For reasons I don’t care to divulge I have been thinking about fantasies this week. A happy marriage clearly does not put an end to such things. It has occurred to me (and I may be wrong I hope some men read this and feel free to challenge me) that women are much more creative about their choice of fantasy partner than men seem to be. My husband for example once had a thing for Anthea Turner, and I am not at all sure my brother isn’t a fan of Ann Widdecombe (sorry Phil). Of course I am sure many men dream of a fully clothed cerebral alternative to their current partner (Bonnie Greer or Mariella Frostrup perhaps?) but at the risk of alienating half of a possible readership I suspect most turn their thoughts to particular areas of a woman’s anatomy, and the brain is not necessarily one of them.
A straw poll of my straight friends reveals a significant number of women who would gladly consider compromising themselves with Colin Firth, Rupert Penry Jones or Richard Armitage. I have a soft spot for Kenneth Branagh, whose appalling taste in actress partners convinced me he was just missing a trick by not finding me on facebook. My friends are confident, liberal-minded types with distinct feminist leanings, but we do find a certain type of man attractive. These are all men that give off an aura of strength – you can imagine them fighting battles alongside you. They are all smouldering and deeply thoughtful, clever and pretty darn virile if we are thinking of evolutionary principles. They also have voices to make you melt. But above all they give the impression that first and foremost they would be attracted to our intelligence, our views on life, love and the universe and respect us as people rather than sex objects. In that sense we have chosen well. No Alex Reid or John Terry on this list.
I have to add a couple of caveats to this discussion. One is that my 16-year-old daughter and her friends seem much more concerned about how ‘ripped’ a boy is than how considerate he is of their feelings. Where I find a tendency to take your shirt off at every possible opportunity conceited and arrogant they all swoon. It’s a bit too Neanderthal for comfort.
And then there is my mother, who throughout her life has had a number of crushes on men. Liberace, Rock Hudson, Dirk Bogarde, Danny Kaye, Freddie Mercury and as I was growing up, George Michael. Honestly. She never doubted their heterosexuality for a moment. She thought they were ‘sensitive’. It was of no surprise to me when she said ‘I didn’t know about homosexuals until I met your father’.
Perhaps the difference between the fantasies men have and those my friends and I hold on to is that men are just more realistic about what they want, and are much better at fooling themselves about their irresistibility to the opposite sex. For women, the more remote and different from their partner the object of the fantasy is the better. That is why perhaps, however hurtful it may be to think that one’s partner dreams of life with an alternative there is an understanding that neither party will ever act on it. That is what fantasy is all about.
Anyone know which Sainsbury’s Kenneth Branagh uses?
Photos – Wikipedia commons