Sunday, February 22, 2009

"imagine lewis and clark lost in the pages of a judy blume novel" - david nadelberg

i just got finished reading "mortified: love is a battlefield" by david nadelberg. the book is a collection of people's childhood diary/journal entries about adolescent crushes and first loves. in just about every case, they are painfully embarrassing and hilarious. i think i enjoyed the first "mortified" book more (which included some of the same, but was more general childhood writing instead of being focused entirely on the subject of love).

regardless, this got me thinking about my childhood crushes. i never went through the whole "boys have cooties" stage and have been boy-crazy my whole life. i don't know whether this is a blessing or a curse. i had a boyfriend in kindergarden named paul. i still have pictures of him riding in his jeep big wheels that his mom gave to my mom, and the one my mom took of us with our arms around each other at the cleveland zoo. he was adorable. the only thing i remember about him is guilting him into giving me some polished rocks that another kid in our class brought in for show and tell. i decided it was essential to have him prove his love for me, telling him, "if you really liked me, you would give me yours." he did because he was not a brat like me. i had no use for ONE polished rock, let alone two. but i kept it. thank goodness i grew out of this and don't put josh to the test like that anymore. or do i? sheesh.

most of my childhood crushes were on celebrities, which is not an uncommon fantasy. but what i DO find strange is the range of guys i had these crushes on. i figured out years ago that i have a "type" i go for: scrawny guys with tattoos that have a very little boyish charm. cute rather than hot. they either looked young, or were. from about age 4 or 5, i had a series of very intense infatuations with the most diverse array of males possible, which cracks me up looking back on it.

circa age 4: THE MONKEES


interest in the male species started in a big way for me. not just one, but four simultaneous crushes. that's right, i had a crush on every member of the '60s pop group the monkees. in the early eighties when i was growing up, there was a resurgence in popularity when vh1/mtv/nickelodeon began showing reruns of the television series (and the three remaining monkees that were still on speaking terms -- minus mike -- were putting out embarrassing 80s singles like "every step of the way"). i became obsessed with the show and my mom often taped it on our beta max for me so that i could watch it when my cousins came over.

around this same time, my mom gave me her copy of the monkees first self-titled record (shown above). she must have been really amused that her four-year-old daughter was growing up listening to a band she herself grew up listening to when they were first coming out in the sixties. i have a vivid memory of being in my bedroom alone and imagining that the monkees were standing at my windown. i kissed the glass in four spots, just like the monkees are lined up on the cover of the album. i don't remember anything beyond that, but i wonder how long i imagined them standing there being peeping toms in my window.

**NOTE: i still love the monkees, although i no longer have a crush on all of them. my favorite is peter, "the dummy," pictured second from right. we met him a few years ago at the beachland ballroom when he played with his new band shoe suede blues, and he hit on beth while wearing leather pants. it was a huge disappointment.**

circa age 5: GEORGE MICHAEL


ok, this one is still inexplicable. the most manly crush i've ever had to date. in appearance at least, since he ended up being a tad on the gay side. seriously, what was i thinking?!? that stubble, the feathered and highlighted hair, the wife beater/tight jeans/leather jacket combo??? god, it makes me want to throw up now. but back then, i guess i thought i was a pretty cool 5-year-old. here's how it went down:

somehow, i got hip to the george michael "faith" album when it came out. maybe it was from watching all those monkees reruns on vh1 or mtv. anyway, when my birthday rolled around, that was on my list. and someone in my family actually bought it for me. WEIRD. (especially because i have a very vague memory that it was from my grandma, although i would have to call my mom and confirm this to be sure). but then, tragedy struck. my mom took the record away from me before i even got to listen it, and i didn't get it back for ten years! i found it in her bedroom behind her door, and rightfully claimed it as mine. i discovered a song called "i want you sex" was included on the album. mystery solved. mom was my FCC.

the one token i WAS allowed to keep was a 2" button that i got from the corner store, franklin's. they had a display of george michael buttons on their counter and mom bought two, one for me and one for my cousin beth. not that beth ever had any infatuation with george like i did, but we liked to have the same things. apparently i told beth i planned to sleep with the pin under my pillow each nite, in the hopes of dreaming of my dream boy. err, dream man. i still have it.



i'm sure a lot of girls can relate to this one, and everybody had their favorite new kid. for me, it was all about joey joe, also known as joe mcintyre. he is the epitome of the little boyish adorableness that i still find appealing today. he wasn't that much older than most of his fans! and he had that dreamy, pre-pubescent voice that could hit the high notes like in "please don't go girl." i crushed long and hard on him. sometimes i can listen to those old tapes of mine and STILL feel this dull ache in my heart. it's funny how that happens.



thankfully, this one didn't last long. i had a thing for kevin costner, but only in his role as robin hood in the box office hit "robin hood: prince of thieves." i really loved that movie for a while. wtf, you might ask yourself? sorry. i got nothing.

i know that my mom got me a movie poster from a local video store for christmas the year it came out. i hung the poster in my room for a while, but once it fell down i put it on top of the canopy of my bed because it had see-through fabric and i could just look up at it at night when i went to sleep. creepy, now that i think about it.



for a minute, i was REALLY into baseball. i collected cards and beckett magazines. i played shortstop and 2nd base. i cried when the old cleveland stadium closed. let me just tell you how GLAD I AM THAT I FOUND MYSELF and my real identity didn't involve cleats or gatorade. i guess the fact that i was confused about my blossoming identity caused my mind to become clouded for a while and i developed this crush on cleveland indians player carlos baerga. how could i have liked a mustache??? i remember getting really angry when someone in my family made fun of hearing him talk in an interview when they said he sounded like he "had marbles in his mouth." leave the poor hispanic alone! needless to say, my crush and passion for baseball faded away at approximately the same time.

circa age 11: TEVIN CAMPBELL


i finally started getting into music around the age of ten or eleven. too bad it was radio-friendly rap and r&b, but hey. at least it wasn't baseball. so while i sat around listening to jammin '92.3 and selling enough magazine subscriptions in the school magazine drive to get my free SWV (sisters with voices, baby!) tape, i was also dreaming about tevin campbell. i guess the romantic lyrics to his hit single, "can we talk" were really getting to my budding hormones. plus, at the time, he didn't look THAT much older than me. i kept an old diary around this time that i still have in a secret box, and there is an entry where i boldly declare, "who cares that he's black? he's cute!" right on! preach it, sister! three cheers for ignorant yet innocent childhood racism! oops. not that i saw anything wrong with the fact that he was black, because i obviously didn't, but just the fact that i made a comment like that means that i suspected other people would raise an eyebrow at my choice in men. adults don't give kids enough credit for the things they pick up when they are young.



this is the last of my celebrity crushes before i finally became distracted with passing notes and holding hands with boys my own age. billie joe became my longest-running crush (gimme him, still) and the first that kinda represents my "type" today. when i was twelve years old and i first saw his face on mtv in the video for "longview," i was a goner. i taped the video and watched it over and over and over, showing it to everyone and anyone, exclaiming, "isn't he the cutest thing you've ever SEEN?!?" i fell in love with his bug eyes, crooked teeth, wrinkled clothes and obnoxious nose ring. it helped that he was a mere 22 years old when i first laid eyes on him, which seemed INCREDIBLY ATTAINABLE to a 12-year-old with high hopes and dreams. he was hilarious, rebellious, gross, down-to-earth, and the reason i love music as passionately as i do. to this day, i still haven't gotten my picture taken with him despite the many times i've tried and come close. i shook his hand, but all that did was make me cry. one of these days....

so it would be really fun if anyone wanted to post an entry similar to this, or at least leave a comment with yours. might make me feel better. ha.


  1. I still love the Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie!! I always will!!

  2. um, this is AMAZING!

    if i steal this idea later to pass some time, i hope you don't think i'm trying to bite your style. although i suppose i kinda am. cause you're awesome.

  3. no i WANT other people to do this! not only because i'm interested to see, but also because then i won't feel so lonely embarrassing myself. here's a warning though, this took me FOREVER!

  4. two words: Sergeant Carter.