The other day in office, Breaking Dawn was kept on my desk, and a younger colleague of mine looked at me and said, “And—how old are you?!” As I did like her, I just smiled and explained how I felt the urge to read teenage vampire romance fiction (Who would have thought such a genre would ever exist? Credit goes to J K Rowling for her imagination, which created Harry Potter and opened up a whole new world of magic and myths to the literary world).
My colleague then asked me: “Weren’t you telling us yesterday how we should read Fountainhead and now you are reading Breaking Dawn!?” And my response was that I read Fountainhead when I was 16, and am reading Breaking Dawn at 30, maybe to walk down memory lane? Though if memory serves correct, none could hold a candle to Edward Cullen even when I viewed the world through my gawky teenage glasses.
So that got me thinking…which fictional character fits the profile of the “dream man”?
1. Edward Cullen (of Twilight fame)
2. Howard Roark (of Fountainhead fame)
3. Severus Snape (of Harry Potter fame; though Harry Potter should be a strong contender, the fact that he came into my life when he was 13 disqualifies him
4. Mr. Darcy (of Pride and Prejudice fame)…sigh! I am already biased!
5. Oliver Barrett IV (of Love Story fame)
6. Theodore “Laurie” Laurence (of Little Women fame)
When I typed this list (and it’s ever-growing), I even considered adding Joe Hardy of Hardy Boys fame, but I could never pick between his elder brother Frank and him, so decided to skip them both. I could not help but wonder—how can any real man compare to these legends?! It’s no surprise that finding a dream man is so difficult!
So let’s proceed…
Edward: He is not only perfect looking with his chiselled face and fabulous body but also a gentleman and a true lover. He waited for his true love Bella for generations and when he found her, he went to all lengths to love and protect her. It does make your heart melt.
But being the sensible, level-headed person that I am (and yes, I know that does not seem like it when I am attempting to find my dream man by analysing fictional characters—but hey! don’t judge me, you are reading this!), I can’t have a vampire as my dream man. Unlike Bella, I love my human form and have no desire to transform.
Howard Roark: I think architecture is the sexiest profession. Creative yet earthly. They dream and they build. And I discovered this ever since I “met” Howard. His passion towards his work, and his scruples which he always stood by, it all makes him so attractive. So he is in the running.
Severus Snape: I know, everyone would think he is the most unlikely candidate. But his love for Lily still brings tears to my eyes. How do you love someone so much that you change who you are and what you desire to just protect that person’s love, even after her death? Snape’s sacrifice is the most heart-wrenching one ever. He loved Lily so much that he chose to protect Harry for Lily’s sake after her death. He turned against Voldemort, he killed Dumbledore and he gave up his own life to protect Harry—all for the sake of Lily. (My vision is blurring with tears now.)
But because Snape was once on the dark side and propagated evil, am not sure he can make it to my final selection. I still admire his dedication deeply though.
Mr. Darcy: Okay. I have to admit I have been biased from the onset. Who can resist Mr. Darcy? A true gentleman—kind, respectful, loving, rich…need I go on? And Colin Firth playing his character only added to his charm. Mr. Darcy rules! I have been in love with him since I was 13. But sometimes a nagging doubt does bother me—would that cool, aloof exterior lose its lustre after a while? Having said that, he comes very close to being my dream man.
Oliver Barrett IV: Love Story by Erich Segal is THE best love story ever. But I always felt that it was Jenny who was put forth as the story’s key protagonist, while Oliver was somehow sidelined. Though he was the one who got the sequel (well, I guess as she was dead, that was the only option), he never really got his worth.
He fulfills the dream man criteria because he is kind, funny, smart (Ivy League and all that), aristocratic, good-looking and so loving. His love for Jenny and his refusal to move on—even after her death—is so beautiful and poignant. I loved how his character developed in Oliver’s Story, which showed his principled and kind side. A man of true character. Umm…can’t find any flaws, except, would he ever be over Jenny?
Theodore “Laurie” Laurence: Or Teddy as Jo called him. I have read “Little Women” over 50 times. It’s one of my favorite books. And though the sisters are the crux of the story, Laurie does get his place in the book and in my heart. Playful, funny, touching, rich (why does rich keep coming up?), good-looking, kind, loving. My gripe against him is that he did not fight for Jo. He gave up too easily and settled for the vain pain in the ass, Amy. He lost a lot of credibility there.
And the Top Three are: Howard Roark (drum roll!), Mr. Darcy (drum roll!), and finally Oliver Barrett (drum roll x 10). Shoot! This is tougher than I thought!
If we go by the assumption that all three of them chose their perfect woman, then who am I closest to? Dominique Francon who marries Roark’s greatest rival, Keating, to save Roark’s passion and work? Or Elizabeth Bennet “Lizzie”—undoubtedly, one of the best female characters in the history of literature: strong willed, pretty, hard working, smart, independent, individualistic but stubborn and, boy—she had a temper! (sounds like someone I know!). Or Jenny—loveable, calm, kind, cool (in a hippie sort of way) and so adorable.
I don’t know if I could make the sacrifices that Dominique made and don’t think I am as loveable and kind a soul as Jenny. Am definitely an Elizabeth Bennet! But for my dream man, am leaning towards Howard Roark.
Well, who says Howard would not have chosen Elizabeth over Dominique had he met her? So I could be an Elizabeth Bennet and still find my dream man in Howard Roark!
Now I just need someone to write a Fountainhead meets Pride and Prejudice book, where Roark and Lizzie meet—and then just watch the sparks fly!
First published in Such is Life