The Handsome Woman (and, That Time I Met Elijah Wood)

I’ve been called a lot of things… a lot: dependable, trustworthy, warmhearted, a good friend, inappropriate, elfin, and of course, comely*…

I was recently told that I am a “handsome woman”.

Initially, I took it as an insult… “Handsome” isn’t a word often used to describe a woman, and I mistakenly thought it implied something masculine. And while I’m definitely not very concerned with nail art and eye shadow palettes, I’m still a woman (I checked).

The Urban Dictionary** defines a “handsome woman” as:

A woman with the kind of refined beauty and attractiveness that requires poise, dignity, and strength of mind and character […] Usually applied to a woman who is also very well-groomed and from an upper class background.”

Who am I to argue with the Urban Dictionary**?!?!?

One google search of “handsome woman” reveals that I am in very good company: Sigourney Weaver, Katherine Hepburn, Uma Thurman, Anjelica Huston, Beyoncé, Scarlett Johansson, and my personal hero, comedy legend and all-around badass, the sadly deceased Bea Arthur.

And if that is the definition of a “handsome woman”, then I’m definitely going to need to send a note of apology to my Auntie Linda.


* Oh, I’ve been called “comely” a time or two. Okay, just the once. But it was in a national newspaper… My co-workers at Opus can attest to the validity of this story:

The year was 2002. The month was April. I was living in Vancouver, and working at an art supply store. It was the best job I ever had: we were all in our early 20s, we were all friends, we all hung out all the time, and there was the occasional “snog” in the paper room during business hours.

Anyhoo, one night a bunch of us went out to The Pic Pub. The Von Bondies were playing. I had downed a few pints of Strongbow cider when I saw him: Elijah.

Elijah Wood, by then ultra-famous for Lord of the Rings, was in town shooting the movie Try Seventeen. He went and sat at a table with his co-star and then-girlfriend Franka Potente, and another older woman.

I nudged my friend Eleanor, who was next to me at the bar, and whispered: “Frodo”. And Eleanor being Eleanor, dared me to go speak to him.

Well, if you knew me back then, you know that I rarely let a day go by without acting on a dare…

I downed the last of my cider and walked right over to Elijah. I told him that I loved Lord of the Rings (a lie) and that I was a fan (I had watched Flipper).

Elijah was (and I’m sure he still is) the sweetest guy ever. He invited me to sit down with him, Franka and the older lady. I don’t remember that much (I was a few beverages in), but I remember him introducing me to Franka and the older lady, and then asking me where I was from. We had a very nice chat, which included me providing information about the maintenance and care of llamas. I also remember him touching my arm (I haven’t washed it since).

After approximately 15 minutes of delightful conversation, I excused myself, thanked him for being wonderful, returned to the bar, and high-fived Eleanor.

As Wood exited the bar a short while later, he stopped to say good-bye. If I wasn’t in love with Elijah before (and who wouldn’t be? Have you seen his gorgeous face?), I certainly was now!

A few days later, whilst at work, Eleanor came up to me waving a copy of the Toronto Star. She held it out to me and told me to read it:

“Ah, springtime in the Rockies. when a young man’s fancy turns to a fancy young woman. In the case of Elijah Wood, it is Run Lola Run’s Franka Potente. And whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.

The duo is co-starring in the romantic comedy Try Seventeen, currently lensing in Vancouver. Last weekend, Wood and Potente were in major lip-lock during a Von Bondies concert.

And when a comely femme fan came up to gush over Wood, Potente was mighty peeved. She went from kissy to hissy.”

And that’s the time that I was called “comely”… by a national newspaper.

A few things to note:

I did not “gush” over Wood. I definitely displayed poise, dignity, and strength of mind and character. I would have loved to kiss off his gorgeous face – but I kept it classy!

Yes, Potente did go from “kissy to hissy”. Perhaps she was intimated by such a handsome woman?

** A well-respected online dictionary of words and phrases.


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