The demise of dating

Two writers square off on their favourite fictional dating men.

May 11, 2011
Briony Smith & Andrew Wallace


Andrew Wallace: Forget Lloyd Dobler. Here are four ”real” iconic movie men.

1. Rick Blaine, Casablanca

The American Film Institute ranks Humphrey Bogart as the greatest male star in the history of American cinema and his portrayal of Rick Blaine in Casablanca is one of the main reasons why. The character is iconic and the performance is vintage. Bogart’s Blaine is stylish, simple and direct, a terse man who says what he means and means what he says. In a fedora and trench coat, with a never-ending cigarette hanging from his lips, he delivers a line for the ages: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

2. James Bond, Every James Bond Flick Ever Made

No matter who plays 007, be it Roger Moore, Sean Connery or even Daniel Craig, Bond, James Bond, is always debonair, confident and deadly handsome. Instead of Cusack’s endearing earnestness, Bond offers an irresistible charm that makes women swoon, and gets him both in and out of any situation he pleases. He likes his vodka martinis shaken, not stirred, and his favourite meal is as ruthlessly utilitarian as the man himself: scrambled eggs served with coffee. In the high-stakes world of international espionage, there’s simply no room for boys.

3. Noah Calhoun, The Notebook

Sure, Ryan Gosling’s Noah Calhoun has a little more Dobler in him than the rest, but he’s still a real man. A small-town boy working at a local lumber mill, he chases after a beautiful girl from a wealthy family spending the summer in Seabrook. He writes a letter to her everyday for an entire year, refusing to let their love die. His grand romantic gesture puts Cusack’s to shame: he rebuilds an entire house in hopes it will reunite him with his lost love. The best part—it does.

4. Don Draper, Mad Men

Jon Hamm’s Don Draper is a throw back to a bygone era. He drinks too much, smokes too much and follows his baser impulses too much—but he’s also brilliant, value-driven and thoroughly masculine. Here’s a man who won’t be denied. And despite his inability to reconcile his morals and his desires, there’s something unmistakably captivating about his presence. In 2009, Ask Men named him the most influential man in America, topping real-life figures like Barack Obama. He’s just that powerful.

Read why Briony Smith laments the lack of male initiative and Andrew Wallace defends a dying breed of good guys in “The demise of dating: Two writers on what has happened and who’s to blame” in ELLE Canada’s June issue.

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