I was a typical adolescent female in that I tended to develop rabid crushes on males who were safely unreachable. I was somewhat atypical in that the guys I crushed on were dead. Dead poets, dead novelists, dead philosophers – if they were eloquent, handsome, and deceased, they were crush-worthy, in my feverish teenage mind. In seventh grade I carried around a postcard with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s portrait on it, mooning over the introspective sensuality of his face. Later I replaced my
But it was also Albert himself who drew me. Those keen dark eyes, that shock of glossy black hair, the lips twisted wryly around a cigarette. I’ve always thought of him as the “warm, fuzzy Existentialist,” not only because he was such a dedicated humanitarian, but because I had a much stronger desire to cuddle up with Camus naked.
I hadn't only discovered Camus – I had discovered Existentialism, with its stark metaphysical landscape, its rigorous standards of personal responsibility, its exploration of the alienated soul. I didn’t throb as fiercely for Camus’ French compatriot Jean-Paul Sartre, though Sartre’s vertiginous vision of human existence did and does make my flesh tingle.
Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth. – Jean-Paul Sartre
And I have to pay homage to Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who preceded the Frenchies in chronology and thought. He was known as the “father of Existentialism,” which makes sense, because he set a precedent for hotness in that school of philosophy.
Here is such a definition of truth: An objective uncertainty, held fast through appropriation with the most passionate inwardness, is the truth, the highest truth there is for an existing person. – Soren Kierkegaard
My crushes on brooding Existentialist men continued into college. I was a French major, and since the study of French literature and philosophy are intimately intertwined, I got heavy doses of both. Actually, I got most of my philosophy at the university pub, where I would seek out some messy-haired misfit sitting alone at a table in the corner, a draft beer in one hand and a copy of The Myth of Sisyphus or Being and Nothingness in the other, an unfiltered Camel spinning a vertical skein of smoke in an ashtray beside him. I’d wander over to his table, as if pulled by the centrifugal force of his intellectual intensity, and if my confidence were fortified by enough cheap wine, I’d try to impress him by tossing out a reference to Heidegger (mispronouncing the German philosopher's name in the process). If I weren’t drunk enough, I’d simply sit at an adjacent table and watch my outcast brood.
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. – Albert Camus
Brooding. Now we're getting to the hot, steamy core of my obsession. I’ve always been deeply attracted to intensity in men – physical, emotional, intellectual. Nothing turns me on more than a man of conviction, one who’s fully engaged in life. I love guys who not only read and write and contemplate with passion, but who propel those thoughts into action. Camus was active in the French Resistance during WWII. Andre Malraux was also in the Resistance, was passionate about the arts, and served as
Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one's ideas, to take a calculated risk - and to act. – Andre Malraux
But before a man’s thoughts explode into action, I wanna watch some brain cells smolder. He can brood about the absurdity of life, about the ultimate isolation of the individual, about the problem of moral responsibility, or about whether his boxer shorts are clean enough to wear on a first date: doesn’t matter to me, as long as he’s deliciously troubled. Just contemplating those pouting lips, that hooded gaze, makes me burn with the desire to tear off his clothes and invade his alienated state. And as he plunges naked into the abyss of being, I want him to plunge straight into my eager, open . . . . uh, library.
To prove that I’ve gained sexual confidence over the years, I’ll post drool-inspiring photos of a few men who are still unattainable to me, but sexily, broodingly alive. Okay, maybe they’re not pondering the question of whether existence precedes essence, but whatever they’re thinking about (probably not my nude body, but one can always dream), they look damn good doing it.
Rufus Sewell, looking gorgeous in black and white
while trying to make rational sense of human experience
Christian Bale, attempting to reconcile the
absurdity of life with his own smoldering hotness
Jake Gyllenhaal, undoubtedly contemplating
the slavery of the human condition
Who are your favorite brooding, troubled hotties?