Appearances are very deceiving where Alex is concerned: he’s a strong, handsome man with a distinctive dress sense (think hipster with a slight punk edge) and is a physio, but he’s far from a hipster himbo. He is in fact a smart, cerebral person – he’s a big reader about all kinds of subjects (particularly classic English literature; the poetic mix of courtly love and passion overriding all else really moves him) and like his parents he has a very conservative outlook on life. It’s not dogma he’s mindlessly spouting; quite the opposite. Like everything in his life it’s deeply thought through and has his own particular brand of extreme logic applied.
He gets on very well with his adopted sister Clementine in a warmly combative kind of way. He feels the need to guide her in life and curb her excesses, but only because he loves her deeply. He loathes modern consumer society; so much so he avoids shaving with a disposable razor and uses an old-school strop razor instead. And yet, as a very social, even courtly kind of man at heart, he’s a big user of social media and the internet.
These apparent contradictions lie at the heart of Alex – and drive free-spirited Clementine nuts, as she sees him as a know-it-all hypocrite: someone whose mantra is life should be lived in a solid, stable, meaningful way, but is just going through a hipster fad! What she doesn’t realise is that everything changed for Alex under a year ago. Up until then, he had been a happy, fun-loving young man with a slightly serious side that Clementine felt a real sense of ease around and kinship with. That’s because he was actually living a secretly gay life, searching for meaningful love with a guy. But just as he thought he’d found someone he could be with forever and have a family with it all went wrong: his lover wasn’t into it at all and all his parents’ past references to gay people not being capable of having families came flooding back. Suddenly their conservative beliefs didn’t just rung true: they became a safe place to hide.
As a result of his deep heartbreak, he gave the matter a lot of thought and realised what he wants is really unconditional love – the kind he’s convinced a family of his own can provide him with. So he decided to sacrifice his sexuality, in order to gain something “higher” – the pure, deep, lifelong love of a family. To some this will seem dishonest; to others an ugly distortion or denial of his true nature – but viewed through another lens it’s actually an heroic personal sacrifice in pursuit of a noble goal.
So although he’s charming and sociable, Alex now has a more driven, conservative, serious-minded attitude than he used to. His mission is to find the right woman – someone sweet, loving, stable… and preferably fairly innocent, given his scant experience of heterosexual life. He’s got a lot to offer as a loving husband – he’s deeply caring and charmingly confident (to the point of it being a flaw at times as he really does think he knows best). He’s good with money, with a stable job (one that he finds blissful escape in, by healing people with his hands and not having to think too much). He’s a great friend – funny, thoughtful and selfless. Yes, he’s the perfect package – the only problem will be if he can’t overcome his past sexuality. And, although he’s truly honest at heart, he has also steeled himself to lie about it until the right woman’s ready to hear the full truth about his past – if it stays in the past that is…