ValueSpeak
A Weekly Column
By
Joseph Walker

WHAT’S IN A CRUSH?

Jon has a new girlfriend.  Sort of.

Her name is Megan Fox.  I don’t know much about her, but Google tells me she plays a featured part in the new “Transformers” movie, which Jon has seen about 13 times now – in no small part, I’m sure, because of Ms. Fox.  Evidently Jon has sort of a movie crush on her.  I know this because I am seeing “Megan Fox” searches showing up all over the parental control reports I get from our internet provider.  Clearly, my 15-year-old son has moved on.

Out with Poppy Montgomery.  In with Megan Fox.

Of course I understand this.  I had my share of movie and TV crushes when I was young.  My first TV crushes were . . . well . . . not human.  I was big on Lassie and Rin Tin Tin, and I would have given anything – absolutely anything – to take a ride on Tonto’s beautiful paint, Scout (I have a picture of me on a little pinto pony, which is as close as I ever got to riding Scout, and the look on my face is pure, pre-adolescent rapture).

My first human TV crush was – who else? – Annette Funicello, everyone’s favorite Mouseketeer.  She was the reason I never missed an episode of the Mickey Mouse Club – well, her and the possibility that it just might be Anything Can Happen Day.  Then I moved on to Natalie Wood.  I’ll never forget the day Mom caught me kissing her picture on the back cover of the “West Side Story” soundtrack.  I can still feel my ears burning with embarrassment as she told and re-told that story to anyone who would listen.

In later years I had star crushes on Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren and Ann-Margret, respectively.  Now, I’m not sure how a redhead worked her way in among all the brunettes for whom I always seemed to haven a propensity.  But my first four real-life crushes – Gayle, Barbara, Jan and Miss Green, my fourth-grade teacher – all had dark hair.  It wasn’t until 9th grade and a lovely pep clubber named Heidi that I discovered that blondes really did have more fun.  I should also point out that this was at about the same time that I actually started to get along with my big sister, Kathy, who is also a blonde.

A coincidence?  I think not.

A few days ago I saw an online article suggesting that your star crushes tell a lot about the kind of person you are looking for in real life.  For example, the article said that a woman who is attracted to Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” character, Captain Jack Sparrow, is looking for “someone who is exciting, adventurous and even a little bit dangerous.”  Or someone who is attracted to Will Smith’s character in “Hitch” is looking for “the boost to your own self-image that you gain from being with someone who others find highly attractive.”

I don’t know about all of that, but it got me thinking: what do my early TV and movie crushes tell me about the kind of woman I was looking for – and eventually married over 30 years ago?  Well, like Annette Funicello’s career persona, Anita is sweet, innocent and beautiful.  Like Maria, the character Natalie Wood played in “West Side Story,” she is Hispanic (although Anita’s ancestry is from Spain, not Puerto Rico).  She is charming, delightful and adorable, just like Audrey Hepburn.  She has amazing eyes, sort of like Sophia Loren.  And she is a spirited and energetic redhead, just like Ann-Margret.

OK, so maybe she was blonde when I married her.  That doesn’t alter the fact that I really did marry a woman who embodies so many of the traits and characteristics I found attractive in my earliest TV and movie crushes.  Which sort of makes me wonder what it is about Megan Fox that Jon finds so appealing, and how those traits might be manifest in my future daughter-in-law.

And whether or not I’ll be seeing any of his lip-prints on our computer screen.

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— © Joseph Walker

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