I’ve always had screensavers on my computer, and not just the ones provided by Microsoft or Apple. I like to put up an image of my favorite heartthrob of the moment. It gives me something pleasant to view while I’m thinking about how to write, edit, or revise something. I never thought much about it until the day my boyfriend, who uses my computer occasionally to check his business email, accidentally clicked on my account, and saw this:
“Why do you have Christopher Walken on your computer screen?” he said.
“Because I put him there. You must be in my account.”
Since this happened after I had just made the change from a PC to a Mac, my boyfriend didn’t know how to get into his own account. I showed him. He looked at me.
“You have Christopher,” he said, “and I have that?”
“I thought you liked animals,” I said, trying not to sound defensive.
“Why can’t I have a cool picture?” he said, pouting ever so slightly.
“Of Christopher Walken?”
He narrowed his eyes.
“I think, that if you can have a photo of Christopher Walken as your screensaver,” he said, arms over his chest, “I should be able to have someone I find attractive as my screensaver.”
“Fair enough. Which gorgeous woman would you like to have?”
“Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette, Uma Thurman…”
“All of them?” I said.
“Can’t you rotate them?”
I was starting to see visions of every gorgeous woman in Hollywood floating across his screen, with him requesting new photos each time he “fell in love” with someone new.
“If you get multiple women,” I said, hoping to discourage him somewhat in order to reduce my work looking for photos, “then I get multiple men.”
So, I immediately found another photo for my screensaver.
The next time my boyfriend accidentally clicked onto my account instead of his own, I heard him exclaim, all the way from my office, “Clive? Now you have Clive? And he’s not even all the way dressed?”
“You have three women as screensavers.”
“You have Clive in a sleeveless body-shirt.”
“And now you want…”
“Lucy,” he said, meaning his then-current love: Lucy Lawless as Lucretia in Starz’s Spartacus.
He was happy with that screensaver until he fell in love with Viva Bianca, who played Ilythia in the show.
He actually didn’t fall madly in love with Viva until she did a nude scene. Well, she wasn’t completely nude. I believe she was wearing earrings. That’s the screensaver he wanted. I told him I couldn’t find it. He was most severely disappointed.
Until the next time he checked his email and discovered that I’d put the photo of Viva as Ilythia, nude, up as his screensaver.
He ran into the room where I was, hugged me, and said I was the “best girlfriend in the whole entire world.”
Hey, if that’s all it takes.
He hasn’t asked me to change screensavers since. Though Spartacus is over except for reruns, which he watches faithfully, he’s still in love with Viva as Ilythia.
Which is fine with me. After all, I still have Clive.
And I’m currently looking at Timothy Dalton as he appeared in Penny Dreadful. Since male celebrities are rarely nude, or even have their entire shirts off, or are dressed as Romans to show off their fine legs, I figure I get to have as many gorgeous men as I want as my screensavers. It’s only fair. Besides, it is my computer.
The only problem I’ve found with this equality of the sexes and screensavers is taking your computer in for repair. At Apple, when I was picking it up, my boyfriend had to accompany me because I have a 27″ screen and cannot carry it myself. He came along to put it in the backseat of my Jeep. When the Apple employees turned on the computer to show me it was fixed, Clive’s photo came up.
They looked at Clive, at my boyfriend, at Clive, at my boyfriend.
“We assume this isn’t you,” said one of the boys.
“That was before I needed glasses,” said my boyfriend, without missing a beat.
“Let’s make sure his account works,” said the other Apple employee, switching accounts before I even remembered what my boyfriend’s screensaver was.
Both young men stood there, transfixed, eyes wide, mouths hanging open.
“Whoa,” one whispered.
“Sorry,” I said. “I forgot she was on there.”
“Fair’s fair,” said my boyfriend.
The two Apple boys looked at him.
“My girlfriend would kill me if I had a picture like that as my screensaver,” said one.
“You have the greatest girlfriend in the world,” said the other, without, however, looking away from the screen.
“Who is that?” said the man sitting on the stool in the Apple store at the Genius Bar next to me, staring at my computer screen.
“Ilythia from Spartacus,” said the young man on the opposite side of him, gazing longingly at the screen.
Boys will be boys, I thought to myself.
Just then, an Apple manager came out of the back, passed the computer, and, basically, squealed as he held up a notebook over the front of my computer.
“Customers should take down their screensavers before they bring them in for repair,” he said, passing by as quickly as he could.
The two Apple boys and the two Apple customers all looked over at my boyfriend.
“You are so lucky,” they said, glancing only cursorily at me.
Just then, the manager passed behind them again, screeching like a wounded rabbit, holding up his notebook to the side of his head, begging them to “please turn that computer off.” The Apple boys proceeded to do as he’d requested.
“Don’t let your manager see the picture of Clive,” said my boyfriend. “He might fall in love.”