Maggie Robinson

Oct 4

“I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair….”

I don’t know about you, but it drives me crazy when I run out of cream rinse when I’ve still got plenty of shampoo left. I mean, I went to a lot of trouble buying two plastic bottles of cheap shampoo/conditioner that smell alike (this round it’s Tropical Coconut, in attempt to imagine I’m on a beach somewhere with a pina colada. Or two.) So because I was a writing recluse this summer (see post somewhere below), I decided to skip using cream rinse so that eventually the bottles would match up. I was on vacation and the only people I saw regularly were an eleven-month-old baby, the postmistress, the lady at the library (who should really cruise the Miss Clairol aisle), and my husband, who doesn’t care what my hair looks like as long as it’s not too short.

I’m just grateful I have some hair left. It’s a lot thinner than it used to be (I blame having four children), and bends funny. The strangest thing—it’s actually looking better since I’m not ‘replenish[ing] the natural beauty of [my] hair with this special formula combining humectants and vitamin E’ with cream rinse. What is a humectant anyway? So I’m making do with the cheap shampoo and a dollop of styling cream, which has fruit micro-waxes. Umm, Delicious.
Hair is such a funny thing. Here are dead cells which somehow bring us to life when they’re looking good. Hair in fiction is important, too. In the historicals I read and write, hair fanned across the pillow or cascading in satiny curls is de rigueur. Long hair does seem to have power over men. I wear my hair in a longish bob with bangs, so my power is limited, LOL.
What’s your style? Do you have preferences when it comes to the hero’s/heroine’s hair color? What have you given up that you thought you couldn’t live without? What do you absolutely have to have to write?

24 comments to “Untangled”

  1. Tiffany Kenzie
     · October 4th, 2008 at 9:55 am · Link

    I find most men like long hair! You should have seen my husbands face when I cut off my hair last year. It went straight down to the middle of my back, and it got chopped off to a bob!

    And I don’t use the conditioner either, Maggie. This helps prolonging the washing of it. LOL! By at least a day!

    I write historicals, so my heroines have long hair, very long beautiful hair. I wrote a contemp erotic once, the heroine had a short mop of soft, golden curls.

  2. J.K. Coi
     · October 4th, 2008 at 11:15 am · Link

    I’ve had short hair for as long as I can remember (since school anyway), until I started to grow it out last year. My husband actually complains about the long hair. He says it “gets in the way” during you-know-what and of course it gets in the drain of the tub that he has to clean out. I know he likes how it looks though.

    I’ve written heroines with both long and short, but I think in contemporaries you don’t have to make a deal about pointing out the hair since it’s not as important to show long hair as there is in historicals.

    Am I making sense.

  3. Kelly Krysten
     · October 4th, 2008 at 11:40 am · Link

    I always keep my hair short. Last year it was long, though. My Mom and I became a bit obsessed with it- it looked much better than it had in the past but eventually it went back to ugly long hair. So for only one short period in my life did long hair ‘work’ for me.

    I like heroines with short hair but since I write historicals they always have the long hair. Although, I suppose I could change that up. Eloisa has had at least two heroines with shorter hair(Helene and Poppy?).

    I don’t use conditioner it seems superfluous given the short length of my hair.

    As for hair color, my heroines seem to show up with whatever hair color they like. I don’t really understand how that works…but it does.:)
    Great post!

  4. Maggie Robinson
     · October 4th, 2008 at 11:41 am · Link

    LOL, Kris, yes. Sometimes in historicals the heroine gets all her hair cut off and then she’s all edgy and shocking.

    Tiff! Middle of your back! Wow. I had long hair in college, but never quite that long.

  5. Maggie Robinson
     · October 4th, 2008 at 11:42 am · Link

    Kelly, I just missed you! In my trilogy I’ve got a blonde, a brunette and a redhead…just like my daughters!

  6. BernardL
     · October 4th, 2008 at 12:18 pm · Link

    I love seeing a woman with long hair. My wife likes my hair long, so I get crew-cuts. When she complains, I tell her when she grows hers down to her shoulder blades like she had it when I first met her, I’ll stop getting butch haircuts. 🙂

  7. Maggie Robinson
     · October 4th, 2008 at 1:27 pm · Link

    LOL, Bernard, in the summer my husband gets a buzz cut and I call it his “prison break” look. He has gorgeous wavy hair—in fact, when I first met him lo these many years ago, his hair was actually longer than mine (I had a pixie cut although I’m not a tiny little thing with wings).

  8. Elyssa Papa
     · October 4th, 2008 at 2:13 pm · Link

    I always had long hair growing up, almost waist-length. I’ve gone back and forth with growing it out, cutting it, and growing it back out again since junior year of high school. My hair grows so fast that I’m lucky that if I don’t like a hair cut, I just have to wait a few weeks and it’ll be fine.

    As to writing for my heroines, they usually have brown, black, or red hair… all of their hair is of the pulling back into ponytail length style until one of them chops hers off in Africa. My heroes have had brown, black, or blonde hair.

  9. Janga
     · October 4th, 2008 at 5:55 pm · Link

    I tortured myself when I was young to have the “right” hairstyle. I slept with my hair in brush rollers, rolled it on orange juice cans, ironed long hair to get it perfectly straight. UGH! These days I keep it ear-lobe length. Thank goodness it’s still thick, so I can be a wash-and-go girl. I use a two-in-one product, so my shampoo and conditioner always give out at exactly the same time. 🙂

    As for fiction, I think hair can be important even in contemporaries. My heroine has short hair. She cut her hair after her divorce. The timing is not coincidental. LOL! And after her first meeting with the hero (her ex), she gazes in the mirror, regretting her “just brown” hair and wondering if she should listen to her hairdresser and have highlights.

  10. Maggie Robinson
     · October 4th, 2008 at 6:51 pm · Link

    Oh, Janga, you’re bringing back memories. I used to have to scotch-tape my bangs down cause they’s curl into devil horns in the era of straight hair.

    So, Ely, no blondes? You know we have more fun!

  11. irisheyes
     · October 5th, 2008 at 3:34 pm · Link

    I, like most young girls, hated my hair growing up. It was red and curly/wavy. My mom didn’t really know what to do with it so she kept it cut short in a pixie (that’s what she called it). I wanted long, blonde straight hair.

    Well, when I got older I didn’t die my hair or straighten it. I found a hairdresser who knew what they were doing and introduced me to layers and hair gel. In my early to mid twenties I had Julia Roberts hair a la “Pretty Woman”. Now it’s a lot shorter and in recent years I’ve discovered the metal styling brush so it’s a little smoother.

    I’m trying to enjoy my hair as much as possible before mother nature decides to turn it white! I’m of the opinion that we’re just never happy with what we’re given. We always want what everyone else has! LOL

    I have a teenage daughter begging me for a $200 hair straightener. I told her the same thing my mother told me – when you’re older and can afford it you can get it!

  12. irisheyes
     · October 5th, 2008 at 3:40 pm · Link

    I don’t really have a preference for hair color on my heroine, but I don’t think a hero with red hair would do it for me! I can deal with auburn, but not red! I think I’d keep picturing Howdy Doody or Red Buttons!

    I also totally believe that long hair is important or should I say sexy to most men. I’ve read a lot of stories where the heroine in an act of rebellion cuts off her hair. It’s a very effective plot device.

  13. Maggie Robinson
     · October 6th, 2008 at 7:27 am · Link

    Funny, Irish. I’m blonde and always wanted to be a redhead!

    I know red-headed heroes are a huge no-no. I think of that movie where Brendan Fraser played the guy who was granted wishes by the devil Elizabeth Hurley and changed into different personas (can’t think of the name—too early). When he was a red-headed sap, it was so funny.

    I love red hair tho. My oldest daughter is auburn and curly. My youngest is dark and curly and straightens her hair so now she looks completely different every time I see her! My blue-eyed blonde has been every color, including red. Her hair is curly, too. They all have great hair. Sigh. I’m so jealous.

  14. terrio
     · October 6th, 2008 at 10:06 am · Link

    I always had very long hair growing up. Until I was 8 and convinced my mother to let me get that Dorothy Hamill cut we all had. Then it grew back and was always very long. Even in a ponytail it would hit the middle of my back. But when I became a mom, the hair got chopped. That was nine years ago and I’m just now getting to where I can let it grow out again. It’s still pretty much a bob, but the top layers are long enough that I can pull it up in a clip on top. Now I just have to have the patience to let it keep going.

    Regarding color, right now I’m a deep auburn brown, but I have to color it ever five weeks to cover the silver. And I rarely use the same color twice. Mostly because I can’t remember after five weeks what I used the last time. LOL!

    My hero isn’t really a blonde but his hair is a very light brown. Which I know is somewhat a rarity in Romance. My heroine has chestnut hair that might hit just below her shoulders. And that’s pretty much how they showed up. I’m not sure either was a conscious decision for me.

    Oh, and about the cream rinse? Gotta have it. Which is strange because I have terribly greasy hair. But if I don’t use conditioner, it gets brittle and looks awful.

  15. Kelly Krysten
     · October 6th, 2008 at 2:13 pm · Link

    You know, I think Kleypas had a read-headed hero once. But she’s Kleypas, thus she can get away with anything. Although, I did really like her red-headed hero.
    Julia Ann Long also had a read-headed hero,(I really liked him, too)but, again, I’m discussing someone who can get away with ANYTHING.
    OTOH, Johanna Lindsey had a read-headed hero and I didn’t like the visual I got at all, so I pretty much stay far away from red-headed heroes in my work.
    I wonder why the red-headed hero is such a no-no. Any thoughts?

  16. Gillian Layne
     · October 6th, 2008 at 7:06 pm · Link

    I love a heroine with difficult hair. do you all remember Jo in little women–first burning off Meg’s bangs, and then chopping off her own hair for money?

    The beautician makes a pretty penny now just to make me look “normal”. I’m shocked by the color and texture of my natural hair as I’ve grown older. It’s nothing like the hair of my childhood.

  17. irisheyes
     · October 7th, 2008 at 8:27 am · Link

    Kelly, I think it’s a simple fact of there not being that many really sexy redheads to draw good references from. It’s like I said – I’d be picturing Howdy Doody or Red Buttons, not exactly the visual you want for your hero.

    I do have to say, though, that my brother is quite handsome and he’s a redhead. He keeps his hair buzz cut though and it’s not curly. Curly red hair can bring in clown images. I have read books where the hero has auburn hair but that’s a whole different animal. Auburn I can definitely see as being sexy.

  18. Keira Soleore
     · October 7th, 2008 at 12:29 pm · Link

    Maggie, wishing you a very, very happy birthday for tomorrow. Plans! What plans??

    My husband would concur with Tiffany: Men like long hair. He’s convinced I hookwinked him. I had long hair (mid back) when he met me. I cut it off after we married, and it’s never been that long since. Heh.

    Personally, I like shorter hair: easier to manage. However, for historical heroines, I think long hair was common. My heroines all have long hair, not the kind they can sit on, but long enough.

  19. Maggie Robinson
     · October 7th, 2008 at 7:18 pm · Link

    Terri, I got my long hair cut right before my son was born (I was anticipating getting it pulled and he grabbed it anyway when he wasn’t biting me)but then I let it grow again. Once I had three kids though I went shorter. I’m getting a color/cut tomorrow and I just may tell my hairdresser to do whatever she damn well wants just for a change of pace.

    Kelly, thanks for the plug on Originals! I can see one of those Scottish warrior heroes with red hair, can’t you?

    Keira, you sweetie! Thanks…altho b-days aren’t quite as much fun as they used to be. 🙂

    Gillian, Little Woman is one of my all-time favorites. You just put me in the mood to read it again. It was one of the first books I bought with my own money—a permabound book for 59 cents, I believe. What a bargain!

    Irish, I tried to be a redhead once. The dye job was so bad the hairdresser called me that Saturday night at home and opened her shop on Sunday so she could fix it!

  20. Cordy
     · October 9th, 2008 at 1:30 pm · Link

    Well, I write about myself, so my unfortunate heroine is stuck with long blonde hair like mine. Poor girl. 🙂

  21. MsHellion
     · October 10th, 2008 at 5:37 pm · Link


    I hate running out of conditioner before I’ve run out of shampoo. Drives me BONKERS. Also fond of the coconut smell too.

    My heroines usually have long hair. And I do think men prefer longer hair. Right now mine is about shoulder length, so it’s not long anymore. But it was getting tangled at the ends and making me look old. Now I look a little younger…but it’s not cut in that short layered happy “MOM” hair (which incidentally also looks good on me) which men seem to not enjoy so much.

    My heroines have hair I wish I had: usually red, and long, luxurious curls!!!

  22. Jessica
     · October 10th, 2008 at 8:41 pm · Link

    That’s funny. Somehow mine are always uneven too and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong…
    My hair has always been long. I never had the guts to cut it short. Then I married hubby, who absolutely hates short hair.
    Which is okay. I like my hair, most of the time. It’s boring but it doesn’t get in my way.
    I’ve never thought about the length of my heroine’s hair. Only the color and texture.
    Thanks for reminding me to use details!

  23. Jessica
     · October 10th, 2008 at 8:43 pm · Link

    Shampoo and conditioner are always uneven. That’s what I meant. 🙂

  24. Maggie Robinson
     · October 10th, 2008 at 9:39 pm · Link

    Cordy, I write about me too, only way younger and cuter and sexier, LOL.

    Hellion, I got a haircut and color this week, and I think it’s supposed to be short happy mom hair—but this short mom is not really happy with it. Pieces of it seem longer…where are my scissors?

    Jessica, glad I could help! I think we all wind up using more conditioner than shampoo. Janga’s on to something getting the 2-in-1 stuff, but my hair’s too fine for it and I get all flat.