I’m a freak of nature. I’ve known that pretty much my whole life, but it’s days like these that just confirm the fact.
There I was, surfing the intertubes, reading the oh-so-essential entertainment news o’ the day, when I came across a shocking little tidbit. Seems some guy by the name of George Clooney broke up with his girlfriend.
Freak that I am, I sat back and uttered the profound observation, “Huh.” And moved on. Apparently I didn’t get the memo that I’m supposed to react with joy and rapture and renewed hope in my heart, along with millions of other women the world over (and, allegedly, on other planets as well), because now Mr. Clooney is “back on the market.” Rejoice!
As far as I can tell, this particular distinguished individual is supposed to be the pinnacle of manly perfection or something. But see, as a freak of nature, I lack the Clooney Lust gene. I will acknowledge that he is physically…proportionate and symmetrical (those are the secrets of attractiveness, right?)…and yet I look upon the man the way I view a fine antique, with appreciation but detachment.
Oh wait. I shouldn’t have said “antique”. I would never want to imply that the gentleman is old, as I’m pretty much of the same generation, albeit a few years younger. In fact, the grey hair and crow’s feet/laugh lines should be a turn-on for me. And yet they aren’t. I couldn’t even join in with the women posting all over the Webz today variations of “I’m free—can I be next?” and “George—call me!”
Quelle horreur! I’m a monster!
Instead, I started to analyze this Clooney phenomenon. I had to wonder…why? What is it that makes women go crazy for this guy?
After mulling it over for a while—truly, longer than I wanted to, but I was fascinated by the whole frenzy—I have come to a conclusion…and it ain’t necessarily pretty.
On Mr. Clooney’s side we have the fact that he apparently is the modern-day equivalent of the fabled Prince Charming: Good looking—check. Suave—check. Dignified—as far as we can tell from this great distance, seems to be. Famous—obvs. Rich—no duh. Plus he has a castle (okay, some nice house in Italy, if you want to split hairs). Probably got a horse in there somewhere too. So…wow. He is The Ideal Guy, according to what we’ve been taught since our parents read us fairy tales when we were children.
But…is he nice? Is he gentle and kind? Is he intelligent? thoughtful? caring? compassionate? In other words, does he deserve this kind of devotion from millions of women who have never met him? Is there a good heart inside that bod that looks good in a tux? Who knows? Who cares? He looks good in a tux, so shut up. I get it.
Now, an analysis of the enraptured women. Aside from the draw of his looks, wealth, and fame, there’s something else that’s tugging on the estrogen reserves—something else entirely. It’s this: Mr. Clooney has said time and again (and again, and again) that he was married once many years ago, but the experience apparently scarred him for life, and he will never marry again.
So can we guess what that does to the wimmins, kiddies? Sure enough—it sparks the thrill of the chase, kickstarts that ol’ innate competitiveness. This is how women’s brains work (brace yourself): “Oh sure, he’s dated all sorts of gorgeous women 20 years younger than him, but he hasn’t met me yet—!” Yep, out there in the hinterlands, a woman (or two or 2,000) indulges in the fantasy that, like the princesses in those old fairy tales, she is The Only One with whom he can fall madly in love.
Sure, he had the breathtakingly perfect Elisabetta Canalis (come on, have you seen her in a bikini, yet eating fries? cripes! she’s bulletproof!) on the hook for two years, and he tossed her back. Not even she could keep him interested. But our One Special Woman who has yet to meet Prince George…well! She might not look like Elisabetta, but that’s the cool part. It may be that George has a secret cankle fetish. Or he comes over all aflutter when he meets a woman who’s a right pro at decoupage. Or perhaps an older woman with a long grey ponytail reminds him of his third-grade teacher he crushed on for years. Whatever it is…maybe our pining woman in the hinterlands has “it,” the one thing that will turn him into a helpless, devoted, lovesick puppy.
And then, once she has him captivated, her challenge will be to “tame” him. Ah yes, the old romance novel trope: the wild playboy who will only come to heel for one special woman. An absolutely irresistible challenge, that. The Warren Beatty thing.
I saw a lot of this when I was researching women’s fiction and romances while I was writing my own novel. I read a lot of love stories, from standard Harlequins to more literary tales, and I’ve gotta admit, there were way too many books that had Clooney-esque heroes—those aloof, dashing men, seemingly unobtainable (until the last chapter of the book, of course), but who roll over and become mushy romantics for the right woman, our heroine.
But that always bothered me. So many of these romantic heroes were a) cads, b) playboys, c) commitmentphobes, d) antisocial loners, or e) outright arseholes. Or all of the above rolled into one. And yet for the length of a novel, I was forced to buy into the notion that these jerks were the ideal romantic partners.
However, I’ve been around the block a few times, so I can say with certainty that these “challenges” really aren’t worth it. Antisocial loners? They’re annoying and selfish. Playboys and cads? Not to be trusted—and they don’t change their stripes. And (sorry, Prince George) attempting to corral commitmentphobes is like trying to scoop up mercury with your bare hands—physically impossible and toxic to boot.
It’s made me wish that the men who are held up as romantic ideals would be more along the lines of really nice, smart, funny, fun guys instead of “challenges.” Women shouldn’t have to think they have to work so hard at changing a person to earn love.
Still, I won’t damn Mr. Clooney. After all, I don’t know him, and, just like 99.9 percent of the rest of the women on this planet and elsewhere, I likely never will. Perhaps he really is a wonderful guy in addition to being good looking and rich. And maybe someday he will fall in love with a veterinarian from Montana or something. After all, he already dated a commoner, a waitress, once, and props to him for that one.
So, in the spirit of “hope springs eternal” and “every girl is a princess”…line forms outside the Lake Como mansion at dawn, ladies. Best of luck, have a good time, and no hair pulling.