Friday, January 13, 2012

Who Do You Love?

by Ramona DeFelice Long

Lately, I’ve been thinking about love.

The first time I fell in love, his name was Charles. He was older, tall and dark-haired, with a nice laugh and lot of patience. Charles was a gentleman. He even wore a uniform.

I showed my devotion to Charles by chasing him around my back yard every Tuesday afternoon, trying to get him to kiss me.

I should probably mention that I was five and Charles was nine, and he was in my back yard on Tuesday afternoons for Cub Scout meetings. (Hence the uniform). My older brother was also a Cub Scout, and my mother was the Den Mother. 

I mention Charles' patience because while the other boys made bird houses out of Popsicle sticks or sanded their cars for the Pinewood Derby, poor Charles was trying to avoid getting bussed by his friend’s besotted little sister. He ran away but he was never mean. He never laughed at me.

My adoration for Charles reached its peak during the scout Pageant, which featured a play about western pioneers getting attacked by Indians. (Sorry, these were back in the politically incorrect days of yore.) I was cast as a pioneer girl. I wore a calico dress and a sunbonnet, and Charles gallantly pulled me around the junior high gym in a garden cart / covered wagon. When the Indians (sorry, again) attacked, the wagons formed a circle, and Charles got down on one knee and protected me by shooting away with a fake wooden rifle.

My youthful infatuation with Charles molded me. It’s tough to forget a brave young man who held back a bunch of marauders. Since the age of five, I’ve been a sucker for the good guys.

The other day, someone in my Facebook group brought up the topic of literary boyfriends. We talked about the fictional men who made our toes curl, and why, and what that said about us. I admitted that the first love of my literary life was Marius from Les Miserables.  I swooned while he mooned over Cosette. I also fell hard for John Ridd of Lorna Doone, Captain Wentworth in Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and OMG, Will Ladislaw of Middlemarch, I would still follow you anywhere.

All good guys. All versions of Charles.

Some of the responses in the group were interesting. I, personally, can't understand why anyone would be attracted to Heathcliff. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels, but Edward Rochester? Not telling her he was married? Letting her find out on her wedding day that the crazy lady in the attic was really his wife? Yeah. Like I’d be big enough to get past that in real life.

And yet, I had something of a sick crush on Silas Marner. 

Which proves, the heart wants what the heart wants.

If you had to choose a fictional guy to pull your covered wagon, who would it be? Good guy? Bad boy? Brave war hero? Tortured sociopath? Miser?

What man from the land of books would you chase around the back yard?


Gina said...

Oh, I can't help myself. It's Severus Snape.

Annette said...

I think I must be weird. I don't remember any literary characters I fell in love with when I was younger. I was more in love with literary horses. The Black Stallion. Fury. The Island Stallion. Flicka. Misty.

However, I'm currently harboring a huge crush on Henry Standing Bear from Craig Johnson's series.

Ramona said...

Oh, poor Snape. No matter how horrible he is at Hogwarts, the unrequited love for Harry's mum is heartbreaking.

Annette, horses count! I think horse love is practice for romantic love.

C.L. Phillips said...

Nathaniel Bowditch, adventurer, cabin boy, and math wiz.

Guess I've always had a thing for geeks.

Add to the list Lord Peter Wimsey (did I spell that right?), Jamie Fraser, Morelli, and the rest, well, I'll keep those to myself. :)

I saw Craig at the Texas Book Festival. Big hunk of ...literary talent...great storyteller in person.

dbschlosser said...

I acted out uncountable times the rescue of Princess Leia from Darth Vader by Luke Skywalker as portrayed in Alan Dean Foster's Splinter of the Mind's Eye. Of course, that was before we knew they were siblings, so I get a pass on the icky stuff.

As my tastes have matured, I'm probably more suited to Iris in The Blind Assassin.

But, because I'm a man, I've been temporarily led astray by Peppy Miller in The Artist, which is a movie, but it's an art-house movie, which makes it practically a book.

Joyce Tremel said...

From my childhood--Frank Hardy.

Now it would probably be Russ VanAlstyne from Julia Spencer Fleming's books. And definitely Luke Jameson, the love interest in my book--I couldn't write him if I didn't love him!

Annette said...

C.L., I met Craig last year when he was here at Mystery Lovers. Fantastic story-teller. I've always loved Westerns. Grew up devouring Zane Gray books. Craig's modern day Westerns have renewed my longing to see Wyoming.

So, I guess I can add just about all literary cowboys to my list.

C.L. Phillips said...


Louis L'amour??? Me too! :) Tony Hillerman?? I almost forgot Joe Leaphorn.

Ramona said...

Cindy, Nathaniel Bowditch is a great one! I remember reading Carry On, Mr. Bowditch when I was young. Great bio.

If we are doing real people, Robert Falcon Scott would be mine--brave, adventurous, ill-fated. The diary he wrote as he and his party were dying in Antarctica--sob!

Ramona said...

David, you and I share a love of The Blind Assassin. I found the rakish Alex very readable but would I want to run off to the Planet Zycron with him? Don't think so.

Princess Leia made it into a lot of young men's dreams, I imagine.

Patg said...

I so agree about Captain Wentworth, and Lord Peter. But I would have followed Louis Wu into the Ringworld in a NY second.
db, I'm an Alan Dean Foster fan too. One of my all time favorites is A Call To Arms, Will Dulac was so heroic.

Ramona said...

Joyce, if we are bringing up small town cops, I have to add Joey Loach in Elinor Lipman's The Dearly Departed. He's like every goofball guy you knew in high school, and now he's the chief of police in your 'burg. Still lives with this mother, though. Scary and comforting at the same time.

I love one of my characters, too. Too much. It can be a problem.

Annette and Cindy--who doesn't love cowboys?

Karen in Ohio said...

Well, I know some actual cowboys, and you can keep 'em. But fictional ones, now, mmmm.

Jamie Fraser may be my all-time favorite fictional love interest. Except that I never picture him with red hair. He is always dark-haired to me. Seriously, how could Gabaldon get that so wrong? :-)

Nancy Martin said...

Roderick Alleyn. Sigh. Troy never appreciated him. And Raoul de Valmy. Oh, that tortured soul with the sarcastic wit.

I get Wentworth, totally, but the suffering has to come with a smart ass facade or he borders on......sorry.......wimpy.

Ramona said...

Karen, hey now, watch it: My father, my grandfather, one of my uncles, and several of my cousins are/were cowboys. All respectable men, and dare I say it, rather dashing.

You must know the wrong kind. ;-)

Nancy, yes on the Gentleman Detective! And Raoul--the name alone is swoony.

Ellis Vidler said...

I have several from books: Aragorn, Tarzan, Jaimie Fraser (be still, my heart), and James Diaz from Linda Howard's Cry No More. Not to mention Ben Riley. :-) All good guys although James Diaz is on the edge. I also fell for Severus Snape in the movies, but Alan Rickman was a definite influence. Fun post, Ramona.

Nancy Martin said...

PS. I thought horse love was all about father issues. Which is the only reason I'm not gushing about the black stallion.

Ramona said...

Pat, I don't know that I've read anything by Alan Dean Foster. Will Dulac is a great name.

It occurs to me that, while DUNE is one of my favorite books, I never had a crush on Paul Atreides. He certainly fit the good guy hero mold. Hm. Maybe because the story began when he's a child, and I'm not creepy that way.

Ellis, another Snape fan. I think Viktor Krum would be a good candidate for some lovin'. Why Hermione chose boring old Ron over him, I will never understand...but that's another post!

Gina said...

Annette - I fell in love with horses, too, as a kid, but thought that might be too weird to mention here. Yeah, I'm a Rickman fan, too, but I was liking Snape before I ever saw any of the movies, and wondering a lot about myself because of it . . . Good thing he turned out to be such a fine romantic hero in the end.

Nancy Martin said...

As long as we're talkin' Alan Rickman, there's always Colonel Brandon. (Although I'm still huffy about why he preferred that whiner Marianne instead of brave, witty, heroic Eleanor.)

Annette said...

The mysterious Max De Winter was my first literary crush.

lil Gluckstern said...

My first crush was James Bond-okay, I was 16, and I know that's cliched along with Mr. Darcy. Today, I like Crispin Guest from Jeri Westerson, Russ Van Allstyne, and Mick from the Blackbird Sisters. Ah, too many to list. I think I just like able sexy, males, imagine that.

Anita Page said...

I'm with Nancy on Roderick Alleyn. I'd add John Harvey's Charlie Resnick. He's often depressed, drips food on his shirt, keeps four cats and listens to jazz. What can I say--our tastes change as we get older.