While all the other little girls on my school bus were swooning over Leif Garrett, I was crushing on Mork from Ork (aka Robin Williams). Sure, I could see Leif was very attractive, but he just didn’t make my heart stop. I’d never heard him speak, so I couldn’t tell if he was funny or kind – Mork was both funny and kind, and oh so innocent, perhaps more innocent than I was, and that’s saying something for a 12-year-old. I went to a very small school, and I never met another teenage girl who shared the same passion (although some of the teenage boys loved him too), so it was a secret, almost embarrassed love that I had to hide. It was an intensely painful crush, combined with all the whirling delight that a crush brings.
Mork never inspired my writing, but looking back, I realize he set the pattern for every celebrity crush I had afterward. My requirements were simple: he had to be witty. The more intelligent, the sexier. He had to be funny. What is love without a sense of humor? Just art appreciation, in my opinion. And, he had to have a kindness, a certain love for the human race. Sure, he could be frustrated and even angry at the quirks of humankind, but essentially, I wanted to feel that he loved humans in the abstract, and wished them well.
The funny thing is, I don’t know if any of my crushes are ever about sex. I don’t get that cliche feeling of genital tingling when I think about any of them. They may start out in a sexual fantasy, but they tend to wander off long before I reach orgasm. Instead, they produce that old tightening in the chest. They “grab my heart” and make it feel like it’s too big for my chest. That’s the cliche I get with my crushes.
During my life, I’ve only had about half a dozen crushes on celebrities. It’s rather lovely – I don’t feel much guilt, because it’s obvious that I don’t know the real them and I never will. I’m in love with a constructed public persona that I’ll probably never see in person. We are not on speaking terms, so I can do whatever I like with them in my mind. (Although I do have to say, the boundaries are there. They never take part in pie-eating contests, and sex, alas, is not in the cards.)
Out of that half dozen, three have inspired my writing. Now, when I transform the public character into one of my own characters, anything is possible. The shame falls away, and I’m left with that dizzy feeling of first love – for both my hero and my transformed heroine. I can give him interesting flaws and weird personality traits that my celebrity muse would never have. But no matter what I do, those heroes always adhere to the template engraved by Mork from Ork: clever, kind and funny. Or so I hope, anyway.
How about you? Can you share your first crush here? How did s/he make you feel, both emotionally and viscerally? Do you find little bits of this person in your writing, even now? Do get a cup or glass of your favorite intoxicant from the Ladies’ Bar over there, and pull up a seat to dish some dirt. (-: It’s all for the sake of knowing what makes people tick. Let’s hear your story.