Thinking of my terrible homework assignment, I’ve been spending some time thinking about the type of man I’d like to date. Over the past few days, I’ve complied a list of men I know (or know of) and then today, I narrowed it down to my top 10 men. I’ve even considered their pros and cons. I feel like I’ve made some progress.
1. Mr. Darcy
Pros: This should come as no surprise considering Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time. However, what I like about Mr. Darcy is that he is flawed and deep and sensitive even though he hides it with a tough exterior. He learns from his mistakes and humbles himself when he finally apologizes to Elizabeth. I don’t even care that he is rich; he’s just a perfect example of a man on a journey to bettering himself.
Cons: He’s a literary character, which pretty much makes him completely unreal. I do believe, though, that there are Mr. Darcys out there, but in my mind they’re in England and I have no means–right now–to go searching the English countryside (Plus, when I was in England I did not meet any man who even resembles Mr. Darcy in character. Hmmm….maybe he really doesn’t exist).
2. Sufjan Stevens
Pros: This shouldn’t come as a surprise either given my long rave about his show a few months ago. He’s my age, a musician, incredibly sensitive, seemingly super humble, and even a bit shy (as shy as you can be while standing in front of a huge audience). Also, he’s from the Midwest, and I’ve heard so much about how great Midwestern values are. Furthermore, he loves America. I mean, at one point he was going to write an album for each state! Finally, I have sweet fantasies of me editing his lyrics while he softly strums the guitar as our 4 children play in the snow outside our Michigan country home (I know, I’ve taken this fantasy way too far.)
Cons: Well, he’s a musician and is involved in his craft to an obsessive point (I know this because he’s said it in interviews). Also, he seems rather conflicted with being a really religious man and well, a normal musician who probably likes sex a lot. I don’t think I could handle those types of inner struggles. Finally, he lives in Brooklyn, and I have no intention of moving there.
3. David Foster Wallace
Pros: He a genius: a pure, fucking genius. He says things like:
“I teach college English part-time. Mostly Lit, not Composition. But I am so pathologically obsessed with usage that every semester the same thing happens: once I’ve had to read my students’ first set of papers, we immediately abandon the regular Lit syllabus and have a three-week Emergency Remedial Usage and Grammar Unit, during which my demeanor is basically that of somebody teaching HIV prevention to intravenous-drug users. When it emerges (as it does, every term) that 95 percent of these intelligent upscale college students have never been taught, e.g., what a clause is or why a misplaced only can make a sentence confusing or why you don’t just automatically stick in a comma after a long noun phrase, I all but pound my head on the blackboard; I get angry and self-righteous; I tell them they should sue their hometown school boards, and mean it. The kids end up scared, both of me and for me. Every August I vow silently to chill about usage this year, and then by Labor Day there’s foam on my chin. I can’t seem to help it.”
And it’s comments like these that make me LOVE him so much: because he totally gets it, because unlike every other famous writer, he actually still taught literature and not because he had to, because he’s obsessed with grammar, because he’s hilarious, because he’s self-effacing, because he too is disgusted by academic-speak. We would be a great match.
Cons: Well, the most obvious is that he’s dead. Maybe I just haven’t accepted this fact yet because it was just such a tragic death, but it’s true: one of the greatest American minds of this generation is gone. But, besides his unearthly status, I think the very things I love about him would be a problem in our relationship. Like he would go crazy reading this blog because I write quickly and often don’t check for errors. Also, I have a tendency to write sentences with a lot of misplaced modifiers, and that’s one of his pet peeves. I can see the lectures he would give me and it doesn’t look too romantic. Also, I’ve never read Infinite Jest and I’m pretty sure that would be a BIG problem in our relationship.
4. Mark Ruffalo
Pros: I don’t know why I’m so drawn to Mark Ruffalo, but I just am. The first movie I ever saw him in was My Life without Me and I just thought he was so sensitive and sexy and kind. Then I saw him in the movie We Don’t Live here Anymore and even though he played a man cheating on his wife, he was still incredibly sensitive and wrought with self-doubt. I’m not an obsessed fan who’s seen all his movies, but from what I’ve seen, I like him. A lot.
Cons: He’s married and he’s probably actually not like the characters he plays (the whole point of acting, which is something I do understand). Plus, I’m really not impressed by the whole Hollywood hype and I think that after going to a few Hollywood parties, I’d totally shut down and have some sort of nervous break down.
Pros: Maybe it’s because I’ve just come off a 3 week journey of reading Harry Potter, books 1-7, but Dumbledore is AMAZING. He’s humble but flawed, generous but guarded, intelligent but connected to reality. He’s so wise and my attraction definitely has a looking-for-a-father-figure-thing to it.
Cons: Again, he’s a literary character. But taking that aside, he’s like 108 years old. Plus it might get annoying to live with a wizard who can use magic for anything when I am a mere Muggle.
6. David Sedaris
Pros: I don’t think I’d ever be bored hanging out with David Sedaris. I also think I’d be infinitely amused by his life and people observations. He also lives in France, which I consider a huge bonus (not that I’ve ever been there. I just like the way it sounds). His family is also hilarious. I mean, how could you hate Christmas if you got to hang out with Amy Sedaris? Finally, I think I’d be invited to cool literary parties where I would get to hobnob with the best literary minds alive and I think everyone would be super impressed because I AM WITH DAVID SEDARIS.
Cons: Well, the biggest con is, obviously, he’s gay. And while I’ve never tried to convert a gay man straight, I’d venture it’s a safe guess that once you love penis, you just don’t go back. I also think that I’d probably end up in one of his stories and I’m sure it wouldn’t be in the most positive light (he didn’t get famous for being kind all the time). Plus, I’d probably feel super self-conscious at a literary party with the best minds of our age. I’d probably mutter something about how great Harry Potter is and, well, that would be the end of me.
7. Jeff Tweedy
Pros: Another musical genius that I love. Front row tickets (hell, back stage passes) to every Wilco show I could ever want to attend? Sign me up. His lyrics engulf and intrigue me and I love how he deconstructs music to an almost bare essence quality. He’s part of the music industry while at the same time shunning it. I love that about him.
Cons: Ever seen the documentary I am Trying to Break your Heart about Wilco? I did (and you should as well. It’s great. I own a copy. You can borrow it. You’re welcome.) and I think all the smoking and coke drinking which leads to massive migraines would cause me to tire of Tweedy rather quickly.
8. Javier Bardem
Pros: I feel very few women would disagree with this choice. He’s just gorgeous. And Spanish. And I love a man with an accent. I loved him in Vicky Christina Barcelona and he was (sadly) the best part of Eat, Pray, Love. I would travel the world with him and not even complain about one lost minute of sleep as we jetted from Europe to the States.
Cons: His character Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men. Enough said. I’m still scared.
9. Chuck Klosterman
Pros: I love, love, love Chuck Klosterman. I teach a few of his essays from his book Sex, Drugs, and Coco Puffs, and my students actually like them. He’s my age and gets that pop culture says a whole lot more about our culture than we often believe. He gets the impact John Cusack in Say Anything had on women my age (and by the way, John Cusack almost made it on this list). He likes to have a good time. He’s low maintenance. We have–almost–the same taste in music. He would take me to literary parties that weren’t high-brow. Parties where I could wear jeans and drink a beer. This is seriously a real possibility. I wonder if I should email him.
Cons: While completely amazing, he does seem like he’s still too much of a kid. And while I don’t have any problem with people who smoke marijuana, his admittance to smoking all the time would get old after a while. Also, I don’t like PBR.
10. James Franco
Pros: James Franco is a modern renaissance man. He’s a versatile actor who will play Allen Ginsberg in Howl and then also that stupid stoner guy from Pineapple Express. He’s getting a PhD at Yale University in English and he recently published a book of short stories. Last year he played a role in the soap opera General Hospital in order to deconstruct his craft and to give the genre some credibility. In interviews, he’s shy, introverted, and humble. He’s two years younger than me, but still within a datable age range I think. I mean, I honestly can’t think of one bad thing about him.
Cons: Well, he has a girlfriend, but more importantly, he seems too good to be true. Could he be the real Mr. Darcy? Probably. Which is much too intimidating for me.
All in all, I feel like I’ve made a rather productive move in my homework assignment. And I’m thankful that I’ve succeeded in stalling with finding someone to date in real life. Fake life is so much more fun.