Fuckable Fictional Characters: Francis Dolarhyde

Last weekend I had an interesting conversation with one of my really good friends (don’t worry, Stephanie, those posts we talked about are coming, so stay tuned). We talked about a personality quirk (disorder?) that we share in common. The desire and attraction we feel toward all things that dwell in darkness. No one should have to make apologies for what they find attractive or erotic. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of sexuality and desire, Honey. I’ll try not to judge you if you don’t judge me, unless you’re hurting people (physically, mentally, or emotionally) without their consent.

Darkness promises mystery, adventure, and fear, an unburdening of the perception that we must always remain on the straight and narrow, and yes, even pain. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, some folks just aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy. I know I’m not alone in this troubling and confusing state of being. I don’t like the fact that I continually seek out inappropriate relationships. At least I don’t climb into cars with strangers anymore. I’m trying to break myself of these self-defeating and potentially life-threatening habits. It’s a work in progress.

I like monsters. A lot. But I don’t want to date them in real life. That still won’t stop me from getting all hot and bothered for them. Vampires? Love ‘em. Werewolves? I’d hit that. Fallen angels? Do you have a few hours to talk over coffee or Bourbon? I’ll admit that my taste in fictional characters might be a little unsettling to some people, but once again, I’m not going to apologize for what turns me on.

February 25: Francis Dolarhyde

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Francis Dolarhyde is a glorious monster. When you talk about Thomas Harris’s work—his novels, the films and TV show they have spawned—most people automatically think of Hannibal Lecter. Actually, most days I find it hard NOT to think about Hannibal Lecter. In the novel Red Dragon, Harris masterfully created a character who, in my opinion, is just as scary as Dr. Lecter. Without a doubt, the monster at the end of this book is the Red Dragon, Francis’ alter ego and the driving force behind his well planned, cleverly executed serial murders.

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At first glance, I didn’t like him very much. Every slight, every dirty look, every unkind word gets tallied up by Francis, as if he’s some maladjusted, compulsive, vengeful bean counter and the rest of humanity are the beans. I hated when he spit on the woman in the convertible simply because his gaze made her uncomfortable, self-conscious. I hoped he wouldn’t end up being just another emotionally crippled misogynistic jerk.

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Do you want WWIII? Because this is how we get WWIII.

Thankfully, as the story unfolded and I learned about Dolarhyde’s unbelievably traumatic childhood I became more interested. And, with every new horrible discovery about his past, I grew to love him more and more. I mean, come on, this serial killer has it all. He is physically deformed at birth, abused and abandoned by his mother and grandmother, sexually repressed, and a voice inside his head tells him to kill families that remind him of the family his mother formed without him. The family he was allowed to visit, but never welcomed to join. He is an outsider that many readers can relate to, and if not empathize with, at least feel some sympathy toward.

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He seemed like such a nice, quiet man.

Dolarhyde’s childhood was wonderfully atrocious, and Harris’s descriptions of his life in Grandma’s house reminded me of several dark Victorian classics. Dolarhyde’s two personalities made me think of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, especially toward the end of the novel when Francis tries to stop the Dragon and form a relationship with his love interest, Reba. His two sides struggle for dominance as Francis tries to protect the woman he believes he loves. At other times I thought of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, with his physical deformities and inability to join “polite” society. Francis is filled with rage and envious of the “normal” people around him. He kills them to ease his pain and take revenge on the people who abused him. The Dragon is essentially the end result of Grandma’s psychological experiments on Francis that further transformed his already damaged psyche.

And then, we have Grandma’s dentures. Quite possibly one of the most disturbing images I have encountered in a novel, the dentures almost have a life of their own, which ramps up the body horror aspects of this tale. Grandma’s choppers allow us to venture down several literary paths. We could go Big Bad Wolf here, “oh Grandma, what big teeth you have.” Or we could take the Gothic Horror path since Dolarhyde makes a pretty convincing Dracula with false teeth filed into sharp points. He literally bites his female victims to death.

As I said, Francis Dolarhyde has a lot going for him as a character designed to make us check under the seats before turning the key in the ignition and double deadbolt the doors at night. Thomas Harris created an amazing killing machine that commits unspeakable acts and yet somehow convinced me to cheer for him when he fights against his murderous urges. I hoped he would escape capture at the hands of the FBI and Will Graham.

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This is my design.

There are elements of romance in the novel. Apparently Thomas Harris believes that even serial killers deserve love. Or maybe he’s suggesting that if they received love in the first place they may not have chosen to murder people. Harris elicits even more sympathy for Francis when he meets a woman who is attracted to him. He reciprocates and they begin dating.

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Lucifer offering Eve an apple.

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This is how a grown man reacts to being shown love for the first time.

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He’s never seen anything more beautiful.

They are the perfect fairy tale couple, a blind princess (literally, not just too dumb or unwilling to see the truth) and her prince who is magically transformed into a dragon by an evil wicked witch. Bryan Fuller made all of my dreams come true with the intense  emotional and physical connection between Francis and Reba in season 3 of Hannibal. Their sex scenes were gloriously erotic. I must have rewatched the sex scene at least six times after I watched episode 10. So effing hot. Seriously, when he grabs her, picks her up, and carries her to his bedroom, I was like SPLOOSH!

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I hoped Reba’s affection would be strong enough to rescue and redeem him in the end. His own delusions and lack of impulse control ultimately lead to his demise. Rather than trusting that Reba cares for him, he listens to the Dragon. His immaturity, lack of experience with live women, and delusions prevent him from achieving a normal and healthy life with Reba. Like most of us, our faults and bad habits tend to undo our efforts to improve ourselves no matter how hard we try to overcome them.

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You should probably let someone get to know you a little better before you show them your dark side.

I don’t just like this monster. I am sexually attracted to him and find him totally fuckable. He’s fuckable in the novel and as portrayed by Ralph Finnes (Red Dragon, 2002) and Richard Armitage (Hannibal, 2015) (especially Richard Armitage), but the thoughts I have about him make me a bit uneasy. Why? As I said, I love monsters. I have no problem with the idea of liking Dracula or the Big Bad Wolf. Maybe my feelings of unease come from the fact that I know those monsters are fictional, make-believe, fairy tales, but serial killers are very real. While I’m fascinated by their crimes and their motivations to commit them, I do not idolize real serial killers. I want the police to catch them and punish them to the full extent of the law. Serial killers cause me to waffle about my stance on the death penalty.

Francis Dolarhyde is a fictional character, but Harris breathed so much life into him that he seemed disturbingly real. Serial killers are real. Dracula is not. Monsters that are created to represent the darker aspects of the human psyche or to examine and comment upon questionable societal norms are safe. The aging Goth teen queen inside me craves stories about monsters who prevail despite their physical deformities and emotional immaturity. Weird and horrifying is acceptable as long as it has a message or a purpose. But here is the Red Dragon standing before me, engrossed in his own gloriously terrifying acts of violence against women and their families, and somehow I find beauty there. My adoration of this character gives me pause.

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Even his death is beautiful.

Typically, I would use the excuse of Hollywood’s knack for putting attractive actors in horrifying roles. The Devil is tempting not only because he encourages you to do the sinful things you crave, but also because he shows up as the thing you want most, and probably wearing a nice suit. Even before Bryan Fuller provided us with a visual buffet of horrific beauty on Hannibal, I desired Francis Dolarhyde.

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Sometimes you can’t ignore the voices.

But Bryan Fuller cranked up the voyeurism, spectacle, and the eroticism of evil by making Francis exceptionally desirable and giving him an object of desire that I could relate to. I could imagine myself in her place. Eroticism is subjective, but when erotic images and art mirror your own fantasies, that’s not only psychologically satisfying, it’s magical.

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They make a beautiful couple.

Fuckable Fictional Characters: Mr. Spock

When I was a little girl growing up in the heart of Pennsyltucky, I lived with my mom’s family in a small town where I was one of few if not the only person of color. Everyone around me was white. Pretty much everyone I saw on TV was white. There were a few exceptions, but most of the women of color I saw on TV were usually characters who had very little power. They were either in the background serving the people around them, or they were sexualized objects. There weren’t a lot of role models out there for a young ethnically mixed person of color for me to relate to in popular culture. Then I started watching Star Trek.

Not only was there a woman of color who served on the bridge as the communications officer of a starship, but she was also friends with a handsome alien who was, like me, the child of a “mixed marriage.” Science Fiction provided me with two people I could not only relate to, but also admire as role models. Lieutenant Nyota Uhura gave women of color hope and the courage to step outside of the expectations society had in mind for us. And, Mr. Spock’s ethnic heritage was one of his strengths, not a weakness like he was led to believe while growing up on Vulcan. These two characters had a profound influence on me at a very young age. I identified with both of them and wanted to be just like them when I grew up. I’m still waiting to be invited to Star Fleet Academy, but I haven’t given up hope.

Today’s post is going to be a little different than the previous ones. I’m going to talk about two characters instead of just one. I know these posts are supposed to be talking about totally fuckable fictional characters and I intend to stick with that theme. However, today I’m also going to talk about two characters who I always imagined coming together as a couple when I was a child. As an adult, my dreams came true.

February 22: Mr. Spock and Nyota Uhura

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Leonard Nimoy and Nichelle Nichols

I am aware that many die-hard Star Trek fans were confused and a bit unsettled by the decision to make Mr. Spock and Lieutenant Uhura a couple in the 2009 film, Star Trek. I couldn’t have been happier. It’s like someone had been flipping through the files of my childhood fantasies and granted me a secret wish. So, for the fans who either don’t understand their relationship or for some reason oppose it, feel free to get over it.

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Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana

In the famous scene in which the first interracial kiss in television history took place between Uhura and Kirk, the original script was written for Spock and Uhura to share that kiss. According to Nichelle Nichols: “My understanding is Bill Shatner took one look at the scene and said, ‘No you will not! If anyone’s going to be part of the first interracial kiss in television history, it’s going to be me!’ So they rewrote it.”

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Fuck you, Captain Kirk. I’m almost 100% sure that if I would have witnessed Spock and Uhura kissing as a child, my teen dating experiences would have gone a lot differently. And, I’m pretty sure we would have seen some super sexy episodes of Star Trek after that. Whelp, I guess that’s what fan fiction is for. Am I right?

When I was a kid Mr. Spock was one of my favorite characters. Period. I always preferred him to Captain Kirk, and was usually puzzled, especially after I hit puberty, about why Kirk got so many chicks and Spock was practically celibate. Clearly, he was more attractive, more intelligent, gifted in ways that resembled magic, and he respected all people regardless of where they came from. He had a childhood that I could empathize with, and his differences often made him seem like an outsider. He was usually the voice of reason, and he had some of the best wisdom to offer his friends and colleagues.

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In the original series, Spock has a few flirtations with women from time to time, and he was engaged to a Vulcan woman as part of an arranged marriage. In a society where emotions are not valued, the concept of love is irrelevant when it comes to marriage. Marriages are arranged for more practical reasons. And, I would imagine one of the primary reasons to wed is to deal with pon farr, the hormonal imbalance Vulcans experience every 7 years that triggers the need for sexual intercourse, preferably with a mate. If a Vulcan is unable to have sex with a mate or another object of desire, the consequences could be insanity and/or death.

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The fact that Mr. Spock could potentially go insane if he doesn’t get laid makes him an extremely interesting character. I mean, who doesn’t want a partner who is literally driven wild by desire. Chemical imbalance or not, that is totally hot. Vulcans are able to have sex at other times, despite the fact that some people thought that Spock and his fellow Vulcans were only interested in sex every seven years. Pon farr is simply a biological impulse that helps ensure procreation. An antiquated ritual is performed and then the person experiencing the hormonal imbalance has sex with their mate or object of desire to alleviate the symptoms. Unless your mate chooses someone else.

Okay, that’s enough about Mr. Spock’s sex life. Just kidding.

Despite the fact that Mr. Spock is an alien from a planet that prizes a lack of emotions as a sign of superiority, he’s usually the one character who is most in touch with his emotions. Perhaps it is because he spends so much time trying to deny that he has any, that he actually has a better grasp of emotional maturity and can empathize with others when they are feeling extreme states of any emotion. His humanity makes him passionate and caring, a loyal friend, but his alien appearance makes him somehow sexier than the human men on the Enterprise. Don’t get me wrong; Scotty and Chekov are both hot in their own ways, but Mr. Spock’s appearance has always been more appealing to me than any other character. His pointy ears, shiny coal black hair, large, devilish eyebrows and tall, slim body created a blueprint in my young mind of what attractive men should look like. Alien. Devilish. Vampiric. Otherworldly. Yeah, that sounds about right.

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Leonard Nimoy was obviously my first Spock, and he will always have a special place in my heart. In fact, I couldn’t imagine anyone else filling those black pointy-toed boots. Until an actor who plays some of my favorite psychos, Zachary Quinto, put on the pointy ears and Spock stole my heart all over again.

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Quinto’s Spock is a bit more emotional that Nimoy’s, but Leonard Nimoy gave his blessing when Zachary was chosen to take on the role of Spock.

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Tears shed by a Vulcan are 10 times more touching.

And, most importantly, Quinto’s Spock gets to kiss Uhura. And judging by that kiss, we can all infer that there’s more than just kissing between these two. They kiss as if there has been intimacy between them for some time. Their kiss not only satisfied one of my childhood desires, it was totally hot and worth the wait. The sexy, dark-haired, modest science officer got the girl instead of the womanizing jackass captain. I don’t know about everybody else, but this geeky woman of color was giddy with delight. And incredibly turned on.

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Kirk who?

Let’s take another look.

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What’s that? I couldn’t hear you over the sound of my childhood fantasies coming true.

We better take another look. You know, for Science.

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Is that a phaser in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

Seriously, these two are totally into each other and anyone who thinks otherwise is high on goofballs.

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So many feels.

I mean, how can you watch this and not see that Spock and Uhura are in love?

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I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m going to keep holding on to my childhood dream that a dark-haired stranger from another land will whisk me off to discover the secrets of space.

Fuckable Fictional Characters: Kilgrave

A few days ago I started writing a new post. That was Saturday. Saturday was a busy day. My son had a basketball tournament. Then my friends helped me celebrate my birthday with an 80’s Valentines dance party. Sunday was my actual birthday and I celebrated by having breakfast with an old friend and catching a few movies with my son. Monday I revised and cleaned up a manuscript and submitted it to an agent. So, you could say that the past three days were not only busy, but filled wit real life activities involving the real people in my life. I feel like that gives me a reasonable pass to take a break from writing about fictional characters I’d like to fuck.

Today the weather is bad enough that school was canceled, so I have a day at home to catch up on writing blog posts. I’m not sure if I’ll get three posts written to make up for the days I missed, but here’s my first offering.


A few months ago I got an early Christmas gift. I was watching Netflix one evening and caught a preview of a Netflix original show that’s part of the Marvel franchise. I didn’t know anything about the anti-hero Jessica Jones, but when I saw who was cast as the villain, my heart skipped a beat.

You see, David Tennant is my not so secret celebrity boyfriend. He stole my heart as the 10th Doctor, and he was up against some stiff competition. Until then, the only Time Lord I loved was the 4th Doctor. When I was a kid I loved Tom Baker so much that I would pretend to be sick so I would get sent home early to catch the afternoon showing of Doctor Who on PBS. That’s how committed I am to my geekdom.

Before this becomes a post about Doctor Who I better get back on track. Where was I? Oh, right. David Tennant. Despite his emotional range and commitment to his craft, it is often impossible to divorce the actor from the characters he plays. There are a few exceptions to this assertion. For instance, he had a much more somber role in Broadchurch as Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, but even his Hamlet is classic Tennant.

So, without further ado, and by request (this is for you Brian J. Parker), I give you the Purple Man, Kilgrave.

February 16: Kilgrave

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Kilgrave is a scary villain. That’s saying a lot for the Marvel Universe. He’s scary not only because he has the ability to control people’s minds and essentially turn them into puppets, but also because he’s a sociopath and enjoys doing evil shit to his victims.

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That’ll teach him to keep Handsome Sociopathic Stalker Weekly in stock.

A master of manipulation, he zeroes in on the people who can serve him best and then takes over their lives by making them his slaves. If he sees something or someone he likes, he simply takes them. A beautiful home, expensive clothes, free meals in swanky restaurants, jewelry and gifts for his lady friends (all of which are held against their will), and anything else he desires. Well, anything but love. For love to be real, it has to be given freely and willingly. Kilgrave is a control freak to the Nth degree, so it is impossible for him to allow people to act of their own free will and simply hope for the best outcome. He may be evil, but he certainly isn’t an idiot. He knows people can’t be trusted to do what you want them to do. In fact, he doesn’t trust people in general.

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He didn’t say “Simon says”.

Kilgrave’s trust issues developed from a childhood spent in a lab where his parents conducted scientific experiments on him in the hopes of curing a neurodegenerative disease that threatened his life. They managed to stop the disease’s progress, but in doing so tortured their son with a series of painful treatments that caused a mutation in his brain. The unexpected side effect allowed their son to control people’s minds. Unable to trust his own parents, Kilgrave decided to take his frustrations out on the rest of the world.

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Have you considered therapy instead of manipulating people to kill themselves and others?

One night while out on the town with two women under his control, he witnesses a woman, Jessica Jones, fight off two muggers and save Malcolm Ducasse. Malcolm was badly beaten and needed medical attention, but before Jessica can help him further, Kilgrave dismisses his lady friends and takes control of Jessica. He’s fascinated by her and decides to keep her. You know, like a pet. The king of backhanded compliments, he tells her, “Here I am, just debating where to eat and then BAM, there you are, performing feats of heroism. Come here, let me look at you, come on. Jesus you’re a vision, hair and the skin, appalling sense of fashion but that can be remedied.”

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Quickest way to end a date.

For several months Kilgrave holds Jessica prisoner and has sex with her while she is under his mind control. Last I checked, having sex with someone without his or her consent is called rape. It doesn’t matter how many gifts you buy someone or fancy meals you feed them. If you’re using mind control or any other form of manipulation to fuck them on a regular basis, you aren’t a partner you’re a rapist.

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Assholes brag about being assholes.

Kilgrave falls in love with Jessica (obsession can look a lot like love in the eyes of a crazy person) and believes they are actually in a relationship. But how can you be in a relationship with someone when you control every aspect of your interaction with that person? If you always choose where to eat, what the person wears, and how they behave is that really love? Sounds more like a textbook abusive relationship with a narcissistic asshole, right? Except in this case, he can literally control your mind, not just use emotional manipulation to keep you trapped in a toxic relationship.

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Punching him in the face and screaming “Shut the fuck up,” doesn’t even begin to cover what her reaction should be.

Deluded by his belief that he loves Jessica, he stops controlling her mind for 12 hours. It takes that much time for his influence to wear off. He takes off her mental leash to prove that she has the same feelings for him. In those 12 hours Jessica remembers all of the terrible things he has done to her, but instead of running right away, she allows him to believe that he is right. She pretends to be in love with him. And continues to take orders from him.

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Kissing a sociopath will not turn him into a prince.

Kilgrave discovers that Reva Connors has a thumb drive containing footage of the experiments he underwent as a child. He wants this information to remain a secret. He controls Reva to show him where she’s hidden it, and after Jessica uses her own super powers to punch through concrete to retrieve it, Kilgrave tells Jessica to kill Reva. Which she does by punching her so hard that she is thrown into the path of an oncoming bus. With her task complete, Jessica walks away. Kilgrave is freaked out by the fact that she won’t respond to him. He shouts after her, but she is no longer under his control. In an attempt to avoid hitting Reva, the bus driver swerves and ends up flipping the bus on its side. In the chaos, Kilgrave is distracted by Jessica’s disobedience and is hit and almost killed by the bus. Jessica is free.

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Not a giver.

Her freedom is an illusion. She is still a prisoner of her own fear. Kilgrave not only raped her body, he raped her mind. To deal with the memories and nightmares, she drinks. A lot. And even though everyone else believes Kilgrave is dead, she knows better. She expects him to show up at any minute and begin torturing her again. So she tries to remain under the radar, but always keeps an eye out for signs of his return.

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I’m pretty sure the devil wears nice suits, too.

She’s smart to do that, because he isn’t dead. Just badly injured. While he recovers he obsesses about Jessica even more. He decides that he’s going to convince her to come back to him and prove that he loves her. And if she refuses to return his affection, he’ll kill her. But not before threatening to kill and killing a bunch of other people. Seems legit. Well, it seems legit if you’re a mentally ill control freak hellbent on forcing someone to love you. But here’s the rub. He knows that his ability to control her isn’t working like it did before. So instead of controlling her, he comes up with an elaborate plan to control everyone else around her.

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Disapproving Sociopath disapproves of your lifestyle.

This is where things get interesting. Since he can control anyone in range of his voice, it is impossible to guess who is under his control. Jessica knows this too, which is why she’s a paranoid mess with trust issues to rival even Kilgrave’s. Some days it pays to be paranoid. Especially if you have a sociopathic stalker who thinks he’s you’re ex-boyfriend and continues to believe you loved it when he raped you.

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If you haven’t questioned why I chose to add Kilgrave to this list of fuckable fictional characters by now, then maybe you need a check up from the neck up. I mean, seriously, this guy is a monster. He uses mind control for his entertainment. Aside from Jessica, and a few of his other victims we meet, how many women has he raped or forced to commit unspeakable acts to stroke his enormous ego? And, he isn’t above killing people. Of course, he controls others to do his killing for him, but that just makes him more evil in my opinion.

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So, again, why is he on this list? Because he’s not only a scary villain with a fascinating backstory, but he really believes he’s in love with Jessica. And a sociopathic stalker with David Tennant’s face and personality is pretty sexy. The lengths he goes to to convince Jessica that his love for her is real and that she has real feelings for him beyond fear and hatred are mind-blowing. Creepy as Hell given the circumstances, but no less impressive.

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Denial is a river full of crazy motherfuckers.

He purchases her childhood home and completely reconstructs it to look like it did when she still lived there – furniture, wallpaper, knick-knacks, and even her personal items. A grand gesture to be sure, but nightmarish in its execution. He invites her to come live there with him. She agrees to stay and allows him to do nice things for her. Even though she doesn’t behave exactly the way he wants her to, he still doesn’t try to control her. He wants her affection to be genuine. So, while she plots how to kill him, they play house for a few days and antagonize each other with threats and criticisms delivered as playful banter.

If he weren’t such a dangerous sociopath, he would be quite a catch. He’s handsome. He has great taste in food, wine, clothing, and the finer things in life. He’s highly intelligent and creative when it comes to thinking up new ways to torment and manipulate people. He has a very dark sense of humor. He’s well organized and can multitask like a criminal mastermind. He likes to give expensive gifts to his lady friends. He’s a snappy dresser. And he has a British accent. Oh, and he’s a tortured soul who deals with his pain by lashing out at others.

Maybe real love would quiet his impulse to control people. Perhaps Jessica could be a positive influence on Kilgrave.

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And maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt.

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Many of the characters I’ve chosen for this series of blog posts, but especially this one, make me stop and think about whether it’s the character or the actor I like more. I mean I’m not completely clueless about this concept. Really horrible characters portrayed by sexy as fuck actors can create some conflicts of conscience. And when a sociopathic stalker has a lot of the same personality quirks as one of your favorite heroes, it is difficult to not see the good in that character.

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He even dresses like a Time Lord.

Love makes everyone crazy at times. A man in love is beautiful, and even if that love isn’t directed at you, you want him to be rewarded with the same affection he’s giving. But Kilgrave is complicated. He is in love. Whether that love is real or the product of his psychosis, he believes himself to be in love. And all of his efforts to prove his love are thwarted time and time again. Intellectually, I know he should be imprisoned with a bunch of horny rapists to experience what he’s done to Jessica and his other victims. If he were a real person I would have no trouble finding him guilty if I sat in the jury box. But because he is a well written fictional character with the benefit of a terrible and interesting backstory, I feel sympathy for him on some levels.

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Go ahead. Judge me. Like I’ve said before, I don’t have to justify why I feel this way or that about a fictional character. Do I want to meet and fall in love with a real sociopath who gets his kicks from raping women and torturing people? Of course not. Are there women out there who seek the affection of rapists and murderers who are serving life sentences in prison? Yes. I’m not one of them. But throw a complicated fictional villain with serious character flaws my way, and 9 out of 10 times, I’m attracted to them. Especially if they are emotionally damaged.

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Admit it. This scene gave you the feels.

But in all fairness, this particular villain looks and acts a lot like Doctor Who.

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And, his dark humor is an endless source of amusement.

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Seriously, listening to David Tennant curse is a real treat.

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I’ll say it again. Creepy is the new sexy.

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How the hell is she not waking up to make out with him?

And, his jealousy makes him a little vulnerable.

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You probably shouldn’t have chosen a giant, handsome fuck machine to do your bidding.

It also doesn’t hurt that he’s fucking adorable even when he’s planning to run away with your best friend and make her his sex slave.

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I love you, you fucking psycho!

If Marvel doesn’t want me to fall in love with their villains, they should probably stop casting them with super sexy, funny actors with British accents.

And apparently, I’m not the only crazy person who loves this maniac.

Bet you wish your name was Jessica right about now.

Fuckable Fictional Characters: Spike

I love fiction. I read a lot. I watch a lot of TV and movies. And I write fiction. Something you may have noticed about these posts (or derived from the title of my blog) is that I tend to like monsters. They make interesting characters, and often allow us to fantasize about the darker aspects of humanity. They can do things society cautions us against. Sometimes these warnings are given for very good reasons. Killing people and eating them is a big no-no. Technically, having sex with a vampire makes you a necrophiliac. Dating a werewolf is akin to staying in an abusive relationship, because you never really know if you’re going to get mauled on the next full moon. Fantasy is one thing. Reality is another. A few days ago a friend mentioned that one of the characters I chose was a dick. I agreed. But we both came to the conclusion that just because you want to have sex with someone, that doesn’t make them an appropriate partner long-term. And, since I’m writing about fictional characters, you have to take all of this with a grain of salt. I’m writing about these characters not only because they are totally fuckable, but also because they’re interesting and make for good fiction.

Today we return to the Buffyverse, because my favorite monsters of all time are vampires. Call me a necrophiliac if you must, but you have to admit I have great taste in vampires. My first post in this series was about Damon Salvatore, who is one of the sexiest TV vampires ever. Before I laid eyes on Damon, I had the hots for John Mitchell. And long before Mitchell, there was Spike.

February 11: Spike (William the Bloody)

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Until Spike made his first appearance on screen in the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in “School Hard,” my heart only belonged to Rupert Giles, Buffy’s Watcher. But when a vampire who looked a little like Billy Idol showed up in Sunnydale speaking in a very sexy British accent, my heart split in two. Dressed in black leather with bleach blond hair, and sporting an attitude to rival all attitudes, Spike, or William the Bloody, quickly became one of Buffy’s most challenging foes.

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Billy Idol stole his look from Spike.

A notorious vampire known by the Watchers Council for killing not only countless humans, but also two slayers, Spike arrives in Sunnydale with his long-time companion, Drusilla.

Dru-Spike

Love you to death.

Spike and Drusilla met in Victorian London on one of William’s worst nights as a human. Emotionally distressed, he storms away from a party held by the woman he is infatuated with after she rejects and publicly humiliates him. After meeting Dru, it was also his last night as a human. She immediately takes a liking to him, and perhaps she saw their future together in one of her visions, because rather than draining him of blood and leaving him to die in a dark alley, she chooses to make him a vampire. And so began one of the great and monstrous love stories of all time.

Dru-Spike-2

Drusilla is traveling with two other vampires, Angelus, her maker, and Darla, Angelus’ maker. The three blood-thirsty vampires have been traveling around Europe feeding, killing and presumably, fucking. At least Angelus and Darla, but there is some indication that Angelus had a sexual relationship with Drusilla as well. Darla and Angelus are angry with Drusilla for turning Spike without their consent, but once he proves himself to be impressively violent, and kills a slayer during the Boxer Rebellion in China, he becomes a valued member of the nest.

The vampires disband when Angelus gets his soul back (long story, Gypsy curse, has relevance later in the plot), and Drusilla and Spike continue their love affair and encourage each other to new heights of evil. One of the reasons Angelus made Drusilla a vampire is the fact that she is clairvoyant. She has visions, and sometimes the things she dreams come true. When Drusilla was human, her Puritan family condemned her supernatural talent and forced her to subdue it unless she wished to be accused of witchcraft. Prior to making Dru a vampire, Angelus drove her insane by making her do things that went against her religious upbringing, and then had her participate in the death of her parents.

Spike-Angelus-and-Drusilla-the-fanged-four-882862_445_498

She totally fucked both of them. Oh wait, so did Buffy.

Spike and Drusilla come to Sunnydale looking to join up with a group of vampires who are preparing for an end of the world prophecy. Spike isn’t one for following rules or obeying an authority figure. Once he learns there’s a slayer in town, he becomes obsessed with adding her to his kill list. He’s hoping she’ll become number three. Spike ends up sabotaging the prophecy and becomes the next Big Bad in Sunnydale. Until Angel loses his soul and comes up with another end of the world project. Again, Spike steps up to save the world. Even if it is for selfish reasons.

Happy-Meals

He joins forces with Buffy to assist in stopping Angelus. This is the beginning of a partnership that develops into what Spike believes is the actual love of his life. But before that happens, their love to hate each other relationship blossoms as they continually try to kill each other and hilarity ensues.

After Buffy defeats Angelus with the help of Spike, Spike takes Drusilla, and leaves Sunnydale. While they’re gone, they have a falling out and break up. Spike is crushed and returns to Sunnydale looking for a distraction and to resume his plan to kill Buffy. He is emotionally unstable and seems lost without Drusilla.

Torture

A man with a plan.

Spike becomes an integral part of Buffy’s life long before they begin their secret sexual relationship after she comes back from the dead. Again. He has encounters with all of the important people in Buffy’s life. He spends time with Joyce.

He visits Willow at college.

Willow-Spike

Crashes at Xander’s.

Xander-Spike

Spends quality time with Giles.

Lick

Seriously, the time he spends hiding out at Giles’ house is hilarious.

Kiss-The-Librarian

How badly do you want to hold that mug right now?

And, he builds a very tight bond with Buffy’s sister, Dawn.

Safe.gif

Real vampires enjoy terrifying young girls.

But my favorite parts are when Spike provides wisdom on a subject that no one else has the insight to recognize, or wishes to remain in denial about instead of facing their true feelings.

Brains

Couples counseling. One of the many services Spike provides.

Spike knows who he is and isn’t afraid to speak his mind and be honest with people. Well, at least when he hasn’t been altered by a forgetfulness spell. Okay, maybe even then.

Nancy-Tribe

Doesn’t remember his own name, but still knows to mock Giles.

One of the things that makes Spike so endearing is his wonderfully sarcastic wit, and his ability to bring levity to almost any situation.

But the reason I love Spike so much is the fact the he, more than anyone else she knows, can recognize Buffy’s pain and help her find the strength the face her own demons.

Feeling-2

All kidding aside, these words have pulled me out of darkness on more than one occasion.

And, of course, some of the best episodes deal with Spike and Buffy’s relationship and how it changes both of them. Spike mourns Buffy’s death. So much so that he counted the days she was gone.

147-Days

This is also when he realizes she had to claw her way out of her own coffin, and his heart breaks for her.

Buffy feels betrayed by her friends even though they were trying to do a good thing, but she really wishes they would have left her stay dead. Spike seems to be the only one who understands what she’s going through.

Monster

To cope with her confused feelings, she decides to confuse them even more by engaging in a sexual relationship with Spike. A relationship she can’t tell her friends about. She likes the way he makes her feel, but is ashamed and believes herself to be a bad person.

Bad decisions lead to more emotional turmoil for Spike as he continues his romantic losing streak. Sure, Spike’s great when you want to party and get your brains fucked out, but apparently he isn’t boyfriend material.

Kick-the-Spike

Buffy likes to play the blame game.

Unfortunately, Spike really loves her.

Terrified

Seriously, Buffy is an idiot.

Maybe they can’t have a happily ever after, but when you meet someone who looks like this, you should totally strive for happy for now.

70-Spike

Self Love Is Not Selfish: A Letter to My Future Self

Sacred-HeartGrief is very personal. No two people experience it exactly the same way. How our emotions manifest as we go through the process of grieving isn’t always within our control. Many people believe that we only experience grief after the death of a loved one, but grief is the natural response to loss. Loss and grief come in many flavors, colors, and sizes.

The past few years of my life have been . . . challenging. My struggles may not have been as difficult to overcome as the struggles some of you have faced, but I’m not here to compare my experiences or grief with yours or anyone else’s.

In June of 2012 I attended my first residency in Seton Hill University’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction (WPF). After years of putting writing at the bottom of my to do list, even though it was one of the most important activities in my life, I decided to go back to school and earn a second master’s degree. My BA and MA in English didn’t propel me into a career as a college professor or a professional writer like I hoped, but in many ways these degrees prepared me for critical thinking, problem solving and communicating in creative ways in several university positions. Enrolling in SHU’s MFA in WPF gave me the courage and support I needed to not only follow my dreams of becoming a professional writer, but also made me realize there were a lot of other things I needed to change in my life.

I attended my second residency at SHU in January, where I had an amazing heart-to-heart with my good friend and fellow writer, Valerie Burns. She asked me what would make me happy. Based on the answers I came up with, she suggested I make a plan. The following week I applied for a job that would pay more and have fewer duties that was close to my hometown. I wasn’t thrilled about moving back home, but I knew I would have the support of friends and family. A few days after I got the job offer I told my husband I was leaving. About a week or so later, my brother-in-law died suddenly. In March I moved my son and myself into my childhood home and by April 1 I started the new job. We lived with my mom for a few months and then we found our own place in August. In many ways these were positive changes, but there was a lot going on in my life. Lots of plates were spinning dangerously above my head. Separation from my husband after a 10-year relationship, moving, starting a new job, graduate school, and dealing with behavioral issues my son was exhibiting as a single parent.

During this time I was writing my first novel. Despite all the hardships and upheaval, I kept writing.

My father passed away in October last year after a very long battle with complicated illnesses that led to early onset dementia. He lost his health, mind, and eventually his life at the hands of sicknesses that robbed him of his life-long dream of becoming a published author. For years, he researched, plotted, and sketched out ideas for a historical fiction novel about African Americans overcoming oppression to find a space of self-determinism where they could live their lives without the threat of violence. He never wrote that book. I found the title scribbled in one of his many notebooks while cleaning up the house for my mom. The title of his book is now the title of my first book. It’s not the same book he would have written, but I think he would have been very proud of me for finishing my novel.

I’m not going to lie. Life has felt really hard to manage some days. I’ve suffered with depression. Don’t even get me started on the crippling loneliness. Uncertainty. Fear. Anxiety. Anger. Sadness. Emotionally, I’m all over the map. And still, I write. Little bits here and there. A poem (26 last summer). Short stories that seem more like the beginnings of novels. And chapters for a novel I’m hoping to complete a first draft for during Camp NaNoWriMo in July. (Oh shit! That’s today!)

Despite all the upheaval, disappointment, and bullshit I’ve had to deal with in the past few years, I’m still writing. I’m a writer. That’s what I do.

I keep a journal to get through some of the rougher days. Journaling for me is like having a conversation with myself where I work out some of the issues I’m struggling with and try to release the pain clouding my thoughts. A few weeks ago I wrote a letter to my future self. It was very therapeutic. I can’t recommend this exercise enough. It was an act of self love and care that no one else could have provided for me. Not my friends, not my family, no one but me.

I debated whether or not to share this letter publicly. It’s personal. It’s private. However, I think some of you could benefit from the things I told my future self. It helped me rethink what I was going through at the time and helped me come up with a few solutions to problems that were more distractions than useful or supportive aspects of my life.

Takes deep breath…

Dear Future Self,

I love you. You are doing so well and I am proud of you. Keep doing all the amazing things you’ve set your mind and energy on. I’m looking forward to reading all the stories you’ve written and published.

I knew that you would overcome the self-doubt and those feelings of not being good enough to accomplish the goals you set for yourself. Here’s a reminder of the things we were working toward:

  1. Make Healthier Choices: Better food, more exercise, avoiding toxic relationships, making choices that have a positive effect on you and the people you love.
  2. Find an Appropriate Partner: Someone who respects you and believes that you are enough, not his whole world, but somewhere at the top of his list. A priority, not an option. Someone willing to build a life with that you can both be proud of at the end of the day.
  3. Build Stronger Friendships: Spend more time with people who truly value you. You know who they are and who they aren’t. You have a gift for sensing who really has your best interests in mind and who simply wants to bask in or steal your light.
  4. Be True to Yourself: Know your limits and respect them. It’s okay to say “no” when you feel overwhelmed or underappreciated. Take time to sit quietly, alone or with people you love, and listen to what you need to do to recharge. Your body and spirit will tell you. Don’t ignore the voices inside you.
  5. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away from Bad Situations: I know it sounds ridiculous now, but remember how we used to cling to things and people who made us unhappy? Why did we do that? Did we think our kindness and patience and urging would magically transform them into the people we needed them to be? People will disappoint you. This I promise. You don’t have to stick around to let it keep happening. If someone really loves you, you’ll know the signs. Don’t ignore them.
  6. You Are Enough: You don’t have to prove your worth to anyone. If you feel like you need to constantly prove your worth to someone, stop for a minute and figure out if that need is internal or external. If it’s internal, find a therapist or spiritual healer and figure that out. If it is external and someone keeps expecting you to be more or do more to please them and they aren’t doing the same for you in return, walk away. Don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t look back. They’ll try to tell you they miss you. Let them.
  7. Never Stop Learning: People, places, things, and the voices inside our own heads can teach us a lot about ourselves and the world around us. Pay attention. Take notes. Share your knowledge with others.
  8. Don’t Be Afraid to Fuck Up: Everybody makes mistakes. Own yours and learn from them. That’s how we grow. People who choose to ignore these lessons are not worth your time and energy. You are here to grow and learn. People who refuse to join you on your journey will only hold you back. Mistakes are like bruises, not permanent scars. They do not define us unless we allow them to. Keep moving forward; don’t let fear of making mistakes keep you from reaching your goals.
  9. Forgive Yourself and Others: You’re not perfect and you don’t have to be. Everybody fucks up sometimes (see above). Don’t dwell on that for too long. Make amends, apologize if necessary, forgive yourself and forgive others when they do stupid things that are hurtful. Carrying around anger only does damage to the vessel in which it is contained. Be angry. Cry. Emote. Then let that shit go. Put it in your art, not your heart.

Stay strong. You’re doing great things.

Love, Me

For the Love of Monsters

1843-Alice-in-Wonderland-Zombie A few days ago, a good friend of mine, poet and fellow fiction writer, Lana Hechtman Ayers, contacted me to let me know that she really enjoyed my new blog. She said the title reminded her of a poem she had written a few years ago. My curiosity was immediately piqued. You see, I am a fan of Lana’s poetry and fiction, so I couldn’t help wonder how my blog connected with her writing. What she sent me is a poem that spoke to me in ways that I am still processing. Internalizing. Devouring.

The poem, “Alice’s Blind Date With Frankenstein’s Monster,” which previously appeared in Eye to the Telescope, and can also be found in Lana’s poetry collection, Chicken Farmer I Still Love You, examines one of the topics I hope to address more fully in future blog posts: falling in love with monsters.

Monsters are sexy.

I recently used that line in my online dating profile, and have yet to find myself in a shallow grave along the interstate. In retrospect, it was a potentially dangerous statement to make in a public social media forum designed for people to stalk each other online and ask each other inappropriate questions about their sexual preferences. Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t attract more weirdoes. Do I sound disappointed? Maybe I am. Just a little. Although, I’m still not convinced the guy I’ve been dating for the past year isn’t a serial killer.

I posted that line within the context of talking about the kinds of media I consume: books, comics, movies, etc. And, at the time, I was in the midst of writing my first novel, which is a supernatural slave narrative. In the novel, Invisible Chains, a young slave tells her story and how she dreams of reaching freedom. In her travels and day-to-day life, she encounters many monsters, literally and figuratively, and she must learn to navigate a very dangerous world where she is seen as a possession, an object, to be bought and sold, and used however her owner pleases. We soon discover that monsters with fangs and fur may not be as scary as the men who uphold the institution of slavery in the Antebellum South. My protagonist develops a fondness for a vampire, but is quick to let him know she never wants to become like him. She never wishes to become a monster. Eventually, she discovers that her strengths are found in the parts of her others might perceive as monstrous. By befriending and trusting monsters, she learns to trust herself.

Lots of people have written about falling in love with monsters, and most people who read horror fiction or enjoy horror films can recall at least one instance of feeling empathy for a monster due to the fact that they connected with the monster’s plight. The more we love monsters, the more we see ourselves reflected back to us, like mirror images of ourselves – distorted, transformed, fragmented – hauntingly familiar, but simultaneously alien.

Crushing on monsters can be dangerous, which may be why vampires and werewolves and other creatures of the night have become so popular in YA speculative fiction. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past nine years and haven’t heard of Stephenie Meyer’s paranormal romance series, The Twilight Saga, the novels follow the drama-filled life of misanthropic teen, Bella Swan, and her ill-advised love triangle with vampire Edward Cullen and werewolf Jacob Black. These novels are not only popular among misunderstood teens, but also confused middle-aged women still looking to fill the void that no amount of Häagen-Dazs could ever accomplish.

I don’t mean to make light of this phenomenon. In fact, I take it very seriously. Monsters have always spoken to me in a way that I find exciting and somewhat unsettling. Monsters are sexy. And scary. And a little sad. As a teen, I sought them out – in fiction, in films, and unfortunately in some of the boys I chose to date. Monsters typically have a hard time fitting in and they seek the company of others like them – dark, damaged, melancholy, missing parts. As an adult, I haven’t completely outgrown my love of monsters and probably never will. Like my protagonist in Invisible Chains, as I learn more about monsters, I learn more about myself.

I feel like I have a lot more to say on the subject, but before I get too far into things, I need to spend a bit more time meditating on why I love monsters. So, without further ado, please enjoy Lana’s poem.

Alice’s Blind Date With Frankenstein’s Monster

by Lana Hechtman Ayers

Where the personal ad read, tall,
Alice assumed dark and handsome.
Where it read, Loves moonlit walks through the cemetery,
Alice surmised, romantic.
And the bit, Firebugs need not apply,
she thought quirky charm.

So what harm could come by answering?
Only that learning reality is a bitter cake
that sometimes shrinks one’s hopes.
That he wasn’t handsome,
was an understatement.
But in his favor, he had a friendly laugh

and looked deeply into Alice’s eyes.
He didn’t bat an eyelash (in fact he had none to bat)
at her whole Looking Glass story
the way her parents had upon her return,
then sent her to bed without supper yet again.
The cemetery her blind date picked for their picnic

was wide and well-lit under the full moon
and though he was creepily patched
from mismatched skins of the dead,
his green pallor glowed a warmer hue.
He wore his fears on his ragged sleeve:
fire, villagers, dogs, and shed a few tears

telling her of his longing for a true companion.
He wasn’t the worst date she’d ever had.
Also, he seemed to completely grasp
yearning for wholeness, the very thing
Alice herself wanted, but had not the words to express
since the incidents with the older gentleman

that began when she was only six.
Her truth was that monsters
don’t always look the part.
Those that do can turn out not frightening at all
and can have quite a good heart
(even if electric shock is necessary to get it started).

Frank, he’d asked her to call him,
just Frank, and not wanting to wait
for things between them to cool too much
she did when she rang
him up the very next day
to ask him out on a second date.

Sally

Frankenstein and Alice’s love child.

While reading Lana’s poem, I couldn’t help but think of Patricia Lillie’s amazing speech, “Down the Rabbit Hole,” given back in January at Seton Hill University’s graduation ceremony for the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program. If you weren’t there, I feel sorry for you. You totally missed out.