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.

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Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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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.

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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.

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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.

~ by Servetus on June 21, 2012.

35 Responses to “Brown-haired boy-next-door Armitage”

  1. Hi Serv,
    I loved Teena’s RA drawing! It seems very Norman Rockwell like in style–full of character. Thanks also for the link to my post.
    Cheers! Grati ;->

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  2. Nothing really to add here other than I sobbed at my new job twice today and then in the car on the way home in traffic. Something must be in the air.

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  3. The pic of RA from the vlog makes me wonder if that’s maybe more akin to how he sees himself than most of the pictures we see of him. To me he’s still beautiful but I’m not sure I’d have thought that before I was familiar with him and his work. He’ll always be my boy-next door 🙂

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  4. I agree on the importance of kindness. When I was single, that quality was at the top of my list. I had even decided that kind was more important than smart (because smart sometimes comes with sarcasm). Fortunately, it’s not an either/or problem. Men can be kind and smart. But they’re rare. That’s one of the reasons I like watching RA.

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    • I learned that kind was more important than smart (or moral, my personal bugaboo) the hard way myself. You’re right, of course, that’s it’s not either / or.

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  5. Oh..how I like to listen to your thoughts Servetus.:)
    I think that I perceive him just like Teena(talented girl!) since I’ve always been sure that those ‘thinking’ gentle eyes, are Richard’s greatest ornament.

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  6. Good Morning everyone. This is my very first post and, perversely, not (immediately) about RA! Just to say, Servetus, that I have a friend who has always associated numbers with colours. Not just primary or secondary colours but specific shades and hues so, for example, 27 might be somewhere between forest green and teal. You are not alone!
    More on topic: me – with the odd exception, I have always been drawn to men with very very dark hair and blue eyes. Sound familiar? And yes, the Guy-colouring does make RA look more edgy but that is part of the attraction, no?

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    • Welcome, wydville, and thanks for leaving a comment.

      I’ve heard a few similar stories off and on — synesthaesia.

      Lots of people love Guy’s coloring — I do, too — but they don’t make me fall in love with him. They make me find him dangerous.

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  7. “I think it’s that he makes me believe against reason; he makes me try just one more time. I suppose that’s dangerous.”
    I think he does that for many of us and even if it’s dangerous, it’s good.
    Teena’s portrait is so luminous…:)

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  8. For me, RA (as himself, as opposed to a character) has never looked hotter than in that vlog. Something about the short hair, the scruffy facial hair and the leather jacket creates such an appealing look. In contrast, I’ve never been really fond of the Project mag photos. Maybe because his hair seems darker in the photoshoot, but he does seem older and more severe in those shots.

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    • I think the lighting/picture quality in the vlog is slightly off, everyone’s hair that is supposed to be dark brown appears to have a light reddish-brown colour. Not just RA’s but Aidan Turner’s wig as well. So I don’t think colouring wise he really looks like that in real life.

      But I agree with whomever it said, the kindness and gentle humour in his eyes gets me every time!

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      • I feel like it sort of implies he can laugh at himself, which is a really important quality.

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        • To me it is more important that I feel he won’t laugh at others in a mean and sarcastic way. Lots of clever and witty people like to use their wit as a weapon and he doesn’t seem like that. With him I feel, if he would tease you, it would be gentle and you could laugh with him about yourself and won’t feel mortified.

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    • yeah, maybe he should go for red highlights 🙂 but yeah, it one of my favorite pictures.

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  9. I admit I have a problem with RA hand-drawn portraits – they all look monstrous to me, with deranged proportions, unnatural light and shadow, and, finally, distressful and abject frozen expression. (That might be the case with all portraits based on the photograph).
    On the other hand, my experience of colour-scheme on Armitage’s face is quite accordant to yours. In fact, I first saw RA in season 7&8 of Spooks, yet did not react (I felt something uncanny about his handsomeness, and it bothered me that his hair was so unnaturally dyed and face so pale). When I watched „The Impressionists“ I couldn’t even recognize him at first – I felt I know the actor but couldn’t remember wherefrom – but was spellbound with his smile and glow of light he brought to every scene and frame he was in. It took me some effort to figure out it was Lucas North. Few days after, he appeared in my dream as a boy-next-door from my early youth. That’s how my Armitagemania started.
    But, back to colour-scheme. I find him livelier under more soft, yellowish, natural light – when his eyes are blue-green (is this too heretic?) and his skin reveals some blush and texture. That’s what makes John Porter, John Standring, most of Thornton, and some Guy advents – breathable and breathtaking. Not that I haven’t got soft spot for larger-than-life Lucas/John 🙂

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    • Aha: another Armitagemania onset story! Love the boy-next-door element from your dream.

      Re fan art: Well, it’s not like he’s being painted by Holbein 🙂 I think it’s interesting to observe what features each artist gets most interested in. This one did really speak to me.

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      • Though, funny to imagine a Holbeinesque portrait of RA – voluptuous, elaborately dressed (no Belstaff, sorry) and surrounded with tons of symbolic objects…

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  10. This week has been even more stressful than normal for me and there’s been some crying going on this morning. Not true sobbing which I think can be very therapeutic, but just that stressed-out, can’t take it anymore crying. But while reading your post I was consciously aware of an audible sigh coming from me and with that sigh there was a feeling of stress leaving my body. I don’t really know if it’s because of reading what you wrote about RA or if it had nothing to do with RA at all and was just reading what you wrote. Anyway I feel better now. Thanks.
    I think the picture is as close as we’ve been to the “real” RA. After seeing that picture, I realized that not only can women look completely different with a good makeup artist but so can men. I’d never really thought about it before. I remember once seeing an interview where RA said he didn’t have any problems being recognized in public because he looked different from what we see on the screen. So Servetus, you might be in real danger of falling for the “real” RA.

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    • Anything for you 🙂 Seriously, there may be something about shared crying.

      But falling for the “real” RA — that is so dangerous. Good point about the effects of makeup.

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  11. One other thing: from his interviews he seems to be a kind person — which is a very attractive quality — in addition to lots of other good qualities. So the above comment isn’t based solely on his physical appearance.

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    • something i thought was at work in my thoughts when I reread this this morning was the way in which certain color schemes code certain perceptions of personal qualities. So it may be hard to detach physical appearance or perceptions of it from other matters.

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  12. Reading the comments speculating on his nature made me want to share a personal experience: hope you all won’t mind, given I’m so new to this site.
    Many many years ago I followed a certain British heavy metal band (still love them!) the lead singer of which was considered something of a real hard man: the mad, bad and seriously dangerous to know sort-of guy. Loved the music, loved the band and adored the lead singer’s trademark voice (I’ll call him John Smith).
    Cutting a long story short (I’ve already edited this post!), about 25 years on, my teenage son, through friends, meets and becomes really close friends with John Smith’s son, “Bob”. (I’ll never forget the night Son tells me who Bob’s father is! I’m not sure I have adequate words to describe my reaction. Use your imaginations!) One school holiday, most of the kids were away leaving Son and Bob pretty much in each other’s company for the week, which they spent living between their two homes (houses not far from each other). So far had only spoken to Bob’s mother but then came the night when I didn’t know whether Son would be coming home so rang Bob’s house. John Smith picks up. Trying to sound really cas and laid back I ask what the plan is. “Oh, hi, Son’s Mum, really glad to talk to you at last, what a great kid Son is, really love having him here. Oh yeah, just boiling up some pasta and then I’m going to beat seven shades out of Son on X-Box in revenge for earlier. And then I thought we’ll hang on to him for the night. Is that ok with you or would you like me to drop him back later?” I tried to make some weak joke about him being adopted by the Smiths (oh ha ha, groan) but all the time I’m thinking, I’m talking to JOHN SMITH about SPAGHETTI???????
    As the boys continued their friendship we got to know the Smiths quite well, even being given VIP tickets to one of the band’s gigs (and backstage passes!).
    Meantime, in my usual obsessive way, I’m visiting sites and reading blogs about the band in general and John Smith in particular. I remember reading one bloke’s post which said, “I’d give anything to be in the same room as John Smith for half an hour. How exciting and awesome would that be?” I thought, mate, you have no IDEA. I HAVE been in the same room as John Smith for half an hour and he is the most unawesome, unexciting, normal, (but very cool) family man who boils up pasta for the kids and their friends and then drops the friends back home in an old Land Rover.
    So much for the long hair, leathers, “direct” language and dangerous reputation!!

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    • Imagine living in RA”s neighborhood and not knowing it? Then suddenly finding out your kid delivered his newspaper or something? I would never manage to be as calm as you, wydville.

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      • One does have one’s dignity to maintain, squeak!

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        • @Wydville, this is one of the loveliest stories ever, thanks so much for sharing!! I especially love the part where John Smith says he’s “going to beat seven shades out of [your] son on X-Box in revenge for earlier and then hang on to him for the night!” That is really so sweet and dear. 🙂

          I have a similar outlook RE Mr. Armitage as your description of John Smith, but I may be in a severe minority – as I haven’t seen most of his work outside of N&S. I show up here for the supportive community of commenters and the wonderful flow of thought and feeling always engendered by one of Servetus’s posts!!

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    • what a wonderful story, wydville. Probably many people we think of as grand are much more boy next door than we would guess.

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  13. I was feeling really down one evening a few days ago when I got home from work. I switched my PC on and just seeing RA’s picture on my screen lifted my spirits. And I thought to myself: “there is hope”…He makes me believe that. It’s just so comforting to know he exists. 🙂 Goodness and beauty and kindness exist in this world.

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  14. […] not reposting it because I don’t know who owns it) sent my fantasies into overdrive. Brown-haired boy-next-door in spades. There’s also my old airport / airplane anti-fantasy (which I went into detail about in the […]

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