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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Progress Notes

Poking around looking for Man From UNCLE stuff for truepenny and katallen in the wake of my silly realization of a few days past, I've managed to utterly resurrect my adolescent crush on David McCallum.


*sigh* I don't actually like blonds all that much. But that was one cute boy.

Okay, that was one cute boy in 1964. And frankly, he was never even all cute. He just had It. You know, It.

The thing.

And anyway, I preferred him with the Paul McCartney moptop he had in The Invisible Man. It's a waste not to wear hair like that long.

And he turned seventy this year. But. He's still got the voice.

Words: 1,623
Page: 1066
Reason for stopping: I'm not really stopping so much as petering out.


::sighs:: David...
It's funny that the studio intended Robert Vaughn to be the heartthrob of the series, and were sandbagged by the David McCallum phenomenon.

I submit that Legolas fandom is an example of the same thing. I don't quite know what powers it, but I've got a theory, and it involves bonobos.
I seem to recall that it was damned difficult to spot Illya in that very first U.N.C.L.E. series as the part was small and he spent a lot of it in various weird disguises. But despite that, some of us fell for him completely.

Vaughn/Solo, McCallum/Illya appealed to different personality types, at least in my experience. My friend went all gooey over Vaughn/Solo, whereas I went wobbly kneed over McCallum/Illya. Neither of us could quite understand the other's infatuation.

And, I have to ask... Legolas? Bonobos? You wouldn't care to expand a bit would you?
Okay, here's my theory: Neither Illya nor Legolas are the alpha males in their respective groups. Solo and Aragorn are. Both are markedly different from the alpha male, both blonde and foreign: Illya is a ruskie, Legolas an elf.

Among chimps the alpha male in a troop typically has most or all of the females in his harem. However, unlike in many species (such as antelope), non-alpha male chimps are undismayed by this situation, and hit on the females anyway, even though they know they'll get a beating if ole alpha catches them.

What is even more interesting is that the females find the non-alpha males attractive, and cooperate with their romantic undertakings, hiding in the bushes and whatnot to deceive the alpha males who supposedly control them.

Thus: I propose that Illya and Legolas fangirls perceive their respective characters as attractive non-alpha males, and part of their interest may derive from neither being the alpha male that they are 'supposed' to be attracted too.

Or maybe it's all a bunch of hooey, and women just like them because they're blonde huggable teddy bears. Who knows.
Or, arguably, as Scully says in "War of the Coprophages," smart is sexy.

This doesn't explain Legolas, I admit. But it Q.E.D.s Illya for sure.
Smart is sexy.

And a dry, understated sense of humor helps a hell of a lot.
The blond thing doesn't usually work for me--I actually think Orlando Bloom is *much* cuter with his normal dark hair--although not as cute as Ioan Gruffudd, say--and I have a countertheory.

I think it also ties into the Star Trek Spock fandom. Because after all, William Shatner was supposed to be the series hottie, and all the girls fainted for Spock. And I think it's a combination of things--

--the 'backup' characters in all three cases are played by extremely charismatic actors. (cf big melty eyes, above.)

--all of them are hypercompetent individuals in many ways: essentially, better at everything than their party leaders, except for--

--they don't have much in the way of social skills. And I think that's more important in the Spock/Illya fandoms than the Legolas fandom, where Legolas seems.... less threatening than, perhaps, Aragorn. (Me, I like the dwarf. But then, again, Rhys-Davies has a Voice.)

I think part of it is, as truepenny says, that smart=sexy. I also think that Spock and Illya had a bit of the old unattainable thing. Where Kirk and Napoleon were bedding every woman in sight, their loyal sidekicks were back at the lap, putting in eighteen hour days and saving the world.

And women *really* like to be the one to crack a man's cool facade. Especially one who shows through little awkwardnesses that it's a facade that exists because he's a little uncomfortable in a social setting, rather than just a cold fish overall.

(Just realized that I typed 'Spock/Illya.' And you know, I'm sure it's out there, somewhere. They'd be perfect for each other... *g*)
And women *really* like to be the one to crack a man's cool facade.
Not to mention the fact that those poor workaholics need a break and/or reward, every now and again.

Yeah, I had an Illya crush as a kid, too.
Nowadays, I find my fascination more among the suave swift-talking morally-ambiguous "bad" boys: Blackadder II, Spike (from Buffy), Captain Hook, the Malfoy men, certain fictionalized versions of Kit Marlowe... The only reason I watch Smallville is for Lex. I just always appreciate a well-turned quip, preferably ones with a bit of bite to them.
I find it very interesting that a lot of my female readers seem to find my male characters very attractive. So I sat down to figure out why that was, and I realized something--

--all of them, even the bad guys--perhaps especially the bad guys--are sort of quietly feminist. In that they treat women as people and equals and sometimes exceedingly dangerous threats.

Nobody in one of my books would be dumb enough to turn his back on a girl because she's a girl.
And there's also the part where, if Napoleon or Kirk fell for you, you'd know you'd have 'em for a week, tops, and that you'd just be one of a string of girls. A year from now, they wouldn't have the least idea who you were. Whereas with Illya or Spock (who I keep typing as "Spoke," and I don't want to know what's up with that), you could aim for One True Love. It matches up with the cracking-the-facade thing.
the females find the non-alpha males attractive
Yes!! I have a theory that there is a serious difference between the kind of men that men think women ought to find attractive (i.e. alpha males), and the men that women actually find attractive. It first took root in my mind when I was reading about Victorian alpha-males such as Leslie Stephen harrumphing over the 'unsatisfactory' males that George Eliot married her heroines off to (specifically, Dorothea to Ladislaw, with a side order of how could a woman like Maggie Tulliver fall for Stephen Guest).

However, women over the centuries have been well aware of the benefits of marrying alpha males (or their parents have been aware of this on their behalf). There is a very silly comment in an article in today's Observer Magazine, in which the author complains that modern women are 'abandoning their timeless romantic idyllls in favour of a more utilitarian approach'. I am inclined to advise him to read some Jane Austen and meditate on the 'the amorous effects of brass' (or however Auden put it).

I have a theory about it too, and I think it has something to do with boys with big soft melty eyes who know seventeen ways to kill a man with a tuning fork.

Although bonobos are probably more scientific.
Seventy...??! My god...

Anyway, did you ever notice that it was Illya who actually did all the hard work? I mean, he'd be the one hangng upside down in the dark reprogramming the computer while Napoleon Solo was sipping champagne and exchanging coy witticisms with the undercover THRUSH agents.

The only way he could be that cool is because Illya MADE it look easy for him by clearing the path before he even got there!
It's true! Illya was smarter, tougher, a better fighter, and--for my money--funnier. *g*

Just another example of the Peter Principle at work *g*