As a teenager, when I watched films and TV, read comics and books, I always found myself drawn to the lovable rogue, the misunderstood outsider, the non-conformist, the rebel, the mysterious loner. Characters often portrayed by the likes of James Dean, Paul Newman, Sir Clint Eastwood, Minnie the Minx et cetera.
I even aspired to be like them, I guess because they seemed ‘pretty cool’.
But, as I grew older, I quickly realised maintaining a rogue-ish persona actually ended up creating distance in relationships. And frankly, I couldn’t keep up the uninterested smouldering pose when I was genuinely upset and someone would ask, “What’s up, chum?” Inevitably I would crack and break down explaining how I’d left my Tricoloure textbook at home and French was our next lesson and that my Dad would kill me if he knew I’d scratched my new bike, which I shouldn’t have been riding as it wasn’t my actual birthday till Monday! The sort of issues I’m sure Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell would have identified with.
Admittedly in real life, if someone is held-in emotionally and can’t open up in relationships it’s generally because of some real hurt and pain from their past, rather than a pretend identity they’ve picked off the shelf because it’s ‘pretty cool’.
Nowadays I’m quite happy to be the opposite of a mistrusted maverick. (What would that be? A trusted team player?) I kinda’ feel sorry for characters like Wolverine or Batman. It seems until they can find some peace with their past they can never really mature as people.
I know, I know, they’re not real and I understand a popular fictional character in an ongoing series can’t ever really change, particularly when their audience appeal is so closely linked to their inner turmoil being maintained. (Which is a strange concept when you think about it – I KNOW, they’re not real people! But hey, Peter Andre is.)
Anyway, we can talk more about this subject another time, if you like. Peter Andre, that is.
P.S. Apologies to anyone who is not a teenager but still aspires to be like Wolverine. Let me know how it’s going.