Long Live the Man-Crush
(spoiler alert — parody, no real sexual content)
I have lived with the various attractions from Marilyn Monroe’s centerfold titillating my earliest sip of testosterone up through a painful attraction to Olivia Newton John (RIP) in Junior high, then an even more carnal appreciation of Pamela Anderson’s supplemented sexiness in my early adulthood. These are things the media just foists on our hormonal hardwiring and can be brushed off. They rely on appearances and an imagination, not so much on skill or accomplishment (though Olivia really could sing and dance I guess). Can you say Hetero- yawn — normative?
But what surprised me was when I was overly impressed by MEN who had accomplishments that made me sit up and take notice. Men who triggered some complimentary attribute in me that allowed me to visualize an interactive relationship of my wildest dreams (now maybe dial the hormone stuff down a notch). These appreciations became what I guess is called a “Man-crush”.
The first one that overwhelmed me as a 28 year old found me standing in a midnight rainstorm high(in more ways than one) in the Colorado Mountains of Teluride, Colorado. I was gape-mouthed watching Sam Bush playing the mandolin with Newgrass Revival on stage at their Bluegrass Festival. I was recently divorced so I was “emotionally available” and even though there was a beautiful and sexy woman on my arm, I was up to have a bluegrass mind-meld with Sam the Man. You see, I play the 5-string banjo so logically, I could see myself playing in Sam’s band, touring the country and maybe even carrying his mandolin case for him — his Gibson F5 mando called “Hoss”. Well, maybe that is a little too intimate I suppose, but I COULD play in his band. . . poorly. Unfortunately, Bela Fleck had come along and filled the slot so, alas, it was not to be.
Fast forward 37 years. I was happily into my second marriage with my current wife, and someone started coming between us. I had a surreptitious date with my object of attraction every two weeks. I would sneak out of my bedroom at 4;00 AM, slip downstairs, put on the headphones and hook up through the internet. I was watching the Moto GP motorcycle races broadcast from around Europe 8 time zones away. I felt the tug of admirer attraction again and it was terribly disquieting because my poison was a younger man; a person much much too young for a 66 year old wildlife biologist like me.
I was drooling at Francesco Bagnaia, a world class motorcycle racer. I had some preternatural interest in what he could coax out of a motorcycle in the middle of a screaming pack of 25 racers. He was good, smooth and lithe. This period was near the era of Valentino Rossi‘s world domination of motorcycle wizardry and as that 43 year old icon was starting to fade, Pecco (his closest friends get to call him “Pecco” you see) had moved up to the premier class of Moto GP. These GP bikes are the fastest motorcycles on earth, sort of the 2-wheeled versions of F1 cars.
The attraction had to be “consummated” through both the internet linkage as well as through his tight fitting leather suit and Kevlar layered helmet. For the longest time, I couldn’t even tell what he looked like through his tinted visor but by then, appearances didn’t matter, I had seen him ride and that was enough.
As you can see below, he is capable of defying the physics of mortal men and is clearly an alien. I have not yet seen him abduct a human from the earth yet but I swear it is coming and I want to be his first victim then return a world champion.
I began to worry about him as he took the saddle of the 260-horsepower Ducati Desmodeci and was propelled at 300 km per hour toward curves and fixed walls. He was like a knight on a war horse cutting a swath through the competition to win race after race. Eventually, he took off his helmet and ~meh~ a rat-faced skinny kid with an adolescent beard smiled broadly at the crowd. But I didn’t care, I was drawn to the whole package and felt his aura most attractive at speed and fully encased in cow hide and textiles. Yes, we could relate to each other I am sure, if only he spoke English (and maybe played the banjo to ensure compatibility), I could hold his helmet on the starting grid, run the stop watches at practice and we could ride together after hours in the Italian countryside. After a healthy Tuscan supper I would return to my understanding wife and Pecco could go home to his mother’s house.
I I finally broke down and told my loving wife I was taking my admiration outside our marriage, she finished washing the dishes, shook her head and walked away wondering why she had married a perpetual11-year old. What she doesn’t understand is that me, being 66 years old, means she is actually married to SIX 11-year olds! I am forever underestimated!
For all you men with a little time on your hands, I strongly recommend a man-crush. My brother in law had one for years on Michael Jordan, and my father thought Paul Newman was the bees knees. It is a new day- we are free to admire it seems!