Two writers square off on their favourite fictional dating men.
Briony Smith: Why the ladies still love Lloyd Dobler.
In Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, American cultural critic Chuck Klosterman famously observed that women “love Lloyd Dobler.” His words refer to John Cusack’s character in the iconic 1989 Cameron Crowe-directed romance flick Say Anything, and his point is that Cusack’s sweet, offbeat, semi-nerd stylings set an impossibly high standard for any of us would-be daters. Over two decades later, dating rituals may have changed, but ladies still love Lloyd. Here’s how courtship according to Dobler compares with romance in the real world.
Onscreen Lloyd Dobler isn’t afraid to go after what he wants, and what he wants is Diane Court, a “brain trapped in the body of a game-show hostess.” What does he do? He finds her phone number in the local directory, calls her up and asks her out. Classic, simple and direct.
Off-screen You add him to Facebook. He noncommittally asks for your number over an online chat. You get a text from him a week later and all it says is “What R U up to?”
Onscreen Lloyd drives over to Diane’s house to pick her up. He rings the doorbell and even chats casually with her dad before she comes downstairs. When he sees her in a gorgeous white dress, he lets her know how beautiful she is with just one word: “Whoa.”
Off-screen He asks you to meet him at a local bar. He rides his bike there, so he shows up sweaty, dishevelled and late. Then, at the end of the night, you end up footing the bill.
THE GRAND ROMANTIC GESTURE
Onscreen It’s one of the most legendary romance scenes of all time: Lloyd and Diane break up, but at dawn, Lloyd shows up outside Diane’s house, holding a boombox over his head and blasting their song (Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”) in the hopes of winning her back.
Off-screen Pulling a romantic stunt like that today? He must be a stalker. Call the cops.