How Cartoons Warped My Perception of Men
I was lying next to my partner for the last 14 years, flipping through the TV channels, and then I saw him – the cause of my unrealistic expectations. There he was… Lion-O from Thundercats.
Lion-O, you bastard, it is your entire fault! Yes yours! You with your sexy feline strut and little boy trapped in a man’s body demeanour. It is your fault, Mr. Lion-O, that to this day I like men with great hair and a childlike enthusiasm for life (actually childish is more apt).
Watching the television, it dawned on me that I married my Lion-O. And as I pondered, I realised how many of my exes and crushes were similar to my cartoon crushes. For example Mr. Bruce Wayne, playboy extraordinaire, is it your fault that I thought so-called players were cute… even charming, although they on BS! For surety like Dorothy, it is your alter ego Batman who is the cause for my insane attraction to emotionally unavailable men. Come here Batman… I can fill that aching void in your heart.
Superman never rang my bell, hence strong, manly types never really attracted me. Spiderman did though – in both the nerdy Peter Parker and wisecracking hero entities. The swinging web and wall crawling hinted at so many possibilities. Those men in cartoons… they are why so many fellow children of the 90s, and I, have unrealistic expectations. Ok fine… maybe not, but still they contributed.
Come on. What man could stand up to He-Man, Master of the Universe? Strong and witty, and ignoring his slightly incestuous relationship with his sister She-Ra, he was sweet. Remember Goose from Galaxy Rangers? He made me shiver with his sexy, husky voice. Bear in mind I was 12 and I really don’t know what I was shivering for. And laugh if you must, but I thought Handy Smurf was firetrucking sizzling. To this day, if you can fix stuff like cars, washing machines, toilets, whatever… I am yours!
I love a handy man – most women do – and who was handier than Handy Smurf strutting around Smurf town with his hammer and nails. Sigh. Smurfette lapse big time! The other smurfs didn’t impress me much, and I can still identify quite a few Vanity Smurfs in my life. A dear friend of mine also admitted that she had a thing for Papa Smurf, and yes she has thing for old men!
Men in tights… I had a love jones for them. As the 90s rolled by, my taste improved and I started to get a bit more sophisticated in my tastes. I loved Freakazoid, and Bart and Homer Simpson; I even had a girl crush on Dara.
Humour became a huge turn-on, so again to get me all you have to do is make me laugh out loud. And not no ‘two bald head men fighting over a comb kinda humour’ eh! I’m talking about Funny Space Ghost coast to coast kinda ting. So, because TV was my babysitter for a decade or so, I had my vision of the ideal mate. Even more laughable, I thought he existed. He was tall, handsome, honest, reliable, humorous, rich, strong, handy, obsessed with me, and had amazing hair… oh Lion-O.
Cartoons made me – and millions of other impressionable young girls – yearn for heroes. What we should have paid attention to were the sidekicks! They were a bit closer to reality, like Wimpy from Popeye who always wanted a loan to pay back tomorrow. Or Vanity Smurf who would rather watch himself than you. Or even Mumm-Ra the Master of Deception (Yes my darling ex ah throwing that in your garden! Pick it up). Some men have Mumm-Ra type powers, and can subliminally influence us, as Mumm-Ra did the Thundercats. “Wherever evil exists, Mumm-Ra lives!”
What about the Joker? You know the guy who doesn’t need you to laugh at his jokes because he already laughing long before he even finish the joke? Or the Robins? The ones who have something to prove? You may have encountered a few guys like this.
We’re ‘big’ people now, so surely we don’t think our ideal man will be like our favourite character. The thing with heroes is they tend to be larger than life – in the cartoon world especially – so we often don’t pay attention to the details and in the real world details matter. You can’t get him on the phone? He not fighting crime friend! Never in the same room as someone else you know? That isn’t his alter ego my dear; it is probably someone he owes money. So chances are he isn’t late because he stopped to rescue a kitty from a burning building – unless of course he is a fireman. Searching for a ‘cartoon’ man is an exercise in futility, and at best you should just be realistic.
Now, while I was pondering all my cartoon crushes, a giant, flying cockroach swooped into my room and my own hero, my very own Lion-O, immediately sprung into protective mode, swatting the evil roach (yeah, I know alyuh was starting to wonder what happened to the hubby). See that’s why I married him… because he’s there whenever I need him – my knight in slightly dented armour. I may not fawn over Lion-O or Goose anymore, but I realise that perhaps my cartoon expectations weren’t really that misleading because hubby has many qualities that I attributed to my cartoon fantasies. The best part? Unlike them he is real. By the way, hubby is perfectly fine with my cartoon crushes. he has a few himself Catwoman, Aeon Flux, and, from his preteen years… umm… Rainbow Brite.
In this life, the men we meet may be heroes or villains. One woman’s villain may even be your hero or vice versa, and real life isn’t as black and white, as cartoons would have us believe. So if you have a handy, handsome man who makes you laugh, appreciate him because Batman is not real or is he (o_0)?
With that said, what cartoon characters make you sigh or smile to this very day? My latest crush is Brian from Family Guy; yes I know he is a dog, but he is a damn fine one!