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
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
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