“He Tucked A Stray Hair Behind Her Ear”

Another funny bit I found in the current issue of BOOK PAGE was a letter to The Author Enabler who mentioned that there is a serious over-explosion in novels where someone tucks the hair of another behind the ear. I thought it might be a post idea to work with.

Have you noticed this? Book Page is encouraging other readers to send in examples of hair tucking and other silly cliches.


Just yesterday, I read this in Private Demons, Judy Oppenheimer’s bio of Shirley Jackson, in a letter from her husband Stanley:

“writin? taint nothin but fun!!!! neatly tucking a wisp of gray hair  in place. . . d’ruther be raisin my passel of kids but since they laid henry off at the mill . . . flouring her apron with careworn hands . . . n’poppin blueberry pies in the oven . . . neatly detaching her dogddamn head . . .shucks. . . yessir yessiree essireeindeedee!”

Sure it is not a nice message on many levels, but it was a hair tuck reference. (and a pie reference, in case you missed that, too.)

I’m trying to recall if Vronsky tucked any of Anna Karenina’s hair behind her ear. Or did I hear something like that in Bleak House already? Sounds like something Richard would to do Ada.

So do tell if you notice this in any of your current reads. I bet I will notice it going forward, will you?


Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

17 thoughts on ““He Tucked A Stray Hair Behind Her Ear”

  1. Ugh! I hate having my hair tucked behind my ear. Plus, all my hairs are strays! Will watch for this cliche to appear, but I haven’t read a real honest-to-goodness love story in a while. Zombies and vampires and immature, insensitive, selfish, male main characters don’t tend to do things like tucking stray hairs behind ears. 😉

  2. This happens frequently in A Discovery of Witches…just one of the many reasons I gave up on that particular book.

  3. I’ll keep an eye out for this reference. It sounds so familiar that I’m quite sure I’ve read something like it on multiple occasions!

  4. I bet I’ll notice it too, from now on! I used to date a guy who was always tucking my hair back and I hated it. It made me feel completely unkempt and weird. I can’t imagine ever liking having that done, and I say that as someone who constantly tucks her own hair behind her own ears.

  5. I usually don’t notice hair-tucking unless the character is really bookish. Somehow being bookish and hair-tucking seems to go together but only in adult books. There seems to be a lot of hair-tucking in YA.

  6. I loved that note Stanley sent to Shirley. He seems like the type that would have flung a book if he’d caught any hair-tucking going on.
    The last hair-tucking I saw was in A Prologue to Love by Taylor Caldwell. Mercifully, she didn’t let this become a regular storytelling strand. If you blinked, you’d miss it.

Welcome! I invite you to comment. If for some reason commenting is troublesome, pls send email to BkClubCare [at] Gmail

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s