HARRY HAS TO MARRY (writing men’s lives like women’s)

true story: when an unmarried royal dude turns 30, he becomes jennifer aniston.

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as i’ve pointed out before, there’s precedent. remember 1981? yeah, i don’t either. but i’ve been told it was intense. in part because this guy…

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aged 27 in 1975 told women’s own magazine that “thirty is a good age to get married.”

then 30 rolled around…

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and he wasn’t hitched.

cue PANIC TIME.

dsc-6829-1and then…

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mission accomplished.

except, y’know, not really because that didn’t go so well but the point here is that it’s a hop, skip and a couple decades from here…

HRH_Prince_Charles_43_Allan_Warrento here:

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to begin with, “larrikin“: a lout, a hoodlum, a young urban rough.

there. the daily mail is officially good for something other than romance narratives promoting gender norms. it is building our vocab.

so now that we’ve labeled harry a royal young urban rough, i’d like to direct your attention to the problem at hand: HARRY IS TURNING 30!!!

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and, because he isn’t currently dating anyone, he is going to die alone.

this is maybe my new favorite sentence of all time…

“Yet as his 30th birthday rapidly approaches next month, Prince Harry stands at the precipice, gazing into the future, alone.”

because, umm…

RIGHT?!?! IT IS THE SAME MOMENT. this is harry in the peaks and about to go to pemberley.

anyway, if you read the daily mail‘s celebrity reporting with any regularity- which i wouldn’t advise, but you probably already do- then you’ll know that their stories of celebrity relationships swing dramatically between the involved camps.

this story, for instance, penned by a daily mail writer conveniently named “daily mail reporter” is totally team cressida The One bonas.

check it…

* “lengthy periods of separation failed to extinguish Harry’s deep longing to be with her — he is said to be very needy — and the end was painfully lingering.”

* “Their parting has been more hurtful and difficult than has been portrayed. Friends report that the Leeds University-educated actress, a grand-daughter of the 6th Earl Howe, was inundated almost hourly with texts and phone messages from Harry ‘to the point where it became almost unbearable’.”

* “Others who know the prince well have described his actions as ‘a bit suffocating’.”

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if the whole HARRY IS A HOOLIGAN GAZING INTO THE FUTURE ALONE bit wasn’t clear enough, this pretty much does it: “The decision not to continue the relationship came from her, not Harry.”

so the point of this article, driven by the messaging of Team Cressida, is to make her the winner. she broke up with him. he’s suffocating and will die alone.

remember where we were just a few months ago?

Screen shot 2014-04-04 at 7.44.56 AMBritain's Prince Harry reacts on the trading floor of  BGC Partners, in London

srsly, ya’ll:

“The fact is, Cressida was temperamentally unsuited to the discipline of being a royal girlfriend and was ‘really rattled’ by endless pressure about possible marriage. A single woman again, she could focus on her acting career and her part in the promising play There’s A Monster In The Lake.

Cressida had also been given a role playing a merchant’s wife in a Judi Dench film, Tulip Fever, based on the Deborah Moggach novel. Although she isn’t one of the main characters, the screenplay is being written by the respected Tom Stoppard.”

that is basically a press release. and it goes on for six more paragraphs about the bonas connection to the royals… blah blah blah.

boom: “To be dumped a second time from a serious relationship (Chelsy Davy, now a high-flying lawyer, was the first), just before his 30th birthday, is an unhappy setback for Harry.”

why, pray tell? because “The idea of being a single, playboy prince for the rest of his days is not a fate such a very emotionally clingy man finds attractive.”

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in truth, i know nothing of the emotional clinginess of prince harry. what intrigues me is that the two women mentioned here- bonas and davy- are both portrayed as career women: davy is a lawyer and bonas is an actress. whereas we have to plow through 25+ paragraphs of the above to get to discussion of prince harry’s work.

and, when we reach it, we’re told this:

Personal relationships aside, the prince is playing an increasingly vital role in the new-look, media-friendly Royal Family. A girlfriend on his arm would only benefit the brand.

personal relationships aside for HALF A SENTENCE!!! because, in not having a girlfriend, harry is letting down The Brand.

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not only that!  “colleagues are worried his career has stalled”, he’s going through a “a depressive episode” and “seems to be going through a rough patch” as “the helicopter pilot prince is most definitely grounded for the foreseeable future.”

it gets better? NOOOOOOOOO. it gets worse.

WILLIAM IS SO HAPPY.

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he may not have any hair, but he’ll not die alone!!

so what is to be learned from all this? fear not, it’s the daily mail so you know they’re going to whip out a moral and slap us upside the head with it. and here it comes…

for, in harry’s story “There are echoes of what happened to Prince Andrew after the Falklands war.”

remember that?

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nope? so prince andrew went to war and returned a hero (“full of promise”) and then he took a desk job and his career pretty much went away. AND THEN he didn’t tell the whole truth on his website where he “boasts he ‘left active service to support the Queen as a full-time working member of the Royal Family’”.

as the daily mail so generously reminds us “working with charitable and not-for-profit organisations and maintaining close links with the military, his life of relative leisure, combined with globe-trotting duties, hasn’t exactly covered him in glory.”

which brings us to the moral of this whole story, the “important lesson here for Prince Harry”: “The younger brother of a future king needs to have a career-path mapped out just as strategically as if he might wear the crown one day himself.”

tumblr_m81celxjQg1rbd5qjo1_500this is, admittedly, a problem that effects, like, less than nine people in the world, but you know what’s central to it and effects everyone? this: DO NOT DIE ALONE.

advice courtesy of uncle andrew: “Loneliness. That’s the one thing I’ve known more than anything else — loneliness. You’re on your own.”

“Right now,” according to the daily mail, “nobody knows that better than Harry.”

and what’s the best cure-all for loneliness? “a new girlfriend is just the tonic to ease the pains of this needy young man.”

Prince Harry visits Africa

so i’m wondering if i’ve made a big deal out of nothing. if everyone’s going to read this and go “meh.”

because i’ve not quite brought out the point of why i’m banging on about it: the fact that this is fascinating- seeing this type of language (“alone”, “needy”, “suffocating”, “clingy”) and logic (with a romantic attachment, everything will be better and YOU WILL NOT DIE ALONE) applied to the life of prince harry. and it’s fascinating precisely because it is more often applied to women. it is, in fact, the way we write about women’s lives all the time.

except for, in writing the life of a woman, there would’ve probably been less mention of her career (see also: amal alamuddin). it’s almost a guarantee that this was fed to the daily mail by someone in bonas’s camp precisely because, in it, her career is given representational parity with his. that’s not normal.

and it’s not a coincidence that this is in the “femail” section of the daily mail. it’s a story written for women, written in a way we’re accustomed to reading because it’s how we’re usually written.

that doesn’t feel like much of a point to have gone to all that trouble to make, because it is at once so obvious and so subtle, and yet that is maybe why it is an important point to make. the fact that stories like this one are rare because this is how they more typically go:

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the full article is regendered here.

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One thought on “HARRY HAS TO MARRY (writing men’s lives like women’s)

  1. Pingback: Prince Harry “Bridget Jones” Windsor, US Weekly, “the single life,” and futher thoughts on “Lothario DiCaprio” | finding jackie

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