Monday, October 31, 2011

Tall, Dark, and Handsome

You know what is pathetic? I was going to write a blog on three descriptive terms/phrases used in writing that I don’t like, and am now realizing I’m going to have to split this up because it was getting too long (partly because I’m a rambler). So, in order to shorten things, I shall start with the biggest offender of them all: “tall, dark, and handsome.”

Let me first give you a few examples of men (real and characters) that would classify, in the classical sense, as “tall, dark, and handsome”: Clark Gable, James Bond (minus the most recent), Aragorn, Gerard Butler, and Hugh Jackman.

One thing to take note of… allof these men are white. Which raises the question, why are they being characterized as “dark?” Why, because their hair is dark of course. Obviously that is the only qualification for being labeled as“dark” in the “tall, dark, and handsome” category.

Wherein lies my main issue with the term. Authors are always talking about a white man,and never about a man who is actually dark. What would you call a tall and handsome man that is of a darker complexion? Tall, dark, dark, and handsome?And what about men of dark complexion that dye their hair blond? Are they no longer dark? And what if I were to start dating an East Indian man who was tall and handsome, and I described him to my friends as “tall, dark, and handsome”?Why, they would get the impression that my boyfriend was white, because of them is application of the term “dark.” It’d be quite a curfoodle. (which isn’t actually a word, as it turns out. Sure, “ain’t” is in the dictionary, but curfoodle can’t be found but in four places on the internet?!) Quite frankly, I find the term lazy and very Euro-centric (ignoring the fact that there are now actually dark men in Europe… and that many Greek men have always been “dark.” You get my point, though).

Moving on to real examples of a“tall, dark, and handsome” men: Denzel Washington, of course. Antonio Banderas(though I have no idea how tall he is). Billy Dee Williams was probably considered quite handsome in his day. Also,in trying to find tall, “handsome” Asian men on Google, I found this. Last, there is Oded Fehr.

Oh. Comparison: Oded Fehr v.Brendan Fraser. Both in The Mummy. Obviously we can all agree that Oded is obviously the dark one, but not if we are using the term “tall, dark and handsome.”

Moving on, tall and handsome are very subjective terms. To me, any man over 5’10 is tall. To a girl that is 5’10, a man who is 5’10 isn’t tall. Let’s be a bit more descriptive, shall we? And handsome? Some girls think Robert Pattison is “handsome.” Personally, Ithink the man is the furthest thing from. I think Spock (as played by Leonard Nimoy) is handsome. Highly subjective.

In sum, if a person is going to bother to describe someone, a description better than "tall, dark, and handsome" would be much appreciated. And really, if a person can write 70K+ words for a novel, you'd think they would be able to come up with a few extra words to describe a man. It's not like an extra 10 words would kill them. Lazy cliches.