I am a librarian. A traditional librarian – hair in bun, glasses, and likely to shush you at a moment’s notice. (Don’t tell those new-fangled librarians I’m still out here; they’re trying to change our image as well they should). I fall in love with characters not actors. Bender & Allison from The Breakfast Club; Thelma, Louise & JD; Dr. Hawkeye Pierce from MASH; and Spike/Xander/Oz (all for different reasons) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I am a woman of a certain age, decades older than the average xoJane reader. Jane Fonda was the up-and-coming actress when I was a teenager and Cher was singing Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves. I came of age just as this ubiquitous pop culture was developing.
I was first entranced by Captain Jack Harkness when he ran into the ninth Doctor and Rose during World War Two (The Empty Child). He was posing as an American volunteer with the Royal Air Force but is actually a 51st century Time Agent and con man. There is nothing like a man in uniform to stir my libido.
Confession time: my father served in the Air Force and I have father issues and man in uniform issues. Ah, a man in uniform - especially a traditional air force uniform – delicious. The best Torchwood/Doctor Who episodes are the ones that place Captain Jack in a military setting, like the aforementioned The Empty Child, Torchwood’s World War One episode Small Worlds and Torchwood’s World War Two episode Captain Jack Harkness.
Captain Jack is a charmer, a rascal, a flirt, a roué but never a cad. What’s the difference you ask? A cad goes out of his way to use people for his amusement but the others seldom do this.
What I adore about Jack is that he loves them all – Rose, the ninth Doctor, Donna, Martha, the tenth Doctor, Gwen, Ianto. What we have here is an openly non-heterosexual character played remarkably well. The love may be lustful as with Ianto or full of bitter-sweet regret as he waits for the Doctor to come back to him. Jack’s sexuality just is; there is no drama in his world when he kisses both Rose and the Doctor on the lips. Oh, to have those lips on mine.
I, like the rest of the audience, also accept Jack for who he is. We forgive him his past mistakes (Captain John Hart – played brilliantly by James Marsters - another character (Spike)/actor crush of mine) and we empathize with his regrets (his role in Ianto’s death in Children of Earth).
I yearn for a smart man (Jack would understand my vocabulary) who enjoys love while also understanding all its complexities. Jack’s sense of morality is not black and white but has evolved over lifetimes of immortality. He has loved. He has lost. He has outlived lovers. He watched his friends and lovers age and die. The irresistible charmer I first fell in lust with during The Empty Child matures into an honest, complicated man.
I’ve been involved with too many boys seeking a mother figure. I’m ready for a lustful man to enjoy life with and Captain Jack Harkness is a man who enjoys life to the fullest despite all of its complexities.
As does, I think, the man who portrays him and brings the character of Captain Jack to LIFE.
John Barrowman, actor, comes across as charming and fun in all of the videos I have ever watched him in. Whether philosophizing at a convention or giving an interview, his love of his self and his life is evident. He is who he is. No excuses given or needed.
He is an old fashioned entertainer; he sings, he dances, he acts in movies and on the stage and comes across like he would be up for anything from comedy to drama. He’s done musicals and television. He writes both biography and fiction. He’s a renaissance man and a role model. Okay, I’m totally crushing but does this man have any faults?
John Barrowman, like the character of Captain Jack Harkness, is too amazing to be real. He must be from space, from a future far removed from our own; a future where a man can be what he is meant to be and yet attractive to everyone, every type of creature, sentient or not.
Stop what you’re doing right now and go hunt up the DVD extra from Torchwood Season 1 of John singing “Anything Goes” and tell me that you disagree! Damn that man can enunciate, he’s cute and goofy, he’s able to laugh at himself and he writes. John Barrowman is such a yummy treat.
Born in Scotland (as was my father’s father), open about his sexuality and familiar with musicals (I adore musicals) he’s almost my perfect man if we overlook that same-sex attraction of his. Yummy, yummy, yummy.
Picture Credits: Rex Features and BBC