me + Richard Armitage + Lee Pace, or: The ship that dare not speak its name [part 2, clothes sharing]

I last wrote about this topic here, an analysis of the thinking and argumentation behind what I called “Richlee realism.” I had intended to follow up immediately and then the TDOS premiere knocked me for a loop. Continuing this topic was on my agenda for 2014 and then processing the 92Y event occupied us all for a good two weeks.

Please read carefully and consider the previously stated caveats and the comments policy in the sidebar before commenting. I continue to believe that rational discussion of controversial topics is possible and in pursuance of that conviction I will continue to block people who ignore the discussion guidelines in the attempt to tank any calm discussion of the topic. I can’t say it enough: Life is so short. If you can’t tolerate any discussion of this topic, don’t read this post.

As for me: I’ve embraced the maxim taken from Terence, Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto (I am human, I consider nothing human foreign to me). Though its meaning differs now from that given in its original context (Terence’s character apparently used it sarcastically), the tradition of the West interpreted it to mean that learning about the ideas and lives of others is always a valid activity. I agree, even if I sometimes disagree or shake my head in incomprehension.

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This is one of those moments for me — a sort of “half ways I don’t totally get that” element of all of this. I’ve been writing about my growing awareness of the Richlee ship chronologically, but I need to detour a bit from my narrative in order to incorporate an element that many enthusiastic shippers find meaningful, but which has never really drawn me: “clothes sharing.” Because it didn’t appeal to me that much, I didn’t notice the discussion when it started and I can’t find its origins.

I think the photos in this post show all the items I’m aware Armitage and Pace are alleged to have shared, with the exception of the “tie clip” — I’ve never seen a photo demonstration of that point, only references to the possibility that Armitage is publicly wearing Pace’s tie clip (or did a year ago, but has stopped doing so; the Richlee realists seem to have split between a group that believes the relationship to be over and another that believes it to be ongoing). I’m not saying there’s no photo evidence on the tie clip, just that I haven’t run across it. My ambivalent interest in this ship (Armitage / McTavish is my Hobbit RPF OTP — OMG, have you read this? So good!) means I don’t look for everything about it but wait for the evidence to find me, more or less. I think I noticed a comparison of the blue jeans shirt sometime in the spring of 2013, and the blue sweater juxtaposition about at the date of the end of Hobbit pickups. I saw them all first on tumblr.

If I’ve missed known items, please add a link in the comments. Source for these images was Dorotear.

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The pictures of Armitage come from, in order from top to bottom: (a) end of pickups for The Hobbit, July 2013; (b) ComicCon 2012; (c) Spooks 7.3 (Armitage as Lucas North), so 2008, I believe; (d) Robert Ascroft photoshoot, sometime between August and November 2012. I’m uninformed about the images of Pace because this stuff never really convinced me as evidence for Richlee realism, nor did it appeal to me on an emotional level.

On the evidential problem — Like all of the evidence adduced for the reality of the ship, it runs aground of the necessary / sufficient problem. “Clothes sharing” neither proves that they are necessarily romantic partners, nor it is sufficient on its own to do so. It’s more evidence for the inductive / intuitive case that I discussed in the previous post. But just to note the evidential problem, because that’s my way, I’ll work my way through conventional arguments first before I start to parse its textual effects.

All of the clothing pictured is mass produced. I know realists say the pea coat in particular is distinctive, but it’s not that distinctive; it’s expensive but still something anyone could obtain in a high end department store. All of it can be purchased in multiple locations on at least two continents. In particular the shirts are of a style made by multiple manufacturers. I saw a lot of jeans shirts on men that winter that all looked more or less exactly the same from the distance we’re seeing these items. Moreover, we are dealing with two actors who are plausibly customers for the same range of casual menswear (trendy, urban, upmarket but not hyperfashionista — “fitting in” stylish but not “standing out” stylish). These articles of clothing were all on trend in 2011/12, so the most likely explanation is that they purchased them fully independently of each other. (I tend to shop in about three stores, and I can’t tell you how often I see someone wearing something I own. It’s a hazard of wearing mass-produced clothing.) We could also make a case that they bought them in conjunction. Pace and Armitage clearly knew each other because they worked together, they are certainly friends, they have lived in the same region since the fall of 2012, and because some men tend to unoriginality in their clothing choices, it would be entirely possible that they shopped together, shared a personal shopper, or saw the clothes on each other and said, oh, I like that, where did you get it? Armitage has stated that he lacks or has lost a strong fashion sense, and most recently [in Esquire, 2013] that he bought Lucas North’s wardrobe out of laziness, precisely because someone had decided it looked good on him. Shopping together still doesn’t prove the ship. Indeed, even if all of the pictured items on the actors were in fact the very same objects, the fact that they were both wearing them wouldn’t prove the ship real. I lend clothes to people myself. A real relationship is the least likely conclusion to be drawn from “clothes sharing” based on what I know about it. I could even construct a plausible argument for the position that “clothes sharing” proves they were never in a relationship at all, insofar as “clothes sharing” occasionally functions in Richlee realist arguments as a sign that the actors are speaking a “secret language” to others or fans. But if they were in a relationship, given the realities of their lives, why would they be sending secret messages to anyone? That would be the last thing they’d want to do.

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I don’t really want to discuss the merits of the evidence, since the reasoning used to put them together is not susceptible to argument (I pointed this out last time — good or bad evidence is essentially irrelevant to all shippers, whether realist or not), but I feel like I had to point this stuff out in order to explain why it’s a part of the story that never interested me all that much as a consumer. Pieces of Richlee appeal to me deeply, as I’ll explain in the next post in this series, but this particular element so heavily strained my own notion of the bounds of semantic rationality that I couldn’t really construct a fantasy around it in the Richlee constellation.

Now — I’d be the first to admit that my own core Richard Armitage fantasies, the tame as well as the naughty, are far from rational or realistic. I’m never going to stumble over his feet in my local while he teaches me to two-step, let alone find him in my bed. But each has an element that appeals to me so forcefully that it sublimates or masters common-sense rationality — a kind of vivid-for-me “emotional realism” that allows me to ignore rationality and dream creatively. So when I say “clothes sharing” doesn’t appeal to me, it’s not enough to say, the evidence for it is poor — I also have to add that it carries little to no emotional appeal for me, or not enough to trump my allegiance to rational views of reality in the way that other fantasies do.

Summarizing up till now: The evidential case for “clothes sharing” is insubstantial and some strands of its argumentation border on preposterous.

Bridge to the next piece of the discussion: Rather, it’s the intuitive case that is interesting, not because of the nature of the reasoning (I talked about that last time) but rather because of the facets of the appeal of this kind of “emotional realism.”

Please remember: realism is not reality; rather, realism is the effect of seeming real. Something real is different from something that is realistic, and this is a key distinction in the Richlee ship — between constructing or depicting a kind of realism for the person who likes the ship, as opposed to proving that Richlee is real, which might be appealing, but can only be argued for intuitively on the basis of the evidence that’s available. Rhetorically, “clothes sharing” can be understood as a move toward creating “realism” whether or not it’s indicative of anything real. All fantasy [fangirl, shippers, straight, gay, trans, whatever] is by definition not real; but any fantasy could be more or less realistic based on criteria set up by the fantasizer or observers of the fantasy. And, as the clothes sharing example suggests, the realism of the fantasy bears no necessary relationship to the reality of the matter about which one fantasizes. The pictures included here all attempt to make the fantasy appear realistic to those who consume them, but they do not make the relationship real. In essence, for most viewers, they buoy or sustain an emotion rather than really seeking to convince. I realize that’s a complex series of assertions, but if the point is unclear, I’ll be happy to illustrate it in comments.

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So let’s think a second about two questions: (a) why someone who’s not in severe economic need shares articles of clothing with someone else and (b) why a third party who observed that, or believed they observed it, would find such sharing an appealing thing to dream about.

I couldn’t have talked about the answers to those questions from my own perspective earlier. I have never felt the desire to wear the clothes of my own lovers; as I wrote above, it’s not my fantasy. Luckily, however, fantasies are available to examine that allow me to think further. The swapped clothes, it turns out, have gotten their own fanfics. For instance, Lee has to leave New Zealand but finds that Richard’s put the much-treasured coat in his luggage. Or in the same pairing of stories, Richard is uncertain about putting it in Lee’s luggage (I enjoy, and find convincing, the way the author of that story writes the tension and uncertainty and weariness of impending middle age into the Richard Armitage character).

In the latter story, which depicts the character Armitage pondering the hopes he felt behind putting his favorite coat in Pace’s luggage without Pace’s knowledge, sharing the coat becomes a way to say something that the men, particularly Armitage, had not been able to articulate in each other’s presences.

That was what [Richard] wanted: Lee in his life for the rest of it. [¶] So, maybe him putting his favorite coat in Lee’s luggage was a sign, one that Lee would appreciate and understand for what it meant. And maybe when Lee returned to New Zealand, to him, then he would
have gained the courage to let everything he felt spill forth and flood over the both of them.

The “secret language” trope of some Richlee realism here, displayed for the world in images of clothing, develops into a tongue shared solely between the lovers in the story, but it additionally becomes a language that is contested between them, a sign that one hopes, indeed, one is sure, will be interpreted correctly when one cannot speak oneself. And a sign that will ultimately be permanent. The trope thus speaks to the inner and the outer world at the same time.

In the former story, a much more familiar theme comes out, the piece of clothing as the carrier of the lover’s smell, but (perhaps because both of these stories were written by the same author) it also speaks poignantly of reassurance against doubt.

[Lee] retrieved his luggage, tossing it on the bed, and opening it. When he did, he froze.
Lying there, right on the top, neatly folded was a black coat. Large buttons, buckles, a very nice and warm coat. [...] It was Richard’s.
[...]
Taking it out of the suitcase, Lee sat down on the foot of the bed. The material felt warm, as if Richard had just taken it off after having worn it. It smelled of him, an intoxicating fragrance, one Lee knew so damn well [...]
There was only one explanation: Richard had put the coat in here. Had neatly folded it and snuck it in while Lee was not paying attention.
The thought brought a smile to Lee’s face [...] Richard was letting him borrow his coat. Borrow so that Lee could return it to him.
This meant something. Something so much more.

The coat becomes the synecdoche for the presence of the giver, the gift telling the recipient he is loved, its texture maintaining the warmth, along with the scent, of the absent lover. And the intentionality of the act means that all these messages are willed ones to the recipient and that the sign should be read as commitment. There’s an element of shared clothing as security blanket here that seems less prevalent in Richlee realist discussions, which sometimes view shared clothing (the tie clip in particular) as potential signs of possession or statements of allegiance.

I have two additional observations about this trope: the first is that, although I didn’t find a story that articulated this theme specifically, I found myself wondering if it also had something to do with the fantasy of being entirely subsumed in, drowned in, surrounded by the lover in the way that one could wrap oneself up in his coat. When one puts his coat on, one is surrounded not only by the smell but the intention of sharing and the protective shielding of the relationship.

The other observation that popped into my head, again and again, is not something I’m willing to assert more than tentatively, because I can think of too many exceptions, but I want to broach it anyway — namely, that no matter the sign being articulated through the clothes sharing fantasy, the trope itself struck me as intensely sentimental both on the part of the characters sketched in the fantasy and on the part of the people who articulated it. I find myself inevitably wondering about the whole question of most slash RPF being written by straight women, because while I can’t presume to know anything reliable or generalize even vaguely about the romantic fantasies of people I don’t know, or indeed entire groups of them, this sort of thing, the move from coat to reassurance, protection, and possibly shielding or dissolution in the personality of the other, strikes me as fairly abstract and conceptual for a male fantasy. It’s clear to me that men also exchange tokens of love with each other — I’m not saying that “clothes sharing” couldn’t, or shouldn’t, be a male fantasy as well — but in the intensity of its sentimentality it reads to me as fairly strikingly female and, relatively speaking, a young fantasy. I’m not sure that older lovers desire the loosening of boundaries in such a demonstrative way. Or perhaps they do, in which case “clothes sharing” might also take on valences of recollection or nostalgic.

What I see in these fantasies is certainly not the whole story — there must be elements that appear to others, or that I am neglecting.

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What did I get from this look at Richlee clothes sharing — and by turning over in my mind the consideration that it doesn’t appeal to me?

Sometimes a fantasy that one doesn’t share is just as illuminating as one that one falls into, ass over teakettle. This one can’t surmount the obstacles for what I called “emotional realism” above, for me as consumer. I don’t think of myself as a romantic. While I’m sentimental about the clothing of family members (I have some clothing from each of my deceased close relatives) and some of my own past clothing, I would not normally wear clothing that belongs to a lover except out of necessity (like if I got soaked or was freezing or something). I don’t find the whole “I lounge around in his shirt after sex” thing attractive — I want to be naked or to have my own clothes on — and my personal physical boundaries are high. In encounters with lovers, I am sometimes oblivious, but when I am aware, I am relatively direct (I think?) about my needs and feelings. I don’t speak in the language of symbols and I don’t necessarily find it attractive to do so.

“Emotional realism” for me is somewhere else. I read from my own reaction to what I see in these fantasies that my relationship dreams don’t play around the boundary of a encounters in which certain elements can’t be spoken, or in which the partners are wrestling with fears about articulating their feelings (and then rejoice, or are at least comforted about) managing to do so. Richlee clothes sharing seems to take the common theme of forbidden love in slash RPF and take it up a notch, with the love being not only socially forbidden, but the direct communication of the love between lovers hindered as well. The signaling of relationship, possession or allegiance to a lover, whether open or illicit, through clothing is not something I am eager to do. I derive no frisson from uncertainty. I don’t desire to wrap myself metaphorically in the affection of a lover or potential partner. I personally need too much autonomy for this particular phase of this fantasy to appeal fully.

The fact that this very sentimental trope did not appeal to me at all makes my growing personal interest in Richlee stories really counter-intuitive. Although I love slash, I am not, psychologically speaking, someone who should enjoy Richlee. More about that problem in the next piece.

~ by Servetus on February 2, 2014.

81 Responses to “me + Richard Armitage + Lee Pace, or: The ship that dare not speak its name [part 2, clothes sharing]”

  1. Richlee shippers are getting weirder day by day. But seriously, it’s not necessary that lovers should share clothes, it can be friends too, like you wrote. Great post!

    • Yeah, I don’t think the “real” level of this matters for what I am writing about, but the cognition patterns are interesting.

      • They are.

        Can’t wait to see what the shippers come up with in the future :P

  2. The clothes thing could be more practical then sentimental. We never knew if RA bought Lucas’ coat, he seems to prefer the Belstaff and leather jackets. He may have given it away because he never wore it. Anyway, I have shared clothes with female friends occasionally and we weren’t lovers. It was more a case that one of us liked something the other didn’t needed any more.

    • No disagreement.

    • I should clarify, though — what the fact that humans share clothes in their real lives means is different from what the trope ends up meaning in fanfic.

  3. Richlee, which is my personal favorite OTP, has kept my thoughts warm on quite a few frosty days, but then that’s a whoooole different comment.
    I find it fascinating because there isn’t much evidence to support or reject its existence. I feel like putting my Miss Marple hat on and trying to piece together the elements which, as you have concluded, could hardly be regarded as has facts. Everything about Richlee is ambiguous. Both actors are deliciously private which just adds to the appeal. As is the case with the alleged clothes sharing, we put as much focus on evidence that’s perhaps there as we do on what isn’t.
    Either way, I dunno about you but I find the same clothes/style of clothes on two very hot actors very pleasing to the eye, regardless of what it means.
    Anyway, I look forward to reading about more :)

    • clothes sharing wasn’t especially moving to me but I know it is to a lot of people. obviously they both look great in almost everything they wear. Enviable.

  4. Our son is gay, and he and his partner share clothes. They have been together for 14 years and on the whole seem very happy.

    If Richard is in a relationship with Lee, I wish him every happiness.

    • Best comment on the subject I have read in a long time.

    • People should do what makes them happy :) I’m not criticizing it as a practice or as a fantasy, just pointing it out that it wasn’t my fantasy and trying to understand why.

  5. Thank you again for this (as always) well written essay. Again, I have to agree on all points you have made.

    I was also thinking about a possible reason of clothes sharing between friends („hey, can I borrow that?“ … “hey, that shirt is great“ – „You want it? I don’t need it anymore“) and my first reaction was male friends wouldn’t do that. Then again, putting some of my male friends in that situation, why not. I absolutely agree with you on the „sign or/and secret language“ to others or even to fans. I could even add how unrealistic this assumption is due to the fact both men are extremly private and wouldn’t need to give any signs away to anyone if they are/were indeed together. Their families and close friends would know and that’s just it. And I could also add, assuming they are private and wouldn’t want to draw ANY attention to themselves, that they wouldn’t want to give any signs away so clearly. Hope you get my point and it makes sense at all.

    I saw the tie clip pictures – at least, two of them – and my first reaction was if it could be photoshoped (in one pic you see the actor, the other picture only showed the tie clip). But these days I question almost everything.

    I also want to add on my behalf, that I felt a bit uncomfortable with this topic. I asked myself why it is so as I couldn’t care less about someone’s sexuality in real life. I’ve come to the simple conclusion that a RichLee ship isn’t working as my fantasy, no matter how I look at it, bc mine are always „close to“ rational/realistic and I’m in the middle of a crush. Out of it I’m just fine, in it I just start whining. LoL

    OT and on a lighter note: Who on earth had talked Pace into that moustache (regardless of the reason)? Now, THAT gives me the fantasy of waxing it off his face. :-)

    • That was how I ended up feeling about the “nose job” thing — at some point it was clear that people were altering pictures to prove their point — pictures have become very unreliable evidence.

      I think the mustache is cute! But I love facial hair. The more pictures of Pace I see the more adorable I find him, but it hasn’t tipped over into a full brown crush.

      why it works as your fantasy — I have a friend who has a similar reaction to yours — the problem with Richlee as a fantasy is that it pulls Armitage out of the “everyman” category. It makes him seem unreal or adds to his slightly unreal qualities. What I’ve learned through Armitage fantasy though is that fantasies can change. On the whole my fantasies are really pedestrian but when they’re not that seems to be something i need to take seriously.

      • Nose job: Really? Hm, interesting.
        Pictures: They capture only a single moment of a situation. They don’t tell us anything. And with photoshop (I use at work) everything is possible.
        Pace: Must admit, I never really cared about him but since the whole disscusion he grows on me.
        Fantasy: I agree on that fantasies can change – they don’t know any boundries or rules and it’s the only place where we can devolope our favourite selfes. But with me, there are some aspects of my own character that I simple cannot ignore. That’s also the reason why I cannot have a fantasy of someone who wouldn’t fit to me. But to analyse this would take an own blog! LoL

        • Sorry, it’s ‘discussion’, of course. But I’m so good in proof reading AFTER hitting the send button. :-)

        • but isn’t that part of the task of fantasy? figuring who would “fit to you” and who wouldn’t? The fantasizer defines realism (whether or not that’s close to reality)?

          • Exactely, and that’s why I cannot ship RichLee – it wouldn’t involve me (e.g. they are together that would imply they aren’t interested in a woman – am I only then the BFF or could I “convince” them -> WHAT?) or it would feel like cheating if Pace is my BFF and Armitage is working and asks Pace to look after me… (sorry if I’m too blunt right now and that’s inappropriate to say it out loud).

            • I think that’s how it works for a lot of people. And no problem with saying it.

            • I think women that like slash feel differently. They like the idea that no women will ever be involved. The don’t need to be jealous of other women or compare themselves unfavourably with them, may it be real life partners, on-screen love interests or in fanfic pairings. I know I have come to find the pairing of two men I both like appealing. I also particularly like this pairing because basically it is between equals. I find Richlee much more appealing then Bagginshield, because Bilbo and Thorin are anything but equals and I dislike fanfic about “famous actor RA” and an original female character who either starts as a fangirl or later discovers that she got involved with someone famous.

              • Where is the like-button here on the blog? :-) So, yes and yes – like your comments, ladies.

                Question here: You wouldn’t read/like a fanfic about RL RA + a woman although there would no name or face to that particular woman? You would not fantasize it’s you?

                • I haven’t met the fanfic I wouldn’t read. That said, I also read and enjoy het Armitage RPF. There isn’t that much of it, and I suspect that one reason is exactly what Jane says — that it’s often hard for the reader to get past jealousy of the female character. It’s a bit different for fics written in the second person because the reader is then invited to be the female character.

                • For some reason I never fantasize it is me, I’m always the watcher. And when I started reading slash (back in the RH days) I found it didn’t make much difference if it was Guy and Marian or Guy and Allan. The now popular “you do this and that” fics I find very weird and I don’t read them. And the fangirl fantasies are just so awkward – but maybe that is just me as I never want to meet RA in real life as we can never be equal. I guess alternate universe is something different as would be actor plus equally famous actress.

                  • Now, this is getting interesting! Servetus allowed me to post my question as it prob will lead to a different direction. Why would you never want to meet RA in real life? Under NO circumstances? Or under one particular circumstance?

                    The aspect of not feeling equal to him is really interesting in psychological terms bc I’ve heard it before. I would meet him (but never ever under the fan thingy situation) and as far as I can feel right now, I would feel equal to him, too. I wonder now with your statement if that’s one key why some women fantasize about a RL RA + woman (active part) and others about a ship where they are the observers (passive part).

                    • I have wrestled with this over the years a lot, and I think it’s pretty clear now that I don’t want to meet him, but I couldn’t tell you why, specifically. I’m sure the “equality” question has something to do with it, though.

                    • As trilled as people were that met him at the Proust/Pinter reading, that is precisely what I wouldn’t want. I think someone called it the “glass wall” between actor and fan that was very palpable and that only went down when she sat next to him in the audience. They shared that moment as equals even if they didn’t talk to each other and he probably wasn’t aware of her in the same way she was of him.

    • The mustache was for a play, The Normal Heart.

  6. I was reading this again today, a topic that I’ve personally found curious to the point of humorous, and it struck me that trying to piece together “evidence” like this as “proof” is along the lines of searcing for Atlantis or cryptozoology….things that people desperately want to be true, but that have never, despite centuries of effort in some cases, yielded enough incontovertible evidence to convince laymen, much less skeptics. Fun to ponder though.

    Incidentally…my teenage son was wearing a western style, pearl snap denim shirt the other day…I told him to break it off with Richard Armitage, the man is old enough to be his father! ;)

  7. I’m so agree with you Miss Emms. It’s just a further element to feed fantasies of some fans. Be careful with paralogism like : ” I know gay people, they share clothes, so ……”

    • Yes, I tried to point this out in the long paragraph in the penultimate section — we can’t generalize about the fantasies of groups of people; so I am only stating my reactions / impressions.

  8. [... -- edited. Off topic. -- Serv] You don’t need to be in ‘economic distress’ to borrow clothes from someone, they might just have liked the item of clothing and decided to wear it. Whether or not it is real, it seems like an awful lot of RA fans are desperate for it not to be as not to disrupt their fantasies and decide to mock the idea of ‘RichLee’ as a form of self defense.

    • Hi — I edited this because this wasn’t a post about actual pictures. I’m not sure I’ll ever write about that but if I do I’ll make it a separate post as the question of real photos isn’t really a part of this discussion of fantasy (and fantasy pictures).

      Also, I didn’t say no one would find it appealing to wear their lover’s clothes. I just don’t — this was a post about my fantasy. So I start from the point of, why would you do something you wouldn’t have to do. My father and his brother had to share a pair of shoes when they were kids because they were really poor for a while, so that’s where I am coming from.

      re the role of fantasy — yes, a fantasy can also serve as a joke. I don’t know that there’s anything automatically wrong with that, though.

      • I am fully expecting this to be ‘edited’ again, despite the fact that my comment wasn’t off topic, and neither is this. I just feel like you’ve decided its all ludicrous and that people are looking for any scrap of evidence they can to justify shipping them. [...]

        • Yes, I edited it again, yes, your previous post was off topic, and yes, this one is, too.

          I do not know what others think, nor do I control what they think. Sorry about that, but if I had that power I think I’d apply it in a more useful direction than trying to control what fans think about anything. But I have *never* said either the reality *or* the fantasy was ludicrous. Other people are free, of course, to think or say that, just as you are free to think or say or conclude that what in this case amounts to realism=reality. I don’t have the *facts* to substantiate that position, but you fall in the camp of people who are convinced by what I have described as the intuitive / inductive case, and that is just fine.

          This, however, was a post about the appealing aspects of the Richlee fantasy. The series is about how experiencing Richlee fantasy and thinking about my experience has affected me and the discussion is about how people form evidential chains, and what they find worthy of fantasy or sympathy.

          If I wanted to discuss Richard Armitage’s actual relationship with Lee Pace, I’d have written a very different post. The caveats state repeatedly that I really don’t want to get in a argument about reality, here. If you can’t respect that, I’ll need to put you on moderation.

        • Oh — and if I thought it was ludicrous, do think I’d really spend all this time on it and put up with all the abuse that comes with writing about this?

          • I’m hardly giving you abuse, calm down there’s no need to get so upset about it. ‘All this time’ ? you analyze the poor man on a seriously in-depth/borderline creepy level, after wasting your time analyzing the length of the mans trousers and the muscle and bone structure of his hands I’d be willing to believe you’d ‘waste your time’ doing anything.

            • Sorry, I didn’t mean to say you were abusing me. But I get a *lot* of abuse for writing about this topic, including threats.

          • And why dont you write about it being a possibility? Why don’t you examine the evidence and weigh up the possibility of it being true? I suspect that its because you dread the thought of him being gay or admitting to yourself theres the slim possibility it is real because it would ruin your fantasies. So you choose to ignore it and discuss ‘realism’ about it or whatever. Its this sort of behavior that’s beginning to give the fandom a bad name.

            • You don’t get to read the hate mail — I am not kidding, hate mail — that comes my way for writing about this stuff (incidentally, this is post #4 in a series of what will be six or seven total, if I manage to finish it without tearing out my hair in frustration at the comments), so I forgive you for not getting what a pain it is to publish anything at all about these things period unless you’re writing totally anonymously.

              So I hope you will consider tolerating that I write about this subject in my way, on my time. One point of this blog is that in the scope of exploring my own fantasies, what appeals to me or doesn’t, is that I try as much as I can to make space for *everyone*’s fantasies. That means acknowledging that some people have this fantasy and others do not. Unfortunately what I’ve discovered is that apparently some people’s fantasies do not admit of others, so that if I say, “I like this” some readers will be horrified, and if I say, “I’m trying to understand this but it’s not my kink,” yet other readers will be horrified. I actually like all different kinds of fantasies, but that openness doesn’t seem to work for a lot of people, unfortunately. What I will not do, however, is what you just tried to do to me and other readers — kinkshame. If you like this fantasy, good, if not, that’s fine, leave it alone. Where’s the trouble in that? In fact, plenty of heterosexual women have no problem having one or another particular fantasy or other fantasies, and acknowledging that their fantasy does not correspond to reality. I’m not sure why you think that this fantasy is one that would ruin my fantasy life if it happened to be true — I’ve already said that the point of this series is to explain how the fantasy affected me positively. Does that sound like I’m out to refute the reality of the entire fantasy?

              As to what my fantasies are, you know the tiny piece that I give word to — something for which I also get hate mail and threatening messages even though they are the most boring and vanilla of heterosexual fantasies. If I say anything about non-heterosexual matters, I get policed from one corner, if I say anything about heterosexual matters, from another. Fantasy, and fandom, are way more complex than that.

              I submit that much worse than anything I write or don’t write about all of this are the rhetorical and very real threats I receive for even mentioning this topic in ways that don’t please whichever reader decides to be angry on the day that I am writing. Nothing is going to make everyone happy, but charging that other fans are ruining the fandom because they dare to express themselves is the biggest problem amongst us right now. There are people who are afraid to comment publicly on these posts now. I know, because I get their email.

              • Okay fair enough, I was probably a little harsh. I’m just sick of people being so sensitive over the whole ‘issue.’

                • Thanks. I wish this were a very different world, myself. I hope we can move there together.

  9. I agree with miss emms. If indeed there was an actual relationship, I feel the last thing either person would do was to be photographed in the others’ clothes. Both are probably aware of the close scrutiny that RA is under (by his fandom) and would realize that assumptions would be drawn from clothes sharing.

    • Pace as well, and Pace is probably higher profile professionally.

      • And he has less to loose in more then one respect. He is better established, in spite off aspects of his personal life not really being a secret.

  10. Just an observational note – I was eating in a restaurant in Soho Square (London) the other day, which is pretty central for all the London film and allied industries offices. There seemed to be a huge number of tall, dark, handsome men sporting beards walking by, all wearing black/navy. Any of them could have passed for RA/Hugh Jackman/Gerard Butler or any similarly tall, dark, handsome other actor. Maybe it’s a man thing – they dress to feel safe and the same as other men, whereas women may not wish to look exactly the same as other women?

    • Yes, I’m definitely sure that men could obtain more diverse clothing if they wanted to, so you’re right that it seems reasonable that they choose to wear clothing that is very similar in style, etc.

  11. Two friends working together and one friend gets access to new clothes and may or may not want to keep them but say the other sees said clothes and likes them so other says here you take them. Now in the case of the jeans shirt that could work since it was a photoshoot that RA wore it. People would remember seeing RA in it but maybe not that it wasn’t a personal piece of clothing. Friends do share clothes and when you are isolated to a degree as they were in NZ perhaps clothes sharing might occur more frequently. Great post I think Serv. As noted many of these items are mass produced and favored by a lot of people. You can make what you want of the sharing really and shippers do. If Lee Pace had grown a beard like RA’s people would have taken it even further that it meant they were together….

  12. This is a comment to no one in particular — but you know who you are :)

    The point of discussing all of the clothing was to say, essentially, that it doesn’t fully prove what it’s adduced to prove but that that doesn’t matter — it functions to create realism, particularly for those people who are looking for a particular kind of realism (either based on their own fantasies, or what they know or believe about male/male romantic relations or even what they suppose about Pace/Armitage’s real life connection, whatever that might be). In that sense, it either proves its case merely by existing, or is entirely irrelevant to proving the case. Eventually, I think even skeptics get persuaded by certain kinds of intuitive cases (“if it walks like a duck …”) but reality wasn’t the point of the post, but rather realism and a specific variant of that that appeals to people like me.

    OK, the rest of us can go back to doing whatever it was we were doing.

  13. It is so interesting to me to consider the broad spectrum along which different people process the same information…an element that is inconsequential to me is vitally important to someone else and vice versa. I’m especially intrigued by this in the realm of fantasy, where I’ve only ever constructed along sort of vague lines, but where others clearly prefer, and perhaps need to develop much more specific, detailed scenarios. As in this case, the specific topic at hand doesn’t necessarily need to flip a switch with me, but the discussion provides another piece of the larger puzzle. Thanks!

    • it very much raises the problem of what evidence even “is” — I am sure I’d write this very differently it I were writing about my OTP (and not just because my OTP has strikingly different features). What causes us to rate one detail over another? It’s a big problem — but the main thing is to be aware of what we’re doing insofar as that is possible.

  14. Lee seems such a good easy going human being, he puts smile on my face,not so wide as Richie ,of course ;)
    PS: My brother and my husbend are sharing clothes pretty often..they tend to confess love to each other, frequently..sometimes hugs and kisses are seen :D …especially after long walks from pubs in weekends ;)

  15. I wonder why is this being focused on [...]

    [edited for OT -- Serv]

    • Because, as all the posts in this series explain, this is a series about how fantasizing about this particular pairing affected me, and I’m examining this facet as a component of a larger fantasy.

      • Uh okay…..

        Are you going to be talking about the pictures at any point or just pretending they don’t exist then?

        • when did I ever pretend they don’t exist?

          • Sorry for my tone (or internet tone). This is your blog after all. I incorrectly got the sense from you editing my post that you didn’t want them (the pictures) to be discussed here or for people to know about them. I didn’t really understand that this is part of a series, and the particular topic of this piece was clothes sharing. I thought you were presenting it as “this is the only reason people think they’re together.” Sorry for misunderstanding and my rudeness.

            • Thanks for the apology. If you click back (from the beginning of the post) you can see all the posts in this series — they are linked one to another. This is, I believe, the fourth, and I think there will be at least two, maybe three, more.

              I don’t claim to be a full service provider of Armitage information or gossip (and I never have). This is a blog about my fan journey or what I feel I can say about it publicly. In the course of four years of blogging I’ve developed informal principles that guide what I talk or don’t talk about. (A lot of people actually think I talk about way too much, frankly.) I know the pictures exist, and so does pretty much everyone else, I assume. I tend only to talk in detail about candids if the person in the candid distributed the photo him or herself, i.e., explicitly making it public. I don’t know that I have *never* broken that rule, but that’s the question I ask myself. So I do talk about fan candids because Armitage isn’t being coerced, i.e., knows the photo may hit the web, and because the fan distributes it him/herself. That was not the case with the photos you are talking about. I read about five different stories about how those pictures hit the web, but none of them suggested that anyone who was pictured in the photos sought to make them public. That doesn’t mean I will never mention them — I don’t think anyone knows with 100% certainty what they will do in the future — but that’s really not the topic this time.

              • I understand why you might decide against bringing them into any discussion as you have listed an obviously valid reason against doing so, or if they are just not relevant to your series. Or if you do decide to talk about them. Thanks for responding to me and I look forward to reading your blog in the future!

          • By the way your piece is well thought out and I didn’t mean to disparage your interest in the topic and writing your thoughts on it.

  16. Here’s a very charitable response from a Richlee realist.

    http://richardandlee.tumblr.com/post/75421781026/clothes-sharing-in-the-richlee-fandom

  17. Yeah, the whole “oooh, they have the same black shirt” … c’mon, it’s a black shirt. Who HASN’T got one of those? Sure, mine doesn’t look like that, but then why would two early 40s male actors with successful international careers go shopping for women’s clothing at Asda? ;) No, I agree, clothes doesn’t prove anything. Not when there are a multitude of high street shops with mass-produced products available for the discerning male with a good bank balance.

  18. […] This post on (alleged) clothes swapping between Thraduil Lee and Thorin Richard reminded me how much I love to read posts about celebs and their fashion choices. […]

  19. […] woman who ostensibly can’t detach from her fantasies or foolishly believes them to be real because I supposedly can’t face what would happen if they aren’t? This allegation refashions the decision not write about every aspect of a reality of which one is […]

  20. [Post edited to eliminate fan policing and OT material.]

    I for one love both Richard and Lee, I am 90% sure they are in a relationship due to what I view as overwhelming evidence (clothes sharing, sightings, spending Christmas/thanksgiving together, Richard flying out to see Lee’s play on opening night etc) I love them both be they gay/bisexual [ ...] Theres a recent picture where it is definitely without shadow of a doubt the same jacket they have shared, its the one Richard wore to cinemacon, it has the same wear mark as Lees on the shoulder. I know you tend to police/ignore/block comments you feel are argumentative so I want to make it clear I am not looking for an argument merely your opinion to my questions, cheers.

    • Thanks for the comment, and welcome — most of what you asked in the parts I’ve edited as OT or fan policing has been answered elsewhere in these comments or on blog. The blog details the four year history that of why I’m an intense fan of Armitage, and so rather than just popping in to ask, you might want to look around to learn what’s important (or not important to me) about Richard Armitage. I’ve already stated in detail what I think about clothes sharing — as a method of reasoning, it is invalid because it assumes one possible consequence as the single necessary one (they are in a relationship so they must be sharing clothes). It works only as an intuitive argument, which will mostly be sympathetic to people who view this matter intuitively (of whom I am not one). I’ve detailed the pattern of intuition that underlies that sort of argument in detail in this series and don’t intend to repeat myself.

      For a guide as to what is blocked / not blocked, please see the comments policy. “Argumentative” is not a reason for blocking.

      • Also do you ever plan on meeting him? and do you think he’d appreciate what you do? He wouldn’t, he’d be MORTIFIED. He would be freaked out and fucking mortified. You discuss ‘Is Richard Armitage thick’ charming. ‘Does he have a foreskin’ fucking creepy beyond belief. You also posted his address online and discussed his finances, downright stalkerish. You write about masturbating over him, that is just sad and pathetic, keep it to yourself no one wants that horrendous image imprinted upon their retinas. He wouldn’t welcome you with open arms, you’re not similar, you’re not intellectually, emotionally or physically compatible despite how much you want to be. You wont ever go off into the sunset and live happily ever after, he would run a fucking mile if he were to meet you and realise who you were because its so creepy and stalkerish. His management WILL be aware of you because your blog is so prominent, they probably have a good laugh over how pathetic you are.

  21. I have to say, I and others who have been blocked by you, feel that your so called anti ‘fan policing’ is actually just your excuse for censoring opinions you don’t like. Also, you say things are off topic, yet you go off topic in the comments section all the time as do people you’re friends with. Why is it one rule for you and your friends and another for everyone else? and you have blocked people for being argumentative I’ve seen it. Clothes sharing doesn’t happen between straight men, it just doesn’t and it is happening the clothes have the same marks of wear and tear. Men who are ‘friends’ do not spend Christmas and thanksgiving with each others families when they have their own families in different countries. If they are just friends then why did Richard never mention him? answer me that. Oh wait no you wont you’ll block me. Oh how terrible I’ll go cry. Richard has been asked numerous times about friends on set and cited Ian Jed and Graham. NO mention of Lee. When its obvious that they’re very close friends, perhaps closer than Jed and Graham. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? If they’re just friends why not mention him? You all worship that minging hag Anabel Capper like the sun shines out of her arse, if he is straignt or bi she really isnt his type shes very ugly. Looks arent anything but you cant fuck a personality, look at the type of women hes admitted to fancying Lucy griffiths, sophia myles, nigella lawson. Beautiful women NOT Anabel Capper types.

    I find your behavior to be bullying, nasty and condescending. You seem to think you’re the biggest fan of his when you’ve only been following him for 4 years. YOU are the one that does the fan policing by censoring peoples comments and it is YOUR attitude which causes people to ‘rebel’ against you. YOU are representing all of the members of the fandom, and YOU are what gives this fandom a bad name no one else, just you. Because your name has become synonymous with mental deranged sad pathetic middle aged homophobic woman across several internet forums. People only follow you because you often have the up to date news first, not because they value your opinion or agree with your attitude or manner. You have a core group of maybe 20 but the rest of us just use you as a go to for up to date news. I hope you enjoy being pitied by the masses and I hope one day you admit to yourself there is a god chance Richard isnt hetero. Take your casual homophobia elsewhere, stop censoring peoples comments like a dictator and stop being a bullying nasty condescending bitch. Then maybe people like me wouldnt be pushed to commenting like this, I’m a good honest person but you have pushed me to the edge with your behavior which you dont seem to understand how much it affects the wider fandom. YOU give us ALL a bad name. I will laugh when finally your core group of pathetic followers see you for what you really are and stop worshipping you like the sun shines out of your arse, maybe then you will see what you have become.

    PS. I am a committed follower of yours posting under a pseudonym, I shall be encouraging other prominent people within the fandom to stop encouraging your deranged dictator like behavior by ignoring you and leaving this blog.

    PPS. Love how you avoided the questions claiming to have already answered them/they were off topic (unnecessarily intellectualizing it AGAIN) Just too scared to admit to yourself hes with Lee, hilarious, youre going to be gutted when you finally realise. We all know you’d desert him if he ever came out as anything other than hetero.

    • http://leepee14.tumblr.com/post/81518670781/richardandlee-richlee-clothes-sharing-series read and weep, have a good look at all the evidence.

      http://richardandlee.tumblr.com/

      • No one denies that they have some of the same clothing, I believe. Note that this point is addressed and conceded in the post. The question is what it means. Speaking deductively, they could start wearing nothing but exactly the same clothing in all public appearances but that would not imply a necessary conclusion that they were in a relationship. It is one conclusion one might draw from that data. In contrast, this sort of argumentation supports the intuitive case. I’m restating this to point out that you are walking through an open door with me and most readers who think deductively here. This is an intuitive proof of the argument.

    • I’m committed to trying to keep as many people as possible involved in any conversation, but some people try to destroy every conversation. That’s the goal of comments like the one above — to shame me and others and by doing so, keep people from talking honestly about how they feel. You want me to be honest, but you try to shame me for my honestly. I’m not ashamed. But you, as one of those people, are indeed blocked and if you’re sockpuppeting in order to keep commenting, I will block you every time you violate the comments policy. I don’t see why one person should be able to ruin a conversation for everyone who wants to have it.

      As I have said many times: I have never understand all this venom; if you don’t like the blog, don’t read it; there are many other Armitage blogs you would certainly enjoy more and who would appreciate both your readership and your comments. I don’t represent anyone but myself in my writing (and as I quote other sources and make citation to them). I write for myself and for likeminded fans of Richard Armitage who enjoy the things I write, not for Richard Armitage or his management, who may or may not be reading — I don’t care either way. As far as I know, every venue on the blog that is open to discussion about Armitage has rules, and my blog is in no way a forum that requires me to let anyone comment.

      As for what I really believe to be true, you might be surprised.

  22. As this particular moment is over, and the post is only attracting trolls at the moment, I’m going to close comments. We can resume them when I publish the next post in the series, which will be mostly about tropes in Richlee fanfic and how they affect me as a reader.

    Thanks to everyone who took the discussion in a rational, measured manner.

  23. […] how evidence actually works in either case (as with the structure of intuitive arguments and the sort of evidence that fits into them). To take apart how an argument functions is neither to agree nor to disagree with it.] Subsidiary […]

  24. […] trying to write about “Richlee” since the mid-fall of 2013. The last installment is here. My interest and persistence in doing so was a major contributing cause of the troubles the blog […]

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