In case you may have forgotten, Matt Miazga prosecuted the "Scandal of the Century" trials in Saskatchewan. Christie Blatchford's hormones got stirred up while covering the trials of the killers of Pamela George and Colin Thatcher's recent bid for early parole. Should we question the judgment of a court reporter falling for a prosecutor? Is it anything like a juror falling for an accused? Alas, when entering a courtroom it is not always possible to check your hormones at the door.
For Blatchford's serious side: Crying Wolf
There are a gazillion perfect men so far as I'm concerned.
My peculiar burden has never been finding the one and only I might adore, but rather the opposite. God forbid you should take from this that I have the pick of the litter, or ever have done. All I mean is that I like the breed. I like the look of men; I like the ways of them; I like the little hollows the fittest of them have at the sides of their bums. I even like how they all sit with their knees 10 miles apart in order to provide sufficient room for gear which, at its grandest and in my not inconsiderable experience, would never require a fraction of that space: It's the attitude I admire.
My mother used to say I was boy-crazy; my best women friends still believe I am hopelessly misty about men. "Oh for Christ's sake, Blatch," one or another will say from time to time, "Give your head a shake." In the increasingly tragic absence of anything else at hand, I do.
I used to imagine I was speaking for all women when I wrote about men or my high regard for them. The sisterhood has corrected me. I am soft on men; ergo, I speak for me, baby, and no one else.
In my twisted world, it's easy for a guy to attain perfection. The smartest woman I know, Tracy Nesdoly, tells me I am a sucker for a pretty face (Tracy herself goes for a rat-faced man nine times out of 10), and I suppose I am at that, but it's not like I'm a stickler.
The main thing is that he read. I like a man who likes the written word. I like a reader, not a watcher, and no, I do not mean an intellectual; those guys would have nought to do with the likes of me. What I like is the ability to turn a phrase. The contenders here are legion: A passel of my colleagues, Postie and otherwise (Mark Steyn, Paul Wells, Dr. Norman Doidge, Bill Cameron and Cam Cole, and, from the Globe, Rick Salutin) and a handful of e-mail regulars and most of my male friends. The winner: A tie between two authors, one old-school (John Updike) and one new (David Gilmour), both of whom clearly love words and use them well, especially when writing about sex.
Also, I like a guy's guy. Guyness is critical.
This is a difficult thing to define, but I know what it is when I see it. It may be best captured (a definition I first heard from a former husband) in how a guy knows how to behave in a strange dressing room -- that is, he is quiet, respectful, speaks only when spoken to, and does not mess with the existing guy chemistry. Probably the man who best captures this is Mark Messier of the New York Rangers, who, as Nesdoly reminded me recently, was a perfect guy on the night his friend, the great Wayne Gretzky, retired from hockey. Mr. Messier ambled onto the ice wearing dark sunglasses, as if to say, "Hey, we know this is all so much hooey, you and I, but ain't it nice?"
I like a man with a bit of badness. Many of us do. Bill Clinton was not adored by women because he was a great president. Enough said.
Vulnerability is good. A little is, anyway; a lot of it and you might as well be with your girlfriends.
But a glimpse, a hint of naked soul, is a touching, lovely thing. I was searching my mind the other night for an illustration when a great male friend remembered a giant party I had last summer, which many Posties and a herd of other media types attended.
It was a Friday night in August. Everyone came in shorts or jeans or casual summer clothes.
Midway through, I was tapped on the shoulder and turned to see Conrad Black standing behind me. He was wearing, of course, one of his beautiful suits. For the next couple of hours, he was alternately swarmed, avoided and courted by a crowd of those who either worked for him, or wanted to, or had, or swore they never would. He ended up being the hit of the party, charmed everyone he met, and never was he anything other than himself.
I like a man who listens, and I do not mean this in the modern sense where the poor bastard is expected to sit alertly and reverentially as his woman natters on about her various "issues," and which is best exemplified in a Jeanne Beker riff on men in the current Flare magazine.
I mean by this only that I like a guy who will let me finish a sentence and maybe even a thought, should I have one. Actually, I like anyone who will do this. Either I am growing more boring by the day (possible, maybe even probable) but it does seem that no one, man or woman, listens anymore. Give me a big lug of a slow talker, like those boys they grow by the truckload out West. Maybe they simply have better manners. The Saskatchewan prosecutor, Matthew Miazga, is the poster boy here.
I like funny. All my best male friends are, too, in the manner of guys -- great at telling stories and doing imitations. Two favourites who make a living at it are Ron James, the great rude Newfoundland comic, and Shaun Majumder, self-described half-Newfie, half-East Indian and member of The Bobroom troupe.
General bluntness and swearing well is key, if only so I don't have to gussy up my own language too much. It's my fevered hunch that the man who can use the great all-purpose four-letter Anglo-Saxonism well, in all its glorious variations, can also usually do the deed in all of its. My winner here is Post deputy editor Martin Newland.
A man is not a man if he has no passion. It can be anything -- politics, cooking, sport, books, children or animals -- but if he doesn't have one thing that renders him weak at the knees and faint in the head, he likely isn't capable of being swept away. Gardening guru Mark Cullen fits this bill.
One overtly sexy feature is a bonus. Fortunately, it can be anything. I have fallen for men because I liked their shaved heads, front teeth, overbites, hockey player legs, skin, gaze, the long muscles in their arms and big schnozzes. The man who may best embody this is Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman, a nice, otherwise ordinarish-looking guy -- and from Nepean, Ont. no less -- but with a mouth that is nothing but luscious.
Men may not hunt and gather any more, but lots of them still have the self-sufficiency, even courage, that exercise required. Consider Lorne Goddard, the Red Deer lawyer and public school trustee who in merely doing his job as a defence counsel -- representing, in this case, an accused pedophile -- found himself being attacked as a supporter of child porn in his hometown newspaper by Stockwell Day, at the time the powerful treasurer of Alberta. Mr. Goddard had the temerity then to defend his good name, with the results we all know, though not so well as that province's taxpayers.
For Christmas last year, I bought my friend Nesdoly a fridge magnet that reads: "She liked imaginary men best of all." We laughed and laughed, but guess what? It isn't true: We like actual ones better, which I think means the joke is on us.
Finally, to answer the question as it was framed this week in the National Post commercials for this series -- "Does size really matter?" -- my answer is no. To quote Nesdoly, who ought to know, quoting the French actor Brigitte Bardot, who really ought to know, "There are no secrets. There is only enthusiasm."