Almost every woman I know has fallen in love with Tormund Giantsbane. The Khal Drogo fetish was straightforward – physical male beauty at its apex – but Tormund is a different matter altogether. Intelligent women are swooning over him on social media, demanding a storyline that puts him and the hulking, spiritually magnificent warrior Brienne of Tarth together.
This made me think about men and women and the fatal differences in our culture’s gender marker behaviours. Old school males believe in the perpetual canvassing of the female population for sexual partners. Their gameplay is tried and tested and, with apex predators, perpetually refined. The same lines, the same looks, the same tricks are used on all their targets because the entire process is hollow and depersonalised, triggered by their need for validation rather than genuine feeling. Humour and substances (alcohol, drugs) are the most popular techniques employed, because they act as disinhibitors with their targets.
Their canvassing can either be overt (clubs, pubs, bars) or covert (preferred by men in relationships), in which sex sites and social media are used to approach scores of women. Outrageous sexual suggestions are followed by jokes or exhortations to drink. The goal? Pan-global masturbation or hotel room hookups. Basically, living porn. Their capacity for love is so stunted that they cannot conceive of dedicating themselves emotionally, mentally and sexually to a single woman, with everything that such devotion entails. Renouncing porn? The idea of such limitation is hilarious to them because sexual entitlement is part of the gender identity package. Devotion, they think, would make them less of a man. So they lie, manipulate, hide. The disconnection between sex and love cannot be bridged. Emotionally, they’re deformed.
“What is wrong with men?” I hear this over and over and over again.
Which brings us to Tormund. He not only falls spectacularly hard for Brienne, but his love is exclusive from the beginning, infused with appetite and wonder, joyous. He loves the way human beings should love, with intimacy and tenderness and discrimination. The spontaneity and intensity of his feeling has women stamping their feet with desire. As one meme says, “On a scale of one to Tormund Giantsbane, how much are you into your current crush?”