I’m currently slightly obsessed with Robert-Carlyle-as-Rumplestiltskin. I say “slightly”, but I’ve now got his photo on my phone as wallpaper, I’ve been watching Robert Carlyle YouTubes at the gym and I’m Googling interviews with him during traffic lights.

Not just Robert Carlyle, mind. But specifically, Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin. I just wouldn’t fancy him quite as much if he didn’t have greenish pockled skin, gnarled teeth and an evil, evil propensity for making people’s lives miserable.


So what’s the attraction, really?

It was the same thing with Hugh Laurie, as the gristly, grumpy, unshaven, limping House. I bought every season of the show just to watch Hugh.

And my high school maths teacher, a little elf of a man with a little round, shaved head and pale skin that was in dire need of a tan. He was not what you might call a traditionally tall, dark and handsome sort of man. He wasn’t at all tall, he was more a sickly fair than a brooding dark,  and he isn’t what you’d call exceptionally handsome. But I struggled through two years of IB maths just to be in his class. It was a four year infatuation and I was convinced throughout that if I could just get rid of his wife, I would marry him.

But why? Why this strange obsession with men who are not only, perhaps, rather ordinary, but who could be considered downright hideous?

It’s all in the brilliance. It’s absolutely true what they say about the strongest erogenous zone being the mind – it’s what can turns a greasy, nasty little imp into this spectacular object of affection (obsession).

Robert Carlyle is incredible as Rumplestiltskin in Once Upon a Time. I think he makes the show really and is far more likeable and fascinating than any other character on it (even if they’re supposed to be our most favourite fairy tale characters). Lana Parilla as the main villain, the evil queen, isn’t a patch on Robert. It is this brilliance alone that suddenly makes him 5000 times more want-able.

hughThen, Hugh Laurie – who was undoubtedly brilliant and excellent in his role as House. All the more brilliant if you consider the breadth of characters he’s played throughout his acting career – from Bertie Wooster in the Jeeves series, to the bumbling idiot of 101 Dalmatians to the voice of Paddington Bear (a particular favourite!). All that grizzliness and the fact that he looks like he hasn’t shaved in about 3 weeks, suddenly, magically, becomes something sexy because you think, “Well, it’s only because he’s so brilliant – he doesn’t have time for silly, mundane things like shaving!”

And then my maths teacher – who is brilliant just for being able to enact that miracle of making me love maths for a few years of my life. Mind, I didn’t love maths because it was a mere case of a hot teacher. It was quite the opposite: I started to fancy the teacher because I had started to love maths (impossible, I know, you wouldn’t imagine it now!). I had pretty much hated both the teacher and the subject with a fury. It was the fact that he made maths come alive, easy, clear and most of all, fascinating, that made that 15-year-old me start thinking that perhaps he was actually God.

Friends throughout all stages of my life would call me on my atrocious taste in men. If I’m now walking around with a photo of a crooked (celebrity) villain on my phone, you can imagine all the other far worse choices I’ve made in my life.

What I must say though – perhaps in my (weak) defense – is that it is not the look that makes a man, but rather, the man that makes the look. (This is generally true for everyone – women too. It is no untold secret that it is our personalities that make us truly attractive, not merely the superficialities of outer beauty).

Nothing is more of a turn on than an intelligent, brilliant, witty man. With this, he could be dressed in a paper bag and I’d still sit there doodling my name with his surname. It’s a kind of effortless beauty at its best.

No surprises then, why so many of my friends have confessed to having loved some especially horrid looking troll of a man, only because he was so brilliant in whatever it is he does, whether it’s quantum physics or acting as a little evil green imp. No surprises too, why so many girls develop long-standing crushes on their university professors, even if they wear tweed and haven’t brushed their hair since 1971.

We know the opposite to be true too – where you meet some drop-dead gorgeous man but soon find him a repulsive, ugly, mess of a toad when you discover that he’s got the personality of a puddle of water / is incredibly stupid / has a large enough arrogance to rival the Himalayan mountain range. There’s that enduring truth again – that looks, while they may help to make a lovely first impression, really aren’t everything.

It isn’t rocket science. You don’t have to be a real looker to win a girl’s heart (or anyone’s heart). Girl like me – I don’t ask for much, really. You could look like a nasty piece of work. Just make sure you’re absolutely bloody brilliant.


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