Blond Shall Not Touch Blond, Nor Curly Touch Curly

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tropes and genres
Related tropes/genresSlash Tropes, Epithet, Pairing Opposites, Big Guy Little Guy
Related articles on Fanlore.

Blond Shall Not Touch Blond, Nor Curly Touch Curly (The Curl Rule) is a specific tongue-in-cheek fannish warning instructing fic writers to follow the rule that characters with similar physical appearances not be paired together.

It was likely coined, and certainly promoted, by Sandy Herrold.

The trope is a form of pairing opposites.

The trope existed before the term. In 1992, the editor of the Kiefer/Lou zine, The Boys are Back #1, wrote in that zine's dedication:

To lovers of the contrast between blond and dark and all the inherent possibilities they inspire.

The term itself was in use by at least August 1994 as per comments in Strange Bedfellows and on Virgule-L:

Put simply, the curl rules states that you can never pair two characters with curly hair in a slash story. Obviously a rather tongue in cheek rule, designed to prevent Blake/Tarrant stories I should imagine...

If I remember correctly the Curl Rule was devised by Sue Clerc. She's not here to defend herself so we can credit her now. It's not just designed to prevent Blake/Tarrant - there are other, cross-universe abominations, like Blake/Doyle. I always thought there was an aesthetic component to the curl rule; different hair types just look better in the imagination. Dark vs light is nice, too. [1]

In 1995, Sandy Herrold referenced this trope by name in a post that predates the official Fandom's Ten Commandments:

... the true rule is "Curly shall not touch curly." I read all S/H x Pros stories with enormous trepidation, fearing the author will not respect this most serious of all slash rules (and no, you can't just say that Doyle's is a perm. Hmpt!). -- Snady [2]

Examples of Use, and Variations

I thought [ Roj Blake and Del Tarrant ] looked real good together. And I'm not a deeply prejudiced person, I think. I believe it is O.K. for two curly men to have it off with each other." And "Egad! Sandy, I hope you're wrong about two curly-haired guys sleeping together being incestuous. I've read some really great Tarrant/Blake stories; I'd hate to think that their authors will be run out of fandom on a rail for breaking the "elemental taboo"! [3]

I know the Rule of Curl (Curly may not touch Curly) stands, but Sandy wants a Rule of Bald (Hair-Impaired may not touch Hair-Impaired). I protest! (Unless this keeps Frank away from Skinner…) And the bottom line is, as Nicole says, "They could have all met in Vietnam. [4]

Can bald touch bald? Can Frank McPike (Wiseguy; FBI, Vietnam Vet, round glasses, highly controlled, intense, short and bald) get together with Walter Skinner (X-files: FBI, Vietnam Vet, round glasses, highly controlled, intense, tall and bald)? [5]


  1. ^ from Susan H responding to a conversation on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (November 1, 1994)
  2. ^ Sandy Herrold's comments at Virgule-L, quoted with permission (June 13, 1995)
  3. ^ from Strange Bedfellows #6 (1994)
  4. ^ from Rallying Call #17 (1996)
  5. ^ from Rallying Call #17 (1996)