Man, the unmarried men are taking a beating this week. And lest you imagine this is confined to the pages of the Daily Mail and the person of Leo “Lothario” DiCaprio, nope, ’tis not. Enter US Weekly and Prince Harry.
We have, of course, been here before. Twice before, actually. This has also had something to do with age- specifically, Harry’s 30th birthday in 2014, whereupon there was a noticeable increase in the narrative of Harry Has To Marry RightNOW.
The Mail, of course, sounded the alarm in August 2014:
And then in May 2015, Harry gave an interview where he said this:
“There come times when you think now is the time to settle down or now is not. But I don’t think you can force these things. You know, it will happen when it’s going to happen. Of course, I would love to have kids right now, but there’s a process … that one has to go through.”
The Guardian, in turn, in its coverage of the tabloids’ coverage of this interview, took things a step further and asked:
The latter point I’d agree with 100%. That we’re finding parity in shitty, marriage plot storytelling rather than expanding the possibilities for everyone, however, I find grim.
The Guardian‘s claim (and this Bridget Jones parallel does seem to have arisen in the Guardian‘s reportage rather than that of the tabloids), of course, somewhat predictably led to this declaration from the Prince:
So we live in a world where Prince Harry is on the record as having officially denied that he is Bridget Jones. (Is it really such a stretch then that Donald Trump is running for the Presidency??)
Which brings us to The Now and back to US Weekly…
As LaineyGossip has pointed out, one of the great hilarities of this article is that, fed up with the single life and ready to settle down with a princess, Harry is pursuing two women.
Sounds like some princely American-style dating, no?
Seriously, odds are 9,000 to 1 that Talia Ergas is American. I’ve never heard a single British person talk about putting themselves out there.
Talia is also, I imagine, Team Chelsey (I mean, really, aren’t we all?), an inclination indicated by this little non sequitur…
Though the phrasing in this paragraph makes it sound like Davy is one of the things the Prince has to “get done before settling down.”
This is, you will note, a SIGNIFICANTLY frothier piece that what the Daily Mail did to Leo. Harry may be “fed up with the single life,” but US Weekly takes it as an article of faith that he will not “end up miserable and alone.”
In their responses to the question of whether they will marry, DiCaprio and Prince Harry are essentially saying the same thing: it’ll happen when it happens. Since Harry is royal, there’s an assumption that it MUST happen for him eventually, whereas this is an arena in which DiCaprio- free of dynastic demands- has far more free will and choice.
There is, however, one key difference in the way these quite similar stories are being told. Did you catch it?
Prince Harry is “Fed Up.” He wants to be married. This is what leads to the Bridget Jones parallel- the sense that he wants to be married and he is not.
DiCaprio is also not married but the assumption about him is precisely the opposite, which is probably what leads to the extreme moralizing in the Daily Mail piece.
Leo does not appear to be fed up with the single life, and he is not publicly lamenting his unmarried status. If anything, he appears to revel in it.
How does loving the single life turn out? Not pretty, if the Daily Mail is to be believed…
If, as the Guardian claims, we are starting to write men’s love lives as we write about those of women, then I’m intrigued about where the “Lothario DiCaprio” narrative fits in. When women are unmarried, they are typically written as Prince Harry “Bridget Jones” Windsor is here- albeit with less generosity and the assumption of more personal blame in their sad and lonely unmarried fates.
But what about when women are single by choice? I’m trying to think of a female celebrity where that is the narrative and I can’t think of one. The story is always one of finding love, losing love, wanting to find love, finding love again, losing love forever, remembering the love one once had.
Women, it seems, do nothing but fall in and out of love. And, of course, marry.
Perhaps this is the story because of a cultural assumption that no woman is single by choice, and so women’s stories always hinge upon either marriage or the tragedy of its denial.
But the lesson we learn from Leo is that there’s a similar plot for men. It looks different, yes. Leo, here, has choices, and it is those choices that the Daily Mail is taking issue with.
His ex-girlfriends have married and started families. Leo has chosen to be with models and remain a bachelor. He is not “fed up” with being single and does not appear to be longing to “settle down.”
Nowhere in this 984 word article does the author consider that maybe the life Leo is living is, in fact, the life Leo wants.