I'm watching Burn Notice again tonight. Season 1, Disc 2 came in the mail from Netflix today. Episode I've got paused six minutes and fifty-two seconds in on my laptop. Image on the screen is of palm trees and the Miami River and looking into the heart of the city. Image I'm resisting backing up to, at two minutes and fifty-seven minutes, is of Gabrielle Anwar in a yellow tank top, her breasts rising as she sighs heavily.
Complication is that she---that is, Fiona, the character Anwar plays---is looking out a window at the Czech assassin who's waiting in ambush to kill her ex-boyfriend, our hero, the former spy Michael Weston, and it's not clear if Fiona's sighing because she's bored, sighing at some inner, secret sorrow, sighing because she's attracted to the assassin, or sighing because she can't decide what weapon she'll use to kill him when he makes his inevitable run at Michael, or all of the above. With Fiona it could be any or all or various combinations the listed causes.
Fiona is, um, troubled.
Bill Nothstine has warned me away from her. "Very high maintenance," is how he's described her. I've replied that it's Anwar herself I'm smitten with, not the character, as if my feelings for either didn't represent a delusion on my part. But I'm not fooling anybody. It's Fiona. I've seen Anwar in other things, most notably as Henry the Eighth's rapaciously libidinous sister in The Tudors, and I've managed to appreciate her charms and her talents without feeling my devotion to Uma and Gwyneth shaken.
And part of the attraction is the high maintenance.
There are many ways of being high maintenance and different high-maintenance types require different kinds of maintenance on different schedules. And I hope you'll notice that I'm not using gender specific language here. The worst type is simply spoiled who think the world revolves around them and you're there to prove it. The second worst is spoiled and helpless. There are others. Fiona is not helpless and if she's spoiled it's in a very weird way---she demands to be kept amused not attended to and her favorite forms of amusement involve violence. Long-time fans, do we ever learn anything about her childhood? I hope not. No, the maintenance a high-maintenance type like Fiona seems to want and need, is the kind that proves that you are as crazy about her as she is about you. She also wants constant acknowledgement that she is what you have been searching for all your life.
This would explain Fiona's constant need to be in and/or cause trouble, because in the middle of this trouble one of two very desirable things can happen. She can show Michael how skilled she is at getting out of trouble and prove how useful she is to him or, if she can't get herself out of a jam, Michael will have to drop what he's doing and come to her rescue which he wouldn't do, would he, unless he really cared.
So, with the Fionas of the world, the maintenance that appears to be needed because it's all about them is really proof that it's all about you, that they are all about you.
What it comes down to, then, is that high-maintenance types of Fiona's type are attractive because they play right to your vanity, and admitting that I'm not immune to the type is admitting that I don't mind having my vanity played to, not one little bit.
Fortunately, for my vanity, because I'm vain about not being the kind of fool who lets his vanity get the better of him, my attraction to Fiona also depends on geography and fantasy.
Fiona is much more attractive for being surrounded by Miami than she would be if she was surrounded by Fort Wayne, Indiana or Lansing, Michigan, and she grows even more attractive when I forget who and what I am and start thinking I'm a highly-trained and super-competent former spy making a living by helping out people in trouble while I'm trying to track down whoever burned me at the Agency.
Once upon a time, I was did some hanging around South Miami Beach, like Michael Weston, only minus the helping people for hire while dodging Czech assassins business. Also minus a Fiona. But I spent a fair share of my time drinking in the glow of the neon at outdoor bars by the waterway at night and watching women in string bikinis stroll the sidewalks and beaches by day. I was there because of this blonde chick. She was there for her first job out of college. I would come down when I could from Iowa where I was in grad school. This was an inconveniently long commute. So she took a job in the Midwest, as close as she could get to Iowa and to me. Except that I was about to graduate, which meant that I was no longer "stuck" in Iowa. I could go live wherever I wanted to. Which of course would be wherever she was.
And that's how I came to spend five years in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where there is very little neon and where very few women stroll the sidewalks in string bikinis.
Like I said. There are all kinds of ways to be high-maintenance.