A very puzzling thing I have discovered on the internet... and I think it surely can't be a problem I alone have noticed... you see, I greatly enjoy British period dramas. Actually, no, that's a lie. I like a certain type... the type where it's 50% character drama, 50% dudes in cool uniforms blowing 12 types of shit out of another with black powder. Yeah, Sharpe and Hornblower I'm talking about - the stuff that provides evidence of the non-existance of God due to the fact that all other TV 'drama' isn't just like it. The stuff that would make me actually get FoxTel on the proviso of it having a 24/7 Napoleonic Drama Channel.
My mate Dan also loves Hornblower. Another one of mates isn't crazy about it, but still gets a kick out of it. And one of my online mates is ye another fan. We are all male.
So... why is every Hornlower/Sharpe fan site female-dominated to buggery? It seems on no Sharpe sites you will find quotes about Liz Hurley being hot in Sharpe's Enemy, but will be falling over posts about wanting to pour honey all over Jamie Bamber/Sean Bean/Paul McGann/Lyndon Perkins for their roles in either series. Some sites have a layout that makes you feel faintly gay for even opening them. Online I feel a freak for liking these stories and being male!
And yet... watch the shows. In his first adventure Hornblower blows apart a large group of cheering Frenchmen with his cannon whilst sailing under enemy colours. Sharpe's Honour ends with Sharpe duelling with an insane partisan on the end of a chain with carving knives. Hornblower nearly gets beaten to death. In Sharpe #1 Harper shoots a guy through the throat with a ramrod. Paul McGann kills roughly the population of the Crimea during his time on the show. It's bloody, it's brutal, and by god it's vulgar.
But the girls just lap it up! Maybe I should just leave it here and assume that men in tight trousers killing one another flicks a lot of switches out there... but it still puzzles me. Surely there must be an equal amount of guys watching these shows? So how come they don't take that love online? To me, it seems to work like this: guys make websites for X-Files, Heroes, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. Girls make websites for anything in a period setting. Is that right?
Oh, put a sock in it, you sexist bastard! you say, Even if it is true (Which it probably isn't) what effect does it have on your... existence. See I was going to say life but then I realised that wouldn't be the correct term.
Jesus. Tough day?
Maybe. Now answer my question, bitch
Very well. The problem is... the fanfic suffers. C'mon, people, we pretend it isn't, but we all know the truth. Guys write action stories/fanwank stories/stories that make no sense and make you go 'whu?'. Girls write comedy stories that aren't funny/occassional parodies that are funny/slash/slash/more slash.
You are going to hell you sexist arsehole
*sigh* Yeah, it's a tough sell, I know, but it's TRUE. You want proof? Because I got it. A Sharpe fansite, supposedly 'the biggest' had some degree of fan fiction on offer. Wisely, they advised people named 'Sean Bean' to not answer. I could not help but note that all but one story was labelled as gay slash. The Hornblower section didn't look much better.
Erm, yeah, well...
AND let's have a look at the ONE STORY, I found that 'doesn't' contain gay slash...
Diana Villiers was throwing a party. It was a particularly good party as Diana Villiers never threw bad ones. There had been a set guest list, she swore there was, but it seemed everyone in the vicinity of Bombay this night had contrived to come to her party.
Lieutenant William Lawford was slumped wantonly against a wall in the far corner, eyes closed, mouth open, as Dick Sharpe licked and sucked at the mango juice that had run down Lawford's fingers and wrist.
Allow me to explicitly state it doesn't get better from there on. And that Lawford was a Colonel, not a lieutenant.
So... what happens now? Well... how about a cheap joke about writing the first bit of heterosexual sharpe fic?
"Olrigh' ya bastard, what d'ye want?" demanded the Northern captain Sharpe of the snivelling redcoat ensign. As Sharpe gazed at the young boy's round, soft face and his deep almond eyes, he was as ever pleased that his wang was as unmoving as Gibraltar.
"I-i-it's the Countess, sir... she's been kidnapped!" The Ensign spoke breathlessly and in a stutter not because he wanted to perform erotic acts on Sharpe, but simply because last week he was wetting his bed in Devonshire and was now in a frigging uniform getting shot at 24/7.
"Roight! G'ess I'd better save 'er arse!" responded Sharpe thoughtfully, fingering his rifle, his fingers thinking of something else...
*Skip through 85 chapters of pure brilliance*
Colonel Badguy turned on his heel in shock. His sweat-streaked face, illuminated by the flickering torchlight, still was repugnantly ugly. Sharpe reasoned that, even if he ever did decide to become a homosexual out of boredom or from the demands of his puzzling fanmail, he would need to be a member of the Chatham regiment to contemplate sleeping with the bastard.
"Captain Sharpe!" cried Badguy effeminately, though he was actually completely straight, and merely off-guard at the current time, and generally spoke in an impressive Basso-soprano tone emboldened by his all-garlic diet "You were dead, I saw you die!"
"Nah, mate, what'd you saw was it'bag of apples with a face painted on it. A trick I learnt from Colonel Mason back in the Middle East."
"But how did you possibly get past my 2000-strong division of hashashin sabre-tossers, my specially trained guard hippoes, and my experimental griffin?"
"With difficulty. No more questions."
Sharpe's giant, manly rifle pumped itself, offloading a gigantic payload into Badguy's face, with no hint of a subtext at all.
Sharpe then found the Countess and had sex with her. A lot.
Oh, yeah, posting here is going to be irregular. Did I mention that?