From Dexter in One Day to Steven Stelfox in Kill Your Friends, I'd let these fellas leap off the page and ravage me...
I read a lot. Mainly because I don’t have the hand – eye coordination required for console games and team sports. Also, I fancy basically everyone. So I spend a fair amount of time clutching a paperback, pushing my glasses up to the bridge of my nose and exclaiming ‘Hello! they’re fit!’ even though I’m sort of aware that the object of my desire ISN’T REAL. And in the style of Rob Fleming of High Fidelity (who just missed making the cut) I thought it was high time that I made a top five. My literary fancying criteria excludes guys who can tame wild stallions and squillionaire sheiks and vampires. Some of my choices did make me concerned about my own mental health, but then these aren’t characters you’d want to get a mortgage with. Just guys I’d like to…y’know…
The Vicomte de Valmont, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Choderlos de Laclos
When you’re a teenage girl with a parentally policed computer and a crappy dial up connection (hey, by the time broadband hit Dorset I’d already disappeared in a cloud of dust), you have to be pretty darn resourceful when it comes to masturbatory aids. Jilly Cooper and Virginia Andrews novels are all kinds if awesome but it’s pretty obvious that you’re not reading for the intricately crafted plot. So when I stumbled upon a dirty book with a respectable cover by a respectable sounding old French dude I was thrilled. Porn I could read on a bus! Now, if you haven’t read the book/seen the movie, it’s basically Cruel Intentions. Man whore Valmont has slept with pretty much everyone in northern Europe and is obsessed with laying the very pure, straight laced young wife of some vicar – just because everyone tells him it can’t be done. His joyously dirty female best mate persuades him to seduce teen convent girl Cecily – because she’s engaged to his rival who is determined to marry a virgin.
The idea is that Cecily will be so corrupted after couple of months under Valmont’s tutelage that she’ll start demanding bondage and bum sex on her wedding night. Valmont is the baddest of bad boys. He puts more effort, energy and enterprise into sexual pursuits than Ron Jeremy’s business manager. He ends up falling hard for the wife in the end – yawn – but my sixteen-year-old self longed to be in the hands of an expert, as it were. Most adolescent boys only want to bugger off and tell all their mates once they’ve shagged you anyway. Valmont stopped me from falling for their fumbliness- I was holding out for the Filthiest Man in France.
Dexter Mayhew, One Day, David Nicholls
There has come a point with every single one of my boyfriends ever where we’ve left a party under these circumstances. “Daisy, I don’t think you should drink any more.” “Daisy, we really should leave now.” “Daisy, stop kissing that man!” “Daisy, you’re a fucking disgrace.” “Daisy, are you gonna…oh, ok. I’ll find a cloth. Don’t move.” Dexter Mayhew might not hold my hair back for me, but he’d applaud my behaviour.
Most adolescent boys only want to bugger off and tell all their mates once they’ve shagged you anyway. Valmont stopped me from falling for their fumbliness- I was holding out for the Filthiest Man in France.
The hero and occasional villain of One Day, Dexter is the quintessential nineties posh boy made bad. I was ten years too young to ever meet the real thing, but his world of glamour and laddish hedonism (until it goes horribly and inevitably wrong) made me want to go back in time and try to get a job presenting The Girlie Show. It’s acknowledged throughout the book that the Young Dexter is a shit boyfriend. I like to think that I’d play him at his own game and drive him demented with my indifference – but I know that the reality (um, reality? I’m talking about getting off with a fictional character) is that I’d let him turn me into a nervous, obsessive wreck who can’t sleep and can’t eat because I’ve leant him all my money to buy coke. Still fancy him.
Sebastian Flyte, Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
Sebastian is the token gay of the list. A gay with a fondness for cuddly toys.
If you haven’t read the book (and if you get the opportunity, do – it’s beautiful) Sebastian is a student at Oxford and the drunken despair of his aristocratic family. Once you get past the dipsomania, he’s freaking adorable – he has lovely manners and he’s very good at sending flowers. I’d like to rescue him from the pages and take him for a picnic in London Fields. We’d drink very cold Veuve Clicquot and make up silly songs and he’d plait dandelions into my hair. Then we’d head to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern where he would kiss me softly on the lips and disappear in search of boys in leather chaps.
Steven Stelfox, Kill Your Friends, John Niven
Further proof of my terrible taste in men, Stelfox is the darkest and most brilliant product of a writer’s imagination since Patrick Bateman. Look! It’s a homicidal satyriac narcotic abuser who hates music despite working in the music industry! Shall I bring him home to meet my Mum? Stelfox’s arrogance is compelling, and you can’t help but admire a guy who knows the going rate for a blow job anywhere in the world when you suspect he couldn’t tell you the price of a pint of milk. If you had sex with him, you’d literally catch your death – you’d be safer eating your dinner off Russell Brand’s cock. But he’d be lots of fun in the back of a taxi. Until he bribed the driver to turn down an alleyway and hold you still while he beat you to a bloody pulp.
Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Well, I couldn’t not have him, could I? He’s my namesake’s boyfriend. Gatsby was the original Don Draper. He has the shady past, the beautiful, unhinged lover, the pretend war credentials and the fondness for booze. In fact he enjoys it so much he bootlegs the stuff during Prohibition.
Gatsby is a man of taste, and there’s something deeply appealing about the idea of ripping the buttons off his tear jerkingly beautiful shirts and persuading him to stop behaving like a gentleman. He’d order you an Old Fashioned to go with your post coital fag. And I bet he’d smell AMAZING.
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