Monday, 15 February 2010

Your man: a bogey or a pecker?

As you know, I felt Rochester bore a striking resemblance to the Walter Matthau character of Oscar Madison from The Odd Couple. Well, that got me thinking last night, it must be possible to categorise all men of the male gender into classic Hollywood movie 'types'.

So, here we go, the Miss Underscore guide to men.

Errol Flynn: The Errol Flynn type is terribly vain and dapper. He is the archetypal sleazy lothario. He is constantly juggling several ladies at the same time. The energy expended on his tangled love life means he has little time for a career. He is usually as poor as a church-mouse, but is highly skilled in scrounging and attaching himself to those with money. Expect his bathroom shelves to be heaving under the weight of lotions, potions and pomades.

Jack Lemmon: Your typical nice guy. Hardworking and decent, with a self-depreciating sense of humor. The world is full of Jack Lemmon types and that is no bad thing. They are middle-managers, golf-players, drivers of Vauxhall Vectras, wearers of M&S jumpers.

Walter Matthau - More child than man. His life is eternal chaos. He is an unlikely fanny rat: is charming in a dishevelled, unreliable and sardonic way. He drinks and smokes too much, is a bit scruffy and unkempt. Slightly morose and grumpy.

Of course, I have a soft-spot for Walter Matthau types, it is a weakness. It is the same weakness that ensures my home is crammed full with bedraggled and raspcallion rescued hounds. But you know what they say . . . lie down with hounds, wake up with fleas . . .

Paul Newman Your Paul Newman type is rugged and outdoorsy, maybe a farmer or vet. He will stride around, stripped to the waist, contemplatively chewing a blade of grass. These types are very in-tune with nature, they love animals and a will leap into a raging river to save a drowning lurcher. Quite poetic souls really, although quiet and introspective too. The Paul Newman type loves his mum and has been brought up to be respectful of women.

My Dad was a Paul Newman type (although, in his later, Oxfam years, with his wild white hair, he looked more like a cross between Michael Foot and Andy Warhol). Proper men, Paul Newman types.

Gregory Peck: The Guardian-reading liberal, the courdaroy-wearing academic, These types are hard-working and principled, slightly studious. Maybe a lawyer or doctor , some kind of ethical profession. Handsome in a bookish, reading specs, cardigan and pipe kind of a way. For me, they lack a bit of masculine 'grrrrrrrrrr'. The only time they show any depth of passion is over the plight of tibetan monks. They are very possibly vegetarian.

It is almost impossible for Miss Underscore to imagine being given a 'right good seeing to' by a Gregory Peck type. They are the feathery strokers of the group, and remember what Marian Keyes says:

'Better a wife-beater in a dirty vest than a feathery stroker.'

Jimmy Cagney: Little man syndrome. Ladies, avoid like the plague, or you too will end up with a grapefruit in your face (either literally or metaphorically). He is a wrong 'un through and through - a nasty piece of work. Jimmy Cagney types basically hate women, they are violent, controlling, jealous and foul-mouthed. What cunts!

My ex, Son of Satan, wore the mask of the namby-pamby Gregory Peck sensitive academic. However, lurking under that bumbling, tweedy facade was the black, twisted heart of a Jimmy Cagney type.

Edward G Robinson: Now, I seem to attract a lot of these rogues on interweb dating. They are illiterate, rough, BNP supporting, Sun reading oafs. They are the denizens of council estates - bad teeth (sometimes no teeth), grossly overweight, lots of badly spelled tattoos. Very often they have no necks and shaved heads. Some of them, it must be said, have hearts of gold. But, they are not for me.

Cary Grant: This is the kind of man your mum dreamt you would marry: successful, loyal, charming, understated and urbane. The Cary Grant model is effortlessly well dressed and presented, but not at all vain or feathery stroker. An old-fashioned romantic who still believes in opening doors for ladies and all that good stuff. A Labrador of a man who appears to get even more handsome as he ages.

Humphrey Bogart: These are the monosyllabic, brooding loners of the list. This may sound appealing, but ladies tread carefully! You may find once you have picked your bogey they are bloody difficult to live with. All that deep, silent brooding just turns boring after a while. They may have slightly addictive personalities - drink, drugs, stir-fry (Senor Boldon, brother of Rochester, was a H.B. type).

James Stewart: Now, I know that James Stewart for many will inspire a collective 'ahhhhhhhh'. He is the Andrex puppy in human form. But, he certainly does not set Miss Underscore's corsets aflame. I see him as a flaccid, dim, nondescript 'boy next door' type. Basically, his personality is lacking in something, namely a personality. I think a lot of vicars must fall into this category. Totally inoffensive and bland. If this man was a biscuit he'd be a Rich Tea. Yawn.

So there you are. The Miss Underscore encyclopedia of rogues and rascals. I think that just about covers everyone, don't you?

Maybe my next project will be to do the same thing for the girls: Marilyn, Greta, Ingrid or Tallulah - that is the question!


  1. I am beginning to worry that you are stuck in a time warp, Miss Underscore. Where are your Colin Firths? Hugh Grants? Matt Damons? Jason Strattons? Russell Brands? It's 2010 you know!

  2. Oops! My mistake! I meant Jason Stratham-you can tell I'm a huge fan!

  3. He plays the main character in the Transporter series of films. Fast cars, ridiculous fight scenes- he's a REAL man.

  4. Here's an archetype you have missed:

    Robert Mitchum

    Any thoughts?

  5. Hmmmm, yes, Robert Mitchum. Excellent suggestion: slightly dangerous, chain-smoking, snarling, bourbon-drinking mummy's boy.

  6. I view myself as more of a Robert Newton.
    He played Long John Silver in Treasure Island. A gruff speaking semi-alcoholic with bursts of poetic dialogue mixed with a sociopathic charm. He'd kiss you until your toes curled, empty your drinks cabinet, make off with the contents of your wallet, your heart and probably your bottom drawer, shooting your good-for-nothing boyfriend directly through his tiny brain on the way out.
    They don't make 'em that like any more.