The perils and perks of crushes (and keeping it real)
(image of Burt Reynolds from https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/378302437427498137/?lp=true)
When I was coming of age, during my glorious technicolour years , which I remember with more clarity than I can remember anything much that’s happened in the last few months, possibly years, I wasn’t much like my peers.
I didn’t fancy Bros or New Kids On The Block or anyone from Take That. (I did, however, go to a Jason Donovan concert and feel burning envy when my friend, Hannah, caught the plastic cup he drank from and threw out to the audience.) But, apart from Richard Chamberlain in The Thorn Birds (a gay Catholic priest – could he have been any more unsuitable?!), Roger Moore in Live and Let Die (who was the same age as my Dad at the time – WTF?!) and Burt Reynolds in Cannonball Run (only man I ever fancied with a moustache – Tom Selleck never floated my boat), I didn’t really fantasise about pop stars or celebrities.
My crushes had to be real and within the realms of possibility. They were usually people I had met or had dalliances with. The floppy-haired public school boy who got expelled from Marlborough for bunking off to go to a Guns ‘n’ Roses gig, the cheeky charmer who sang ‘I think I love your bottom’ to the tune of Voice of the Beehive’s ‘I think I love you’ whilst walking behind me in town and whose mum was in The Archers. Or the gorgeous Greek boy who drove me around Corfu on his moped and said I looked a bit like Winona Ryder.
They were the people I would think about, imagine scenarios with and become my default fantasies. I could never really imagine what the point was in dreaming and fantasising about someone you would probably never actually meet. Why waste your time and energy on that? Although I never once doubted the fact that my big sister would, as she so vehemently claimed, one day marry George Michael and marvelled at the school friend who signed her Christmas cards – ‘Love Pru and Mark’ (as in Mark Owen from Take That.) I was too much of a realist to imagine I would ever have a future with such boys. I could never really understand these people who cried or swooned when they saw their idols at concerts or gigs.
Several decades on and I’m still very much a realist when it comes to crushes. Sadly, living in a small village and working from home, the only men I see on a daily basis are the school-run dads and postman. All though some of the places I go to in the Cotswolds do remind me a bit of when I was a fresher at Exeter with all the boys in their pink shirts and boat shoes.
I did, however, see Alex James, one of my few serious 90’s crushes, queing up for some jerk chicken at the Daylesford Harvest Festival with his beautiful wife and five (!!) kids last weekend. (Think that might just be the most middle-class sentence I’ve ever written.) I then - as my eight-year-old loudly pointed out at the time - turned a funny shade of crimson at the sight of him and almost lost the power of speech, so I am clearly not immune to a celeb crush.
The fact is though, having been married for almost a decade, my crushes are invariably receding-hairlined, Volvo driving dads who probably snore and spend half an hour on the loo each day whilst their wives get their children ready for school or swimming. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, pot-smoking Peter Pan types.
That’s not to say that I haven’t had all manner of saucy dreams, usually whilst pregnant (what is it with that?) about Jamie Dornan, Robbie Williams (don’t even really fancy him but it was a very memorable dream) and, somewhat inexplicably, Ed Sheeran.
I wish I could seriously entertain the prospect of a candle-lit clandestine tryst with Eddie Redmayne or a raunchy romp with Tom Hardy but, let’s face it, if it hasn’t happened now it’s probably never going to. Which is probably just as well seeing as I’m now pushing 40 and have been stitched back together three times in the operating theatre.
Still, it’s nice to have a go-to crush, isn’t it, to keep your spark alive.