Fritz Bhaer and other Louisa May Alcott´s ideal men
All Louisa´s romantic heros look the same, because the men she was lusty for loved looked certain way.
"This is less a question than an observation a huge part of what is disappointing about lot of these adaptations including the Greta Gerwig one, is that it´s 2020 now and folks don´t want to talk about the fact that a huge part of the Bhaer-hate stems from fat-phobia and honestly, that brilliant, goofy, nerdy people don´t make romantic leads and I´m pretty sure Louisa May Alcott would agree. I always imagined someone maybe with Sean Astin´s build playing the part".
This next thing I am going to say is legitimate. You can find Louisa May Alcott novels so you can check this out. In every single Louisa May Alcott novel, where the Louisa type of protagonist falls in love or marries, the romantic partners, they always look the same. They all have the same body type. They are all tall and heavily build. One of Friedrich´s models was the German poet Goethe and if you look at pictures of Goethe, he is this middle-aged man with broad-shoulders and very tall and heavily build and all Louisa May Alcott´s romantic heroes look like that. Some of them have beards, some of them don´t and surprisingly many of them speak with German accents. John Suhre who was a German soldier who Louisa nursed in the war. He was tall and a bit stout, with a brown beard. Louisa wrote into her diary that she found him very handsome and attractive. Adam in Moods and David in Work, the female protagonist is always fixated to their looks and their "manliness" and when Friedrich becomes Jo´s sexual awakening she pays attention to his big hands and to his big feet and she is really lusty over him.
In Jo´s boys when Dan comes back to Plumfield, he has grown a beard. For those of you who have not read Jo´s boys, Dan was one of Jo´s and Friedrich´s students. When he comes back he asks Jo if he should shave the beard or not and Jo is like "don´t do that. It makes you look so manly and handsome" and it is so funny because both Friedrich and Dan are based on Henry Thoreau. Mac in Rose in Bloom, he also has the same body type. He is blonde and he is younger. In Eight Cousins where he is a pre-teen he is described to be a bit "chubby", but then in Rose in Bloom, Mac has a huge growth spurt and suddenly he is taller and he has broad shoulders and Rose, surprise, begins to see him more attractive.
All these men are described to have blue eyes, which is an interesting detail since Henry Thoreau had blue eyes. In away Louisa, she was attracted to the alpha-male. Her ideal man always looks very masculine but they are all very gentle by nature. To Louisa man being heavily build meant that they were big and strong, and they can take care of themselves and other people. People like Greta Gerwig complaining about body type. It is very shallow. People can hire conventionally good looking actors to play Fritz like Rossano Brazzi and Louis Garrel, but it never erases the problem that Jo is never attracted to Laurie, and Laurie´s looks, and the way his and Jo´s relationship has these toxic elements, it´s always missing and all that explains why Jo dumps him in the first place.
Alpha-male for Louisa was also someone who could support their writing, which is what Friedrich does. He encourages her to find her own writing style. There is also some criticism over skinny-looking guys in Little Women. Nat and Laurie are skinny and pretty, more effeminate and the narrator has occasionally criticisms about their "overly-emotional nature", like Laurie. Laurie is often overly-dramatic and Nat is more of a daydreamer, they both are very sensitive. Which raises an interesting question if part of that is about narrator´s dislike about femininity because in the novel, one of Jo´s more masculine qualities is that she denies her own vulnerability which is why I think her arc with Friedrich was so important because the more she tried to deny her vulnerability, the more she felt lost and with Friedrich she could find the balance.
In some ways Louisa connected men being skinny with non-productivity. In Jo´s boys Meg and Jo don´t want Daisy to marry Nat, because they think he is such a daydreamer. Then he travels to Germany to study music and when he comes back to Concord he is more heavily-build. It´s really funny because Meg and Jo are like wow, he looks much better now. I don´t personally share Louisa´s views about skinny guys not being productive but maybe it was based on her own experiences since Julian Hawthorne and Laddie Wisniewski who were real-life Laurie´s. They were pretty but they weren´t always very productive and didn´t really live up to Louisa´s standards. In Finland we have this expression, uusavuton, which means an adult, who doesn´t know how to be an adult, and Laurie and Nat, they are these type of characters. They need strong female guides, like Amy or Daisy to inspire them to grow and to take control over their lives.
To Louisa the alpha-male is a man who combines the masculine and the feminine energy together in a balance, and effectively. Strong but kind, confident but humble. I don´t really know any other writer who has such a clear idea what her ideal man is like. It has a lot to do with taste, but I think Louisa´s love for "masculine men" who were also intellectuals was connected to her own values. She was drawn to men who possessed tender masculinity. I read once that Louisa gave Friedrich elements of European men that she wished that more American men would have. I think there might be some truth to that. I grew up watching lots of Scandinavian film productions, like Astrid Lingren adaptations and there is lots of male characters that look very masculine, or physically strong male characters, but they are passionate and romantic with their partners and they love their kids. So if you know someone who complains about Friedrich´s looks, Louisa wrote Friedrich to be her own ideal man, so if someone has problems with that. They don´t really understand the author.
When Louisa was asked to write little women, she hesitated because her closest friends were all boys, and then her sisters. Knowing Louisa´s love for men and boys and masculinity, it makes a lot of sense that men who she was attracted to also looked that way. There has been lots of research on Louisa´s identification with masculinity and yes, there is a lot of that in Little Women, but in a lot of ways Jo is also a very feminine character, in the way she reads romance novels and when she falls in love, she dreams about marriage and starting a family and she is very maternal, which is something that came naturally to her.
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i saw you mention lestat in an earlier ask... do you take lestat requests? i would love to see a lestat x reader where you meet and he decides to turn you into a vampire if thats okay ❤❤
Yes, I will be taking requests for Lestat! Literally rewatched Interview with a Vampire so I could do this :))) this is my first Lestat fic so I'm still getting used to the character/figuring out how to write within this storyline. Hope you enjoy!!!
Greener Pastures (Lestat De Lioncourt x Reader)
Warnings: blood mention, near death, depression, apathy, etc
An au where instead of trying to kill Lestat, he grows bored and finds a new companion
You didn't care for parties, especially for the type that New Orleans brought. Sophisticated aristocrats, each with their own secret horrors. You looked into their faces, smiled, and were as polite as you could be. But, minutes later, you knew they'd spill whatever gossip lingered in their heads about whoever left the circle first. It was almost a game. People revealing other people's secrets, trying to pull back someone else's curtain while trying to keep their own closed.
When it came to these sort of gatherings, you kept your mouth closed, stayed in whatever circle your father introduced to you first, and tried not to die of boredom. It was almost amusing, hearing their attempts to defile others with words. Watching the people parade around and pretend. But, truly, if you could, you would've tried to escape such an event. But how could you escape when it was in your own house? What could you do when the walls that were supposed to comfort you seemed lifeless, that every day color seemed to wash away from the world?
He'd taken you for a long walk along the property. You'd never met him before, or you couldn't remember if you did, when he came to rescue you. He interrupted the person that had been talking to you as kindly as he could, and, after a single glance, he stole whatever attention you had.
You glanced at him. He was pretty, like a statue come to life. Long blonde hair, striking blue eyes. You'd complained about the plainness of your life, but Lestat, that was his name, seemed to be anything but. And while he liked to talk, he didn't talk of things that bored you. Yet.
Lestat didn't like to talk about others, you found. He mostly talked about himself. What he liked to do, what he could do. And, still, the more he talked, the less you felt like you knew him. He scraped the top off of who he was, never daring to go any deeper. He didn't say where he was from, who his parents were. He mentioned a Louis and a Claudia, but he never dived into their relation to him. You listened to the man, puzzled as he prattled on. When he said he could play the piano, you dared not to believe him. Surely, not everything he said could be true. With a smile, he promised to play for you sometime.
You'd hardly talked at all that night, and you were half-surprised your voice wasn't a croak from underuse. You asked,
"Where are we going?" As he brushed his hand against your shoulder. He looked over at you, a charming smile on his face as he turned you. Backed you against a tree. He was wearing a silver claw on his thumb, and you shivered as he brushed it against your cheek. An ounce more of pressure and you were sure it would draw blood.
"Nowhere." You were almost disappointed by the proposition, before Lestat added, "You're bored of this place." As he pinched a strand of your hair and pushed it away from your face. "Where would you rather be?" You leaned back against the tree, glancing up into the night. You didn't know for sure, but the answer came to you easily.
"Anywhere. As long as it's-"
"Interesting." Lestat finished for you, and you watched the way his eyes lingered on your lips. The sight embarrassed you, and you turned your head away on instinct. He reached for your chin, drawing your face back to his. "What if I could give you that? A life of endless fascination." You stared at him, confusion in your brow. If this was a jest, you didn't find it funny. But even if he was serious-
"I wouldn't believe you." You whispered. Lestat was, by far, the most interesting person you'd ever met. But that didn't mean he, a man after all, could change everything. He tutted, making a comment about how disbelieving you were. But, to some degree, you thought he enjoyed the opportunity to prove himself. Or maybe just to prove you wrong. He held your chin, and you refused to falter under his stare. He leaned in, brushing his lips against yours. Your eyes fell closed, but Lestat pulled back before either of you could deepen it.
He told you to say goodbye to the day and returned you to your home, whispering for you to meet him on the outskirts of the property. And brushed your cheek with a kiss. It was an indecent act, and you watched the way judgemental eyes lingered. When he smiled at you, you knew then that he'd given you little choice. You wouldn't be able to swallow knowing they, the vultures of New Orleans, were pecking at you, and it made your need to escape ever more imperative.
You did as he said, watching both the dawn of the day and the sunset of the night. You watched as the sun rose in a brilliant fire, and sunk into a calm, cool night. And, when you met him near the trees of your property, you didn't know what to expect. You'd packed a bag, assuming that he was here to take you away. That wasn't the only thing he planned on taking.
He took your life, whispering something about a choice as you sat on the brink of death. You stared up at him, his words ringing clear in your ears even as your sight faded.
"Will you come or no?" He asked, and you stared up. It was either that or to die. Your voice was weak and you forced out a,
"Yes." And it only took a few seconds for his blood to fill your mouth.
That very night, he took you to his house. You finally got to place names to faces, but neither of them seemed pleased your sudden arrival. You were still trying to piece together what had come of your life, and, in a moment of carelessness, you let your suitcase slip from your hand. Lestat caught it for you, and Claudia's voice was shrill as she asked,
"What- Who is this?" And Lestat gave them both a brilliant, satisfied smile. He gestured to you, as if you were a new statue or an art piece to present. You lacked any care, and were too busy taking in the new sights. Trying to ignore the uncomfortable feeling settling in your throat.
"Both of you wanted to leave so I've- Well, I've moved on to greener pastures." He said with a laugh, but he was the only one. "This is-" He introduced you, and, finally, your eyes settled on them once more. They were beautiful in the same way Lestat was, in the same way you had become. You recognized that, whatever you now were, they were the same. "They'll be my new companion. So, you and Louis can do whatever it is you two wish to do." The way he waved at him was like a master waving away his servants, as if relieving them of their duty. Of their responsibilities. Perhaps, you realized, that's exactly what he was doing. "Come, come." He said to you, gesturing for you to follow him into the next room with a small smile on his face. You found yourself following him, and reaching to hold his hand as he guided you towards your new life.
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