In Defense of My Crushes

I'm 41 years old, and I totally have a crush on the president of the United States.

He's just the latest in a line of tall, dark, handsome, talented, intelligent men on whom I've doted. A child of the 70's and 80's, I began early with David Cassidy. I insisted, at the ripe old age of four, that my hair be cut into a shag, like his. A fickle pre-schooler, I soon fell in love with Donny Osmond and left David in the dust. I would sing "Puppy Love" into a hairbrush in front of my full-length mirror. I got the Donny and Marie dolls for Chanukah, and I remember sleeping with the Donny doll while Marie languished under my bed (sorry, Marie).

Donny lost his place at number one when Shaun Cassidy arrived on the teen scene. I watched The Hardy Boys religiously every Sunday night. My mother let me hang a picture of him on my wall, making me feel very grown-up at all of eight years old. I bought his records with my allowance and swooned whenever he sang on TV.

Then, without warning, my world was rocked by the man who would be Chachi. Yes, Scott Baio. Scott became my entire life from ages 8 to 11. You could not speak to me when Happy Days was on. I put a silent curse on Erin Moran when Joanie loved Chachi (sorry, Erin). When my father bought our first VCR, I recorded The Boy Who Drank Too Much (a TV movie he co-starred in with Lance Kerwin. I watched James at 15, but I never was into him; must have been the blond hair) and watched it so often, I might have driven my own mother to drink.

I followed Scott to Charles in Charge, but not for long. My life changed in the summer of 1981, because we got cable television. Which meant MTV. Along with that, we got HBO and The Movie Channel. And in those days, they showed any kind of movie, all day long, no matter what it was rated (quick aside: bad call. No child should accidentally stumble upon Humanoids From the Deep while eating a bowl of cereal on a summer morning).

Which is how I came to watch Little Darlings (excellent soundtrack) in the middle of one afternoon and saw the most perfect male I had ever seen...Mamaroneck, New York's finest, Matt Dillon. Oh he of the deep brown eyes and cascading hair, and those lips! Dude. I was sunk.

Cable TV was a Dillonpalooza back then: I remember watching Over the Edge, My Bodyguard, Liar's Moon and Tex on the Movie Channel over and over. I plastered my bedroom walls with his photos from Tiger Beat magazine. Matt was custom made for my pre-teen angst. He was so beautiful, but also dark and moody. He had that deep voice, and you just knew he was the best kisser ever created. I still carry a torch for that man to this day. The last time I saw Gus Van Sant (who directed one of Matt's best performances, in Drugstore Cowboy), at an event here in Portland, I asked him to do what he could to get Matt back in town. So, Matt, if you're reading this, give Gus a call, huh?

So anyway, by the age of thirteen, I was able to juggle crushes on both Matt and a newcomer: John Taylor of Duran Duran. Have mercy on me, that one hit me like a freight train going 500 miles an hour. Duran Duran couldn't have come along at a more perfect time for me. Teenage hormones a-blazing, I was overweight and unpopular. John was the substitute boyfriend for millions. My bedroom could have doubled as a shrine to the man. I kept hoping that something in my genetic makeup would somehow get altered, rendering me leggy and blonde when I grew up -- John only dated leggy, blonde supermodels. I saw Duran live at Madison Square Garden in March of 1984 and I still have the "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" tour program in pristine condition (hm... wonder what that might fetch me on the eBay?).

John is another longtime crush that's survived. In 2005, I was lucky enough to meet all five original members backstage after their show at the Rose Garden in Portland. I could barely speak. My friend Courtney Taylor, of the Dandy Warhols, casually introduced me to John by saying, "This is the best radio DJ on the planet." It was one of those moments that no one else will remember, but I'll never forget. Later, as we parted, he called me a sweetheart and planted a kiss near my cheekbone. I told him I wished I could go back and time and tell my 14-year-old self, "Hang in there, kiddo, someday you'll meet John Taylor and he'll kiss you on the cheek," because at least I would have had that to help me get through high school.

There are plenty of other famous men at whom I gaze and think "He shore is purty": George Clooney (shocker), Johnny Depp (ditto), Taye Diggs, Colin Farrell, Peter Gallagher, and Clive Owen, to name a few. But they don't get the same kind of reaction from me as the names I mentioned. I respect the talent combined with the dark good looks and the intelligence, and whatnot, but I wouldn't get on a plane to see them perform, like I have for my forever unrequited crush, Dave Grohl.

I put Mr. Obama into that category of smart, educated, well-spoken, charming, hard-working gentlemen who can shoot a basketball and also discuss politics. I have immense respect for him, because he took on the world's crappiest job at the crappiest possible time. Think about this: our last president never even wanted to be the president. The guy wanted to be commissioner of baseball. I'd have been more than fine with him running the Texas Rangers into the ground, rather than our country, but I digress.

I've often had to defend my crushes throughout my life. Straight guys were jealous of Duran Duran; my father teased me about Matt Dillon; and while plenty of guys own up to man-crushes on the Grohl, many don't see why chicks dig him. Some people don't like our president; this is nothing new. So here is my defense:

It's kind of ridiculous, how people expect him to be this superhero magician who can fix things by shooting lasers out of his eyes. He wasn't born on Krypton and sent to Earth to help mankind, my friends: he's human and he's working as hard as he can to make things right for us. Remember the campaign, when he said it wouldn't be quick, it wouldn't be easy, but we will get the work done? I remember it, and I still believe it. In our give-it-to-me-by-yesterday society, where we don't want to wait 30 seconds for a webpage to load, we want our results and we want them now. We all need to practice some patience when it comes to real-world, real-life stuff.

Barack Obama is the president of the United States and I support him. But that's just me voicing my opinion. If you think you can do better, run for office. If you can't run for office, write to the people who serve your community to make your voice heard. Just quit picking on my crush. After all, if my sons are going to marry his daughters some day, I want to make sure he's around long enough for them to meet.

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