Friday, 6 June 2008

Man-crushes - a disturbing new metrosexual trend? Or just that warm feeling you had about the captain of the first XI all over again?

Gay men may, with a snort of disgust, look away here - I am speaking of the interesting concept of the man-crush. It is a purely heterosexual phenomenon, in fact the more aggressively heterosexual the man the more likely he is to have one. I remember standing in a kitchen at a party once, ages ago, having a long conversation with three men (one of them Mr Fishwife) about "men's men" - ie Oliver Reed, Henry Cooper, Jack Nicholson etc. The only way any of them could explain it was "Oh, you know... a real bloke. The kind of man you'd buy WD40 for. Or cigars. " Interestingly enough, one of those men is today a woman (not Mr Fishwife) (or me!). But I digress. Over the intervening years I've noticed the way men get a little bit squirmy and coy when discussing men they have a secret man-crush on - try saying "Johnny Wilkinson" to any man you know and watch him blush and simper like a teenage girl. I attach below a list of men it appears to be OK to have a man-crush on - please feel free to suggest ones I may have forgotten...

Frank Sinatra , but not Dean Martin (too wefty)

Jeremy Clarkson and James May, but not Richard Hammond (boy band-tastic)

Almost any rugby player except Sebastien Chabal (just too big)

George Best, anyone from the 1966 World Cup squad and Gazza, but very few other football players (in fact, having a man-crush on Freddie Ljungberg is pretty much proof that you're on the other bus. It's not a man-crush, it's a crush-crush.)

Tony Soprano and all Corleones except Sonny (perms are bad, mmkay?)

Terry Wogan (he's earned it, the poor man, after all those years failing to get a decent drink at the Eurovision Song Contest)

Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall but not Gary Rhodes (that hair!) or Anthony Worrall Thompson (he leers like a drunk uncle).

Comedians are pretty much all OK except for Russell Brand (looks too much like that Goth girl you snogged once at a party)

Actors - now there's a wide open field. The very fact of being an actor is less manly than being, say, a brickie or a soldier, but here are a few that seem to have it all (and I'm only going for British/Irish and Alive or there are far too many!) : Peter O'Toole (last of the great drinkers), Sean Connery, Daniel Craig, Clive Owen, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, Bill Nighy (king of the sneer)..

14 comments:

mantua maker said...

Well, where can I begin! My youngest brother says that Steve McQueen is the only man he would ever sleep with.

My husband is too coy to admit this but he might tremble if Freddie Flintoff were to ring the doorbell.

And I once shared an office with a bloke who would kiss a picture of Alex Fergusson - but that was a mad football thing.

mantua maker said...

Correction: husband says it's actually Kevin Peterson not Flintoff who does it for him.

lucyfishwife said...

If he's honest with himself, he'll find he's never really gotten over Lewis Collins (OK to have a man-crush on him but not on Martin Shaw). Mr Fishwife admitted to a feeling of incipient man-crush when watching Clive Owen playing Sir Walter Raleigh - I mean, double whammy or what?

Vicus Scurra said...

I don't fancy any of them. Not at all. Does that mean that I am gay?

lucyfishwife said...

Not remotely - but if I were to add, say, Joey Ramone, Iggy Pop, Jay McInerney, PJ O'Rourke, Norman Mailer, Hemingway... I didn't do music or lit boys because I would have spent far too long telling you why Sting is a total arse, and for that matter Martin Amis.

JG said...

Please not Heston Blumenthal. The poor man looks like a eunuch, and straight men don't generally idolize eunuchs.

lucyfishwife said...

Hello JG - I don't know about eunuchs, but you're right - there is a disturbingly shaved aspect to Heston. Tell me I'm not wrong about AWT ("Hello, little girl!") though.

JG said...

Indeed. AWT is not the kind of person you'd want to babysit. I imagine that he spends quite a lot of time in Thailand.

Ramsay's hair makes him a non-starter for me. Those highlights would be more at home on the wife of a Costa del Sol villain.

Actually, chefs in general don't really fit the mentor mould. There's something too celebrity-desperate about them these days. Essentially, they're Big Brother contestants who can cook a bit.

lucyfishwife said...

I think Ramsay's girly hair is offset by the fact that his face looks like a deflated football and he has a fit wife. But you're right. I added chefs when I should have added Hemingway and Lemmy. Although I reckon Anthony Bourdain is a man-crush waiting to happen..

JonathanM said...

Tom Mcguane.

But it simply isn't possible to have a man-crush on Alan Ball.

lucyfishwife said...

Yes on both fronts. Thoughts on PJ O'Rourke? I think he crosses that dividing line between ageing chick-magnet and Great Bloke man-crush fodder.

Steve said...

Ray Winstone, Gordon Ramsay, Bill Nighy - guilty as charged. Please add Ray Mears to the list. If the world ends tomorrow I'd like him to be at my side whittling a canoe out of the last tree...

lucyfishwife said...

Oddly no ma n I know has a man-crush on Bear Grylls - is it because he's a bit too pretty, or is it the fact that he's ever so slightly humourless?

Steve said...

The pretty boy thing is a big turn-off for me. He needs to have a broken nose, stubble and a paunch the size of a Ford Capri to have any hope of floating my boat...