What ‘Poldark’ can teach us about man­li­ness

As the cap­tain re­turns to our screens for a new se­ries, Shane Wat­son gives us 10 rea­sons why its star, Ai­dan Turner, is now bearer of the ‘real man’ torch

Irish Independent - - CULTURE & FEATURES -

Here we go again. Poldark is back, and even if you’re not a fan of the se­ries you will know that this means Ai­dan Turner ooz­ing rugged man­li­ness on our TV screens all sum­mer long.

The Dublin ac­tor is what the young call ‘A Ride’, and his Cor­nish hero Ross Poldark is manly in the way that men were manly be­fore hair gel, pa­ter­nity leave and yoga.

Watch­ing him gal­lop along a clifftop (in all weath­ers), brood at po­lite par­ties, and gen­er­ally be­have like the man least likely to see the point of cou­ples ther­apy, just does it — sham­ingly enough — for 21st-cen­tury wom­en­folk. Un­for­tu­nately for Turner, this means that he is, un­til fur­ther no­tice, car­rier of the ‘Real Man’ torch, and he doesn’t much like it.

He de­nies de­serv­ing the ti­tle and has even — who can blame him — tried to shift the fo­cus on to his dad, de­scrib­ing him in a re­cent in­ter­view as the gen­uine ar­ti­cle: “a real man” who can “fix a vin­tage car, do plumb­ing, lay floor­ing”.

Point taken. But be­ing a DIY whizz is the least of be­ing a real man in 2017.

Here are 10 at­tributes that make a bloke, in our eyes, Just Poldark Enough:

1. NOT FUSSING ABOUT YOUR HAIR

It is hard to strike the bal­ance be­tween car­ing and preen­ing pea­cock, but a manly man is never that in­ter­ested in his hair (see Poldark’s salty-dog do). Note: the Boris John­son hair thing is some­thing dif­fer­ent.

2. NOT HAV­ING THREE KINDS OF WAXED BARBOUR JACKET

There’s noth­ing wrong with be­ing pre­pared but owning the just-so perfect out­fit for ev­ery sit­u­a­tion is a bit Meghan Markle and not that manly (see Poldark, who only has one coat).

3. NOT BE­ING EAS­ILY INTIMIDATE­D

By spi­ders. By wait­ers. By the bloke at the party who thinks he’s smarter/richer than you.

4. EN­TRY-LEVEL DIY

Never mind tin­ker­ing with the car at the week­ends (sounds a bit Top

Gear to us) but be­ing ca­pa­ble of ba­sic cri­sis re­sponse in the home, like sort­ing out the beep­ing smoke alarm with­out tak­ing a ham­mer to it.

5. BE­ING GOOD WITH CHIL­DREN

Although Poldark’s son Jeremy mys­te­ri­ously van­ishes for large stretches of time, it only takes a quick glimpse of Ross cradling a tiny baby in his mus­cu­lar arms for view­ers to melt. The man­li­est men are ter­rific with ba­bies and are dot­ing dads; we have known that for a long time (see that Athena poster, and Poldark).

6. BE­ING A GOOD DRIVER

In the ab­sence of a horse to gal­lop along the cliffs. Re­vers­ing with an arm slung over the pas­sen­ger seat is par­tic­u­larly manly.

7. DOG CON­FI­DENCE

Dogs that run rings around their own­ers are not the dogs of manly men. (If Poldark had a dog you know he’d be a firm but fair mas­ter and in­spire pant­ing de­vo­tion — his in­ter­ac­tions with Demelza’s dog Gar­rick are enough to make us swoon.)

8. NOT BE­ING FADDY ABOUT FOOD

A manly man does not need to live on pies and ale. But mak­ing your own chia milk — tiny bit

un­manly.

9. NOT IN­DULGING IN WHITE-KNUCKLE HAND­SHAKES, IN THE STYLE OF POTUS

This is text­book over­com­pen­sa­tion and the op­po­site of manly.

10. RESPECTING WOMEN

(Poldark’s record on this is, ad­mit­tedly, patchy, but it is the num­ber one sign of man­li­ness now.) We’re not in­ter­ested other­wise — full manly pack­age re­gard­less.

Sea of emo­tions: Aidan Turner plays the brood­ing Ross Poldark in the hit TV se­ries

Hold­ing on: Poldark and Demelza (played by Eleanor Tom­lin­son) have had their ups and downs

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