Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why Rick Blaine is the Perfect Man


Some women spend their whole life trying to find the perfect man, and some men spend their whole life trying to be the perfect man. Well let me make it very easy for both sexes: when you look up "the perfect man" in the dictionary (which you can't, obviously, because that's three words and dictionaries only work one word at a time, BUT IF YOU COULD) it would say "see: Richard Blaine." Even Captain Renault, the Italian captain of police in Casablanca describes Rick as "...the kind of man that... well, if I were a woman, and I were not around, I should be in love with Rick." And here's why:

He likes to travel. Spain, Paris, Morocco... Rick Blaine has more than just a couple stamps in his passport. And from wonderful places, too. Granted, he is technically running from the law (and Nazis) and can never go back to America (for reasons unknown but no doubt shady... I'd like to think he killed a man. It's the romantic in me.) but haven't we all done things in our past we're not proud of?

He owns his own business. Rick's CafĂ© AmĂ©ricain. Sure it's a gin joint seething with illegal activity, but it's popular and extremely lucrative, making him one of the most well-respected and sought-out people in town. Plus, free drinks!

He has confidence without being a showoff. You know those guys who have to constantly be the life of the party? The ones that talk too loud just so everyone around them can hear? Rick Blaine is the opposite of that guy. He has a quiet confidence, elusive even. He has an understood authority and command of every situation. He doesn't need to put on a show for people; he doesn't need to impress anyone. He is completely comfortable with himself, and there is nothing more attractive than a man who is confident without having to announce it.

He's not threatened by other men. He's just as secure as he is confident. Unlike some guys who feel the need to show the agonistic behavior of a silverback gorilla when threatened by the dominance of another man, Rick Blaine never creates a spectacle. He's always as cool as a cucumber, never throwing a punch or raising his voice. Even when he's introduced to his ex-lover's husband, Victor Lazslo, concentration camp escapee and leader of the underground resistance, rather than beat his chest out of jealousy, he admits how impressed he is with him like a true gentleman should.

Rick: I congratulate you
Victor: For what?
Rick: Your work.
Victor: I try.
Rick: We all try; you succeed!

He has a sense of humor. When Major Strasser, a German official, tells him that the Nazis have a file on him, that they know everything about him, and everything he's done, Rick takes the notebook from the German's hands, looks it over and responds, deadpan and without missing a beat, "are my eyes really brown?"

He's a snazzy dresser. White dinner coat? Suits during the day? Sure, maybe that's what everyone wore back then, but they made Rick look extra dapper.

He's more interested in you than him. Before Isla ripped out his heart via letter at a train station, he was just a man hopelessly in love with a woman he wanted to know everything about. "Who are you really, and what were you before? What did you do and what did you think, huh?" What woman doesn't want a man who is completely and utterly interested in everything about her? It sure beats the guys who can't even be bothered to ask how your day was, let alone try to find out what makes you tick at your very core. Or heck, just what your favorite color is.

He pays attention to detail. Some guys don't even notice when you get your hair done, let alone be able to remember what you were wearing the last time he saw you (years before!).

Ilsa: I wasn't sure you were the same. Let's see, the last time we met...
Rick: Was La Belle Aurore.
Ilsa: How nice, you remembered. But of course, that was the day the Germans marched into Paris.
Rick: I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.

Swoon.

He isn't a womanizer. After he got his heart broken he became, as Captain Renault describes it, "neutral to women." He turns down drinks from beautiful women in his bar and even Sam can't convince Isla that he has a woman over at the Blue Parrot. He doesn't fill his broken heart with one-night stands, or bed women for the sake of loneliness. He only gets involved with women he truly has feelings for, so you're never left guessing whether or not he's just using you or playing games. What a relief!  

He's sentimental.  Underneath Rick's hard, cynical exterior there is a soft, mushy center. Sure he says that he doesn't stick his neck out for anyone, but that's just for show. He has a long track record of being on the side of the underdog. He fought in the Spanish civil war against the fascists, he allows visas to be sold illegally out of his cafe, and he even rigs a game of roulette to allow a young Bulgarian couple to win enough money to go to America. Sure, it's dishonest... but it's done for the right reasons. If you're going to bend the rules, it's best that's it's done for the betterment of others. He also does heart-warming things that aren't illegal, like allowing the band to play France's national anthem to drown out the group of Nazis singing "Die Wacht am Rhein." And probably the most selfless and sentimental thing of all: giving his one true love, Isla, an exit visa and putting her on a plane with her husband, Victor Lazslo. Then lying to Victor and telling him Isla pretended to still be in love with him in order to get the visa, just to assure him of Isla's faithfulness, when in reality she was ready to say "sayonara" to Victor and stay in Casablanca with Rick. In the end, Rick doesn't necessarily do what is honest (or even lawful) but he does what is right.  And isn't that the kind of man you want? Someone who would sacrifice his own happiness for the happiness of others? 

I think I rest my case.

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