Finally. We get to the heart of the matter.
Just what is it about British men? And why do we American women love them so?
Think of the laundry list of American female celebs who have fallen into the arms of British men: Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Jerry Hall, Marsha Hunt (the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar"), Gillian Anderson, on and on.
Funnily enough, even among my own circle of friends, I can count a higher than average number of American female-British male couples.
I blame MTV.
I grew up a child of the '80's. Wham, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Flock of Seagulls, Kajagoogoo, The Cure, Culture Club, Pet Shop Boys, and the list goes on and on. We were inundated with images of gorgeous, perfectly coiffed, and often heavily made-up, British men. Who didn't want to be "Rio," or that girl who got to roll around in the jungle with Simon Le Bon in Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" video?
Then, there were the Merchant-Ivory films. I mean, who didn't want to be Helena Bonham-Carter in A Room with a View, with that "win-win" choice between Daniel Day-Lewis and Julian Sands?
But, what is it really, about the Brit boys that drives us mad, and makes us sooooo weak in the knees. Can it just be the accent? No, I think it goes much deeper than that. In a recent article in The Hindustan Times (don't ask), Englishboy cutie-pie Jude Law reckoned that American women go ga-ga over British men because:
"It's the use of words. We [British men] use words like 'lovely', and 'naughty'. I think they quite like that."
...Um, yes, Jude, we do rather like that. But, more than word choice, I think there is a larger issue here: the fact that words are being used at all. What I mean is, the fact that a British man is actually talking to you -- and listening, in fact. A conversation is being had, and, in my experience at least, a very engaging one at that. Yes, I think that might be it. I can honestly say, that for me and my D.E.B., it was a meeting of minds, first and foremost. We could actually talk about things, he actually wanted to share and know my opinion, and he loved/loves and relished/relishes how smart and sassy I was/am.
And besides, a man who knows his Jane Austen always, always, always wins! I will never forget the time, early on, when the D.E.B. signed off on one of his emails thus:
"Ever yours, Mr. Darcy -- or, Colonel Brandon, which do you prefer?"
My heart skipped a beat, my pulse began to race, I broke into a sweat, and my brain melted out of my ears. In that moment, I could have crossed the Atlantic on foot!! A seduction of the mind.
Of course, I know not all English or British men are "D.E.B.s." Just like not all American men are mindless neanderthals, who can't hold a conversation. The bottom line is, I suppose, just one of individual preference. But, really, what is there not to love about an Englishman? He knows how to dress, can hold his own in a conversation, isn't afraid to be romantic--even in public!--has good manners, knows which fork to use, isn't afraid to cry, loves his mum, *SIGH* I could go on and on...
History is also on the side of the alliance of the elegant American woman and her charming Englishman. Our greatest standard bearer was of course, Mrs. Wallis Simpson. What a woman of class, style and grace! What a beauty. Although a well-to-do socialite from a good family, to the British press and British public she was: "An American, two-time divorcee from Baltimore."
I found an article the other day that said, when it became clear that King Edward had "feelings" for Mrs. Simpson, several groups formed around the country in protest, such as one group of women, who started a campaign called "Mothers Against the King."
Wow. Just imagine the hate mail Wallis Simpson must have received.
Shakespeare wrote: "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind." When Edward looked at Wallis he could see what others could not. And so great was his love, he gave up his crown, his kingdom and his country for her. Now, that is love.
And perhaps, that is what is so very appealing about Englishmen. Their grit, their almost majestic resolve and determination, and their incredible passion, coupled with great sensitivity. These are what have, and continue to attract, entice and beguile us American damsels.