Guys, this post may be relevant to my own current interests. Let’s just say I’m in a mood, so this is not the post for nuance and understanding of historical social restrictions or period/modern gender stereotypes (yes, one could absolutely write an equivalent post about womanchildren). This is a post where I’m going to get ranty about bullshit and fuckery, and there will be swearing and a decided lack of nuance. Because manchildren? OVER IT. Here’s my top 5 guys who need to get it to-fucking-gether and take some responsibility for their own choices and their own lives, and learn to realize that there are other people in the universe beyond themselves. Hey, you were warned…
Oh, and of course, SPOILER ALERT for all of these.
Henry VIII in Everything
So I’m kind of cheating, because my beef is with the real Henry VIII, not how he’s been portrayed on screen. But because I’ve had the joy of watching him be the world’s biggest spoiled baby multiple times in movies and TV, and because that’s the focus of this here blog, I’m shoehorning this sucker in.
Henry. HENRY. I’M SO SORRY the world doesn’t fall over itself to give you Every Single Thing You’ve Ever Wanted. You married a strong, intelligent woman — WHO YOU CHOSE TO MARRY. This wasn’t some “my parents made me!” situation. Oh no, you were all down with the hot, slightly older redhead. But you two have some bad luck in the children department, NONE OF WHICH IS HER FAULT, because you two HAVE live children, one of whom grows up to be QUEEN; you just live in a high infant mortality era. But clearly in your mind, Catherine of Aragon is just being difficult in not birthing you a son, so chuck her over the garden wall and run off with the hot young thing.
So you do run off with that hot young thing. But she’s also strong and intelligent and challenges you intellectually … and she dares to give birth to a healthy DAUGHTER. OH NOES. NOT ANOTHER DARN WOMAN. So let’s see, what is the appropriate response … oh I don’t know, how about we CHOP THE HEAD OFF THE WOMAN YOU WERE SO IN LOVE WITH. Right. That seems like what Emily Post would recommend.
Now you get to pick your next wife, so you pick Miss Wallpaper Paste. Things seem okay, because at least she’s meek and retiring and gives you a son, but then she rudely goes and dies on you.
So now you’re single, so you send off for a Hot Young Thing from another country. But she shows up and is horrified that you’re kind of gross, and maybe you think she’s kind of dumpy. Instead of humaning-up and doing what you promised you’d do — marry her — you finagle an annulment. Because god forbid Poor Widdle Henry has to EVER lower his standards.
So then you marry a SUPER hot, SUPER young thing, not having any idea of the fact that you are a disgusting old loser. And when she goes elsewhere for some shagging, you are so affronted — she should be thrilled to have your giant sweaty body heaving on top of her! — that you chop off HER head.
Finally, you decide to give one last fuck-you to womankind. You pick a woman who is totally in love with someone else, someone she had to give up in order to marry where her family wanted her to, but her husband had died and she’s finally free to marry The One. Okay, so he turns out to be a dick, but that’s beside the point. Why don’t you rip her away from her one chance at happiness and turn her into a nursemaid for you. Because god forbid she actually get to actualize her own needs! Someone needs to tell you you’re special regularly!
Newland Archer in The Age of Innocence
I’ll just own up: sure, I normally love a good tragedy. And I love a story where you get to understand just some of the restrictions placed on people by the society in which they live. But the reason I don’t LOVE The Age of Innocence is because of Newland fucking Archer.
First of all, the name: NEWLAND. There’s nothing “I’m going to have a spine and own my choices!” about that name. That’s the name of a spineless wimp who’s going to be Vewy Sad that life is full of big meanies not handing him lollipops all day.
Okay, so you’re engaged to sickly sweet May Welland, and then the Countess Olenska breezes into town and you realize what you’ve been missing all along. What do you do? Do you human-up and tell May that you’re in love with someone else? That you’ve realized there might actually be hot sex in your future? And passion? And intelligent, stimulating conversation?
Nope. You try to talk the countess OUT of getting divorced, and rush your own wedding, because god forbid you get in touch with your own fucking desires.
Let’s not even get INTO your inability to either leave your wife, OR suck it up, accept the choice you’ve made, and leave the Countess Olenska alone. I know it’s the Victorian era and life is hard. I DON’T CARE RIGHT NOW.
Denys in Out of Africa
I’ve been wanting to sit down and do a thorough review on Out of Africa lately, especially after singing the praises of lead actress Meryl Streep and costume designer Milena Canonero. But the problem is, although it’s been probably 10-15 years since I’ve seen the film, what I remember is being annoyed at Denys (played by Robert Redford). My memory is fuzzy, but what I’ve basically got is Mr. Perfect shows up, is fabulous … but refuses to commit, and then, when Keren is finally done with his lack-of-commitment, he goes and DIES. Just so she can’t move the fuck on emotionally, but has to always remember him as a vibrant and handsome and blah blah blah.
The commitment-phobic-ness pisses me off, but the DYING pisses me off more. How the fuck is she supposed to forget him when she has to be sad that he’s dead? I mean, bonus that he doesn’t get to run off and be happy with someone else, because that would take the cake. But now she’s going to have to wrestle with His Memory. Men.
Mr. Bingley in Pride and Prejudice
Of course, there are NUMEROUS manchildren in Jane Austen’s works. And really, Willoughby is probably the Number One manchild, and deserves some ranting-about. But I’m going to bypass Mr. Obvious and move on to He Who Has Thus Far Skated Under the Radar: Bingley.
Oh Bingley. You’re cute, you’re sweet, you’re nice, you’re rich, and you meet a beautiful, sweet, nice girl, and you two fall in love. At first, things go well — you invite her over to hang, throw a ball so you two can lambada. But as soon as your sisters and your best friend start talking shit about your love, you fold like a moist towelette. You leave town, blank her when she comes to visit London, and basically forget all about her. Oh but wait, you haven’t forgotten her! You’re still in love! You’re just too spineless to ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. Oh noes! Sisters and best friend think she’s a gold digger! Welp, I guess I can’t make my own decisions or judgements!
So yeah, Bingley finally ponies up in the end and asks Jane to marry him… but only AFTER Mr. Darcy essentially gives him permission. Does Mr. Darcy have to sign a permission slip before you take a bowel movement, too?
Ross Poldark in Poldark
ROSS. POLDARK. YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF YOUR OWN LIFE. SO STOP ACTING LIKE A TWO-YEAR-OLD. Okay, so off to the wars you went, and when you got back, your True Wuv was engaged to your cousin … and she goes ahead and marries him. What do you do? Are you angry, as in, “I’m never seeing you again” angry? Do you ice her? Do you realize she sucks, and doesn’t get your greatness, so fuck her? Oh no. You HANG AROUND HOPING FOR CRUMBS OF HER ATTENTION.
Okay, so this wouldn’t be so annoying if you were just on your own recognizance … if the only person this was affecting was you. But you have to go and MARRY SOMEONE who is in love with you, and who, honestly, you are in love with (although heaven forbid you ever admit it). Which, yay for moving on! Except, you continue to hang on the crumbs of attention that your ex may occasionally throw out, and while you do a decent job with your wife, the second your ex sneezes in your direction you’re off to hand her a hankie.
Then, your child dies (sorry, that sucks), and you don’t want to have another. Instead of, I don’t know, figuring out alternative ways of having a good time, you still shag your wife and then get annoyed when she ends up pregnant. THAT IS HOW IT WORKS, TURD-BRAIN.
And then, to take the cake, after you’ve HAD ANOTHER CHILD with your actual wife, you decide that since it’s all about you, you should rape your ex. Because, you know, it’s all about what the manbaby wants. Who cares about consent, or what your ex might want, or whether your wife might have any feelings about it.
Think my rant is missing an understanding of historical context? I don’t wanna hear about it! Got manchildren to complain about? Let’s get to it in the comments!