Okay, fine. In truth, I’ve written a YA novel that kinda, sorta does it, but you will never know which novel (when it sells) and which loved-and-lost person I might be writing about. So there. Ha! (I will admit only that I ate a lot of chocolate while writing that book.)
Instead: let’s go with actors.
I honestly can’t remember my actor crushes before Kevin Costner; I think they were mostly musicians and mostly in my teens. Maybe I was so busy with actual, real-life crushes that I didn’t have time for screen crushes, but I frankly find that hard to believe.
Anyway. I still vividly remember the moment Kevin Costner walked onscreen as Crash Davis in Bull Durham. I fell hard. I proceeded to see that movie 10 times in the theatre, including once when I skipped out of work in the middle of the afternoon to do it. As a practicing lawyer, let’s just say I never did THAT before or since.
Why Kevin? Or, more specifically, why Crash Davis? He was smart, he was a helluva catcher and hitter (and I’m all about sports), and he was romantic in a grown-up, been-around-the-block-a-few-times way. My favorite moment: when he lay in bed with a black eye painting Susan Sarandon’s toenails. I swooned. I also had no idea what Susan saw in Tim Robbins as Nuke LaLoosh. He was a BABY. He wasn’t bright. Most important, he wasn’t her equal. She eventually figured that out and wound up with Crash, but seriously? It took her way too long.
Unfortunately, my love for Kevin (which resulted in a cool gift from my husband of a Durham Bulls jacket) didn’t last. He made too many movies that were, well, bad. Dances with Wolves: three hours, lost forever. Silverado was so awful that I lost movie-choosing privileges for at least a year. The movies weren’t just bad: they made him look stupid, and I never, ever, ever fall for a guy who isn’t smart. Luckily, I dumped Kevin before Waterworld came out.
Buh-bye, Kevin. Helloooo, Harrison Ford!
I don’t remember which Harrison Ford movie first rescued me from my deeply flawed crush on Kevin Costner. Frankly, it wasn’t any of the Star Wars movies. I love Star Wars (although I didn’t see A New Hope until 10 years after it came out), but I thought Han Solo was a cocky jerk, and not bright, and that doesn’t work for me. It might’ve been Witness or Working Girl. All I know is that Harrison appeared in most of the best movies that came out for many years. Indiana Jones, Patriot Games, Air Force One. The list goes on and on. He was the ultimate hero and a nearly perfect guy in almost every movie: smart, tough, and honorable. I swooned. Repeatedly.
Then he met Calista Flockhart.
My immediate thought, which has never changed: I gave him the best 10 years of my life, and he does THIS? Could he not have found someone worthy of him? Someone like me? Of course he could!
But noooo, he chose Calista. Just like that, he was dead to me. He also started to look Really Really Old. Poor choices will do that to a person.
By now you’re sensing why I would never blog about my actual loves. Ha ha!
Luckily, I rebounded. (I play basketball. Rebounding is what I do.) I went to Kate & Leopold with a group of writers, and the greatest guy EVER appeared on the screen: Hugh Jackman. Utter perfection in looks, brains, honor, decency, you name it.
Swoon city, baby.
Sixteen years later, Hugh and I are still going strong, which is why I should (try to) be discreet about EXACTLY how fabulous he is. Sure, I’ve had flirtations with Robert Downey, Jr., Channing Tatum, Chris Hemsworth (even though he’s blond), and - ahem - possibly others in the intervening years, but they are NOTHING to me. (Um, for the most part. It’s good to be flexible.) With Hugh, though, we’re talking Twu Wuv. Forever and ever.
Possibly. I mean, you never know.
Mary Strand is the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Push-Up Bras and three other novels in the Bennet Sisters YA series. You can find out more about her at marystrand.com.