My celebrity crushes have never been traditional or appropriate.
If we’re being perfectly honest, I was also sending letters to Devon Sawa. But the boyish faces and floppy hair that sent my contemporaries swooning left me cold. I didn’t buy Ryder Strong’s tough guy act and JTT looked like he could fit inside one’s pocket and subsist upon cheese granules. Even while I professed a passion for the Sawa, my letters weren’t romantic. They basically doubled as journal entries where I talked about my day and tried to couch my envy that someone roughly my own age had already achieved the fame I so craved. It wasn’t a crush, it was jealousy.
The teen idols of my youth didn’t stoke my burgeoning tween desire. At best, these non-threatening pretty boys invited my covetousness, and not just because they were famous, presumably swimming in a pool shaped like their own face and filled with Cheetos while I wore turtlenecks with chewed necks and didn’t get an allowance. I looked at them and I didn’t see guys who I wanted next to me in bed, I saw guys with faces that were softer and prettier than my own.
Looking back, I still think that sort of Tiger-Beat adolescent longing is only partly inspired by erotic longing. The rest is just the fervent worship and yearning that comes from looking at something beautiful and aching that you can’t have it, can’t be it yourself. Am I comparing Devon Sawa’s teenage visage with how I feel when I look the clouds rolling across the sky in a painting by Turner? No. But only because I have my pride.
At night, I wasn’t dreaming about taking Christina Ricci’s place dancing cheek to cheek with the dude in Casper*. I was pretending that Ted Danson and I were moving in together. I could picture everything we would do. Our home was the backroom at Cheers, we bickered about money and about our dreams.
It was equal parts sitcom and Arthur Miller-esque American depressive drama. I could see it all so clearly, except when it came to what we did in bed together. I could picture the weight of his craggy face against my face, but struggle though I may, I couldn’t fathom the entangling of our lower bits. Sure, I’d seen love scenes in movies, but these love scenes were of the dry humping make out and pan to fluttering curtain variety. No insertion. No fluids. Barely even any nudity. It was frustrating, and confusing, and weirdly hot.
While the girls on my middle school softball team were exchanging pictures of a young Leonardo DiCaprio, I was bonding with our coach over Mel Gibson’s ability to pull off a Scottish accent AND kilt. I dragged home a cutout of the dude from Braveheart and installed it in my bedroom. My mom should have probably refused me, but she’d had a thing for the guy since "Lethal Weapon." Clearly both of us have let our passion go by the wayside in light of, uh, all the events.
I grew up and my celebrity crushes remained slightly seedy, slightly inappropriate. Everyone was swooning over Matt and Ben and I was freeze-framing Harvey Keitel’s ass in "The Piano." A teacher called my parents to say that I had printed up a picture of Dustin Hoffman and pinned it to my uniform shirt. “Sure he’s old,” I’d said to my mom, “but it’s not ABOUT age, you know?” I was wise. I was 15.
While I’m a pretty vanilla girl, the reactions word of my crushes elicits makes me understand a little what it’s like to have to hide a kink for fear of mockery. In a Pilates class, we had to hold plank position while each person down the line blurted their most embarrassing crush. Down the line it was Zac Efron or James Deen, then it was my turn, “MICHAEL. KEATON!” I bellowed, before falling to my belly.
“In Mr. Mom?” The instructor asked.
I shrugged, “Or Beetlejuice, whatever really.”
She nodded, a confused look on her face, “Isn’t he, like, pretty old?”
I should have been like “Whatever, don’t put your hang ups on me lady,” or “This is fantasy we’re talking about, you’re 50 and talking about fucking Justin Bieber who is a CHILD. I haven’t gone around pissing on your pedophiliac parade, have I?”
But I didn’t. I just awkwardly laughed and sweated some more. Because that is how I do.
It’s fantasy. It’s supposed to be a little weird, a little specific, and very personal. What turns me on ain’t gonna turn you on. Is it my fault that something about Sorbo’s flowing mane, exposed chest and solid jawline triggered in me a love of the burly, manly, dirty, and too-old for me? No, it’s no one’s fault. It’s awesome.
For the record, in researching this article, I came to discover that if I were nine or 10 today, I'd probably be all about trying to figure out how the Pee and Vee worked with Devon Sawa as bean flicking material. He's looking rough in a sexy-ass way. But if rough doesn't do it for, if clean shaven delicate features float your boat and you’d rather play tonsil hockey with the dudes from One Direction? Cool, more imaginary old guy cock for me. May god be with us all.
Who is your "inappropriate" celeb crush? I should probably mention that Gillian Anderson is also on my list FOR REASONS, Y'ALL. Share in the comments. Bieber forever.
** You're welcome.