Childhood crushes. We’ve all had them and 99.9999% of them are or were totally embarrassing. My personal feeling is that Southern Belles are more susceptible to crushes because we are trained in manners and chivalry at an early age so as to expect a valiant knight to come galloping down our driveway holding an American Express Black Card, a dozen Krispy Kremes and six-pack of Diet Sun Drop.
What I didn’t realize is how terribly stressful childhood crushes can be for parents. As Baby Belle 1 hits “that age” where deeply disturbing members of the entertainment world start to appeal to the over-targeted pre-tween market, I quickly realized that I either needed to lock her in a convent or betroth her at the age of 5 if she continued down her path of highly highly questionable choices of male idols.
Sweet. Baby. Jesus.
What’s the worst? I hesitate to even tell you because it’s just that horrific. Ick, ick, ick: Michael Jackson. Ickickickickickickick! To be fair (and hopeful), I don’t know that ol’ MJ inspired any romantic notions in my child’s warped little brain, but there exists a troubling zeal with regard to his music and videos. I’ve often thought of stabbing myself in the ears rather than endure listening to Man in the Mirror one more Godforsaken time.
After seeing the movie that the Jackson family released for as much profit and tacky publicity as possible, I will [a touch grudgingly] admit that the man was talented and a very hard worker. I also feel very sad for him being forced to live his life the way that he did—everyone should be able to have an actual childhood. Nonetheless, have you seen pictures of him? God rest his soul, but damn...how could anyone find that appealing?
We’ve been fighting a heated battle in an attempt to get Baby Belle 1 to sleep in her room all night. Scott and I asked if anything might help her if she got scared and she said that she wanted a Michael Jackson poster. BB1 picked a Michael Jackson “Bad” poster. We put the thing up and I took a good look at it.
“Bad” was when MJ started to look a little overdone in the plastic surgery department. If I rolled over in the middle of the night and caught a glimpse of the dude in the conservative S&M wear with those freaky eyes, ghastly complexion and weird chin, it would scare me so shitless as to hack 10 years off my life.
In response to as much parental manipulation as is legally possible, we’ve steered Baby Belle 1 at least a little bit away from the MJ onslaught, but I’m not resting easily as I know that very next drive-a-parent-to-drink obsession is right around the corner.
Case in point...
I spent Saturday evening with a lovely 13 year-old young lady and her family. I’m always very impressed with this 13 year-old’s maturity and intelligence which is why I was floored with horror and shock when I learned the object of her latest crush: Justin Bieber. I make an effort to stay as ignorant as possible when it comes to the Tween Wave, but I don’t live under a rock (although the notion is under serious consideration), so I am sorry to tell you that I am more familiar with The Biebs than I care to be. The dancing. The high pitched and girly singing voice. The hair.
OH MY GOOD GOD--the hair!.
I don’t care for long hair on boys under 21 years of age. I’ve spent impressive spans of time sitting in Court and staring at my clients and other defendants who suffer from Shag Syndrome. I daydream about tranquing them and whacking off the offending locks with a weed eater. Among hygiene questions and a host of other problems, it just seems disrespectful to me. Mind you, I didn't come into the distaste of long, luscious man tresses until I was in my twenties—possibly because of the wealth of nonstarters I dated in the early years who had hair longer than mine.*
Imagine my dismay—if you will—at the latest trend in adolescent male coiffures: Brushing all of that mess forward so that it frames their delicate little boy faces. One of the many things I intend to teach my Baby Belles is to never evereverever date a boy who spends more time and product on their hair than the Belles do. Absurd.
I will note that I saw a clip on the news proclaiming that Little Precious cut his hair. Good for him [or his handlers], but I still don’t know why it trumped the news about Japan’s nuclear crisis.
It is hypothesized that little girls almost always crush on celebrities who appear to be “safe.” I furthermore gather that “safe” translates to men that give off a [slight or not] feminine vibe. Raging towers of masculinity and hormones quite rightly freak out the younger sets of girls out.
When I look at the Biebs—although I try not to make a habit out of it—I totally see the “Safe Factor” with the carefully done hair, utter lack of 5 o’clock shadow, the occasional zit here and there and the girly pitched voice.
Of course, when I think of Michael Jackson in that respect, all I want to do is pour bleach on my head in a desperate attempt to wash the traumatizing thoughts from my mind. Despite all of the biting of the lower [collagen filled] lip and the crotch grabbing, the fella was asexual at best, although he might have aesthetically appealed to the alien visitors that allegedly frequent Roswell, New Mexico.
Okay, I have to stop now lest I go even more insane. I simply can’t dwell on the point overlong.
Suffice it to say that I now fully comprehend the extent of the trauma I inflicted upon my parents in regard to adolescent idols. I shall now humbly confess my sins and respectfully ask for ablution:
- I am so very, very sorry about my early childhood crushes on Erik Estrada, John Travolta and Gene Simmons of Kiss (in full makeup, no less). Although I do still enjoy the occasional Travolta movie and Kiss song (not together, mind you), I avow that I am now cured of Ponch, Danny Zuko and the dude in the aluminum foil costume;
- I am furthermore sorry for my “Junior High Phase where I thought that George Michael and Tom Cruise were the be-all-end-all of masculine perfection. We all know what happened with George Michael and the public restrooms. As for Mr. Cruise, I happened to run into him at Walden Books when he was in Wilmington filming a movie and the fact that he was about three inches shorter than my 13 year-old stature caused me to cast Tom to the wind; and
- High school was no doubt a wee bit stressful for my parents in that I dabbled with a hair metal phase. Although my love for Jimmy Buffett and Sam Cooke music didn’t wane, my attraction to Axl Rose and Sebastian Bach was rather powerful. As a matter of fact, Sebastian did a stint in Jekyll and Hyde on Broadway a couple of years ago and I would have walked on glass to get tickets, but—alas—they eluded me. I got a chuckle out of the opening night footage on the news: There was enough Rave No. 4 Hold in that female audience to cause a catastrophic explosion upon the lighting of one single match.
These days, I only have eyes for my own knight in shining armor who saw fit to marry me almost 16 years ago. Yes, I look back on my past crushes and cringe, but thank God we’re allowed to be stupid in our youth. If we didn’t act like hormonally charged dumbasses, we would never learn from our mistakes and we wouldn’t be nearly as appreciative of what we have now...
NONETHELESS, boys and belles, I’ve come clean with you and misery loves company. It’s time to make your own sacrifices of dignity. Who did you have a crush on?
*I also don’t have a problem with men over the age of 21 sporting long hair. If they work and pay their own way in the world, they can do what they want to with their haircuts.