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The Crush List II

More predominantly British, predominantly fictional men I have a crush on, obsessively arranged into categories

Thank you kindly. Paladin Archetype: Benton Fraser

I love uncomplicatedly good and virtuous men, the more upstanding, uptight, innocent, and helpful the better. Benton Fraser, the do-gooding Mountie of the goofy 90s culture-shock/cop show Due South, is the perfect idealized over-the-top hero. He freely offers help to everyone. He upholds and defends the Law, even when it seems to cause more pain than gain. He calmly asks gun-wielding criminals to put down their illegal firearms, fully expecting them to do it (and sometimes they do). He performs crazy acrobatics and puts on his hat and smiles crookedly. His stilted diction, razor-straight posture, and perfectly starched uniform only add to his impossible, anachronistic, heroic glory.

And, let's face it, it doesn't hurt his crushworthiness that he's played by a fresh-faced Paul Gross. In the reasoned and objective words of everyone who looks upon him, "He's so good-looking!"

Here he is in a Due South publicity shot (with Diefenbaker)

Here is Paul Gross apparently trying to look sultry

It's also worth mentioning how much I also love him in a completely different role, that of the insane, wild-haired director Geoffrey Tennant in Slings & Arrows. I'm not sure what archetype he is.

I don't think you ever saw me flirt.

Paladin Archetype Honorable Mention: Daniel Deronda. He's another perfectly virtuous and upstanding soul, with emphasis on wanting to spare everyone pain, and a mantra of "Tell me how I can help you!" But I already mentioned Hugh Dancy, who plays him in the recent miniseries, as the Cute Archetype, so I thought it would be unfair to play that card twice in as many crush list editions.

In sooth I know not why I am so sad. Melancholy Archetype: Jeremy Irons

I'm not sure what it is about sorrow that I find so interesting from afar--I certainly don't like it when grief-causing things happen, and I'm annoyed when people I actually interact with are upset for no reason. But for some reason when I'm consuming fiction (watching, reading, whatever) I have tendency to get all "omg HE'S SO SAD!!! <3 <3 <3" Jeremy Irons, AKA the One Old Guy (Besides the Obvious Patrick Stewart) Whom I Love, has a special gift for infinite, inexplicable sadness. I'm particularly enamored with his Antonio from Merchant of Venice: deeply romantic, complexly flawed, and, of course, totally morose. He's so full of wist you guys.

Loving an Old Guy (Besides the Obvious Patrick Stewart) is odd for me, since I've hitherto erred on the side of scandalously young (Sabu, Atreyu, Peter Pan...u). I'd worry that, as I age, I'm turning into a Stereotypical Woman, attracted to Older Powerful Men, except that my favorite scene in Merchant is when he's tied to a chair, so you can go ahead and nix that "powerful" thing.

I can't let an opportunity to post my favorite Brideshead Revisited publicity shot go unseized. Look how young and disaffected they are!! Look how he's semi-protectively leaning into Sebastian's bear!!

Here he is as the main villain in the Dungeons and Dragons movie. Does anybody else find it weird that Jeremy Irons is always found either in Royal Masterpiece BBC Shakespeare Theatre Company literary adaptations or shitty fantasy? I suppose the same is true of your Patrick Stewarts and your Ian McKellans (expanding fantasy to include sci-fi/spec-fic), but Jeremy Irons is in really shitty spec-fic. Let me tell you something, the scenery in D&D was A.B.C. Scenery by the time he got through with it. I guess he gets sick of being subtle and restrained and sometimes just wants to cut loose and give lengthy, wild-eyed speeches about how great he'll be once he has the Orb of Thraxtor or whatever.

Imagine the most beautiful check-out boy you have ever seen occupying this space.

Melancholy Archetype Honorable Mention: That One Cute Former Checkout Boy (not pictured). Back in the summer of 2006 the local fruity hippie grocery store employed upwards of three cute checkout boys. My friend and colleague Anna, the world's only consulting detective, and I particularly favored the one with the high cheekbones and pleasant Welsh lilt, especially after the time he rang us up, long lashes downcast, voice heavy with exquisite sorrow as he piteously asked "Paper or plastic?" He hasn't worked there in months, but Anna and I sometimes still ask each other "Remember the day Welsh Boy was sad?"

I'm the leading man! Fop Archetype: Balthier

Let me tell you this much. If you get into a fight with a guy (he started it; you tried to warn him), totally best him expending very little effort, then toss off a dispassionate complaint about the state of your lace cuffs, you have already won my heart. Balthier from Final Fantasy XII does stuff like this all the friggin' time. His dress is immaculate: unlike the other FF men who wear complicated bits of metal held together by buckles and bearing femmey midriffs, Balthier chooses gratuitous cloth over gratuitous skin, wearing a puffy shirt under an elaborately decorated vest. And he wears earrings. Two (2)!! Insouciance is his very essence. He peppers serious plot cut scenes with witty asides. He lightly chatters about nothing in particular even while a prison guard is threatening to kill him if he doesn't shut up now. He cheerfully cries "Heads up!" as he's sending a magical comet crashing to Earth in his limit break. If you're not paying attention to healing and you let him get killed in battle, he crumples to the ground with a skeptical "Is that your best?" Although some of the things he says and does are inexplicable (you learn to deal with that with the FF series), and his Britishness is questionable at best (he seems to have kind of a British accent, but only insomuch as every high fantasy accent is vaguely British; r-drop and enunciating "t"s is just what people do when they're trying to sound Epic), he is almost 100% pure unrefined delight.

Check out his whole outift.

I have nothing to declare but my genius.

Fop Archetype Honorable Mentions:

Oscar Wilde. Honorable mention? you cry. But he's the quintessential dandy! I know, but I'm not sure I exactly have a crush on Oscar Wilde. Obviously, as a Victorian-period-obsessed homophilic amateur playwright, I love him to pieces; I think he's smart, funny, brave, and big-hearted, and I find his flaws (arrogance, humor as defense mechanism, weakness for pretty young men) relatable; but, despite his being a famous dead genius, and my being a callow girlchild who routinely reads Stargate: Atlantis fan fiction, I feel too close to him. I'm annoyed by his stubborn bad decisions and his pretentious moods. Sometimes I just want to shake him vigorously and cry "Jesus, DROP THE LAWSUIT! He's an insane, abusive boxing enthusiast and his allegations against you are perfectly true! You have everything to lose! And your arguments about how 'it's okay because the Greeks did it' will not fly in a court of law!" In short, my love for him is familial. (HEAR ME PAUL?)

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance, Phipps.

Lord Goring. A creation of Oscar Wilde's for An Ideal Husband, the perfect combination of offhand wit and childish anti-responsibility in face of father, and unerring loyalty, good sense, and love when his friends are in trouble. Jeremy Brett, whom I love for a variety of reasons (including his insane genius as Sherlock Holmes, his fresh-faced earnestness as Freddy in My Fair Lady, and the way he trills his "r"s), plays him perfectly in a 1969 performance.

They seek him heeeeeeeah...

Early-80s-vintage Anthony Andrews. Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews on the same crush list! Someone likes her Brideshead! But I don't just love AA for his adorable performance as the eccentric, aristocratic, trivial-on-the-outside, tortured-on-the-inside, teddy-toting Sebastian Flyte, but for his spot-on portrayal of the annoying, aristocratic, trivial-on-the-outside, tortured-on-the-inside, secretly heroic Sir Percy Blakeney. I suspect that I would like someone who was trivial on the outside even if they weren't tortured on the inside (I just like a man who is a clothes-horse), but they're demmed hard to find. Still, I also adore the literary trope of the useless wastrel who, when you scratch his surface, turns out to be totally badass (see Moreau, Andre-Louis and Darcy, Mr.), so maybe the duality is an essential part of the attraction.

To sum up, I like:

  • People who are good but hide their goodness
  • People who are good and don't hide their goodness
  • Trivial people who are secretly badass
  • Trivial people who are not secretly badass
  • The young
  • The old
  • The cheerful
  • The sad

Hope that narrows it down for you!


- Laura