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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Red Shoe: Just wondering where this term comes from. I had assumed it was made up on the spot, but I recently caught an episode of The West Wing where Donna refers to herself as "The Beard" when she's placed in an analogous situation.

Denis Moskowitz: it's an actual gay slang term: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beard_%28female_companion%29

Nornagest: Took this commentary on the Sherlock Holmes fic example out:
*Ummm... Who cares?
I don't, but this doesn't belong on the main page.

Doyle Couldn't the Sherlock Holmes fic example just be taken out altogether? I'd be surprised if there's *any* fandom that doesn't have "characters A and B pretend to be lovers/married" fic - it's one of the biggest fic cliches there is. ETA: I've taken it out. If anyone desperately wants it back in, it said this:
* This troper once wrote a fanfiction in which Sherlock Holmes and a female character must pretend to be newlyweds in order to investigate a series of apparent hauntings by a lecherous entity at a bed and breakfast for honeymooners.