Literary Crushes: Objectifying the Men of Books

We’re supposed to grow out of the school girl crush phase of life, right? Because I’m only just thirty, and I’m finding myself backsliding. The worst part is, I’m not crushing on actual people that I could feasibly have a future with. I’m crushing on the characters of my favorite novels and stories, and I just can’t seem to get over it.

This all started – well restarted – in the last few weeks as I became completely and totally obsessed with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. With one viewing and then the repeated consumption of the Pride & Prejudice story in its many formats in the days after, I fell all over again into crush with Darcy.

It’s a booknerd problem. He’s kind of awesome in all of his variations.

But it got me thinking about all the other literary character crushes I’ve had over the years. Here are a few:

Fitzwilliam Darcy
How can you not love someone so intense and brooding that it’s hard for him to even get to the words out that he loves you and when he does it finally, he’s so inept that he insults you in the process? Doesn’t make sense? I don’t know what you mean.

Heathcliff
The childhood sweetheart is one of those things I just can’t shake myself of loving. Heathcliff – as a man – may be in love with the most diabolical and spoiled rotten girl in English literature (yes I know that’s a harsh judgement) but he adores her with his whole being. How can you not crush a little on a man like that?

Rochester
I know there’s a lot to be squeamish about in Jane Eyre. He’s so much older than Jane. He’s locked his first wife in the attic because she’s lost her mind. And he tries to marry his new love while still married to his first love. But he’s tall and brooding and runs back into a burning building to save people. And given the folk tales around crazy wives and husbands who want new wives, locking Bertha in the attic is pretty tame. She’s completely out of her mind after all.

Over the Americas!

Almanzo Wilder
I grew up reading Laura Ingall‘s story of the American frontier. Manly (nice nickname) courts her the old fashioned way, taking her for sleigh rides, driving her home from her teaching job in the dead of winter, and allowing the priest to not use the word “obey” in the marriage ceremony. What more could a girl on the frontier want in a husband?

Adam Trask
East of Eden is a long sweeping saga of the American dream. There are some truly horrific characters in it, but I found myself crushing hardcore on honest, hardworking Adam Trask from the beginning. He may have been a tough customer at some points but over all I found myself mooning over him somewhat anyways.

Wolverine
I’m totally going to get yelled at by my comic reading friends for this, but I go with the Wolverine I remember reading as a kid rather than trying to suss out which version of Wolverine I had the biggest crush on over the long course of his saga in various comics from the X-Men universe. I’m going to be honest. There’s something brutally attractive about the Wolverine I grew up reading. He was rough and tumble. He had a seemingly unending crush on various women on the X-Men team, and he was dependable despite what he said about not wanting to put down roots anywhere. And then along came Hugh Jackman to play him in movies and the crush was solidified forever.

I have to be honest. There are few literary characters I don’t develop crushes on at some point or another unless they are just well and truly evil to the core. It helps that they are completely fictional, and I can only pay attention to all the things that make them great rather than focusing on the things that make them human.

Wait. That almost sounds like objectification. Oh well.

Image by ShutterStock

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