Back during my middle school years, I would have shanked a man with a spatula to meet Kathy Ireland. She was my first celebrity crush. I remember that moment in 1989 when I opened my brother’s Sports Illustrated, saw that green-eyed brunette standing on the oceanside cliff, and instantaneously realized that I had a penis. “Wait a second….this thing is not just for slap fighting in the locker room? This is a brave new world.” Even when looking at that picture now, I can recall what it felt like to suddenly change, to finally understand why girls existed, other than as targets for hurling shards of broken glass. Take a gander for yourself:
Imagine, if you will, a young, bespectacled Matthew. Do you have him in mind? Now, imagine his balls dropping. Fantastic. Now you understand what I’m talking about. This was the day I became a child-like man.
You could say I became a little obsessed after that. You could say this because my bedroom walls were adorned with Kathy Ireland memorabilia: posters, calendars, magazine covers, death threats I never mailed (no balls), etc. Up until the end of high school, Kathy was the epitome of the female form. So, back then, if the opportunity to see her in person somehow came about, it would have been bad news all around. Who knows what I would have done. Honestly, I probably would have passed out like a Jonas Brothers fan. But that’s just one possibility of the many that would end with me embarrassing myself.
At some point I moved on to other fascinations. In late high school and early college it was Jewel (Why? I can’t honestly remember). But sometime around the release of Almost Famous I found another mythical creature to dote on. That pixie’s name was Zooey Deschanel, she of the big blue eyes and cutting sarcasm. From the moment she bent down to tell the world, “One day, you’ll be cool,” I was hooked.
Us regular folk feel like it’s okay to fixate on celebrities, because what does it hurt? You’re never going to meet these people, they don’t even exist on this realm. They’re Sasquatch, they’re unicorns, they’re uncloseted homosexual republicans; they don’t actually exist. So, you see no issue with plastering their visage all over your wall, to idolize them at a level that would make Yahweh’s non-existent head explode. I was never going to see Kathy Ireland, and certainly I was never going to see Zooey. You don’t just stumble upon models and actresses, unless you summer in the Hamptons and babysit Billy Joel.
But you know who you do see? Musicians. I’ve seen dozens of musicians I respect in person, and strangely enough, it’s never weird. They exist amongst the common man. Music seems more homegrown, more natural. Movies, tv shows, fashion layouts, these aren’t steeped in reality. A big time musician can walk past me on the street and it wouldn’t shock me. If even a lesser actor, say Eric Roberts, mosied on by, I would have to check my pulse to make sure I wasn’t dead and in Hell, a Hell full of Eric Roberts’. I shudder to think.
Yet, somehow, I was able to capture this picture last week:
There she was, live and in person, large and in charge, putting on a music show. Did I rush the stage and turn her skin into a purse for my mother? Shockingly, I did not. Have I grown-up? Could it be that I’m not marginally insane? I guess so. It turns out, celebrity crushes are people, too. Who would have guessed? If Kathy had put on a concert in 1994, I would have peed my pants and punched a stranger. Guaranteed. But last week, Zooey Deschanel sang at a show, I was six feet away, and I acted like a rational human being. I sang along, did my white boy bop de bop to the beat, and had a grand ole time overall. Sure, deep down I wanted to hug her into oblivion, but I’m not batshit insane, like most of the other fanboys that attended. From the guy trying to look up her skirt to the 16-year old that yelled at her every 5 seconds, I was by far the most calm person there. This is mind bottling. My mind is trapped in a bottle.
So what’s the moral of the story here? It’s okay to be a prepubescent boy and crush on a supermodel. This is perfectly normal. This is when you learn to appreciate the ladies and grow an irrational viewpoint on what a woman should look like. A crippling viewpoint that will never allow you to appreciate someone not famous, therefore giving you commitment fears and a lifetime of disappointment. Wait, this is the moral? Well, shit on me.