractive. And yes, I noticed, and yes, it had been a while for me. But besides the fact that she was not very encouraging (she insisted we always sleep with the fire between us), I just wasn't motivated that way.” -TSEB 

So in this case, I do see similar things happening with the YA heroines. Bella falls all over herself over Edward’s beauty. Katsa is distracted by Po’s eyes, and Elisa by Alejandro's good looks. However, the girls are usually not really thinking about whether they'll make a move. Could this be due to the social script of the women as the pursued rather than the pursuer?

So here ends my somewhat haphazard sampling of men and women in romance, and I'd now like to enlist your help. What do you think? Do you have any supporting examples, or counter examples, on your bookshelves?

Also, click here for the next installment of Operation Chest Hair.

[*Editor's note:  Barry Eisler’s ex-CIA status and penchant for posting wrestling videos make his books a natural pick for this blog series, but there have been recent rumors that he is secretly a male model. Operation Chest Hair takes these allegations of nonmanliness very seriously and will investigate them thoroughly before the next installment.]

  Hope you enjoyed this post! To get regular updates from this blog, use the subscription options on the sidebar.

Also, friend of the blog Linda Poitevin recently released her urban fantasy Sins of the Son.  Check it out!
 A detective with a secret...
When homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis sees a photo of Seth Benjamin on a police bulletin, she knows that Heaven's plan to halt Armageddon has gone terribly wrong. As the only mortal who knows of Seth's true nature, she's also the only one who can save him.

An exiled angel turned assassin...
Aramael was a hunter of Fallen Angels until a traitor forced him into earthly exile. Now, with no powers and only a faint memory of Alex, his mortal soulmate, he will stop at nothing to redeem himself--even if it means destroying Seth in the name of the Creator.

A world with little chance of redemption...
As Alex's need to protect Seth sets her on a collision course with the determined Aramael, the conflict between them may push the world over the edge--and into the very chaos they're trying to prevent.


  1. Like you said, men are complicated and multidimensional, but subconsciously, most of us think and act in the same way. We notice women in stages:
    1. The shape of her body. The more it conforms to our expectations of beauty (which vary from slim, boyish and athletic - the perfect playmate, to hourglass, with wide, child-bearing hips - to bear our offspring) the more we will pay attention to it. If it is unattractive we will not linger, if it is, we will stare. Some men are more subtle at this than others, but we all stare.
    2. Her face. This is more important for some men than for others. Again, it must conform to our own expectations of beauty. With points 1 and 2, it's not enough to just describe her, but you must judge her in some way: The subtlety of judgement is determined by the character of the man - big butch men are more open and more critical, while intellectuals and academics are more subtle. Intellectual men, in particular, like to think they are perfectly open minded, but their judgement will still come across through their choice of words, even if they don't realize it themselves.
    3. The way she walks and acts. We will judge a woman based on her physical statutes, but this can affect our previous judgement. If she is incompatible with our own personality, it can be a way to dismiss her. If she is compatible, we will begin to overlook her physical flaws. If she is aloof, we will judge her badly but will still be attracted to her, perhaps even more so if we think she is physically unattractive.

    All in all, when men look at women, it is with reference to their previously defined ideas of what a good woman is. A man doesn't look at a women as if for the first time, but with the cumulative experience of having looked at women his whole life. And the circumstances of his entire life dictate how he sees her.

    We also approach women with the millennia-long belief that men are inherently better and more important than women. Even the best of us will occasionally fall to this misconception. Here's a good article on why so many men hate women - it's well thought out and quite accurate. http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html

    1. Will,

      Thanks for your insight. One thing that I thought was interesting from the cracked article is the George RR Martin quote, in a passage from a female point of view:

      ""When she went to the stables, she wore faded sandsilk pants and woven grass sandals. Her small breasts moved freely beneath a painted Dothraki vest ..."

      The author argues that women don't actually see themselves that way, and from my own experience, I do agree. The idea of breasts moving beneath clothing is told from the point of view of someone looking at the breasts. Unless a woman is consciously trying to use her sexuality as a weapon (maybe she is, haven't read the books), she probably won't be thinking much about them at all unless the bouncing around is uncomfortable. I was also amused that the narrator uses the phrase "small breasts," which seems somewhat analogous to a guy thinking about his "petite penis" in his internal narration.

  2. I would suggest increasing your sample size and expanding your genre selection.

    1. Joseph,

      I'm limited at the moment by the mundane consideration that I don't have all that many man books on my shelf. I was kind of hoping that people might be inspired to outsource this in the comment section. As far as my own story is concerned, I'm more interested in a specific type of man in a specific type of genre fiction, but other examples are definitely helpful!

  3. One thing I've noticed is that female writers are much more likely to describe men's eye color than male writers are to describe women's eye color. In fact, I use it as the best means of guessing the gender of a writer. As you noted, male writers tend to describe clothes in relation to the female body, while female writers tend to describe the clothes independently.

    [All this applies to writers describing straight relationships, I don't have enough data to know whether this applies to gay and lesbian writers/relationships.]

    1. William,
      Interesting note about eye color. I'll have to be on the lookout for that. Your comment about gay/lesbian writers reminds me of some conversations I had with a gay friend a few years ago, when he was constantly telling me about his crush. I remember thinking that he was attracted to guys very differently than I was -- more visually, also speaking more specifically about the guy's body. But that's my one data point!

    2. Eye color is not a good indicator of writer gender.

      It's one of the first descriptions I use for the main characters in any novel I write, but only if it is important for the character ... portals to the soul and all that.

      A male wizard in one story has entirely white eyes from an experiment that went wrong in training. A male primary character in a vampire romance series has piercing blue eyes. While the women run the gamut from nearly fiery brownish-red to dark brown or black. Unless I need a green gown to set off the evil mesmerizing green eyes of a hit-woman she might not get any eye color description at all.

      In terms of the other features .. it all depends on describing the women for their character. If the woman is all about her looks then describing the results of six hours a week of heavy reconstruction in the salon is important, or describing how she paints her nails black and chews the ends off (one of my vampire assassins at the moment) could be an important character trait. Body shapes are also important. You can tell gender from half a mile away from shape and the walk (try this at the park). Then as they get closer you can start to pick out finer details. Sometimes less description is more, do you want to describe a character as a particular ethnicity when it doesn't matter (a mean character is mean no matter the language or DNA) or let the reader put those details in themselves?

      Avoid a data dump of details in the first paragraph. Let the physical description seep into the story. You might notice an old woman's limp right away but only after some dialog does the sparkle in her eye show from a clever comment she makes or a cataract catching the light at just the right angle.

      .. writer, engineer, farmer, and a guy who has crushed some rocks, slaughtered animals for food, fixed houses buildings and cars by hand in the rain... and changed daipers.


  4. I am "gay" but I am writing about a hetrosexual guy. He is so traggically heterosexual that he never actually "sees" his love interest. He wants her, but does not really see her, so, he does not anticipate the betrayal that occures in the book until it is completely too late. His love interest so happens to be a life drawing model in his art class, so this is a woman whom he saw naked from day one. He has to stare at her, take her in and draw her body, contours, face. etc. He is doomed from that moment going forward in the book.

    1. David -- that's a great distinction between seeing, and really "seeing" someone. I'm intrigued by the notion that someone focused more on seeing someone visually might miss out on something else.

  5. I read male writers to get a feel for man speak and the way men describe women they're attracted to. Nelson DeMille's John Corey books would be good for you to read. They're written in first person from the male perspective.

    And I could tell both excerpts you used were written by women trying to write a male perspective.
    Men are more elemental.

    He watched the swing of her long hazelnut ponytail as she went to the garbage can and tossed the cup away. That heavy swath of tawny hair naturally streaked with blond seemed to beckon provocatively “follow me”. The trim, tight curve of her hips and buttocks drew his attention. A vision of him cupping her rounded derriere in his hands lanced through his thoughts with the impact of a cruise missile. His mouth went dry and his breathing grew short.

    Breaking Free
    This is just my opinion,
    Teresa R.

    1. "And I could tell both excerpts you used were written by women trying to write a male perspective."

      That might be news to Barry Eisler!

    2. Lol. I'm not quite sure which excerpt you were referring to, Teresa, but as Liana, said both my man books were written by men. Perhaps the differences that you sensed are because of genre.

  6. I think that besides a general attention to the face, women single out male body parts - hands, feet, noses, shoulders etc, so the YA book description isn't very truthful.


    1. Ivan,

      I've certainly seen cases in real life where women single out body parts. It's an interesting question then, why the women in these books don't. Some possibilities: 1) Women are trained not to talk in those terms, and therefore don't write it, 2) Women do focus on body parts, but not as much as the face, so the body doesn't make it into a one paragraph description, 3) Women notice body parts later on, just not at the first meeting. 4) The proportion of women who notice body parts is smaller than the proportion of men. 5) Just random chance/small sample size with these books.

  7. What an interesting topic for discussion!

  8. Here’s a (lengthy) description from Shantaram of a woman (Karla), written by a man (Gregory David Roberts) from a man’s perspective (himself, as this book is autobiographical but told in a fictional style). As you will see, it describes:
    * the woman’s face in great detail and even includes her eye colour
    * her clothing in isolation, not in relation to her body
    * her attractiveness and how it affects him.

    Any mistakes/typos in the below are mine as I’ve re-typed it hastily! Love this kind of research – I did a similar exercise when I was trying to develop the voice of my male protagonist who narrates half of my current WIP. Lots of fun!

    “Two hands grasped my arm at the elbow and jerked me back, just as a huge, fast-moving, double-decker bus swept past. The bus would've killed me if those hands hadn't halted me in my stride, and I swung round to face my saviour. She was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. She was slender, with black, shoulder length hair, and pale skin. Although she wasn't tall, her square shoulders and straight-backed posture, with both feet planted firmly apart, gave her a quietly determined physical presence. She was wearing silk pants, bound tightly at the ankles, black low-heeled shoes, a loose cotton shirt, and a large, long silk shawl. She wore the shawl backwards, with the double mane of the liquid fabric twirling and fluttering at her back. All her clothes were in different shades of green.

    The clue to everything a man should love and fear in her was there, right from the start, in the ironic smile that primed and swelled the archery of her full lips. There was pride in that smile, and confidence in the set of her fine nose. Without understanding why, I knew beyond question that a lot of people would mistake her pride for arrogance, and confuse her confidence with impassivity. I didn't make that mistake. My eyes were lost, swimming, floating free in the shimmering lagoon of her steady, even stare. Her eyes were large and spectacularly green. It was the green that trees are, in vivid dreams. It was the green that the sea would be, if the sea were perfect.

    Her hand was still resting in the curve of my arm, near my elbow. The touch was exactly what the touch of a lover's hand should be: familiar, yet exciting as a whispered promise. I felt an almost irresistible urge to take her hand and place it flat against my chest, near my heart. Maybe I should've done it. I know now that she would've laughed, if I'd done it, and she would've liked me for it. But strangers that we were then, we stood for five long seconds and held the stare, while all the parallel worlds, all the parallel lives that might've been, and never would be, whirled around us. Then she spoke.”

    1. Yay, more data! It's very poetic, and has some beautiful descriptions. Callie, do you know what genre this is and the man's general personality?

    2. Watch out for cliches .. "full lips": lumpy silicone injections? Often thin precise lips can be sexy or the way they curve at the ends waiting for you to get the punch line. Look at who they put in television commercials outside of beauty products.

  9. LOL, My mistake Livia. The first excerpt I read sounded too fussy for a man.
    And I've never read a good love scene written by one. If you ever run across one, let me know. I'm following your blog with interest.

    Teresa R.

    1. Lol, Teresa. It would be an interesting survey to see what people look for in a love scene, and see how much overlap there is between love scene preferences. Hmm..

  10. This is a great topic, Livia. My take is that gender plays a much less substantial role in the ways in which these authors describe the moment of attraction. I believe that is almost impossible to isolate gender as the primary causal factor in how an author characterizes people within his or her stories. There are too many other subtle and not so subtle mitigating factors that have more sway on how the descriptions get laid out. Primary among these is the genre legacy of these texts. For example, a thriller like Rain Fall is inextricably tied to the tradition of the thriller, whether the author is aware of it or not (especially so when an editor gets his grubby paws on it and amps up genre tropes). Thus, the certain sound and texture of a thriller's prose will always already be cooked into what the book will finally come out as. It is incredibly difficult to tease out what might be genre contrivances and what might be gender tendencies (another example might be Raymond Chandler's fixation on a certain kind of femme fatale influencing later detective writers to emulate that same fixation).

    In the end, I think, while an interesting topic to talk about, it is far too reductive to absolutely assign what are "male" and "female" thinking patterns. Sure, we can observe tendencies, and make general extrapolations, but then we shouldn't be surprised if some incident comes up that destroys our supposition. Combine that with the fact that much of our personal experiences are locked into a specific time and culture, and we again run into trouble trying to derive an absolute.

    In my own writing, I tend to write female characters (for no real reason that I'm aware of). I'm finishing up a YA book in which the main character is a lesbian. As I am not a lesbian, this posed many challenges. At first I tried to just go out and read all the fiction that had young lesbian characters as protagonists, but I found that most of the stories tended toward coming-out tales. That wasn't the kind of book I wanted to write, and thus studying the characters in those books didn't really help me as much as I needed. I resorted to searching out lesbians in real life and asking them questions, finding out first hand a lot of the details I wanted to include. As well, I sought out women almost exclusively as readers because I was very concerned about getting a female voice "right." The comments I got back were that I seemed to get the character's voice "right." Me being male and writing a female didn't come into the equation very often.

    Ultimately, I think personality trumps in writing. Get the whole character "right," not just a portion (which gender is), and the character will ring true.

    My two cents, anyway.

    1. Reinhardt,

      Great thoughts. Your comment reminds me that there's two complementary ways of looking at writing. There is a reductionist approach, which I naturally fall into as a scientist, where you break things down into the smallest components. And then there's a global approach, where you look at the big picture. Thanks for reminding us of the benefits of the latter!

  11. Such a wonderful plethora of information here! I do believe that there are innate differences between how your typical femal and typical male view the world, part genetic, part culture. Having both a son and a daughter I have seen it, though I have not made any atempt to 'genderize' them (beyond what could not be helped because the world is 'genderize'

    Anyway I think the last perosn does have a good point - it's the personality of the male that will dictate his voice, not the fact that he's male. Something I definately need to consider as I too embark upon revising my trilogy which is currenly told from just her point of view.

    Anyway I'm toatlly following this discusion (though I'm late to the game, go go internet notification delays.) :}

  12. This is very interesting, thanks for it!

    Point of comparison: I'm a 40something guy - masculine but not butch, attracted to women for various reasons (including the usual). My wife initially attracted me 'cuz she asked me out and because she had cute ears.

    I think some of this comes from the narrative voice. The POV character in my current WIP is hypersensed - all five senses (plus magic-sense) are amped way beyond what normal people experience.

    When we meet Detective Dow, a woman, my MC has a dead ex girlfriend's head cradled in his lap. Here's how he first encounters Dow:

    A woman hurried forward, kneeling before him, Cory's body between them. He had a vague impression of a rumpled brown suit, an older face, running to dough. "Let the men take care of her." Her voice was gentle and whiskey-cooked, deep and warm. "Let them do their job. I promise they'll be gentle."

    a few lines later, he's said something that makes him look guilty of her murder (he's not):

    All of a sudden she didn't seem doughy anymore. All of a sudden she seemed battle-hardened, someone who'd be equally content investigating a murder or beating a killer down with a stun-charmed baton. Hawk realized that he was on the edge of a very steep cliff, and the ground was crumbling beneath his feet.

    Chapters later, here's our first meeting of him and Soma, a fighter-type:

    Alex and Soma were bunched at one end of the couch, the smell of recent sex raw between them, Soma's red hair clouding around her face as she slept against Alex's shoulder.


    Upright now on the couch beside Alex, Soma was staring at [MC]. Hunter's eyes, huge and green against her pale skin.

    [MC] wondered if she smelled the magic somehow, if that was what woke her up. Or if the tight jaw and the flared nostrils were just her disgust for him.

    ...[getting ready to head out for battle together]

    Beside [Alex], Soma reached up to pull her hair back into a tight braid. Hawk noted the small breasts pushing at her tee-shirt, looked away with a shrug. "Where are we headed?"

    Draw your own conclusions. I see elements of "dismiss if not hot" in the Dow thing - but that was character for me as well, and situation. His ex, and good friend, had just been murdered in front of him. Too, storywise, I was setting this up as a non-sexual relationship, so it was in my best interest to make her non-sexual; I'm on a later chapter now and only as I was writing this morning did I realize that I had no idea what color Dow's hair was.

    Soma is a different case - she's someone who thrives on hunting The Lurking Stuff, she's completely physical and direct. Hawk is aware of her physique in part because she's attractive in an athletic way, but mostly because she as a person is mainly about physical sensations - principally, sex and violence. So it made sense to me to have him aware of her on a more elemental level - hair color, smell of sex, physical reaction to him. The detail about her breasts is pulled out because she does something to emphasize them. If she hadn't been getting ready for a fight, I probably wouldn't have mentioned her chest size.

    Here's a woman's POV from a VERY early story of mine:

    They met for the first time when she was seventeen. Her mother had warned her about men like him — older men, men with slick hair and ready smiles, men who looked at gorditas like her as though they were supermodels fresh from the pages of Cosmopolitan. But Roberto’s skin was clear and brown, and his teeth were white and straight when he smiled at her in that tilt-headed way that seemed to say he breathed for her alone. He wore crisp blue jeans and a clean white tee-shirt to her mother’s house. No fancy expensive suit, no rings on his fingers — he looked nothing like the zorrero he had turned out to be.

    For what it's worth, I hope this is useful to you!

    1. Jon - great point that it depends on context, and what kind of relationship you're setting up. Is there a romantic relationship later with Soma? (Also, I don't think I ever realized that putting your hair up emphasizes your chest :-) )

  13. Hawk/Soma: Not on the roadmap at present, but this is planned as a series, so hey, you never know. And with any luck there will be fanfiction :)

    Side note: Yeah, I know you're a busy person. Still, post more. You post interesting things!

    1. Ah yes, the fanfiction :-) I'm glad you like my posts, Jon. I usually post more regularly, but am on a temporary hiatus until I finish my dissertaton. Hopefully I'll get back to a regular schedule in 3 months or so!

  14. I *suppose* that's an acceptable excuse :). Good luck! See you when you get back!