Envy is thin because it bites but never eats. - Spanish Proverb
My husband puts up with a lot. Chaos usually follows in my wake, because I tend to make and ignore messes, distracted endlessly by the many shiny things in the world. I am disorganized and frivolous while he keeps the bills paid and the accounts balanced. He sees work to be done and I see books to be read. I hope I’m amusing enough to make up for what I lack. I try his patience in many ways, but right now I think Benedict Cumberbatch may top the list.
I am obsessed with BC. If his name appears in the credits, I’m there. Now whenever I mention a movie I want to see, Dear Husband responds with wary suspicion. My Pinterest account has been overtaken by photos and videos of Benedict. I await the return of Sherlock with an intense anticipation that most people probably reserve for the birth of their children. I’m nowhere near the worst or wackiest out there. Thanks to fans far more obsessed than I, there is an ecstatic proliferation of Tumblr accounts offering an endless supply of photos and gifs capturing every performance, public appearance, change of hair color, and shift of expression. This is the standard by which I measure my sanity - at least I have not
Dear Husband probably thinks this is my ultimate fantasy:
Yeah, well, someone who went on and on and on and on and ON about Amanda Tapping really shouldn’t be so judgey.
I think celebrity obsessions originate in a part of the building you don’t usually visit, but if you give any thought to the matter you’ll probably discover something unexpected and possibly unwelcome about yourself, and it often has less to do with sex than with other desires.
So yeah, he definitely has 1000 watt sex appeal - beautiful eyes, tousleable auburn/blond/black curls, swoony voice - but there is another side to this.
And if it wasn’t a teensy bit of a downer, would I even bother telling you?
So here goes, I have a silly fantasy of a long, meandering conversation in which I ask him endless questions about acting and writing, and what’s his take on the NSA/GCHQ business, and who are his favorite poets and how the hell does anyone get into character anyway (something I’ve never understood, as I can barely get into my own character). Just me and my imaginary friend chatting about creativity and art and, I suppose, the meaning of it all, over tea at a nice little bohemian cafe on some London side street. I wouldn’t even care if he smoked, but he wouldn’t, because that’s the sort of gentleman he is.
He’s so very clever. I like clever people. Clever people make me happy. I get high on clever. In interviews Benedict comes across as intelligent and eloquent. He navigates his ocean of crazed admirers with grace, poise and humor. He does charity work (check out this blog by a young girl with Cystic Fibrosis and tell me he isn’t a sweetie). He did a series of videos with the pianist James Rhodes and what’s that - he can play piano, too? He survived a car jacking in South Africa. He taught English in a Tibetan Monastery. He can go from elegant to charming, to dorky in seconds without any apparent embarrassment. He’s adventurous. He’s athletic. He’s humble. He’s exotic.
And his acting - I think he may be channeling the gods. He delivers, as one writer put it “ a level of acting almost messianic in its quality.” Oh yes. He so completely embodies Sherlock that I’m convinced the character now exists as a real person in an alternate reality. Imagine the level of talent and dedication it would take to get to that point, so it seems to flow from you as naturally as sunshine falling over water.
And then when I thought he couldn’t get any more amazing, he does this: Benedict Cumberbatch Sends A Message To The Government Through The Paparazzi
And then he gives an interview like this, and I think I may cry from the sheer joy of witnessing someone talk using polysyllabic words.
I’m in awe, with a side of hero worship.
And I’m so very jealous.
I wish I could go back to my 15 year old self and say - this, this is the person you should take as your role model. Keep to this and you might get somewhere and be somebody. You might be something more than the chaotic, chronically distracted person who has never created anything admirable, or noble, or beautiful, who instead stumbles from day to day in a state of existential confusion with the vague sense of having missed the point.
So, at the end of that long conversation in the fictional cafe, I imagine him saying: “So what have you done with your life lately? Hmm. I’m just going to take this BAFTA now and go help some disadvantaged youth. Laters." ‘Course he would never say that. He’s too much of a gentleman.
It's better when it's just about sex.