Be who I need you to be, Richard Armitage

[I’m pointing my fingers, inter alia, at myself, here.]

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• live in London • live in New York • spend more time in Los Angeles • don’t move to LA • do Richard III • do A Discovery of Witches • do Poldark • do Potato Peel • don’t do any project a fan group supports • get a franchise • stay away from franchises • do an audio book • stop doing commercials • do a play • do nothing • take any job you can • work harder • wait for better roles • don’t work so much • keep your agent • find new management • be more serious • don’t be so serious • smile more • smile less, your smile is goofy • go ahead and be silly • don’t let your silly streak show • tell us the truth • we know you need to lie to us • love cats • love dogs • hate cats • hate dogs • love cats and dogs • develop an interest in goldfish • keep your distance from housepets entirely • get a houseplant • but don’t neglect it • love men • love women • love men and women • love Lee Pace • love Annabel Capper • love ME! • don’t love a fan • love no one • get married • stay single • have kids • don’t have kids • have kids but don’t admit you have them • talk about your nephew • don’t ever speak about your family • love your mother • don’t have your mum escort you to movie premieres • tell us who you love • don’t tell us who you love • enjoy yourself • but not too much • dress better • don’t dress so stylishly • dress yourself • get a stylist • get rid of the stylist • wear button-fly jeans • wear skinny jeans • wear bell-bottom jeans • please, take off your jeans! • be sexy • don’t take roles that rely on your sex appeal • show more skin • don’t cheapen yourself by taking off your shirt on screen • don’t smoke • go ahead and smoke • relax with a glass of wine • don’t drink so much • don’t tell us you don’t drink beer and then that you do • we don’t believe anything you say anymore • but write us more messages • we believe everything you say — literally • be expressive in bed • be guarded in bed • be a graceful sexual partner • be a clumsy sexual partner • be a generous lover • be a greedy lover • be macho • be sweet • be a top • be a bottom • but whatever you do, be able to come three times in a night • bring flowers and candy • don’t give in to pressure to engage in stereotypical consumer expressions of affection • be someone who gets along with everyone • be a rebel • be quirky • don’t be too strange • wear a beard • stick with stubble • shave closer and more frequently • cut your hair • don’t cut your hair • love the nape curls • hair waves make you look feminine • Botox • don’t Botox • maintain a level of grooming and appearance suitable for Hollywood • don’t sell out to the Hollywood appearance and fitness ideal • eat a healthy diet • eat what you like • eat fewer carbs and that cushion under your chin will go away • let us see how mature you are • keep your appearance young • look masterful on the red carpet • don’t lose that boyish vibe from 2004 that we love so much • get a pied-à-terre in Manhattan appropriate to your status in the industry • don’t let anyone know where you live • have an open plan kitchen and lots of stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors • no, tile floors • drive whatever car you like, you can afford it now • don’t drive a BMW, that’s a new money car • go out with your friends in places we can see pictures of you • go out with your friends but hide when you do it • dance the Argentine tango • dance to house music • dance to Depeche Mode • dance to Nine Inch Nails • dance to David Guetta • get some new tunes • lose yourself in the euphoria • but don’t make out with anyone in the alley behind the club, you never know where people have their camera phones • maintain your privacy • tell us more about yourself • be friendly to fans you meet and take a picture if they want • don’t take candid photos with fans, it gives them ideas • be openly grateful for fan attention • stop caring about what fans think • take the Hobbit fanboys’ worries seriously • don’t pander to the Hobbit fandom • be interested in politics • be so focused on your work that you don’t have time to be interested in politics • vote Labour • vote Tory • don’t vote • be Christian • be Buddhist • be Christian Scientist • too bad you’re not Jewish • be the greatest actor of your generation • be a good enough actor • show more of your eyes • don’t overdo it with the eyes • your expressions and gestures are histrionic • your acting is wooden and needs to be more emotional • get into directing • do high culture pieces • do series television • swallow your final consonants like an American • pronounce them like a Brit • speak RP • speak like where you came from •  don’t do the alveolar flap • flap your alveola • speak in my accent • but don’t get it wrong • take projects that will make you financially secure • take more artistic risks • be erudite • don’t let your intelligence hang out • wish you had more formal education • love that you don’t have a university degree • be middle class • be bohemian • be upper class • don’t get above yourself • do fashion photography shoots to accompany your interviews • don’t be a hipster • support charities • but not ones I don’t like • be emotional • be stoic • don’t be complacent • but be happy • be satisfied with what you’ve got • but strive for more • be ambitious for yourself • be modest • be proud of your work • don’t be egotistical • don’t show us any dissatisfaction • keep smiling • keep swimming, keep swimming, keep swimming • relax • never forget to be unfailingly polite at all times • and always, at all times, be just what I need you to be •

***

Like every other fan, I have my preferences, some of which I included in the catalog above. If you’ve read this blog for very long, you know what some of them are.

Probably the most decisive of my own preferences is that I badly need Richard Armitage to be happy.

Not that he’s paying any attention to what I want, but I don’t want to put any pressure on him to feel a certain way. Feelings are feelings. He has the right to his (even when they are unpleasant), which means I have the right to mine (even when mine are unpleasant). This message is one I need to communicate to myself, via the fandom fantasy of self.

The other thing I need — even if it’s not always something I want — let’s call this an uncomfortable fantasy of self, or maybe an unrealized one — is that I need him to keep working and working. I need to keep on seeing how he puts his characters together, and how he puts together the character that is Richard Armitage — so I can keep on seeing how to put myself together.

~ by Servetus on October 6, 2013.

73 Responses to “Be who I need you to be, Richard Armitage”

  1. Brilliant post, Servetus. Poignant in its simplicity. (Also quite funny!) It just shows how impossible it is to be what we want him to be. Because there isn’t really a coherent “we” anyway… I almost feel sorry for him now. And I understand why celebrities do not read what is written about them. 😀

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    • it’s an odd paradox. On the one hand, to some extent I / we attach to these people because they fulfill our fantasies — but then we start to insist that they fulfill all of our fantasies. I’ve been exploring this theme in my emotional life lately and it’s been interesting.

      I don’t feel sorry for him — or not in the sense that I think he’s been victimized. He plays the game, too 🙂

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      • No, there is no intentional victimizing going on. And to some extent we *all* live with the burden of fulfilling unfulfillable expectations, heaped on us by parents, partners, friends, children, bosses etc… hence it easy to empathise.
        Ok, maybe I don’t feel sorry, either :-D. But I do wonder what it does to people’s heads to hear these contradictory expectations and fantasies thrown at them?

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  2. LOVE.IT. Now to prioritize all those fans.

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  3. Servetus – YOU ROCK. I loved this post so much. And I love your blog.

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  4. Well of course we want him to be who he wants to be or at least I do. Sure I’d like a lot of things for him but I certainly am not going to dictate where he lives or what he does with his life. Oh I know there are fans who wish they could but hopefully most know they can’t. Unlike many I’d like him stay in London really but if that isn’t what he wants then so be it. I don’t think he’d like L.A. really but hey its his choice. As Serv says be happy and keep working that is the main thing but we can’t even order that you know. Does he listen to us? He may read some of the blog stuff or hear about some of it but will he care generally? I certainly hope not. Probably thinks most of us are crazy after the dog and cat thing. I know I would. I say go for it Richard with both hands and live life to the fullest the way you want to live it. No one can satisfy everyone at the same time which I’m sure every actor in the world knows. He has been doing what he wants for some time and I am sure he will continue to do just that and personally that makes me happy because it means he is a normal healthy man. Thanks Serv for a great post.

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  5. Yes, be happy and keep working, and let’s hope what we think is true – that continued work is one of the things in his life that will make him be happy.

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    • it has been so far anyway. But you know, the point of this was to say that that’s *my* need. Maybe not his.

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  6. Awesome …that is all.

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  7. On day, you will realize that you have never needed him to put yourself together. Now that will be awesome indeed.

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    • What judiang said. You have your own strength. It’s nice to have him as an inspiration, a muse or whatever it is we want him to be, but you don’t really need him. You can put yourself together without him because you are a child of Our Heavenly Father and he has given you all the necessary tools to make it through this life triumphantly. Hold on to your faith, and the people who know you and love you will have your back. You should still look at his pretty everything, though. 😉

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  8. Brilliant. Simple. Love it.

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  9. Great post. Well said. Nothing to add.

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  10. Reblogged this on crystalchandlyre and commented:
    One of my very favorite Depeche Mode songs aside, there is the need to share and requote this:
    “Probably the most decisive of my own preferences is that I badly need Richard Armitage to be happy.”
    And this – Don’t move to LA, don’t move to LA, and…don’t move to LA. You WILL be unhappy here. Visiting is all the Fake Pretty and for the sake of work is fine, but there ends all that is good. If you must because of long term work, find a place close to Central California. The wine is good and the weather and air is better there anyway.

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  11. I love this.

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  12. I know others have said if they actually saw him on the street, they wouldn’t say a word. I am one of those people. Now, don’t get me wrong, I probably wouldn’t say a word because I would be rendered speechless! However, I also want him to just be happy…..and to continue working. You nailed it again! Keep up the good work!

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    • my point is kind of that those are *my* most important needs. They may not be his. Everyone needs to figure this out for herself.

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  13. It isn’t that L.A. is fake you know. It is that the entertainment part is more fake than real. L.A. is just like any other big city. The truth though is that living in L.A. County is not living in Hollywood. There is so much more to living in Southern California than that and I’m sure that Richard could live here just fine if he wanted but I personally don’t think he’d really care for it much and I don’t really see him enjoying a permanent residence anywhere in California. He might like to visit a number of places in the state and in the country but I simply think he is truly British and would find more joy in being that. There are celebrities that live in L.A. who are happy and drug free and don’t drink themselves into oblivion every night. They have good lives outside their work. You just don’t hear as much about them because they aren’t as interesting to the media. Truth is we don’t know Richard well enough to know what he would like or not like but as Serv says we wish him happiness in whatever he does choose. He’ll be fine I think.

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    • My point was sort of more that everyone has their needs for him to do certain things, not the realistic or unrealistic possibility of him making any particular choice.

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  14. What ever Richard does I hope that he is happy and enjoys whatever he is doing.

    Now don’t hate me but love this post for the Depeche Mode, and this is a gReAt song. Don’t they look so young in the video, hard to believe that was also 30 years ago. I also hope Richard don’t forget to dance to some DM.

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    • I love that song, too (obviously, or I wouldn’t have put it in) but it really describes the position that so many of us are in — all of these contradictory demands, how to know what to do 🙂

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      • RL sure can put it’s demands on us, can’t it. Some days I feel like I am running all directions and getting no where. I have to learn to say no and that is hard for me, or give the job to someone else.

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  15. That was BRILLIANT!

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  16. A frightening list. Leaves me a bit speechless at the moment. Thanks for the brainfodder – I will have some spare time today to ponder about.

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    • there was a lot of discomfort in writing this post because as mentioned, some of the things on that list are preferences of mine — some are fantasy preferences, some are actual preferences, some are preferences that others have that I agree with, disagree with, or find incredibly problematic. I had to look pretty closely at my own wishes and think counterfactually and I didn’t always like what I saw in myself.

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  17. Just be a paRAgon of man…poor Richie 😉
    It was beautiful, Servetus .

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  18. There’s some shift in your posts, some emotional clarity that is resonating with me. I love it and hope this means very good things for you too 😉

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    • I feel like that’s what’s happening, too. I wish I could describe it more clearly, but I can’t, so I guess I’ll just keep writing through it.

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  19. So very true. I definetely recognize myself. Could add a few. Like – be more like Benedict Cumberbatch. Be more like like Matthew Macfadyn. Be more like XY.

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    • those are good additions that I didn’t think of (and since I pushed published I thought of a few more I could have added as well).

      it’s hard, because we want him to succeed.

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  20. :thumbs up: This is a perfect summary of the (pointless) worldwide discussions and arguing in RAfandom … Thank you, Servetus!

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    • I want to make clear that I’m not saying we shouldn’t discuss these things — talking about them lies in the purview of being a fan. I like to gripe about his clothing choices as much or more as the next woman. I just want us to realize that these discussions are mostly or all about our own needs.

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  21. Excellent post! I am exhausted from reading that list. I can’t imagine how anyone could live up to even half of it!!
    But this one definitely had me thinking… “flap your alveola” Don’t know why I am picturing the bird dance! 🙂
    Thanks for this!

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  22. Yes. 🙂

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  23. Wow! This is a wonderful post! Thanks to TH and his brilliant acting, his possibilities are endless. I’m so happy for him.

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  24. I’m trying to figure out how to say this to certain commentators — my decision to be as honest on this blog about everything that I can does not constitute an invitation to hop in with condescending explanations about your technique for understanding how I should conduct my life better than I do, whether or not you decorate them with smiley faces. If you feel compelled to step in with “you’re doing it wrong” explanations, you’ve missed the general point of my exploration of my life in light of fandom. Maybe you should look at your own life first before telling what I should do with mine.

    If your response to this post is that I should do it differently or understand myself differently or lead my life differently, you missed the point of the section about Richard Armitage — that he’s the one who knows about his life and that — despite all our needs — it is impossible for him to be something for everyone.

    I’ve heard “just do this, just believe this, just act this way, just feel this” all my life, from my parents, at school, from lovers, at church, in synagogues, and most recently from my employer. That phase of my life is over now. My decision to be honest as it has developed on this blog comes with my increased recognition that I have the right to tell you when what you have to say is completely off the target.

    All I ask is respect for my journey and an understanding that although I say a lot here, I don’t say everything. Politely put: I am the one who understands my life.

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    • I apologize. I was in no way trying to sound condescending, nor do I believe I know you better than you know yourself. People express themselves according to their personalities. I am certain that you are a strong woman and that you can overcome anything in your life. You feel that you need Richard. Fine. Some of us who admire you believe that you don’t. It doesn’t mean that we are attempting to dictate your behavior. On my part, it means that I have confidence in your strength and worth as a woman and if – *od forbid – he should drop dead tomorrow – you will survive, you will heal, you will be able to achieve the things you long for in your life. Why do you take it as a personal attack? I am not criticizing you, I am expressing my admiration for your good qualities. You have proven that you are a survivor. Certainly, you can and do whatever you want with your life. Simply because I see something else in you that you may not does not mean that I think I am all-knowing or wiser or more intelligent than you. It was meant as a compliment to your fortitude, as encouragement that you can make it to where you want to be. It saddens me that you jump in to offend me by calling me names when all I’m wanting to convey is positive encouragement.
      I have never dictated to anyone how they should live their lives. In fact, I am quite tolerant and loving, because I believe we are all brothers and sisters. If you cannot bring yourself to try to understand others without taking things personally, then you will miss out on learning to consider things from another person’s point of view. You do not have to agree, but you should not jump to conclusions either. I am not your enemy. I wish you could see that. Once again, I feel I have been properly chastised and dismissed. If you need to do that to feel good, that’s your choice. Mine is to continue to wish you well. Have a good week.

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      • I accept your apology, but you’ve still missed the entire point. I now know how Richard Armitage feels — no matter what I say, someone needs to make it about their needs. That’s fine. I guess it’s an unavoidable result of communication.

        You’ve been responsible for more than your share of problems on this blog. Every time I say something honest, you think you know better, and when I tell you you’re wrong, you refuse to take responsibility for what you said. I end up closing comment strands because I’m frustrated. But that’s over now, too. You’re now moderated. I don’t have time to respond to your fantasies about me or the trouble they stir up.

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        • I did not miss the point. Your article is brilliant and very accurate and I enjoyed it. I repeat: I do not think I know better than you or anybody else. I do not understand why you do not believe me. I don’t have any fantasies about you. What is that even supposed to mean? Look, I’m sorry I rub you the wrong way, that I distress you, that you dislike me so much. Obviously, you’ve banned me from your blog because you consider me a troublemaker. That is your right. I can only try to explain myself so many times. I wish you could be my friend. Maybe that has been my fantasy. I see now that will never be. It’s not like you need another friend, when plenty of people care about you. I am glad you are not alone. I will miss your blog. I really will.

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          • For more than *three years*, I have been writing a blog about the topic “me + Richard Armitage,” two central point of which are “exploring the features of this persistent fantasy that I can’t get rid of is the way I have chosen for myself to (re-)constitute a self I can live with” and “however you’re doing it, as long as you’re not committing crimes, you’re not doing it wrong.” In fact, two weeks ago I wrote an editorial about that very topic and posted it at the top of Legenda.

            If, in light of three years of writing to the contrary, you don’t get that telling me that I don’t need to write about my reaction to Richard Armitage to do this when I believe strongly that I do — that, in fact, doing it this way is something that pulled me out of years of struggle, depression, and paralysis, a struggle charted deeply and as openly as I can chart it here, that doing it this way has been as effective or more effective than expensive psychotherapy — is an increasingly offensive way of saying “you’re doing it wrong,” there’s nothing I can say to you.

            Best wishes for figuring out the steps on your own journey.

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  25. […] Be who I need you to be, Richard Armitage (meandrichard.wordpress.com) […]

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  26. […] (smoker, drinker, cat-averse, or whatever it is), we’ll blame the people who created it. We’re unlikely to look at our list of preferences and conclude that we are the ones who are ma…. It’s always someone else who’s tampering with our picture of Armitage. The […]

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  27. […] for Armitage’s mood in them. Did he show signs of unhappiness or displeasure? (That’s my biggest identity issue around Armitage). I only ever found one where I thought his jaw was clenched in something that could be annoyance, […]

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  28. […] texts are confessional; some informative; some analytical; some biographical; some persuasive; some poetic; some fantastical; some erotic; some satirical; some programmatic. Not everything that might be […]

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  29. […] A follow up to “Be who I need you to be, Richard Armitage“ […]

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  30. […] how do I, how do others, resolve the tension between the need for the object to suit me exactly, to fulfill all of my needs so I can feel good about myself, and the freedom that we give to those we love to be who they are — whoever who they are […]

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  31. […] It would be interesting to ask, given that in these cases it’s really the fan who decides to buckle down and undertake the fitness program, why a construction of Richard Armitage becomes the projection screen for what is really an internal desire. If a fan has enough self-love and trust of herself to undertake the work of weight loss, which she must in order to embark on such a journey, why does she use (or need to use?) a version of Armitage to provide that love and trust? I think about this a lot in my own case, as well — if I have always wanted to be creative and to write more, why did I or do I need Armitage as muse? If, as the celeb from my account at the top of the post said, “all of this is within” me, why do I need part of it to be outside? In fact, why am I explicitly placing it outside myself as a means of support? Wouldn’t it be easier to eliminate the mediating figure? I want to raise this question and abandon it for now, because I think the answers belong more properly with the discussion of how I see this process of Armitage-construction or tulpa building applying to me. But it’s parallel to Armitage’s own resistance to idolization and his statement that actors do not need to go up on a pedestal; it would not be surprising if he has wondered, too, why so many fans need him to be different things. […]

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  32. […] question of the nature of the Richard Armitage fantasy. I’d mentioned a long time ago that the role of Armitage in the fantasy is to be what each of us needs him to be. This was another way of expressing my long-held opinion that, absent personal knowledge of the man […]

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  33. […] I mentioned, I had recognized the ways in which the fantasy Armitage that I and other fans build relates ultimate…. I had built an idea of an Armitage in my mind who was capable of withstanding pressure about most […]

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  34. […] whole fan experience (at least if my own reactions are symptomatic of anything) is precisely that the demands placed on the object don’t have to be rational or realistic; they only respond to …. Like every fan, I have my own list of desiderata in this regard; Armitage’s career […]

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