Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have a type.
Tall + Dark + Handsome.
Blonde hair + blue eyes.
For most women, it’s the wrong guy. For me, it’s sailors…
It used to be cowboys. Macho, wild-bull-wrangling types who lived by a creed and by their own making. Men with stetsons who wore their jeans like they were poured into them.
This was mostly the result of what I can only define as my “John Wayne Phase” — a period in my life when I’d abandoned romantic comedies (I mean, how many times can you really watch Knotting Hill?) and turned to westerns. I queued up classics like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and contemporary remakes like 3:10 to Yuma (did I mention I was also going through a Russel Crowe phase… which I’m still in…) I even went so far as to stage a version of Othello set in the wild west. (Did you know I once wanted to be a screen-writer/director?)
As a result of this phase, I can single-handedly outfit the entire cast of Dead Wood.
But eventually, like Paul Cole* I came to ask: where have all the cowboys gone?
A light bulb went off: with the exception of the “supply-buying” round of Oregon Trail, they were never in New York.
Enter Fleet Week.
“So what club do you sail with?”
The question came from a tall, blonde, exceedingly handsome lawyer from New Zealand who was a good friend’s older brother.
“The Ralph Lauren Yacht Club.”
He had seen the crest on my blazer, and assumed I raced sailing vessels. He did. And that was kinda hot.
Shiver me timbers…
I grew up around boats. Mostly speed boats and kayaks, but I had heard stories about my parents as a young, married couple learning to sail in Vancouver harbor.
This always appealed to me — the idea of working together to navigate around troubled waters… or to buried treasure. It certainly felt like a more appropriate metaphor for life than taming a wild mustang.
There’s that and then there’s the romanticism of the man at sea coming home to his loyal girl. A sort of Penelope and Ulysses. And then there’s the Navy uniform…
Yea, it’s really just about the uniform.
An additional note:
My favorite Jane Austen hero is Captain Wentworth, from her final novel Persuasion. Not coincidentally, Wentworth raised himself from meager beginnings by distinguishing himself in the Royal Navy, where he eventually became, well, a Captain… and the object of every gal’s affection. Duh. Anne Elliot is the Austen heroin I most relate to. Over the decades, there have been several excellent screen adaptations of the novel… most recently starring Mi-5’s (or Spooks, for all you UK folks) Rupert Penry Jones as Captain Wentworth… swooooooooon. This might actually explain it all.