12 Lessons All Men Could Learn From Benedict Cumberbatch

His new play is more popular than Jay Z and Beyoncé's tour. Here's what you could learn from everyone's favourite Hamlet

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Sometimes, it's hard to look at another man and see what all the fuss is about.

It's not that we can't recognise Benedict Cumberbatch is an all-round good guy: talented, funny, polite, handsome in a public school boy sort of way (even if his face was once memorably compared to a foot).

No, it's the fuss itself we find bewildering. It's hard to think of another fully grown man who demands the level of female devotion as Cumbers, whose fans regularly come together in an online, middle-aged version of Beatlemania to endlessly discuss his virtues and hang on his every move.

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To top it all off, the Sherlock star is now appearing in Hamlet in what has already been confirmed as the most in-demand theatre production in British history. They're lining up around the block and sleeping on the street. To see Shakespeare.

To find out just how he managed it, Esquire delved into the world of Cumberlove to see precisely what it is the rest of us can learn from the actor. Quite a lot, as it turns out.

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Before you even get to the man himself, there is that name. It's like something out of P.G. Wodehouse, Harry Potter and a Mills & Boon's Historical Romance rolled into one.

Not only that, but it's pure, internet meme gold – easily punned on, vaguely rude and funny to say outloud.

Whoever said an unusual name is a disadvantage in life?



Benedict's Reddit 'Ask Me Anything' session last year was a masterclass in handling p***-takers and hysterical fans alike.

His strategy was to deflect their approaches with a mixture of irony and smut, simultaneously dousing the Cumberlove flames and stoking them. Smart.

 


(original image by Julian Broad, esquire.com)

For a strange period over the summer of 2013, BC took to covering his face from the paparazzi with pieces of paper imploring them to pay more attention to world events instead of 'silly ole' me'.

At first it seemed like a display of psuedo-intellectual moralising that was bound to backfire, a bit like that time at Uni when we tried to impress a girl by ranting about Communism and accidentally referred to Groucho Marx.

But then Cumberbatch pulled out a 4 page message to the government about their detention of journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner, asking "is this erosion of civil liberties winning the war on terror?", sending his Twitter fans into overdrive.

The lesson? Don't just appear to care about more important things than yourself, actually know a little bit about them, too.


(Hover for style notes)

 

Cumberbatch wears his trademark Scarf Of Some Description whether it's on the red carpet, pounding the high street or, er, at a sunny music festival while in flipflops.



(original image by Julian Broad, esquire.com)

 

Despite having one loyal group of fans with over 70,000 Twitter followers who call themselves 'Cumberbitches', Cumberbatch himself rejects the term.

In an interview Caitlin Moran (author of How To Be A Woman), he explained: "It's not even politeness. I won't allow you to be my bitches. I think it sets feminism back so many notches. You are... Cumberpeople," wisely deducing that men casually deploying the term 'bitch' is unacceptable – even when it's a word made up in your honour. Since his intervention, more of his fans have adopted the term 'CumberCollective'.



Benedict's never made a secret of his well-off upbringing, admitting: “I was brought up in a world of privilege". Rather, he wears his poshness on his sleeve – which is why no one resents him for it. Not for BC the upper class guilt that leads to the adoption of safe stage names or pseudo-Cockney accents – although he has complained of being "class-typed" to play the part of toffs. In perfect Queen's English, of course

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Or in Benny C's case – play them.

His most famous role, of course, is Sherlock Holmes – a fictional character, but a genius none the less.

He's also played Stephen Hawking, Vincent van Gogh, T. S. Eliot and Julian Assange. Oh – and the British prime minister in The Simpsons, though how clever a character that is is open to debate.

The net result of depicting all these smart alecs is that Benedict himself has a reputation as a 'thinking woman's totty' – something a turn as the Prince of Denmark will do no harm – which is certainly better than being the 'stupid woman's totty', or indeed 'no totty' at all.




Should be an obvious one, really.



(Esquire / Radio Times / Buzzfeed)

It's been pointed out that Benedict Cumberbatch has a tendancy to 'go for the cuffs' when being photographed.

A sure fire shortcut to looking suave (though do it too often, and you start to look a little neurotic), it's a habit that sums up everything we like about the man.

And it's probably the only thing on this list we can all definitely do ourselves.

A version of this article originally appeared on Esquire in 2014.


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