It was the 90s, I was 12 years old, and America was caught in the thrall of a little sitcom known as "Charles in Charge." OK, so it was in second-or-third-run syndication. I didn't know that! I just knew that when I got home from school, "Charles in Charge" was waiting to take my mind off my troubles, along with other long-canceled sitcoms like "Welcome Back Kotter," "Dear John," and "Mr. Belvedere."
Outwardly, I lusted after the same celebrities as any other feral, Tiger-Beat-loving teenager. I pinned up your JTTs and your Jonathin Brandises and whatever other long-haired, sexually nonthreatening girly boy was deemed dreamy by my social set.
But when my friends scurried away in disgust from the old men who tried to talk to us at the movie theater arcade or catcalled us as we roamed the state fair, I always turned around for a second look, secretly intrigued by their displays of sexual interest. I knew that if my friends hadn't been around, I would have stopped to talk, might have let things unfold as I already imagined them when I masturbated morning, noon and night.
And the celebrity I really had a crush on was Willie Aames, the horny friend "Buddy" from "Charles in Charge." The Willie Aames who later became an ordained Christian minister and starred in his own superhero series as "Bibleman." But he was no Bible Man back then, just your typical goofy horndog character who couldn't stop talking about chicks.
This character was archetypal in the 80s, and I remember falling for a lot of these dudes, but I loved Willie most of all. Here is cracking himself in the head with a coconut or something in the opening credits.
Upon seeing him again, I no longer have a thing for Mr. Aames, but I will admit to a slight Pavlovian nipple stiffening at the theme song.
So why Willie? I think that for me, an overweight, unpopular adolescent with zero real-life sexual prospects, the "horny friend" character struck me as sort of an easy get. If that guy was as girl crazy as he seemed, he'd want to slee with EVEN ME, right?
I was already slumming it, reaching out for the low-hanging fruit. (I didn't really give up on that tactic until I met my current boyfriend.)
Plus, adolescence is a crazy time -- with hormones flying around like so many paintballs, sometimes some pretty strange targets get hit.
Right? RIGHT? Please tell me I'm not the one with a bizarre childhood crush.