12 August 2008

The Calm before the Storm

Tomorrow I'm going up to Oxford to look at a Byron archive, but then also to do something I very much don't want to do.  So I thought I'd give myself a break tonight by not writing about anything worthwhile or important or even interesting.  Forgive me, but here is a post that at least at first glance is about...David Tennant.

In today's online Daily Telegraph (not a paper I normally peruse, even online, so how I arrived at this nugget I can't remember) there appears a picture of David Tennant and his new girlfriend leaving a play.  Actually, for me the most interesting thing about this photo is the fact that David Tennant looks incredibly English in it:  he's such an English "type" here, and although he's pleasant looking he is, like most of that type, not especially sexy or good-looking.

That charming-looking young lady next to him is the new girlfriend.

Now, this makes the third person David Tennant has dated in a year, and the fourth if you count the person he broke up with just before that year started and he started dating the first of the three (the math is confusing there, I know, but I'm betting you can work it out).  Perhaps even more interestingly (or sadly, in what it suggests about the parameters and limits of David Tennant's life), all four of these people have been involved with the making of Dr. Who.  Now, when it turned out that Mr. Tennant was dating this fourth woman, my first response was, Wow, he's cutting quite a swathe through the ladies of Dr. Who.  Another version of this thought, one which I had immediately following it, was, Wow, he's going through those Dr. Who women pret-ty quickly.  In other words, David Tennant did not come out of this latest entanglement very well for me.

Walking down the street today and yesterday, however, I have been rethinking this (in case I've mentioned thinking about something whilst walking down the street before here, I want to say that I do quite a bit of my contemplative thinking walking down the street these days.  I used to do it while cooking, or getting ready for bed, but the street gets all the thought action now,  it seems.  I suspect this is because cooking, preparing for bed, and walking, are all repetitive activities that require very little thought, and thus leave me free to think).  And what I have been thinking is, I think of David Tennant as being a bit of a lothario here, a love 'em and move on easily from 'em sort of guy.  But it need not be that way.  And here the thought widens out more generally from David Tennant.  We all know serial daters, I'm guessing, people who don't seem to have much space in between relationships, and/or who seem to have many speedy relationships.  And the general feeling, particularly if those people are men, is that somehow the person is exploitative, or shallow, or faintly distasteful in some unnameable way (although at the same time one may feel envious, or wishful, or - if one ascribes to a certain type of manliness - "hey, hey, you go, you lucky dog!").  But what if, in fact, the person is completely in earnest in each relationship, and/or very lucky?  That is, the person could just as easily be thinking about each relationship, I'm sure this is the one.  This person is really special.  That last one was a bit of bad luck, but this one feels right.  And then, when that relationship ends, they can say the same thing about the next:  Okay, that last one wasn't the one, but this one feels different (as of course it does, since each relationship is different).  I bet this one is really going somewhere.  So what looks like lack of caring is in fact die-hard romanticism.  And, at the same time, maybe the person just meets a lot of people, or is having a particular run of good luck, so that what looks like a string of conquests is actually just women who happened to show up at the time they did (which, if you're Dr. Who and you get a lot of co-stars and co-workers, is probably quite often).  

And, of course, it's worth remembering that sometimes people just date.  Now, I'd say that once you have sex with someone you are no longer engaged in light dating - things become more intimate when you've had sex, and it becomes rather more difficult to exit the relationship as you might after, say, six sex-less dates.  But I am not everyone - indeed, I'm not even most people.  Last time I counted, I was just one person.  So perhaps my notion of what makes for an intimate relationship, and my notion of what constitutes dating, are different from many people's.  And, you know, I could see how you could try someone out, see how it goes, and when it doesn't go well you leave.  If you do this all in a couple of months, damage would seem to be minimal.  I think we are encouraged to see every celebrity relationship as serious right from the start, when, since that isn't true in the real world, there's no reason why it need be true in celebrity-world, either.

So, I say, Huzzah for you, serial daters, provided you are not being serial daters in a cruel way, and provided you take a step back every now and again to be sure that serial dating is working out for you.  Conditional support, I know, but conditional support is, in most cases, the best anyone gets.

And sorry, David Tennant, for making assumptions about your private life. God knows you deserve to be left alone to live your life in peace, so this is the last entry in which I'll use you as a personal example.

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