Alright, Ladies. I’m going to take you back. Back to a time – somewhere between 1988-1995, when you were reaching that tender age in which a teenage girl begins to yearn for an adorable, sensitive boy to hold and kiss. But this particular type of boy couldn’t be found at school or at youth meetings, he could only be found in between the pages of such mockingly named periodicals as Bop, Big Bopper and Tiger Beat.
Yes, I’m talking about your pin-up boy crush.
We’ve all had them. I, at one time or another had five or more boys at once pinned to my bedroom wall. Cute boys. Boys with crooked smiles. Boys with heart melting blue eyes. Boys with dangerously cute floppy hair.
I actually spent my summer between 6th and 7th grade writing letters frantically with up to 10 pen pals a day – from all over the country and from all over the world – girls found in the back of said magazines who would trade you pictures of your crush if you sent back pictures of hers (especially awesome if they lived in another country and you got French or Japanese versions of newspaper clippings.) Say you weren’t totally into Jonathan Brandis (I wasn’t – something too goody-goody about him) but you LOVED Edward Furlong (I did – that hair…ooh…that hair…) you two could switch and BINGO! You got rid of the ones you didn’t want for ones that you did! More posters to love and kiss!!
The thing that’s funny to me looking back now, is that none of my feelings for any of these boys were ever sexual. I dreamed of kissing them, snuggling with them and maybe living together, but nothing beyond that. They remained perfect boyfriend fantasies – always saying and doing the right things. I would spend hours with my friends at weekend sleep-overs lying in bed, lights out, describing our ideal chaste lives with our beaus. Mainly this would consist of describing our first date, leading up to the life changing good-night kiss, and then fast forwarding to our incredibly hip wedding, the details of which a teenage girl can get lost in for hours.
I decided today I should take a walk through memory lane and re-visit all of those old crushes who adorned my walls and book covers. Find the particular snapshots of my loves that I gazed at longingly every night, falling asleep beside and waking up to every morning. The ones that burrowed their way into my soul – even now. The ones that I loved so much it almost hurt.
We’re going to start with one that, thankfully, has been making a comeback as of late…Ladies…remember Mr. Ethan Hawke?
Dead Poet’s Society loomed large during my junior high years. A movie made especially for the pre-pubescent girl – brimming with gorgeous boys in uniforms being passionate about life, love and poetry!! (SWOON!) I was a fan of both Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard in this film (we’ll get to Mr. Leonard in another post), but today lets focus on Mr. Hawke. His character, Todd, is unbearably shy. and yearning to belong – to break out – to sound his barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world!! I was INTO this character. And, by proxy, I got into some poetry, so this was a win win situation. And as you will see in these posts, my boy crushes very often turned into literary explorations. Yes, I will write it here for the world to see – if you asked me about all of the books I have ever read in my lifetime you would probably find that 75% or more were read for a reason trailing back to a cute boy. And I LOVE to read.
I was also known for pillaging the video store after I found a new crush. Eager to get more face time with my darling, I would watch any movie I found with them in it. Which lead to me watching some pretty varied and weird things as a pre-teen. Watching Dead Poet’s Society lead me to watch Dad, White Fang (leading to a brief Jack London phase), A Midnight Clear and even Alive. Can I confess something that’s super creepy looking back on it? I was INTO Alive. Way too into it. I saw the movie 11 times in the theater. My 14th birthday party was me dragging all of my friends to the theater to see it. I read the books – it was, like, a whole thing. Only I could go to a movie about plane-crashed-cannibal-rugby-players FOR THE CUTE BOYS. Sigh. Okay, onward.
Let’s take a long stroll down Mystery Date lane. Ladies. LADIES. This is primo stuff. First rate shy-smiles, hair tosses and sweet kisses. Heady. I cannot count the number of times I watched this movie. I knew every glance, every awkward giggle, every twisted smile by heart. I just re-watched this movie today and can I tell you, it doesn’t disappoint. He is still as incredibly beautiful as I remember, and everything came flooding back. So much so that I immediately had to leap upon this laptop and type away my overflowing thoughts and feelings. Wowsers.
Ethan also wins special points for sending me an autograph in reply to my girlish letter! (many didn’t – we will get to the Corey Haim autograph debacle in another post)I actually kept up a correspondence with Ethan Hawke’s grandmother for a while, as I found out she was answering his fan letters for him at the time. She kept me posted on all his movie adventures for a year or two!! (When you’re a teenage girl, knowing even Ethan Hawke’s grandmother is a dream come true, and worth major bragging points in middle school.)
I followed onwards with Reality Bites and Before Sunrise, but the height of my Ethan Hawke fanaticism had waned. I still make it a point to watch his new films when they appeal to me, but at the time my crushes ran hot and cold and fast. You snoozed, and I was on to other boys and other posters. Still! I am glad he is back in business with TWO movies in the theaters currently! (Before Midnight and The Purge)