Yes, I'm a Man and I Love Outlander: One OutMANder’s Perspective

Written by: Glenn Gotling


Editor's note: Isn't it pretty much every Outlander-obsessed woman's fantasy to find a man who loves the show and books as much as she does? I mean, beyond having Jamie show up IRL at your door step what could be better? And so we introduce this guest post by Glenn Gotling, a regular reader of and commenter on our blog. We don't know his wife, but I think we can all agree she's lucky.

When I was asked to submit a guest post about a man’s perspective on Outlander — an “outMANder’s” view, so to speak — I started jotting down things I thought men would like about Outlander. And then I realized I can’t speak for all men. I can only speak for myself.

So I dropped the universal man idea. Instead here’s why Outlander has rocked my world. Feel free to share it with your husband, significant other, office colleague you’re trying to impress — and you’re welcome.

I first got hooked on the series by watching the show. The first thing that snagged me was Claire (Caitriona Balfe). I was stricken with her beauty, and by that I mean the many facets of her beauty. I may not share the same perspective on female beauty as other men, but to me a woman’s beauty is found in the “softness” of her smile and laugh.


Of course, I love a woman’s other “attributes” too, but they take a back seat to the essence of the woman, and I find that essence best expressed in her smile. Caitriona has a lovely smile, but she also has the rare ability to have many “looks” and all of them enchantingly pretty. I could gaze at her for hours.

But beauty alone would not compel me to binge read all eight books over a four-month period. Yes, I did that. The character of Claire “hooked” me, but a whole lot more kept me coming back for more.

First, there’s the history. I love history, so a good period piece always draws my attention. I’m a fan of adventure stories, too, as long as there’s more “story” than exploding bombs and car chases. Finding a love story I like is a little more dicey — so many of them are Lifetime Movie Network types or saccharine enough to rot your teeth. I’m also generally not interested in “chick flicks” or movies that explore relationships for the sake of exploring relationships.

But even a story that has the triumvirate — history, adventure and a love story — still needs more to snag my attention. It has to be written well enough to engage my heart and mind — and that’s why I love Outlander. Outlander is the total package.

The Jacobite rebellion would be enough of a historical story on its own to grab me. But thanks to these characters, the history became human. These are people we care about, not caricatures. The twist to the story that a 20th century woman is thrust into the camp of the losing side of the rebellion and that she eventually tries to alter history to change the outcome of the rebellion allows us to imagine it doesn’t have to be a fait accompli, which expands the fantasy in a compelling way. It’s the historical and fantastical aspects of this story that made this more of a “must see/read” for me.

But with the fate of the Jacobite rebellion decided by the end of Season 2/Book 2, more than that kept me reading books and looking forward to Season 3 — and that’s the foundation of the story. I’m referring, of course, to Jamie and Claire.

I’ve already declared my love for Claire (my wife understands 😊), but I focused on her physical beauty. Claire as a character is wonderful, too. She is intelligent, strong, passionate, aka just about everything this man could want in a woman.


And Jamie’s character is as well developed as Claire's. He is a man other men can admire. He’s obviously physically handsome and hunky and that’s important for getting the girl — something all men yearn for — but he’s also everything a man would want in a friend and a woman would want her man to be. What’s not to like? The two of them make a couple both men and women like and root for. They both seem very human and very real, if not almost too good to be true.

The fact the story takes place in the 18th century allows the chivalrous Jamie to be a knight in shining armor when such men still existed. The interplay between the 20th century “liberated” woman and the 18th century prince is both engaging and integral to the growth of both characters. We see Jamie learn how his relationship with Claire needs to be different than the typical 18th century man/woman relationship and watch while he not only adapts but actually appreciates having to do so. We see Claire come to rely on and appreciate Jamie’s protection in ways that weren’t necessary or expected in the 20th century. We see their love deepening to the point where both would lay down their life for the other, and we believe it. We care about them, and we want to go along with them wherever their story takes them.

The story is not without violence and sex, but both were handled exactly right. Both types of scenes went right to the edge and maybe a little over without being gratuitous or exploitative. I was disappointed Season 2 didn’t have sex scenes like Season 1 — not because I just wanted to see sex scenes, but because the missing scenes eliminated some of the beautifully depicted intimacy between Jamie and Claire that is such a vital part of their relationship. It isn’t necessary to see more skin, but it would be good to see more of Jamie and Claire being intimate with each other.

While the books certainly convey these character developments beautifully — and obviously are the genesis for all that happens in the show — let’s face it: without the spot-on acting the show wouldn’t work. Diana Gabaldon provided the story, the characters, the humor and witty repartée, but the actors need to pull it off. And they do, in spades.

In the first few episodes of Season 1, I knew the characters by the actors who played them – Claire, Jamie, Frank/BJR, the MacKenzies, etc. – but not the characters presented in the last part of Season 1 and all of Season 2 because by then I had read past the point of the TV series. I wasn’t disappointed with any of the casting and, in fact, I thought some were even better than my imagination conjured. Score an A+ for casting. The acting is outstanding, especially the main characters. I would favorably compare the acting in Outlander to … well … just about anything. It’s damn good and pulls the entire story together and makes me want more.

I’m not sure what your plans are come spring 2017, but I know where you’ll find me: glued to my TV and eager for book 9 to arrive.


Does your husband or significant other watch Outlander or are you the only one in your household who's a fan? Are you a male fan? Weigh in and let us know what you think. We know you're out there, men. 

34 comments

  1. I think a lot of women will be sliding this under their husband/lover/significant others noses Glenn. All hoping to convert them into an OutMANder too! Well done on picking out the variations on the story that will appeal to any thinking person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If your man is pushing you away and acting distant

      Or if the guy you’re after isn’t giving you the time of day...

      Then it’s time to pull out all the stops.

      Because 99% of the time, there is only 1 thing you can say to a standoffish guy that will grab him by the heartstrings-

      And get his blood pumping at just the thought of you.

      Insert subject line here and link it to <=========> Your ex won’t be able to resist?

      Once you say this to him, or even send this simple phrase in a text message...

      It will flip his world upside down and you will suddenly find him chasing you-

      And even begging to be with you.

      Here’s what I’m talking about:

      Insert subject line here and link it to <========> Is your man hiding something? He may need your help?

      Thanks again.











      .

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  2. So enjoyed this male fan perspective, thank you! On the questions, consulted with hubs who says he enjoys watching Outlander but isn't a fan as he is with Walking Dead and college football.

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    1. Karen---there's still hope :) If you know Voyager you know there is some Walking Deadish stuff coming in Season 3 :)

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  3. Thank you Glen,for this awesome post of Outlander's appeal to both genders, I am currently working on my husband to join me as I watch by informing him of one of his favorite bands lead (Dave Mustaine of.Megadeth) appreciation of the show also.

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    1. Paula, This is just an aside, but Dave Mustaine and Sam Heughan are friends. I've seen them tweeting each other on Twitter. So maybe that's what got Dave watching . . . his friend is the lead actor.

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    2. Excellent approach Paula. Let us know if you're successful. :)

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  4. My husband is an Outlander! After endless teasing about my crush on Jamie, I finally convinced him to watch. Now, he luvs Claire and thoroughly enjoys the show. We're both Walking Dead heads, but it doesn't interfere with Outlander, so we enjoy both, but Outlander is definitely the better of the two. I love that we can share this awesome show/book series.

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    1. My husband is also a fan. I have read all the books, and I have to be careful what I say about the show because he DOES NOT want to know something that is going to happen until he watches it. Actually, he was irritated at the commercials for the coming season, as they gave away things he did not want to know yet. But all in all, we enjoy watching the shows together.

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  5. Damn auto correct! I meant he is an OutMANder!

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    1. Kelly
      Lucky you! My hubby watches too....but is still a little confused by my obsession. It's become a bit of a family joke at this point....which I'm totally fine with.

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  6. I'm happy to have my own OutMANder too! My husband will never read the books (he's a scientific journal kinda guy, not a fiction reader) but after I had seen the first couple of episodes of Outlander and suggested it might be something he'd like, he gave the show a try (which meant I got to watch those episodes again!)...and loved it. We're both looking forward to the new season...any month now. ;)

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  7. Great essay Glenn! I only disagree with you (and everybody else it seems) on one point. I think the absence of intimacy between Jamie and Claire in Season 2 was appropriate. BJR tortured and raped Jamie at the end of Season 1. He also played mind games with him using memories of Claire to add to Jamie's emotional distress. Jamie was suicidal and it took a hell of an effort on Claire's part to drag him away from the edge of that abyss. From what I've read on the subject, it's completely normal for victims of rape and torture to avoid intimacy, to not want to be touched, etc. So I think the estrangement between Jamie and Claire during Season 2 was to be expected. Otherwise, I agree with all your points. Thanks for sharing!😉

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    1. Yup, very true. I'm actually in the middle of re-watch ing season 2 and it does not lack intimacy at all, it's in the way they look at each other, the way they kiss, hug. There's so much more than sex that make J&C relationship special.

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  8. My husband is also an OutMANder! He has read all the books and enjoys the show as much as me. We love talking about each episode and discussing pluses and minuses compared to the books. I think he'll agree with most of this.

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  9. What a great article, and spot on. I'm with you, come April 2017, I will be glued to the TV watching Outlander, too. It's amazing.

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  10. Saturday is Outlander night here. My husband was watching the first season marathon before season 2 debuted and I was able to start him at the beginning. My 73 year old father is planning a trip to Scotland so I bought him Outlander the book. He's gone on to buy books 2 to 4 on his own and is watching the dvd's of the show. I was on a flight reading on my nook and the man next to me saw a page and he'd read the whole series. There are OutMANders out there!

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    1. Kimberly--I LOVE all these comments, especially about your dad reading and prepping for his trip to Scotland. That is so awesome! OutMANders come in all ages!

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  11. Yes, my husband watches Outlander with me. He also has read the books up through volume 4. He likes the adventure and the concept of trying to adapt to life in the 18th century. He has a great sense of humor about my obsession with the love story portion. I often find snarky comments/dialog attached to my Outlander calendar invented for my amusement. I never know what Frank or Jamie will be saying next! :)

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  12. Thanks Glenn. Enjoyed your perspective and agree with your points. My husband has watched Outlander with me. I asked him to share the experience with me and told him the producer, Ronald D. Moore had worked on Star Trek, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and produced Battlestar Galactica. All shows that we had enjoyed watching together. We watched all of season 1 and 2 together (my second time through) over 4-5 weeks and he is a fan as well, anticipating April and season 3!

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  13. I'm surrounded by OutMANders and love it! My husband watched right alongside me (though mind you, doesn't quite understand my propensity for rewatching several times). Then I sucked my mom and aunt in. That led to my gruff uncle and then, hand to God, my dad - who disappeared off our family beach trip into his room with an iPad for 2 days and 18 episodes. While the shows loudest fandom consists, most certainly, of women - we are in the company of good men who understand quality literature and programming when they read/see it. Great post, Glenn!

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  14. What a great post,lovely to see that man also like OL very much,of course there are many.many more woman OL fans,but heartening to see this post Glenn,Thank You!

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  15. Thanks for all the kind comments. I really enjoy this site and feel privileged to contribute. Droughtlander is a tough slog and it's nice to have a place to come hang out with friends.

    I'm a hot and cold reader, maybe feast or famine is a better way to put it. I read all 8 Outlander books in a little under 4 months and then went almost a year before I read another book cover to cover - a non-fiction book. I like history and philosophy most in the non-fiction category but when a fictional story grabs me, which is fairly rare, it reaches deeper than non-fiction and Outlander certainly is on that short list.

    Glenn

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  16. I watch Outlander via Amazon Prime on my iPad and I've read all the books - several times. I finally bought the Season 1 DVDs a few months ago and my husband has watched 13 episodes. Now that he's seen Jamie (Sam) he kids me about his looks a lot but I do think he likes the show. At the end of 13 when he learned that Jamie had been taken by the Redcoats he said, "Poor bastard." lol I'm not sure how he's going to react to episodes 15 and 16. The fact that his grandmother was Scottish and he loves history helped me get him to watch it in the first place, now I'm waiting to see if the final two episodes will make or break his interest for Season 2. We shall see.

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  17. I discovered the show a week ago. I'm a guy and was worried there was something wrong with getting so into this story ... it's a romance novel right? Boy was I wrong. So many emotions as I watch this. So impressed by caitriona balfe -- such beauty and wonderful acting talent -- if she doesn't become more well known in the next few years I will be surprised. So ready to throw on a kilt, drink some whisky, and start a brawl. So much sorrow for the lost cause of the highlanders. I even found myself getting misty eyed thinking about the idea of family and time (thinking about my late parents). After watching The final two episodes of season 1 today, I told my wife "this is no romance novel".

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    1. You're so right Luis--so much more than a romance, so much more. Glad you finally found Outlander

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  18. I ran across the book series by accident several years ago. At the checkout, I asked had she heard if they were any good. I was told they seemed to be very popular with a lot of customers, so I bought the first two. I wasn't willing to buy more in case she was wrong. My home is 75 miles from closet bookstore. So I started reading as soon as I was home........and stayed up all night and through the next day. Even though I was "punchy" from lack of sleep, I stayed up the next night until the early morning hours, and finished book two DIA. I woke my husband up and told him he just had to read these books. He has never been a big reader unless it work related.... exciting software info lol
    I then told him I was leaving immediately for that bookstore 75 miles away. I bought the entire series out at the time 1-7.
    My husband began reading and although not as fast a reader as me, he picked them up whenever he had any free time at work. At home we were both reading as fast as we could.
    Years before, I had talked my husband to read a variety of books by others authors, both men and women. Now, Diana is his absolute favorite author.
    Last, a short story to show how much he thinks of the characters. He was faced with a personal
    decision. He thought of Jamie's character and asked himself....."What would Jamie do?"

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  19. Typo error in my comment. "Closest " not "closet". Lol.

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  20. My husband and I watch Outlander together, although I don't think he will be dedicated enough to read the books ;)
    He loves & respects Caitriona's beauty & talent as much as I do Sam's. He enjoys the political intrigue, the sword fights, the landscapes, the clan friendships and the realistic depiction of a long-term relationship. I enjoy the scenery, costumes, attention to detail and the relationships too. What my husband enjoys most though, is that I can go to my happy place in Outlander world, which is good for my soul and great for our intimacy.

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  21. I didn't persuade my husband to watch Outlander -- just sat him down for our usual evening routine and turned it on. He didn't know it as romance and honestly, the violence came within minutes with Black Jack Randall and his attempted rape, then the Highlander gang in battle. Violence underscores so much of the series of books, it was dangerous times, and this holds male interest. Jamie gives a solid male POV through his repartee with Claire. But underneath is the feminist Claire pushing at 18th century patriarchy. Scholars give this a 5* rating - especially the wedding episode when there is the 'female gaze' with the camera admiring Jamie's body. . . men are not accustomed to experiencing this and they will unknowingly experience the Bechtel test in spades. So get your men watching! Mine watched the entire season on successive nights and complained if there was a change of schedule.

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  22. My husband eagerly watched seasons one and two with me. *And* he asked questions which led into me sharing tidbits from the books. He truly does enjoy watching Outlander with me but absolutely refuses to read the books. When I asked him why, his reply was a very abrupt, "Because I don't want to." So I didn't ask anymore.

    He's looking forward to seasons three and four. :-)

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    1. Btw - my picture is me in a 14th century dress, silk veil, and a silver coronet. I belong to a history organization that recreates the middle ages and renaissance. So it's a hobby. I haven't gone off my rocker!

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  23. I am a male Outander addict. I normally read a fair amount of fantasy and science fiction so the backdrop of the story was second nature to me. I also enjoy historical fiction, so decided to give it a go.

    I binged watched seasons 1 and 2 in January and fell in love with the character of Claire. Cait Balfe is an amazing actress. But the part that made peek ahead on Wikipedia and then to binge read the novels (just finishing Book 5 now) is the relationship between Jamie and Claire. I love the romance, which works so well because of the quality of the writing, the history, the fantasy, all intertwined.

    But my wife clearly thinks it is nothing more than soft porn. She won't watch the show with me because of the violence. But I don't care. I am obsessed with this couple, their romance, their lives, their family.

    So other men out there, beware. Let me be a cautionary tale. My wife is an Outlander widow. My children roll their eyes when I mention something Jamie, Claire, Brianna or Roger said or did. My male friends just look at me with pity as I down an extra pint of ale to prove I am still manly. Beware! Or you may start taking Gaelic at your local community college before too long.

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  24. If your man is pushing you away and acting distant

    Or if the guy you’re after isn’t giving you the time of day...

    Then it’s time to pull out all the stops.

    Because 99% of the time, there is only 1 thing you can say to a standoffish guy that will grab him by the heartstrings-

    And get his blood pumping at just the thought of you.

    Insert subject line here and link it to: <=========> Your ex won’t be able to resist?

    Once you say this to him, or even send this simple phrase in a text message...

    It will flip his world upside down and you will suddenly find him chasing you-

    And even begging to be with you.

    Here’s what I’m talking about: <=========> Is your man hiding something? He may need your help?

    Thanks again.








    .

    ReplyDelete

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