It’s Character-Love, Honey!
Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, Damon from Vampire Diaries, Gerry from P.S. I Love You, Captain Ri Jeong Hyeok from Crash Landing on You, Jun-hui from Something in the Rain, Landon from A Walk to Remember, Yoo Si-jin from Descendants of the Sun, Zaroon from Zindagi Gulzar Hai, Dr. Armaan Malik from Dil Mil Gayye….
They all have one thing in common.
I’ve been in love with all of them at some point in my life.
One of my friends used an interesting choice of words yesterday, “We keep changing as we change the show”. She was referring to our ever-changing love for male characters on screen. As I read this, I realized that in our world, it’s easier to love a fictional character because the ideal stays the same but the packaging keeps changing. His looks change, his eyes are not the same colour every time I see him, but he’s still the one I love.
Most people argue that fictional characters set a wrong ideal in our heads, making us miserable when faced with reality. They say our judgement gets so clouded by our favourite characters who seem perfect, that we tend to forget that they are just that, fictional. But honestly, loving these characters or rather being infatuated with these characters isn’t easy. For starters, they are nowhere near perfect. Women didn’t fall at their feet from the get-go. I mean, yeah Damon had a tendency to kill anybody on Vampire Diaries who wasn’t Elena, but that’s what makes him a character you want to love. He’s complex, loves hypnotizing people (people who’ve seen Vampire Diaries will get it), is probably the devil incarnate, but guess what, his only redeeming quality is that he loves Elena beyond measure and that means loving unconditionally. Okay and he’s totally hot as well! (By the way, Damon was my high school crush.)
As I said, the ideal stays the same but the packaging changes. This doesn’t just apply to looks but the whole archetype. While Damon attracts me because he’s your quintessential bad boy turned good guy because of love, Jun-hui from Something in the Rain is nowhere near that persona. Jun-hui is sweet, emotional, cute, supportive and most of all, the most real guy on this list. He wants a healthy relationship with someone he loves. Sounds too bland, doesn’t he? Well, my friends and I still pine over him, so he definitely has something.
I think what’s interesting here is that these two polar opposite characters serve to form a balanced ideal in my head and their combination is what makes the imaginary guy seem perfect. They both serve my waxing and waning phases in equal capacity. Damon is the fantasy for an adventure and Jun-hui is the guy for coming home.
Even though loving a fictional character is easier in the way that you control how they are and also don’t have to trouble yourself with ever seeing them in real life, needless to say, it has its downsides. It sets a high standard for real people who can never compete with a fantasy, which often leads to disappointment in reality. And as much as one might like to escape to their fantasy, one has to accept that they need to have their feet on the ground. Personally, for me, I think the bar was set so high so early in my life that I refrain from giving people a chance, knowing well that they’ll disappoint. But this also leads me to have zero expectations, so who knows, somebody might get close to the bar.
Anyway, when all is said and done, I think I’m moving on to Yu Ji-Ho from One Spring Night and Gabriel Oak from the book Far from the Madding Crowd. Don’t worry, it’s not cheating when you’re in love with two fictional characters at the same time!