Unless you were comatose, on the moon or at a Harry Potter marathon, everybody in ArmitageWorld has seen The Pictures. Ironically I didn’t see them on the iPad publication but in blogs, tweets, Facebook comments and emails within 15 minutes of release. Richard Armitage has done photo shoots before but the amazing thing about these pictures is how they caused ArmitageWorld to collectively swoon. I walked over virtual bodies, so to speak, as I was summoned to the chat room for account for myself.
The problem started a few days ago when Sir Peter Jackson released his second video blog. RA appeared for a few seconds displaying a new look.
RA as himself, during The Hobbit break
Fans squeed approvingly over the buzz cut (probably short to stay cool under the wig) and clearly natural color hair. They loved his beard. Simply adored it, would crunch it between their toes and eat it with a spoon if they could. The consensus was he looked tired but happy if only a little thin and possible sun or wind burned. They described his look as real and accessible. What did I think? Well, you know me. I wryly commented he looked like an escaped convict who got sun or wind burned going over the wall. They suspiciously speculated this was not a ringing endorsement.
I knew he would have his beard for the Recognize magazine photo shoot edition due out next month. However the pictures today from Project Magazine came as a surprise. This is the first one I saw.
RA clearly misses Thorin
Many women (and apparently some fellas) exclaimed this was one of his best pictures EVAH. He had attained the epitome of manly perfection and need not do anything else to himself. My reaction was “Nah nuh!” Hence I ended up in that chat room with the nick “Anti Beard Judi” debating Beard or No Beard (also Hair or Not and Chest Hair or Not – well, you don’t want to know) for almost three hours with no less than 20 people.
RA shows how to stylishly mug in dark halls.
I asked what was it about The Beard that made them swoon and break into cold sweats. They said in a nutshell: “he looks so VIRILE, like a REAL man, not a pretty boy. He looks so RAW, and PRIMAL and SEXY! PHWOAR!” PHWOAR! wasn’t actually used, it was worse than that, but all capital words were. I was aghast. “What’s wrong with you girl?” they cried.
“But he IS a pretty boy!,” I retorted. Let’s look at some examples, shall we?
RA as a pretty boy in main publicity picture
This is his main publicity photo. It’s slightly and badly airbrushed under the eyes but that’s how he looks. He can’t help himself. Now look back at the bearded photos. You can’t see the dimple at the corner of the mouth, the dip over his lip or all of his lips, the curve of his chin or the planes of his face as it slopes downward; you only hair which obscures it all. You also don’t see how his hair curls over his forehead or gently shapes his face because it’s mostly gone, shorn like a sheep. And observe, he certainly looks like a virile real man. Tell me he’s not sexy.
RA still being pretty sans make-up.
Here he is again, sans make-up after an awards show, still not being able to help himself. There’s some stubble. He looks about to smile. You see the planes in his face. You couldn’t see that with a beard. Hair frames his face, makes you look at everything. And let’s be honest, we all love to look. Fans have gushed over these pictures and more. No matter what fans say, his looks play a significant part in the squee factor. But now we have pictures like these and fans have lost their minds.
RA suspecting the beard disguise won't work anymore either
I don’t care for the beard because it obscures his looks. Beautiful people have no need to cover their faces. Don’t get me wrong; he’s rocking the beard. His long angular face goes well with one. But he doesn’t need one (other than for his character) because it doesn’t really enhance his looks. Plus a beard with a buzz cut is too much. It’s a personal preference but I think buzz cuts make nobody look good. They make ugly men uglier and handsome men less so. They remind me of skinheads, so I guess that would be a personal bias. I think RA is too good looking for styles that can only take away.
It seems to me from that chat room, setting aside personal preferences for beards and very short hair, that many fans would prefer something that takes away. They want a beard covering his face and hair shorn to make him less of a pretty boy, the very thing that attracted many fans in the first place. It’s like many are saying “I can’t stand all this pretty; I just want him to be (extraordinarily) sexy man next door!” Am I missing something here?
Call me old-fashioned. I like a man with hair on his head, and if I’m going to spend my time eyeballing a pretty man, I want to see all the pretty.
Doesn’t anybody agree with me? Anybody? Bueller?
All photos courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com