When creating covers, one of the things that both amuses and frustrates me is finding male images where the men have hair on their chest-- even a little bit. That royalty free images generally do not is a testament to waxing, shaving, male modeling, body building, and who knows what else as it's sure not about reality for men's bodies.
Yes, metrosexuals might wax, but real cowboys, loggers, men who work with their hands, very few of them do (as in I have not known any). Most movie stars likewise still have hair on their chests.
Remember the guy below and his popular television show? Oh probably not if you are young (Clint Walker and he played Cheyenne from 1955-1963). I suspect he played a role in how many western writers still write about the tall, black haired western hero ;). His show almost always had him taking off his shirt for one reason or another. None of us complained :). I will admit when I was 13, I thought I'd marry him someday. Then I found out he was already married. A major disappointment!
So finding men with bristle on their jaw, that's easy but on their chests... not so much. Yes, it's true some men have very little chest hair, but all men, by nature, have some. I recently saw Dirty Dancing again and Patrick Swayzee had a great body in it, several shirtless scenes, and I had to look hard to see if he had chest hair-- he did. Just not a lot.
Even Native American men had chest hair, but genetically they had little. Many of the tribes plucked their chest hairs-- maybe because they were into body paint for battle. Could that explain the hairless men of the royalty free sites?
Maybe this is because young women like smooth hairless chests. To me, likely a testament to my own age, I like chest hair although I wouldn't particularly like it heavily covering the whole body.
Some object to the covers of romances having bare-chested men period and find especially negative the need for so much muscular definition. Well men do have muscular definition, at least those who work hard for a living. What they do not have are waxed and oiled chests. I am all for muscular chests... but for my book covers, give me some chest hair please?
When Jimmy Thomas, one of the models for book covers, said he'd be putting out some images with hair because he'd had an injury and was unable to model for awhile-- hence had not waxed, I was waiting and bought two different ones. Currently this is not on any of my covers, but someday it'll be the inspiration :). To me, hair on a man's chest is manly. Why is that not more popular for book covers???