Brown-haired boy-next-door Armitage
The updates on RichardArmitageNet.com today included this picture from Teena. It’s a photoshop of a screencap from one of the earlier Hobbit vlogs, maybe the one below from vlog #2, and it made me sob spontaneously. I’m not posting Teena’s pic here because I wanted to write about this today and didn’t have time to ask for permission and her blog went private some time ago. Click over to RANet.com and look it at it, though, as it was the concrete occasion for this post. It’s really beautiful. It’s like she takes every beam of light that reflects across his face and enhances and emotionalizes it. That’s the kind of picture I’d send his mom. Wonder how she feels about the beard.
This is going to be kind of aimless. I’m working on a more analytical post but I’m not in the mood today. It’s kind of a riff on Ania’s picspam about Teddy Bear Armitage.
John Standring (Richard Armitage) agrees to help Carol out when she returns to the farm after her father’s collapse, in episode 2 of Sparkhouse. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com
John Standring was in bed with me this morning. I know what this means. It was totally predictable. I’m afraid I’m in for a long spell of Sparkhouse looping.
As I continue to wrestle with my various feelings about Richard Armitage, I often take refuge in the recognition that in so many decisive ways, Mr. Armitage has nothing to do with the kind of man I find attractive in practical terms or have ever dated. By turns I find this funny and I’ve been trying for years to put together a “Top Ten List: Reasons Richard Armitage and Servetus Would Never Get Together” (beyond of course the obvious ones that we’ll never meet, and he’s stated that he’d never date a fan). It always ends up sounding defensive, though, and so I never publish it. Oh, well, maybe someday.
But looking it at it prosaically, I can’t help but think that even if I weren’t a fan, I wouldn’t be instantly attracted to Richard Armitage anyway, I mean, like if he were a neighbor or someone I regularly ran into in a certain setting. I know that sounds rather strange. I suppose you could read this admission as some kind of defensiveness, anyway; Richard Armitage is good looking enough that he can probably have anyone he wants and I’m not in the upper percentiles for physical beauty. Perhaps my own tastes have been influenced by that; I tend to go for guys who are more like me in that regard. So I don’t go for incredibly stunning faces in the men I fall in love with — I tend to really like either “average looking” faces or faces with strong features that overbalance them enough to forestall labels of conventional handsomeness. I’ve typically found the character actor in the supporting role more attractive than the gorgeous leading man. So when, as in the vlog cap and Teena’s artistic rendition of it, his hair is so short that his nose overbalances his face, and he’s not retouched, and all his eyelines are there, and he’s not in makeup that makes him look paler, I’m really at risk for experiencing some vehement feelings. Because he looks like he could be so — normal.
Boy-next-doorish. Even if I know he’s not.
And then there’s my thing for brown hair. Is there any reason to prefer brown hair to any other color? No. But I think that it has some kind of deeper significance for me; I code certain hair colors with certain attitudes, which is also totally irrational. (Then again, until I was fifteen I thought the number seven was orange and basically unreliable and that nine was bright yellow and evil. I would actively put off solving math problems with what I thought were disproportionate quantities of odd numbers in them because just looking at the equations made me uneasy. When I finally confessed this to my advanced algebra teacher he said I had to clear that nonsense out of my head or I’d never learn to add and subtract radicals. Somehow intentionally not thinking about it didn’t help much with that, though. Oddly.) So yeah, dark hair to me seems to signify “exotic,” I read blond hair as “handsome,” and red hair as “quirky.” Whereas brown hair says to me: reliable. I wrote over at Grati’s yesterday that what’s hot in a man for me is a combination of reliability / integrity, kindness, and the feeling that he understands me. Somehow, brown hair says all those things to me in a way that the other colors don’t, even though there are plenty of dishonest, stupid, uninsightful brown-haired jerks in the work (and I’ve met a few), and probably just as many reliable, kind, understanding blondes and black- and red-haired men. So, yes, it makes no sense.
The last man I fell in love with was a brown-haired, boy-next-door type who is not especially handsome. Though I grew to love his face. I fell in love with him on a November evening while he was fixing my bike. It didn’t hurt that he really liked to fix my bike. And his bicycle repairs, as so much else about him, epitomized reliability.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this, really. Maybe I’m trying to explain the sudden sobbing. I suppose, observed from the bird’s-eye perspective of self-analysis, I need to acknowledge under the current circumstances I’m going to be more interested in watching the Armitage roles with brown hair where he plays someone who’s reliable. Maybe also to admire the fact that he can act in this way: that as an actor he can make me believe in the kind of guy who’ll still get in your car after he’s told that your sister is your daughter and also the child of your romantic rival, and then say, “don’t ever be afraid to tell me things.” When he’s in pale makeup and dark hair, Armitage can look so cruel. But when he’s in his own complexion and hair color, he really does look kind. (It’s one of the things that’s confusing about the Paul Andrew character in Between the Sheets.) And as I’ve said before, his acting makes me believe men have qualities that I don’t often credit them with. It doesn’t help my inner struggle when we hear tweets about his kindness, either. And on a day when I need a lot of kindness, and I see the kind of enhancement that Teena makes to a picture I already find moving, the cup just overflows.
From the beginning Richard Armitage and the character he’s played have been a symbol for hope in my life, the confirmation that things can change, even the impetus for those changes. I think that’s why the relic worked. I think it’s that he makes me believe against reason; he makes me try just one more time. I suppose that’s dangerous. Some days, I need just that, though, and Teena’s artwork reminded me of the possibility for hope that a need like that can be fulfilled.