Arrrrrr! Bring Me Some Pirate Treasure!
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.
Where’s a playful pirate when I need one? And why don’t men like role-playing more?
It occurs to me that I have never had a boyfriend who would have dressed up as Captain Jack Sparrow. Or really, anything. Even dressing up in near-normal gear on Halloween was always a stretch for any man in my life. And considering how much I love to dress up and play, either physically or as a novelist, I think I’ve been woefully deprived. Yes, I have a rich imagination.
It’s not necessarily a pirate thing or even a Johnny Depp thing, though the joke in my house a couple of years ago was that the girls didn’t think any man was worthy of me except maybe Johnny Depp. Then Aislinn met The Treat and suggested I ask him out as soon as my divorce was final, so I guess Johnny had a little competition and didn’t know it. But maybe one of the reasons I’ve always appreciated Johnny Depp as an actor was his willingness to take on so many different kinds of roles.
I always loved role-playing in school. More than once in high school and college, I was assigned a part in a play when I didn’t even audition, strictly because I was asked to read opposition the person auditioning—and I was given their part when I wasn’t even interested in being the play except to help with the costumes. That was during the era when I wasn’t so interested in acting, possibly because of the way I got the lead role in my first school play and that I didn’t really believe auditions were objectively conducted.
I really, really wanted the lead, but I was very quiet, shy, and an unpopular English geek. We didn’t have auditions at all. We were asked what roles we wanted and the teachers assigned them. The most popular girl in school got the lead part and I got an unwanted walk-across-thestage-in-utter-silence part that I didn’t want but someone had to do.
We practiced for months, and a week from our debut, things still weren’t coming together. The lead hadn’t learned her lines yet and wasn’t that interested in the part at all. I resented that she’d been chosen based on her popularity and her real-life expressiveness—which didn’t translate well into her acting skills. With the play falling apart and the teachers stressed, the faculty insisted she learn her lines by the next day or she was out. Except that if she was kicked out of the play, there would be no play because who could learn the lines and blocking in 3 days?
I have to admit, it was a very satisfying moment for me when my teacher called me in for a private meeting and told me the lead actress preferred my walk-on part and would I please, please, please consider taking the lead if I thought there was any way I could learn my lines in 3 days?
I’d heard the whole play regularly from behind stage, so I already knew most of everyone’s lines. I stepped right into the role, which was one of a “popular girl” that I wasn’t, and in the hour-long play, missed only one cue three days later. The real-life popular girl got the role she wanted, I got a part I relished, and a good time was had by all.
I certainly wouldn’t mind a guy who dressed up as a pirate. Heh. Or liked me dressing up as a pirate and raiding his treasures.
But for as much as I love imaginative play, I can’t think of a single man in my history who had any interest in fantasy. Maybe I’ve just auditioned the wrong kind of guy all these years.