Darth Vader. I didn't realise how weird that was until I told a friend in my teens. I was very upset when his mask came off, and he was not all I had imagined him to be. Daddy issues, maybe?
Popeye. It was like revulsion and attraction all rolled into one. Which became a blue-print for future crushes, now I think about it. In retrospect, I was entranced by how he man-gulped those little cans of spinach whole, which then morphed into a more overall attraction.
I was entranced by how he man-gulped those little cans of spinach.
There were also those ridiculously bulgy forearms, and the weirdly sexual facial expressions. And he was so, so into Olive: I just re-watched an episode on YouTube and I had forgotten how much emphasis there was on their relationship. Like the fact they couldn't have sex until they got married. He literally walked on air after they kissed, that's how much he wanted her. No wonder it stuck with me.
Holtzmann from Ghostbusters. One of the things about being a woman who likes action and comic book movies is that we rarely get to see women who are clever and badass and beautiful and kind of dorky all at the same time. Jillian Holtzmann is all of the above, and then some. It's hard not to fall for a woman who can get down to 'Rhythm of the Night', but also have a fight sequence that brings tears to the eyes. She's kind of a crazy genius—"safety lights are for dudes"—clever, loyal, and so, so funny. And I mean, that smile? Come on.
Archer, from the FX TV series. He's hot. And he's a glamorous narcissistic vagabond that drinks all the time and never shows remorse or a hint of self-consciousness. He's the sort of bratty prince I'd love in real life. Dark hair, blue eyes, suits—I don't know what else to write, but WOOF.
Garfield. I'm into red-haired guys, so I suppose it kind of makes sense? Second, he didn't follow orders or obey authority, which is obviously very sexy. He only cared about sleeping and food, sort of like me at the height of my Garfield infatuation. And all the years since. Plus, he had this sort of unimpressed expression on his face all the time. I'm definitely a sucker for that, even if it is on a cartoon cat.
The guy from The Curious incident of the dog in the nighttime. I read it in high school: It's this really great story told from the point of view of a 15-year-old boy with Aspergers. He has what he describes as "behavioural difficulties".
I might have called him my 'dream boy'.
He was also my age, emotionally shuttered, and spent the whole book working on his own "murder mystery novel". I was in love. I remember telling my brother about my crush—I might have called him my "dream boy"—and him saying I totally missed the point of the whole book and calling me an "evolutionary weak link".
Looking back now, I think it's cool a kid with a developmental disorder was the romantic hero of my teenage fantasies.
Justin from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Though he was quite young, he was already an advanced reader, like me. I knew I loved Justin when he risked his own life to save his neighbor Mrs. Frisby, who had been caught in a colander and kept in a cage. It was only days later when Justin risked his life again. We'll never know exactly what happened, but we do know that the farm and the good rodents who called it home never saw Justin again.
In his short life, Justin didn't just save his rodent friends from the exterminators, he also saved me from a humdrum fourth grade experience of timetables and pogo. He was brave. He was kind. He could operate complicated machinery. I didn't just like Justin the rat, I like-liked him.
When I was about nine I got into collecting stamps. At first it was because I wanted to collect something, but soon it was about a cartoon girl named Sam.
The Stamp Gang was Australia Post's attempt at sucking kids into stamp collecting. They were cartoon characters that adorned stamp-collecting merch, like the Official Australia Post Stamp Album or the Official Australia Post Stamp Magnifying Glass. There a few different characters, including a disheveled talking dog, but the best (hottest) one was Sam.
She was a tall blonde with a hair scrunchy, an exciting mixture of tomboy and geek, always coming out with cool facts like, "Hey Crusher, did you know that Antarctica is the coldest, driest, windiest continent on Earth?" Okay, so I don't know what I was thinking. But nine-year-old me was heavily into Sam from the Stamp Gang.
For More Stories Like This, Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Adrian Mole. I was pretty obsessed, and he actually went on to define much of my adult love life. When The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole screened here, it felt like a vaguely subversive thing for someone of my tender age (6-8) to be watching.
I always had what I think were platonic crushes on really square, nerdy looking boys. I loved that bookish, intellectual aesthetic. The cruel joke is that I didn't quite understand back then that Adrian Mole is actually a bit of a goober. Now that I'm older and wiser, I would likely despise someone like Adrian for his over-inflated sense of literary prowess.
*Names have been changed.