I’ve never been a leading man type. Leading men have better jawlines, squarer faces. But there was a time in my inauspicious theatrical career when I was cast every now and again as a character intended to generate a certain amount of sexual tension.
Don’t believe me, you say? I have clippings! And if you’ll give me a moment, I can … in the other trunk, perhaps … dammit all, what were we talking about?
Ah, sweet bird of youth.
Midway through the autumn of my life, I find that I’m trending as the curmudgeon, the dweeb, the ass, most recently as an ass who plays straight man to his own extraordinarily unflattering costumes. (Flashback to 1985. I’m wearing a chicken suit at a company Christmas party. My agent has told me it gets better than this, but he’s said that before, and somebody’s little boy is surreptitiously kicking my leg. Hard. I want to hurt the little boy, but I don’t because if I do, I might not get the $50 I’ve been promised as payment in full for my self-esteem and the structural integrity of my shin.)
Not that being the primary love interest was all rainbows and unicorns, either. Ten years ago, I was cast as the guy who gets the girl behind her husband’s back, and during one of our post-show talk back sessions, a member of the audience asked, as if there could be no reasonable answer, “Why on Earth would anybody fall in love with him?” Not “with his character,” mind you, but “with him.”
The upside of being forced at intervals to see myself as others see me is that I also get to see more of what lies ahead than most. In 10 or 15 years, for example, maybe sooner, odds are that I’ll be a bona fide troll. I’ll dress terribly, I’ll live in a drippy cave, and the issue of why anybody would fall in love with me won’t be an issue.
It’s good to know these things in advance, I think. Good to be prepared.
But while we’re waiting for the inevitable, if you’ve nothing urgent to rush off to, I do have a box of clippings …