I’ve said it before, but I often struggle with the fact that I’m a huge contradiction. I spent my teenage years rebelling against the hideous stereotype of pink-wearing, kitten-loving, boyband-listening girls that I knew, in favour of listening to metal, being a (quite shit) goth and apparently only liking boys with mental problems.
Obviously this was the daft naivety of a teenage idiot, willfully defying one social group to pigeonhole myself in another. I’m a lot happier now I’m grown up (ha!) but I still really struggle with admitting my girlyness. I’m secretly ashamed when I get giddy over buying a new handbag and I can only tell my very bestest friends that I actually watch Don’t Tell the Bride, let alone tell them that I cry watching it (Oh. Fuck). For a long-time I consoled myself that my new-found love of 50s style dresses was offset by the fact that they look considerably less feminine when you accessorise it with a pint and some piercings. Cue borderline alcohol problem.
This is why I’m slightly perturbed by my growing fascination for men in period costume. I’ve steadily noticed my interest climbing in this very predictable and time-honoured female tradition, but didn’t pay it too much attention, for fear of truly becoming a stereotypical woman. However, it came around and smacked me straight across the face when watching the new adaptation of Jane Eyre last month. I’d completely stopped paying attention to the film and clearly my brain was only interested in this:
Why hello there Mr. Rochester. Is that a love letter for me? Oh you're too kind.
Michael Fassbender has been in a crapton of cinema releases this year but I’ve never batted an eyelid at him until he was trussed up as Mr. Rochester and storming round Thornfield in his breeches. (It’s telling that I typed “under him” instead of “until he” in that sentence. OBSESSED)
Obviously, my still defiant brain screams “NO! Don’t be one of the hysterical chatting mass of women cooing over Mr. Darcy… No! You’re better than that” but yet, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to not give into indulging myself.
So difficult in fact that I spent all of Saturday watching the BBC Pride and Prejudice series, partly because I’d promised to watch it with a friend who’d never seen it, but mainly because I wanted to do some good old-fashioned ogling. And ogle I did. In fact, I think I might have scarred my friend for life with my overenthusiastic sound effects.
Darcy and Bingley 3-way? How could I possibly refuse?
I thought perhaps I just enjoyed a well-dressed man. I mean, when modern men are all scrubbed up nicely for weddings and whatnot, they look pretty handsome. Everyone knows how fond I am of a kilt. But it occurred to me that even the trampiest of period drama men (peasants etc) win hands down in the style stakes when ranked against a scabby man in trackies nowadays.
It’s certainly not the facial hair (which is another thought I had) because I heart beards and sideburns all over the shop. I don’t think I could ever be without a stubbly faced gent. So it couldn’t possibly be that.(Although sideburns with a ruffled Victorian shirt are hard to beat). I even attempted some brief googling to see if I could half-inch some interesting snippets of discourse. But that got boring quite quickly, and I decided my time would be much better spent looking at nice pictures of men.
When did I become such a babbling mess of a woman? I do not know. Will I ever reconcile my new-found girliness with my need to make myself atypical? I do not know. But perhaps, oh random stranger of the internet, you might like to leave your tuppenny’s worth and let me know precisely why men of the olden days look megahot?