This isn’t really TMI, but – well, on second thought, it could qualify. By all means, let’s strive to make it qualify.

When I was at RWA in Dallas, I attended a panel discussion on “Hot Historicals.” One of the panelists was the delightful Janet Mullany, whose recent release The Rules of Gentility is getting rave reviews. At the end of her highly diverting presentation, Ms. Mullany declared war on the phrase “pebbled nub” – or “nubs” of any variety, for that matter. She’s on a personal crusade, she says, to strike that cliched euphemism from romance novel vocabulary.

I got to thinking about this while reading the entries on Maggie’s highly diverting contest this week, and wondering…

If you could strike one word from the Love-Scene Lexicon, which would it be? Which noun or verb or adjective could you happily read a lifetime without encountering again?

For example, I remember reading a comment on some blog somewhere, where the commenter avowed a passionate distaste for the word “splayed.” (Erm, I kinda like that one myself, but oh well.)

My word, you ask?

No explanation necessary or desired, I’m sure. Just makes me cringe every time.

13 comments to “What’s the Word?”

  1. Maggie Robinson
    · September 4th, 2007 at 5:59 am · Link

    Thanks for the link! And there’s still time to enter…;)

    Shaft should get the shaft.

  2. Alice Audrey
    · September 4th, 2007 at 7:04 am · Link

    Laved. I hate laved, particularly when linked to the idea of “washing” the area in question. Please. We aren’t dogs.

  3. Sara Lindsey
    · September 4th, 2007 at 7:37 am · Link

    Cream. Unless it’s of the whipped variety, I don’t want to hear it used as a verb or noun in proximity to female genitalia.

    Manroot should also never be used. I read this once in a Virginia Henley novel and I’m still scarred…

  4. terrio
    · September 4th, 2007 at 8:03 am · Link

    I actually don’t mind cream depending on the context. But I’ll second manroot. Makes me think of something you’d pull out of the garden. Like that geoduck thing Hellion mentioned last week.

    I say we get rid of folds. Do we have to talk about her folds? Makes it sound like some giant stage curtain. He got lost in her folds…LOL!

  5. Tessa Dare
    · September 4th, 2007 at 8:50 am · Link

    OMG, you guys are cracking me up!

    LOL, Terri, about ‘lost in her folds’!

    Um, I think I’m guilty of 1 and possibly 4 (but no one’s lost!). But I’m with you on “laved” and “cream.” And “cream” + “juices” = double yuck.

  6. ERiCA
    · September 4th, 2007 at 12:46 pm · Link

    I’m with Sara on cream. Icks me out. Terrio’s fold comment killed me. Hilarious. I’m anti curtain-of-hair as well. (Curtain-of-hair typically falls strategically over breasts, perhaps allowing one to peek playfully from behind said curtain.) I’m also against body parts “weeping” and “sobbing”. That frightens me.

    *runs away*

  7. Lindsey
    · September 4th, 2007 at 8:19 pm · Link

    Sign me up for Janet Mullany’s campaign on “nub” and – even worse – “nubbin”. It makes me think of Friends & Chandler’s third nipple and it just generally weirds me out.

    And I’m pretty much with you all on the rest of these – especially juices, cream, and other words that suggest messiness. Isn’t the point of the fantasy that I’m not supposed to be thinking of laundry?

  8. Tessa Dare
    · September 4th, 2007 at 9:35 pm · Link

    Erica, no need to run – I’m completely with you on the ‘weeping’ body parts – though I can’t remember actually reading ‘sobbing’! Ick. “Drenched” and “raining” and “dripping” all fall into the no-no category for me, too – perhaps because the word “juices” is always nearby.

    Like Lindsey says, I like my fiction less messy than real life!

  9. Darcy Burke
    · September 4th, 2007 at 10:32 pm · Link

    Completely with you on cream and juices. Nasty. I admit to using lave, but it’s not my fave (oh, a rhyme!). I read something awhile back that referred to “lower lips.” I get it, but…weird.

  10. Gillian
    · September 5th, 2007 at 2:58 pm · Link

    May I just say all these are enough to send me screaming back to traditional Regencies where the bedroom doors remain closed and thankfully! description free. 🙂

  11. India Carolina
    · September 7th, 2007 at 1:35 pm · Link

    All right Ms. Dare. I used drenched, you read it and didn’t complain. You’re holding out on me! (And by the way, it stays!)

    I’m against the banning of words. You can use any of the words listed above and more, but please, take pity and try to do so in a fresh way.

  12. Lynne Simpson
    · September 10th, 2007 at 5:04 pm · Link

    Bwahahaha! You guys hit all the words that completely throw me out of the story. I think the first time I ever saw “manroot” was on the old site. I laughed the rest of the day.

  13. Tessa Dare
    · September 12th, 2007 at 10:37 pm · Link

    India … I just found a use of “drenched” in one of my own scenes. It’s sweat, not juices, but still. Your point is taken – there’s a right use for every word.