Sick, Sick, Sick: Men Who Take Care Of Others Are HOT
by Madeline Iva
We’re celebrating Kiersten Hallie Krum’s latest novel SEAL’d WITH A TWIST. SEAL’d… features a hot doctor named Grant who was in the first book in the series. He takes care of others–and when in Book 1 he can’t heal a buddy and that buddy dies–he becomes totally tormented. So I wanna talk about THE BIG SICK and guys who care for those who hurt.
Which brings me to a new obsession of mine: the whole hurting/caring trope in fan fic. Lurv it so hard. I get the ovary spasms over it the way other other women almost die looking at a super hot guy holding a baby. This is why women go so crazy for doctors, of course. Nothing new here. But I’ve always felt a leetle removed from the doctor thing. After all, it’s usually the nurses who do the tending, isn’t it?
I will confess to two exceptions to this rule. (They’re weird–don’t judge.) One is the doctor who removed my wisdom teeth. That guy was nothing super to write home about, but I’d delayed getting my wisdom teeth out because I didn’t have the money and then I got a massive infection. My obnoxious roommate at the time pointed out that having a really bad infection near your brain isn’t good. Ya think? My maxillofacial surgeon had this amazing bedside manner. “There there, it’s gonna be okay,” was the gist of his reassurances, but something about how he conveyed that to me in my distress just had me crushing out on him for about a week.
The other doc was (wait for it) Charles Dance in Aliens 3. Yes…Charles Dance is a fabulous (now somewhat elderly) British Actor. in Aliens 3 he played Clemens a “medical officer” who treats Ripley. Basically he tends to her wonky health from all the deep space time and other issues she’s experienced. He gave her these little tinctures, and was just kind of attentive to how she was feeling. It’s really just a tiny break from all the alien biting mayhem, but he’s an amazing actor, and that bit of a role was very well written. The whole Ripley thing–a woman trying to save humanity when the other humans around her are most often just not being very helpful — and then suddenly someone actually cares about HER — not in some overt soppy way, but just kind of peering at her and then “making it better” — well, it really got to me.
Which brings me to THE BIG SICK. Omg, I was almost crying to death just hearing about the movie–just watching the previews. Why was so deeply affected? I think it goes so deep with me that it goes back to the trauma of watching my mom when she was 34 and just really ill. She needed someone to step in and just sure things were going to be okay. No one did–and she died. (I know, I know, it’s very sad.) The prospect of a romance hero stepping in to care for someone who’s sick and needs someone to ‘make it better’ just undoes me to the f*cking core.
So anyway–my sweetie and I go see THE BIG SICK and…while it was a good date night movie, for sure. But ultimately I was let down. I mean, there’s much to rejoice about in this based-on-a-true-story, and I enjoyed it as much as any other semi-rom com I’ve seen in a while. There are critics out there as well for the movie. All of their stuff has to do with race. I’m not talking about that.
I’m talking about my fav hurting/caring trope. There was much hurting…In the movie, Emily gets really sick really fast and is in a coma in less than 24 hours. But we don’t see a whole lot of tending to from the “hero” Kumail Nanjiani. He’s funny, he’s a good actor. It’s great to see someone raising themselves up by their own bootstraps vis-a-vis creating a movie that others aren’t writing with East Asian leads. Huzzah to all that. I think at one point before the coma, Emily’s ankle hurts and he’s solicitous. At one point when she’s in a coma, he urges the family to make one decision and not another. Like…that’s it. Other than that, he’s sitting around and waiting with her family. Which is what you do when someone you love is in a coma…true. But I guess I was expecting more after-care when she comes out of the coma…I mean, I can easily see there’s a kind of feminist “I can take care of myself” and “I don’t need a man to take care of me” kind of thing maybe going on. But come on–this is just basic humanity we’re talking about here. We’re not talking about opening a door. We’re talking about being on the cusp of death and it’s all hands on deck.
After the coma, Emily’s got PT, she’s not all together for a while. And he…anyway, he tries showing her his devotion and commitment–but as she points out–that’s all fine and good. “Only all that happened while I was asleep.” And in the audience I’m saying the next line I would have written, “But what have you done for me lately?”
Again, in the movie, he basically is forced to choose at one point between his family and his true love– and he chooses her. That’s romantic. That’s a big deal. But in my heart, I also would have preferred him to help her with the groceries. Because this is Chicago — groceries, a cane, and no car — these three things do not go well together. You know what I’m saying?
A caring partner to help you out just when you need help the most. The very idea makes my heart do intense crunches…We leave behind the realm of women who are afraid to take a big shit in a potential love interest’s apartment. We enter the world where you look like sh*t–and he doesn’t care. Because he loves you. You are not great company because you don’t feel well–and he feels badly–not because you’re not funny and charming at the moment–but because you’re hurting, because he loves you. For some reason we have accepted hand in hand the idea of not needing men and at the same time performing for them a lot — getting out of bed to put on make up before he wakes up. I find this appalling. Utterly appalling. I think women fear they’re not somehow worthy of being so deeply loved that their humanity and flaws don’t really matter. So maybe that’s why I’m all about this kind of a trope–because I think we need to march in the opposite direction. I think that a lot of good men out there who would excel at nurturing and caring–if given the chance.
I may have a write a story or two about this in the future. And because germs and feeling punky in general are not the hottest thing when it comes to sex–they may have to be on the sweeter side of the heat spectrum. They may have to live in the more squishy comforting side of romance.
In the meantime, Kiersten’s really got talent at portraying that heavy throb of hurting and the need for some deep romantic connection. In her book, I find that the scorching sex to make it all better–at least for me. Please go check out SEAL’d WITH A TWIST! (Don’t you lurv the cover? I think it’s crazy hot.)