Michaeline: Celebrity Muses

A celebrity persona is just a shell, not a real person. So, it's easier to take some liberties, especially when one is in luuuuuv. (Costumes for Robin Williams; left: Mork. On the right: Mrs. Doubtfire.) (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

A celebrity persona is just a shell, not a real person. So, it’s easier to take some liberties, especially when one is in luuuuuv. (Costumes for Robin Williams; left: Mork. On the right: Mrs. Doubtfire.) (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

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.

2 thoughts on “Michaeline: Celebrity Muses

  1. The first character crush that I can remember is Gene Kelly. I used to love watching musicals when I was a kid and he starred in many of them. Besides his great dancing, he seemed exciting and full of energy. Very different from everyday childhood life.

    In more recent times my crushes were less likely to burst in to song and dance at random moments and more likely to be intelligent, with a good sense of humor, a protective nature, and a bit of vulnerability. Coincidentally, that pretty much describes the first hero I wrote, though I didn’t consciously make the connection at the time.

    • Oooh! I had a crush on Baryshinikov when I was a kid . . . dancers are great, aren’t they? I love a body in motion. And, as you say, a dancer often has a sort of physical vulnerability to them. Slight guys who have hidden muscles, in many cases (-:.

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