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Inspired by Vulture’s cringe-inducing compilation of the descriptions of female characters in screenplays, and the viral Twitter threads (including Talia Lavin’s) prompted by podcast host Whitney Reynolds’s challenge to “describe yourself like a male author would,” here are some male characters from literature and film described the way the authors described the female characters in the same work. I apologize, or you’re . . . welcome?

Raymond Chandler

Marlowe was the kind of brunette who would make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window, and only half the hole would be from heterosexual panic. The other half would be that look he gave you, under his hat brim, the kind of look you thought maybe you could cash in later in a cheap hotel room, before you saw the headache sticking out of his hip pocket.

Leo Tolstoy

Vronsky had once been beautiful. His hands, once white and soft, were thin and wasted from the labors of child-rearing, and his face appeared pinched and unattractive. His voice had acquired a querulous tone. His arms, once the right shape, were now the wrong shape, because of the passage of time and the moral degradation that came with it. There was a horse who suffered an awful accident, and Vronsky was like that in a way.


White-thighed Odysseus emerged from the water freshly bathed and glistening with oil /His skin glowed like the dawn sweeping in on his swiftly sandaled feet /The goddess beheld him with rapture

George R. R. Martin

Jon Snow’s abs moved imperceptibly beneath his tunic, firm and hard and pale like winter apples that had been harvested, sliced carefully and arrayed in rows.

John Updike

He peed, but he had no idea how, because inside his body was anatomy that was impossible to understand.

Ernest Hemingway

He had a butt that looked good. She grasped the butt with her hands. He was a bit put out but not too much. This was how things went between men and women.

Jack Kerouac

His lovely ripe pectorals were barely concealed beneath his white nightshirt, and Dean looked at me as if to say, if this is America, I’d like to see more of it.

William Faulkner

He had been a big man once, but now his skeleton rose, draped loosely in unpadded skin that tightened again upon a paunch almost dropsical, as though muscle and tissue had been courage or fortitude which the days or the years had consumed until only the indomitable skeleton was left rising like a ruin or a landmark or a statue or a monument to a cause that boys see not once but whenever they want it, so it’s always the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on a July afternoon in 1863, the brigades in position behind the rail fence, the guns laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags already loosened, every year for a thousand years.

The Terminator

Large but delicately framed, with a pinprick red eye that lights up when he enters a room. He stops the party when he walks into a room (by killing the party with his mechanized weaponry) but you wonder what lurks under that steely exterior.

Toy Story

Possessing a promising body with hard, shapely curves, Buzz dresses older than his age, but manages to pull it off.

Pulp Fiction

With silky dark hair and full lips, Vincent is a Greek god. He walks and his shoes slap on the floor. His mane of silky black hair and his turtle neck (not turtleneck, that is something different) poke up out of a boxy suit, like a little turtle saying hello, but also like a tiger, a sexy one, in an outfit.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris isn’t the hottest guy in class, but he’s definitely top five.

Star Wars: A New Hope

Luke Skywalker is in his late teens, pretty without knowing it.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Darth Vader could be attractive if he tried, but he has instead settled for menacing. Tall, dressed in all black with a breathing mask affixed to his face — an outfit that screams, “LEAVE ME ALONE.”

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

R2D2 is short and over 30, but he knows how to work with what he’s been given. A posterior to make onlookers swoon. Numerous well-maintained ports in which the onlooker can insert a data drive or disk.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Jar Jar Binks is unprepossessing at first glance, the sinuous elegance of this amphibian can command a room. Clumsy and awkward and unaware of the effect he produces. Beautiful eyes, on large eye-stalks.

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence is strikingly beautiful with piercing blue eyes, but hides it in large, bulky garments.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

With a lithe, lissome neck and large, expressive blue eyes, he looks damn good on a bicycle.


Wearing nothing at all, the shark emerges from the water. We can’t help but be fixated on this toothsome vision of beauty. Our eyes are drawn first to his mouth, large and sensuous, full of even, white teeth. But then they’re drawn along his body’s sleek curves — a body that throbs with raw sensuality and hunger, like an automobile that throbs with raw sensuality and hunger.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones is in his thirties, but he’s dressed like a much younger man in a half-unbuttoned shirt and a hat that he thinks too much of. He wears glasses, but would look good without them.

The Muppets

With soft, peach-fuzz skin, Kermit the Frog intrudes on the viewer’s attention not gradually but all at once. Unaware of his impact, and stronger than he knows.

2001: A Space Odyssey

The first thing you notice about HAL 9000, a glowing red boob in space, is that he’s a glowing red boob in space.

The award show I’d actually watch would be 1,000 times better than the Oscars. Baby Yoda would be in the front row.

No Bad Men would win awards, and whenever one was so much as alluded to, Tom Hanks would be there to soften the blow

From chipper tour guides to unanswered texts, welcome to a haunted house inspired by my actual fears

Highly specific terrors await

The shared Uber, the family dinner, the awkward party: If everyday scenarios were escape rooms, how many could you successfully beat?

A humorous take on real-life escape rooms