I had a bit of an epiphany moment this week and I wanted to share it with you. Quelle surprise it’s all to do with men. Fanciable men. Actually that last bit’s open to debate but stick with me and I’ll try and explain what I mean…
My husband has always told me I have an eclectic taste in men, a long list which includes the likes of Rik Mayall (I’m starting with teenage crushes here), Jimmy Nail, Craig Charles, Hugh Grant, Patrick McGuinness, Richard Armitage…need I go on? But none of these desirables – well in my eyes anyway – come close to the man I have idolised since I was 12 years old when I first sat down to what I thought would be a riveting evening watching a drama about the Napoleonic Wars with my babysitting-uncle. Up come the titles *dah, da, dah*, that now oh-so familiar painting of the rifle, cut to Sergeant Richard Sharpe of the 95th Rifles and there you have it. Love at first sight.
As a teenager the rough-and-ready Sean Bean sat companionably alongside Mark Owen in my ‘General Book’ at school but although my teenage pop fantasies about members of Take That faded into adulthood, my feelings for my beloved Yorkshire Man became somewhat of an obsession. I have more framed photos of Sean Bean in our house than I do of my husband. And the largest of which resides in our living room. Or at least it did until this week when I had to take it down to decorate.
Ooh, yes please *drools*
Which was when my moment of intuition occurred…
I turned around to find the alluring Mr Bean giving it his all as Boromir in Lord of the Rings, thinking ‘ooh, how exciting’ before – most depressingly – realising I don’t actually fancy him as Boromir.
And here’s the thing; for me Richard Sharpe and Sean Bean are inextricably linked. They are one and the same. I have never met Sean Bean, probably never will *sighs*, and perhaps a little part of me never wants to because I imagine him to be a flirtatious, chivalrous, passive-aggressive gentleman who’ll get me out of whatever little quandary I might find myself in.
And once I started on this train of thought I couldn’t stop. When Matt Smith was announced as the new Doctor Who I scoffed ‘How the hell can he play The Doctor, he only looks about 12!’ I’d seen him in The Ruby in the Smoke and hadn’t given him the time of day and now – after 13 episodes of Saturday night frivolity – I am absolutely smitten. I even buy my 7 year old the Doctor Who Magazine so I can drool over the pictures. *cringes*
It doesn’t stop there. I salivated my way through Thursday evenings as a teenager, rushing to school the next morning to discuss with my best friend Cassie how utterly heart-stopping Craig Charles looked as Lister in Red Dwarf. And yet I’ve never tuned in to watch him in his latest role in Coronation Street, in fact I’d be hard pushed without the use of Wikipedia to tell you his character’s name. James Corden sets my pulse racing as Smithy in Gavin and Stacey but I can’t the same happens when I sit down to an episode of Horne & Corden. I never batted an eyelid at Richard Armitage in North and South and he almost repulsed me in Robin Hood but as Lucas North in Spooks I find myself utterly besotted with yet another member of the opposite sex *feigns fainting*
*bleeugghh* hellish Guy of Gisborne
*mmmm* heavenly Lucas North
Okay, okay I know what you’re asking; what’s my point? Other than, that is, me taking a rather gratifying trip down romantic memory lane… It’s dawned on me – and perhaps I’m slow on the uptake here – that I’m far more attracted to the character, their traits, their idiosyncrasies than how they look. And having taken onboard this eureka moment I’m going to put it to good use in my writing. There’s no point boring the reader with lengthy prose on what my character looks like. A cursory nod in the direction of his hair colour perhaps, his frame and build, but I shall keep my trap shut and leave at that. Far better I leave my reader to her own fantasies over what my protagonist looks like and get her to fall in love with his personality instead.
Having said all that I’m still in love with Sean Bean and probably always will be. And if I want to make sure it’s him and the character I’m besotted with I can rely on my copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover to keep me happy. My favourite fictional character and my most lusted-after actor all wrapped up in two hours of delicious indulgence *mmmmm*