Obviously, he has to be attractive to today’s readers, so I’m subconsciously adding details that would appeal to us. But surely, a handsome man would always be a handsome man? Brad Pitt looked just as good as Achilles in a little skirt as he did in Ocean’s 11. But maybe that’s just me ...? Because if you look at the sort of man who was idolised in his day, tastes have definitely changed!
I recently attended a celebration in honour of Lord Byron’s (224th) birthday and it was clear that he was the Regency equivalent of our A-list celebrities. Famous, handsome, sought-after and “mad, bad and dangerous to know”. In other words, a bad boy hero, just like the ones in romance novels. But looking at the portraits of him, I couldn’t see the attraction myself. I guess you had to be there in order to fall under his spell? Or was it his superb poetry that did the trick? I don’t know.
There have been many such men through the ages, the kind everyone seems to find charismatic and attractive. I tried to think of a few and came up with:-
Henry VIII, who was supposedly very handsome as a young man, although it’s kind of hard to see from the later portraits. Apart from anything else, the fear that he might chop my head off would probably have killed any feelings stone dead for me!
Sir Walter Raleigh – yes! Now here’s a man I think I could have fallen in love with. Just look at those bedroom eyes in the miniature of him, they’re decidedly wicked.
Rupert of the Rhine – I think I’ve mentioned him before and apart from being tall, dark and handsome, well ... no, what more do you want?
In Victorian times, maybe Dante Gabriel Rossetti? Another poet – hmm, maybe there’s a trend here ...
Going forward a bit, Douglas Fairbanks Jr? – no, not for me.
James Dean – yes, maybe, I like the motorcycle and bad boy attitude.
It is strange though, how different the tastes were. So who, from the history books, do you think you would have fallen for? I think Sir Walter’s bedroom eyes are definitely calling to me, so I feel another day dream coming on ...
Please come back on Sunday to hear from Liz.