By Kelly Beaton:

This week I read a romance novel. It must be the positive influence of my fellow bloggers. It was a interesting read but it raised the key question - why does the heroine never go to the bathroom?

In the case of this novel, the heroine runs through South America without even breaking a sweat, let alone experience bad breath or menstrual cramps. She remains sexy and desirable by one and all.

I think if I was faced with the her, I would have packed it in once I ran out of Tic Tacs and lip balm.

After reading this book, it did lead me to reflect on the portrayal of women in films, which is not much different than in romance novels. Our heroines, Drew, Julia, Meg, Cameron, Jennifer A, Jennifer G & Jennifer L are always looking - and I would assume smelling - great, regardless of the situation. I only recalled one recent film, where the female protagonist was truly real and that would be one of my favourite films, Bridget Jones's Diary, starring Renee Zellweger. Who will ever forget the famous date prep and panty selection scene or the dinner party disaster and the opening scene of Bridget singing in her PJs. I think I know why so many women laughed until they cried because we all have had a Bridget moment.

While I know that many novels and films are created with the motive to escape the banalities of our daily life, it is fun once in a while to meet a character that you can relate to and know that she too has bad hair days, and wears her sweaters backwards or even inside out.

If you know her, please let me know.


  1. Kelly - fun post! Okay I do admit you have a point - the romance genre tends to gloss over those "icky" bits in life - however there are some terrific authors who've incorporated it beautifully into their books for a very funny effect. Eloisa James comes to mind. I think you're bang on when it comes to rom/coms. I wonder if Jen Aniston has a clause in her contract that states she has to have gorgeous hair in all of her movies. It really does take away from the stor because you see the celebrity not the "character". Renee Zellweger is a great actress which is why she did so well as Bridget Jones. She took that chance - she was real - she stepped into that character that so many women loved. She was fearless and we love her all the more for it.

  2. My heroines use the john. Or the bushes, as appropriate. I try to mention Mother Nature and/or the facilities at least once in every book --usually in passing, granted, but it's at least there. And I do it precisely because as a kid, I always wondered when these people in the movies or books went to the bathroom!

  3. In my novella Wilderness Girl, my heroine's camping, and so must relieve herself outdoors, making it a little less mundane than just going to the bathroom!
    In my historical Angels Sinners and Madmen, my heroine pukes in the hero's arms after drinking too much (hopefully not as gross as it sounds - he holds her hair, which endeared him to me!)
    So I think the story calls for what it calls for. Most people don't want to read about such things, whether in romance or any other genre. Pertinent details add to the story, though.
    Fun post, Kelly!

  4. Great post, Kelly. I'm the sort of person who only warms up more to a female character who has to use the bathroom. I'm a Quentin Tarrantino fan, which means I'm fascinated by all of the never-shown-or-addressed scenes, such as the one from Pulp Fiction where they have to clean up the car after a hit.

    Let's have more Bridget Jones panties-showing-as-she-goes-down-the-fireman's-pole scenes!

  5. Here here! More real women in books and movies doing messy stuff! More messy hair too for that matter.

  6. Kelly Beaton: Thank you for your thought-provoking post.

    Should the heroines (or anyone else) in fiction and movies be shown going to the bathroom, or performing other icky tasks? Depends on the story, and especially on the creator's technique and purpose.

    If an author writes a tale full of raw, grungey, in-your-face realism, it'd look all wrong if the characters DON'T use the toilet, throw up, suffer diarrhea, have a really bad case of PMS or jock itch, etc.

    However, as a reader and movie-lover I don't care for all that. I read and watch movies to escape, and I've already got enough icky stuff going on in my real life.

    I already know by implication that the characters must have to perform the usual bodily functions. Or unusual ones, if the genre is sci fi and the characters are aliens.

    You can bet the ranch I don't write in the grungy-realism mode. I focus on matters that interest me, and (I hope) my fellow readers. Bodily functions don't.

    It's challenging enough to squeeze into one novel, short story, movie, etc. all the themes, characters, and events that interest if not fascinate its creator. Why waste valuable space on that which doesn't?

  7. Loved the post, Kelly, sorry I'm late in replying.

    One thing that always amazed me in movies and books - how can the heroine wake up and look as gorgeous as if she just stepped out of the hair salon and a detour through the makeup caravan?
    I address those 'real-life' moments in my stories because I know they'd strike me as 'No way!!' if it were glossed over. Now, it may not be totally ick when I paint it, but at least it's there - like, first thing when the heroine wakes up, she heads to the loo and then goes to brush her teeth and splash cold water on her face and luckily run a brush or her fingers through her hair!

    Great post, and yeah, Bridget was a real woman!




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