Reading a review of the movie, SHERLOCK HOLMES, which I loved by the way, I noted a comment by the writer about the homoerotic vibe between the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. This set me to thinking about how often I see this particular comment any time two charismatic male characters share a strong and affectionate friendship. Is it possible for such characters, portrayed as they are, to have such a friendship without hint of homoeroticism? I’m beginning to wonder.
Both characters are charismatic, both passionate about what matters to them, both bear respect and affection (normal qualities in any friendship) for each other, and both are clearly heterosexual. I think it’s the “respect and affection” qualities that give rise to homoerotic speculation, mis-coloring the psychologically masculine characterizations.
Over time culture and society changes—a long, slow process–and as social change takes place, as cultural philosophies alter to absorb new psychologies, people tend to forget the value of some qualities that are a part of human nature.
We decry the loss of courtesy and consideration toward one another, we know that naivety can land you in serious trouble (and that’s a constant), we recognize that like gender can attract like gender, and we try to cherish our friendships because people, afterall, need each other, but we forget that past cultures like the Victorian were more emotionally demonstrative even within the repressive confines of the society.
The friendship displayed between Holmes and Watson in SHERLOCK HOLMES is like that of two brothers, like that of two men who simply care about each other. I don’t see a reason why that cannot be normal too.