It is said that the things you like in your adolescence set the foundations for your tastes as an adult. This means your preference in everything from the food you eat, the clothes you buy or the music you listen to now are all determined from the tastes of your shamefully embarrassing youth. The assumption of course also extends to what type of people you are attracted to, shown by the first crushes you ever had – whether they were real or not.
Upon this discovery, I decided to take a stroll down memory lane.
The first crush I ever had was in Grade One on a sweet blonde haired boy named Daniel. I don’t really remember much about Daniel because he moved schools at the end of that year and I never saw him again. But apparently, the consequences of him being my first “real life” crush had a strong impact on my taste in men.
It was all in his name, Daniel. I absolutely love that name now. It has infiltrated every aspect of my life. I had a vivid dream a few years ago in which I married a boy named Daniel. It was a lovely ceremony, intimate, nice flowers. I cry whilst listening to Daniel by Elton John. I cry whilst listening to Daniel by Bat For Lashes, the original and the cover by Paul Dempsey. Then there’s Daniel Radcliffe. Daniel Craig in those tight swimming trunks from Casino Royale. Daniel Brühl. Dan Auerbach. Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket). Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln. Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood. Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot. Daniel who I used to work with. Daniel the cute boy in my literature class. Daniel who served me that one time at Target and bagged my bras and undies with such class and dignity…
But even after all the Daniels in my life, there are still a few questions I need to ask myself about my taste in men. Like, why do they need to be funny, but not stupid? And why must they have dark hair, but why I am partial to whatever hair colour as long as they have a nice personality? Or why is it important that they love their mums, but not love them too much? And why must they be a bit on the rebellious side, but not be a criminal? Like, what’s up with that? Therefore, I have decided to deconstruct my Top 3 (onscreen) crushes from my youth to discover why my tastes are the way they are (and possibly why I’m so incredibly fussy and hence why I am single and ready to eat pringles).
1. Ronald “Ron” Weasley, from the Harry Potter series. Portrayed by: Rupert Grint. Length of crush: 2001-2011 (10 years, on and off). Attributes of crush: Funny, supportive, awkward, English, magical, loves family. Alright, so we all know that in the Harry Potter series, it really is all about Harry. But to be honest (and it pains me to say this) he can be an arrogant little punk sometimes. I mean, come on dude, we know you’re the chosen one, but you don’t have to go on about it all the time! This is probably why upon my first viewing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when I was six, I only had eyes for one person. That being Harry’s (debatably) beautiful, insanely funny and awkwardly lovable best friend, Ron Weasley. Ron is such a great character; he really is the heart and soul of Harry Potter. He’s the funny one who is always there for a good dose of comic relief. And he’s probably the explanation why I have a soft spot for redheads, why I like guys who are funny and kind of awkward, and why I think boys should love their families, no matter how embarrassing they are. For a great deal of my adolescence, my whole life was devoted to the Harry Potter series (even now I still have remnants from that time: collages and artworks I made, a collection of toy wands, a crippling fear of spiders, a replica Marauder’s Map, lots of things with owls on them…) My obsession became so intense and creepy when I decided that I was going to marry Ron Weasley (not Rupert Grint, mind you, BUT THE CHARACTER OF RONALD WEASLEY!!!!!!) I would love to tell you all that my fantasy came true, and Ron and I lived happily ever after with our three magical children in a cottage upon the shores of Brighton beach. But alas, it was not meant to be. He went on and married that girl Hermione (you’ve heard of her yeah?) and I moved on too. Kind of…
2. David “Gordo” Gordon, from the TV series Lizzie McGuire. Portrayed by: Adam Lamberg. Length of crush: 2001-2004 (Duration of show + subsequent film). Attributes of crush: Sweet, Jewish, curly hair, green eyes, smart, romantic.
Lizzie McGuire was the original quirky girl before Zooey Deschanel made it cool. She was always getting herself into super awkward situations that almost every teen girl could relate to. From her disastrous attempt to look nice on school photo day (remember the unicorn sweater) to her ultra embarrassing outburst of “I WANT A BRA!” (we’ve all been there), to her highly publicised “friendzoning” of one Mr. David “Gordo” Gordon. Um, excuse me Lizzie, what the hell were you thinking when you repeatedly turned Gordo down? He is with out a doubt the sweetest, cutest guy friend in the history of the world. Or at least the history of the Disney channel. My love for Gordo was a sweet, innocent one, which unfortunately only lasted two (wonderful) seasons. He and the rest of the Lizzie McGuire gang were quite a few years older than me so I thought they were the ultimate cool kidz; I wanted to be just like them when I was 13.
Gordo was super smart and nice and was always helping Lizzie and Miranda with their homework. He had the sweetest curls I ever did see; the floppy black ringlets twisted and twirled from his head, landing gently upon his sweet baby face illuminating his bright emerald eyes… He also opened my eyes up to different cultures. I didn’t even know what being Jewish meant until I saw the episode in which Gordo is reluctant to have his Bat Mitzvah and “become a man”. All I knew was that if Jewish boys were anything like Gordo, they must be the sweetest, most sensitive lads on the planet. From that day onwards, whenever I see a nice Jewish boy, I’m immediately smitten (ahem *Ezra Koenig* ahem). So thankyou Gordo for holding up an unrealistic expectation for every sweet guy friend that ever existed.
3. Charlie “Nuwanda” Dalton, from the film Dead Poets Society (1989). Portrayed by: Gale Hanson. Length of crush: 2009-2013 (first viewing of film to subsequent viewings). Attributes of crush: Rebellious “bad boy”, free spirit, likes poetry, plays saxophone. My love for Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society begun in 2009 when my dad forced me to watch it. How stupid I was for even considering passing up the great opportunity to watch this amazing film. It would’ve been an even greater shame for me not to have laid eyes upon my one true love of screen crushes. He was the onscreen crush that hypnotized me with his devilish charm and rebellious attitude to life to such a degree that I almost forgot he wasn’t even real. Charlie “Nuwanda” Dalton made me want to say “Carpe Diem!” to everything and start living the rebellious life of a 1950s highschooler and become the girlfriend of a wannabe beat poet and saxophonist. Dead Poets Society revolves around a group of friends in the 50’s, who are in the last year of attending a conservative and prestigious private boy’s school. There’s Neil – the opportunist leader, Todd – the sensitive new guy, Knox – the hapless romantic, and of course Charlie – the free spirited bad boy. They discover the beauty and importance of literature and living your life to it’s fullest from the new English teacher Mr. Keating. I think the original appeal of Charlie was that he was totally up for everything Mr. Keating suggested. The “sucking the marrow out of life”, standing up to conformity and doing something with your life that you truly love doing. Even though he can be extraordinarily smug, he shows his true emotions in the very end showing that he is also sensitive and willing to stand up for what he believes in. Some great Charlie moments: The phone call from God – “Mr. Nolan, it’s for you. It’s God, he says we should have girls at Welton”, the saxophone playing, the poetry reading, when he paints the lightning bolt on his chest and opens his shirt, “Damn it Neil, the name’s Nuwanda”, etc… etc… Ugh Charlie just marry me already. I don’t even care that you’re a fictional character from a movie made six years before I was born. See? See my dilemma? Onscreen crushes are wonderful, wonderful things, but they give you a false sense of hope and expectation for the real world. So, if anyone knows a curly haired, green eyed, Jewish, beat poet/saxophonist from England who is super funny, smart and romantic, but has a free spirited attitude towards life and is preferably some sort of wizard named Daniel, please tell him to give me a call. Or you know, whatever.
This piece was written for the 2nd edition of Elliotte magazine