The longer she spent [writing her story], the more she admired it. The part, in particular, where Tan Coul is wounded in the shoulder and Hero has to dress the wound. She strips off Tan Coul’s armor and sees “the smooth, powerful muscles rippling under the silken skin of his back.” Wonderful! Polly went around whispering it admiringly to herself. “The silken skin of his back!”
Tom wishes you, for some reason I can’t understand, to consider the human back. He says there are many other matters you should consider too, but that was a particularly glaring example. He invites you, he says, to walk along a beach this summer and watch the male citizens there sunning themselves. There you will see backs - backs stringy, backs bulging, and backs with ingrained dirt. You will find, he says, yellow skin, blackheads, pimples, enlarged pores and tufts of hair. This is making me ill, but Tom says go on. Peeling sunburn, warts, boils, moles, midge bites and floppy rolls of skin. Even a back without these blemishes, he claims, seldom or never ripples, unless with gooseflesh. In fact, he defies you to find an inch of silk or a single powerful muscle in any hundred yards of average sunbathers. I hope you know what all this is about, because I don’t. I think you should stay away from the seaside, if you can.
Diana Wynne Jones, Fire and Hemlock
So true to life.