I used to not like boys.
Sorry Internet, I don’t mean to tease. I’m not saying I’m a Chasing Amy-esque reformed lesbian. I’m what is classically referred to as a “late bloomer.” I prefer the term “awesomer than thou” because that is essentially what it was. Being a lifelong judgmental bitch (and you’d have me no other way), I always felt superior to those boy crazy girls (read: those girls were popular and boys liked them better so I gave them a nine year old “fuck you” and wrote unicorn poetry and songs about castles.)
Yes, the boys I grew up around, they were so beneath me. They were beneath me because my tastes were beyond them. They were mere boys. I had my sights set on men (ie: famous boys). My Bop and Tiger Beat magazines were all the boyfriend I needed, thankyouverymuch. Below, the four “men” responsible for ensuring that I would make it to adulthood unsatisfied by literally every male I encountered. Thanks guys.
4. Wil Wheaton
Everyone was obsessed with River Phoenix. And rightly so. An incredibly talented tragic figure, he appealed to that 90s sense of dangerous lust in young women all across the country. But a) I was eight when he died and therefore had no concept of dangerous lust, and b) I’m a sucker for the smart (ie: nerdy) ones. And Wil Wheaton was the Stand By Me boy that had my heart.
I’m going to say something. I’m going to say it and I won’t take it back when it’s out, so don’t even try to make me feel bad about it. The reason I crushed on Wil Wheaton? It wasn’t because of Gordie LaChance. And it wasn’t because of the kid in Toy Soldiers. I liked him for three words: Wesley. Fucking. Crusher. Yeah. I said it. I love that Mary Sue of a young man. LEAVE WESLEY CRUSHER ALONE!
In my post TNG years, my crush has waned. But I still read his blogs and books and follow him on Twitter and think him awesome. Our imaginary relationship did not have a messy breakup. Unlike …
3. Nick Carter
I tease my tween cousins relentlessly for their crushes on the Jonas Brothers and Zac Efron and all those other sensations we’ll forget about in a few more months. But I am a hypocrite. For you see, between the years 1998 and 2000, there was only one man for me. Nick. Nicholas Gene Carter, the tall blonde from the Backstreet Boys.
Ours was a pure love. I would sometimes stay up all night, just waiting for their latest video to play on MTV. I wore out their first CD, and I still think Millennium is one of the most perfect pop albums of all time. I saw them in concert three times. I taped their MTV special wherein they picked their favorite music videos, and felt super close to him because his favorite video was “In Bloom” which was my favorite Nirvana song (… after I found out it was his). I loved him good and I loved him hard. But like any young love, our fire fizzled. I didn’t get as into Black and Blue as I had the two prior albums, as by that point I was too busy discovering ever so slightly cooler music, like Travis and the Stone Roses.
We ended on good terms, that is until a few years back he started dating Paris Hilton. Paris Hilton? Nick, buddy, really? Months later she faked some bruises for attention and they broke up, but his luster had worn off on me (what with the probable herpes and all). If you’re a longtime reader here, you know I still do and always will love the Backstreet Boys (their two latest albums are seriously really good, HOW HARD DO I HAVE TO SELL YOU PEOPLE?!) But Nick and I, it’s really best we parted ways when we did.
2. Zack Morris
90 percent of all my haircuts between the ages of 8 to 14 were designed to make me look more like Kelly Kapowski.
Hundreds of photos featuring me with huge horrible thick bangs aside, Saved by the Bell left its mark on me. Every Saturday morning, I was devoted. I watched as the gang got into various scrapes, wound up in perilous murder mystery situations, participated in every single club (and it was always mega ghetto with only maybe two other people – often a nerd and a dumb jock). Sometimes they were gymnasts and could do maybe a cartwheel. Or ballerinas and could maybe walk on their toes in quick motion (not en pointe, but literally on like the center of the foot. What kind of fuckery is that?! But I digress.) and experienced various general shenanigans. Even in my youth, I thought most of this was, for lack of a better term, goofy as fuck, but my love for Zack soldiered on. Right into the College Years. (Note: when SBTB: TCY aired in 1993, it was on Tuesday night at the same time as Full House. To this day, I have not had to face a more difficult decision.) When he married Kelly, I cried. The better (way hotter) woman won.
He has a new TV show coming to TNT. His hair looks like ass in it. This disappoints me.
1. Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Okay, even thinking about this one gives me cause for countless nervous glances at my door, for surely Chris Hansen will burst in at any moment and ask me to have a seat please. But I feel I’m okay as I’m channeling my inner 10 year old. Not creepy.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (known to most simply as “JTT,” but he didn’t like being called that; I read it in Superteen, so I won’t say it, I’ll adhere to his wishes) was the great love of my imaginary life. My Lisa Frank notebooks were absolutely filled with the cursive scribbles of “Mrs. Courtney Taylor Thomas.” I watched Home Improvement weekly AND taped it and watched it again. The Lion King, Tom and Huck and his Chevy Chase/Farrah Fawcett epic Man of the House were on constant rotation in my family’s VCRs. I even wrote him a fan letter. It is by the grace of God that I don’t remember what I said in it. In return I received a postcard. On the front, he was sitting on a stool in all his eleven year old glory, wearing a large green shirt and a black vest and pants. On the back was a printed generic message ending with a shill for a celebrity cruise of some kind. I treasured this like the Ark of the Covenant.
He’s still hot. I’m still not over it.
That postcard is now in a box in my old closet at my parents’ house. My pre-teen mag pin-ups that covered both my closet doors were tossed out by my mom during a pretty relentless room-clean when I was in fifth grade. Saved by the Bell doesn’t rerun as much as it used to and there’s now only four Backstreet Boys. But in the purest sense, these crushes made me a woman. My focus on them kept me from thinking too much about boys that could actually give my parents worry and cause me to make bad decisions. So well done, gentlemen. Like all good ends to good relationships, I will smile when I think of you and look back fondly.
Except for you, Nick. Paris Hilton? REALLY?
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.