One day at Boulder Creek, I was the only girl working a lunch shift. The guys were all engaged in this animated argument that was traveling throughout the restaurant. They’d fight, take care of their tables, then go fight some more. I had no idea what all the ruckus was about until the group made its way into the kitchen during some down time. I was then accosted.
“Judi! Who would you date: Superman, Batman, or The Flash?” I was asked. Without hesitation, I responded: “If I had to choose out of them, Batman.”
Wesley began cheering, as that is the superhero he adores.
“But I’d take Spider-Man over Batman in a heartbeat,” I continued.
Oh, the uproar! All the guys stopped battling each other and ganged up on me! How could I pick Spider-Man! What kind of woman was I!
This, as I have come to understand, is not an atypical reaction. Awhile back, I read a blog about superheroes, and in the comments, I once again went to bat for Spidey. The overriding reaction was that it was nice in theory, but in real life, women will always choose the Superman or the Batman.
DISCLAIMER: I AM ONLY SPEAKING FOR MYSELF, AND IN NO WAY PRESUMING TO SPEAK FOR ALL WOMEN EVERYWHERE.
Let’s discuss this. First of all, Superman. No. I grew up with Superman more than any other superhero. I read Superman, Superboy, saw all the movies. It was the ’80s! Evidence would lead to my loving Superman. But really, Superman’s someone I’d just be friends with. He’s a little too serious for me. It’s why I’d never choose Dawson over Pacey, or Nick over Daniel Desario, or Marissa over Summer. Funny is key. Navel gazing and angst is lovely, but not without the funny. Superman could take me out for a romantic dinner and look nice in a suit, but…yawn. Not to mention that personally, I always found Clark Kent a thousand times hotter than Superman. If there were no Superman, only Clark, then maybe things would be different.
Batman? In one of my comments I said something along the lines of, “Batman can kiss my ass.” That didn’t go over too well. And you know, upon reflection, perhaps I was a bit harsh, something I shall explore further in Part 3! But like, I don’t mean to disrespect Batman as a superhero so much as I feel like I did in the late ’90s when everyone assured me that yes, I would have sex with Dave Matthews and I was like, no, I would not. I feel like, He gets enough women! He doesn’t need me! Batman’s a player (I don’t know enough about Dave Matthews to know this, and enough about him anyway (FOR NOW).) And the one thing I’ve taken to my thirties, the invaluable lesson I’ve learned is, player, please. At some point, you’ve got to learn that, or you become part of the problem. Reinforcing the idea that women want assholes. And you know, assholes are one thing. You can be a good guy and be an asshole in your own unique way. I’m talking about the selfish assholes. I’m saying “assholes” way too much. Sorry. What I mean is that, I don’t think Batman knows how to treat a woman right. He could make me laugh, but I think if I were to take up with Batman, I’d be back to a lot of Saturday nights alone in my apartment watching “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Fine when it’s by choice. Not so much when you’re worrying that your boyfriend is off somewhere sexing up some ladies in slinky cocktail dresses.
To be fair, Bruce Wayne is very smart, and that goes a long way with me. But not if the guy doesn’t have that innate compassion. I’d never really feel like Batman would care if like, my cat was sick. You know? And if all you can see when you look at a guy is Sprinkles, you end up having sex with him while engaged to Andy. Lose-lose.
Now. I almost had a change of heart recently, tempted to put a different superhero as my number one. You see, I went to see “Iron Man.” And I was not really familiar with Iron Man. But he’s COOL. Tony Stark was a total player, but even I can’t deny his charm. It’s the smart, funny thing.
Anyway, so I’d never sleep with Tony Stark, but I’d totally enjoy hanging out with him. However, once Tony Stark becomes Iron Man, he really changes. All of a sudden, he starts caring about things, and people, and himself. He questions everything he’s been, the emptiness under the shiny facade. Smoke and mirrors. What did he really have to show for his life? Tony Stark watched his friend die, and it was sad, but his friend died peacefully, going to join his loved ones. And you see Tony Stark thinking, “I have no one waiting for me on either side.” But then of course he tries to make good, and continues to be Iron Man and be awesome, and he is always surrounded by metal. Costume- AND music-wise! Fabulous.
Plus, Stark at long last realizes that he’s been living with Gwyneth Paltrow, and she loves him, AND can rock a backless dress! Win-win-win. Well, if you like Gwyneth Paltrow, which I do. I always have, and we’ve weathered tougher times than this. Also, she’s awesome because she shoots him down for the time being, and someone really was due to rebuff Stark.
But Spider-Man — he’s Spider-Man. He’s Peter Parker! A complete and utter geek who loves his aunt and uncle more than anything except maybe the girl next door. Mary Jane. Mary Jane’s cute and all, but Peter just gets her in a way that no one else does. She could get lots of guys — but Peter cares about her. Peter is smart, funny, kind, and most importantly, loyal. He may waver in his actions; he’s not perfect. But he loves with 100% of his heart.
Iron Man? He sure does like Pepper, but he doesn’t really see her. He doesn’t recognize that he has his own redheaded girl next door. But what really puts Spider-Man ahead of Iron Man for me is this: Tony Stark didn’t realize that he needed to try to be a good guy until he kind of had to. How old was he, and still living a completely self-centered existence? Too old. There reaches a point where you become too old to be that self-centered, that self-indulgent, without its really saying something about you as a person. It’s good that Tony Stark cleaned up his act and is doing good things and being awesome as Iron Man, but I couldn’t be with him romantically. I’d always be worried that his change, though drastic, was too external, that it wouldn’t really stick. Some women, like June Carter and Jenna Fischer, can totally deal with that sort of thing. Me, not so much. Iron Man’s hot. He’s an awesome superhero. He’s incredibly smart and has a wonderfully dry sense of humor. But I don’t think I could ever fully trust him.
Peter Parker, I would trust. Because he has an innate conscience. An innate ability to love and be loved. A capacity to care about a girl beyond fuck first, get to know her later. If she’s lucky. Peter Parker’s old-school. He cares about people besides himself. When he messes up, he’s disappointed in himself. And he’ll risk his own life without hesitation to protect the people he loves. But because he’s a good man, he’ll also risk his life to protect the people he doesn’t love, because it’s his duty.
Spider-Man wins my vote for which superhero would win my heart. For all of the reasons I mentioned, but if I could only pick one reason, it would be this: all the superheroes are great superheroes in their own ways. But in my opinion, Peter Parker is the one who cares less about being a superhero, and more about being a hero. IMHO.
~ STAY TUNED FOR PART 3! YET ANOTHER SEQUEL ONLY TANGENTIALLY RELATED TO THE…PREQUEL? PRECEDING SEQUEL? I DON’T KNOW.
ANYWAY. PART 3 SHALL BE: I, LIKE BUFFY, NEED A LITTLE MONSTER IN MY MAN: WHY VILLAINS AND HEROES OF QUESTIONABLE MORALS ARE MY FAVE!
AND PERHAPS IF I USE ENOUGH CAPS I WILL REMEMBER TO WRITE THE SEQUEL BEFORE 2019! ~
~ July 6, 2008