So I've been watching a lot of "The X-Files" lately (thank you, Netflix!) and I think I finally get it. The ongoing sexual tension implied between Agents Scully and Mulder always mystified me...I never understood why audiences wanted them to hook up so badly.She always seemed so cold and he was cute but bland. (Please forgive me. I was clearly still in the age of innocence when it was originally on.) But now...Ker-POW! Sexual tension: Noted!
So why didn't they ever hook up? Two reasonably attractive people who clearly prefer being with one another under any circumstance (even ditching dates at the flimsiest opportunities to work together), regularly expressing their concern for one another but yet never actually expressing interest? Wow. THAT doesn't sound at all familiar. (Please read in sarcasm font.)When Mulder refers to Scully as "a beautiful woman," it surprised me. And when Scully laughs off Mulder's attempts to be charming, I'm no longer puzzled. He's described often as a genius, brilliant, ambitious, passionate and what's not necessary to state is that he's hot, funny and likes to smolder.
So why doesn't Scully tap that when he's so frequently okay with implying he'd be interested? It's because Mulder is the ultimate manboy. While he may be ahead in his career and intensely focused on his work, he glibly makes common manboy blunders that keep him from being in the "it's possible" category. He makes light over the amount of "videos" (read: porn) being in his work vcr or passing it on to his basement-dwelling misfit friends, The Lone Gunmen. He flirts shamelessly with random women that give even a hint of promise as one-night stands, often in front of Scully, at times, putting her on hold (literally) in order to talk with said random woman while Scully is doing research on his behalf on her nights at home. Alone. Eating ice cream and washing her dog (War of the Coprohages. Season 3, Episode 12). Even in his most desperate need for her brilliant help and assistance, while she's in the middle of bending over backward to assist his current quest, he stops to make passes at women he knows will be meaningless. sigh. What an idiot.
What keeps the undercurrent of romantic possibility is Scully's reasonable acknowledgment that he's not looking for anything romantically meaningful in their professional relationship. Scully recognizes Mulder's clear lack of appreciation for her devotion to his cause. And she's not falling for his game. While their mutual connection is clear on the deeper levels of intellectual understanding, mutual admiration and genuine concern for one another's well-being, she's not about to chase after a man who's not busy chasing her. Therefore, he's happy to continue flattering her, allowing her to hold the reins of their partnership while neither expects to take him seriously. It's the epitome of masculine drive; Mulder proves that men can pursue what they want (in this case, aliens and unexplained phenomenon) when only given the slightest hint of a possibility, that's all he needs to go all-out to get what he wants. As great as they could be as a team, romantically speaking, because he continues to play in the puddles of immaturity and getting all kinds of dirty rather than flat out pursuing a woman he so clearly cares for. Which, let's face it, really is laughable.