Today is Rowan Atkinson’s birthday! Happy birthday, Rowan!
I love this man and his comedy absolutely to pieces. I’ve never met him, but I did meet Hugh Laurie when I was working on the Fox lot back in 2005. I told him I’d been a big fan of his since Blackadder. He demurred and said thank you, almost breaking his unbreakable American accent he’d perfected for House. (I was told no one working on the set knew he was a famous British actor.) But if I’d met Rowan Atkinson, I’m not sure I’d have been quite as cool. I’d have probably made a face like this.
Back then, I was experimenting with online dating. I’d started with Match.com, as I had two good friends who’d met on that site and married. (They are still happily wed to this day.) I decided to do something creative that would weed out potential contacts from the get go to such a degree that I’d know instantly if they were worthy of further conversation. Instead of writing a straightforward description of myself, I decided to write a dialog where Blackadder and Baldrick would describe me in conversation. Back then, I had Betty Page bangs and looked very goth, which shows up fine in photos. But as you know dear readers, there is so much more to being me. I figured the dialog would both flesh out my character while attracting Blackadder fans and geeks alike.
Match.com rejected it. I tried several times. The system wouldn’t accept it. I tried each time to reach customer service and find out why. I didn’t get a real person until the end. The rep said he’d rejected it because “It doesn’t describe you.” I terminated my account and put up the dialog as an ad on the Craigslist dating section. I got about 100 responses in just a couple of days. The first 98 or so said, “This is so awesome that I am not worthy of you.” Of the two remaining responses, one was someone I’d already encountered and hadn’t felt a connection, and the other was potentially awesome except that he was allergic to cats.
I then put it on OKCupid, where it lives to this day garnering appreciative emails from Blackadder fans around the world. With apologies to and great affection for Ben Elton, Richard Curtis and especially Rowan, I now offer it to you for your Blackadderlicious reading pleasure…
“I have a cunning plan, my lord.”
“Baldrick, you wouldn’t know a cunning plan if it pushed a thumbtack in your forehead attached to a helium-filled, aluminum balloon that read ‘Happy Birthday! Here’s a Cunning Plan.'”
“But it is a cunning plan, my lord.”
“Well, what is it, Baldrick? Can’t you see I’m busy?”
“It’s about that real nice Miss Maria, my lord. I’ve been real sad that she hasn’t got any suitors. At least, not any suitors that want more than a stick in the hay. And with her being so pretty and smart and sweet and all — “
“Well, Baldrick, if she didn’t dress like such a tart, she wouldn’t get treated like a tart. Wearing all that leather, corsets, stockings… Er, you say she hasn’t any suitors?”
“No, my lord. Not a one she likes, anyway. And it’s real sad, you see. Just all wrong, if you know what I mean.”
“What do you propose we do about this, my fetid friend? That we set traps for said suitors? Collect them in cages? Hang them from their heels for inspection?”
“No, my lord, I have a better idea. I think…we should put out an ad for her.”
“You have officially fallen off the banana cart, Baldrick. This is the most utterly stupid plan I have ever heard. What on earth would we say? ‘Smart Tart with Big Heart?’ Or how about ‘Betty Page s Stunt Double Could Fall for You’?”
“My lord, what if we just said things real nice-like about her? Like, how she writes all those lovely stories and poems that folks publish? And how she is real spiritual?”
“If you count all the times she’s been on her knees for other reasons…”
“My lord, I do think I detect a hint of jealousy. A bit of the old green-eyed monster.”
“Not at all, Baldrick. What on earth would I want with a raven-haired, green-eyed trollop who can wield a sword and out dance a gypsy? No, Baldrick, I prefer a pencil-thin, brainless blonde bimbo with no ambition or proven talent — “
” — who would drop you in a heartbeat for a better-looking bloke.”
“Details, Baldrick. Details.”
“Just thought I’d stick in my toe to test the old shallow pool.”
“Take back your toe, Baldrick. You’re poisoning the drinking water.”
“Right, my lord.”
“So…what’s in it for us?”
“Me? I get nothing, my lord, except the satisfaction of helping a friend.”
“Well, that’s disgustingly charitable of you, Baldrick, but…” Edmund’s own cunning plan hatches in his brain. “…that’s it, Baldrick! I will answer the suitor’s email.” His lips curl into an evil grin. “You’re right, Baldrick. This is an astonishingly cunning plan that I’ve come upon. Let’s execute it right away, shall we?”
**All suitors are to send application and photo to MatchAdder.com**
**P.S. Do not write to me and tell me MatchAdder.com doesn’t exist. I will laugh at you.**