We live in a golden age of male romantic heroes. There’s Ansel Elgort. There are three different blonde, extremely well muscled Chrises. Timothee Chalamet is also there, and attractive to a wide variety of women who pronounce his name in a wide variety of ways. Michael B. Jordan played a character literally named Adonis, and that was appropriate.
But if I may suggest a different romantic movie hero that everyone is sleeping on, and sadly, not considering sleeping with — Stanley Tucci.
Look, I know he may not be an obvious choice. He’s bald and he seems like he is always wearing tweed. But in any theoretical game of F-ck, Marry, Kill, you should always marry Stanley Tucci.
That’s true of nearly every character he’s ever played (except for the murderer in Lovely Bones. Obviously, do not marry that guy).
Consider The Devil Wears Prada. Based on the popular novel, the movie chronicles Andrea (Anne Hathaway’s) attempt to survive working at Runway Magazine under her demanding boss, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Stanley Tucci plays Andrea’s mentor and Miranda’s best friend, Nigel. He is the only unquestionably good person in that entire movie (Andy’s friends are, as has been established many times, terrible. While other people are questioning why Andrea even wants to work at a wildly prominent fashion magazine, Nigel is a beautiful shining beacon of support throughout this whole movie. As other characters disparage women for working too hard (and that’s true whether the woman in question is Andrea or Miranda) Nigel seems to love and admire these women’s ambition. You think he would fly into a sulky rage a la Andrea’s boyfriend if she had to miss his birthday party for an incredibly important work event? He would not. He would save her a cupcake and ask her to tell him all about it when she came home. Find someone at least as supportive of your career as Stanley Tucci is in this movie.
Honestly, the exact same sentiment could apply to his role in Burlesque. When men seem intimidated to be with formidable women, think of how downright joyfully Tucci’s characters are to be alongside both Meryl Streep and Cher.
But he doesn’t seem amorous enough? Have you seen Julie & Julia? Once again paired with Meryl Streep, Tucci is a perfect supportive spouse to Julia Child as she chops approximately a thousand onions in their kitchen. He adores her love for life. She gets into cooking and he, thrilled, accompanies her to restaurants. Also, they are always having sex, because like food, that’s just a part of life they’re approaching with relish. And you know it’s probably good, because the character cares about his partner’s happiness.
Just in general, always try to be with someone who looks at you the way Stanley Tucci looks at Meryl Streep.
And in Easy A he’s everything you could hope the father of your children could be. As Olive (Emma Stone’s) parents he and Patricia Clarkson seem to parent primarily by 1) being supportive and 2) making hilarious jokes. He is entirely accepting of whatever his daughter is choosing to do with her body, he just wants to get everyone together for movie night. He also looks very handsome in this grey shirt.
As Daniel Lavery, seemingly the only other person who fully understands this, wrote at The Toast in 2015, “If Stanley Tucci were your boyfriend, he would occasionally turn to you, smile warmly, and call you “Champ,” while wearing a scarf. He would also call you “Sport.” You would find it endearing and waggish and not in the least patronizing.”
Having someone to cheer you on in your work, and having that be a relationship attribute you desire, is too often seen as something for men alone. In the modern world, though, it’s just as important for women.
Look, you cannot marry Stanley Tucci, because, as you might expect, he is married to a very cool lady (a literary agent! They probably read each other passages of books they enjoy!) But in a genre where behavior that’s creepy or outright predatory is sometimes lionized, Stanley Tucci’s characters are exemplars of non-toxic masculinity. He’s not going to stand outside someone’s windows blasting a Phil Collins song in a way that upsets the neighbors or hire a private investigator to hunt down his former prom date. The fact that his characters are willing to take no for answer doesn’t mean he doesn’t love the woman he’s with. It’s proof that he does.
And you deserve that. Someone who will support your goals. Someone who will be proud to stand by your side. Someone who will make the often arduous task of parenting fun. Someone who, incidentally, also does look really nice in a grey shirt.
This guest post on the Agape Match Blog was written by Jennifer Wright.
Jennifer Wright is an author and political editor-at-large for Harper’s Bazaar. Her pop history books include ‘It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Break-Ups in History,’ the Audible bestseller ‘Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and The Heroes That Fought Them,’ and ‘We Came First: Romantic Advice From Women Who Have Been There.’ Her work can be seen in places like The New York Times, The New York Post, The New York Observer, Time Out New York, and some other publications that don’t have “New York” in the title. You can follow her on Twitter @JenAshleyWright.