Friday, February 25, 2005

Crushing

I'm a happily married woman who has a great guy for a husband and who is many, many years past that age when pupply love rules the emotional rollercoaster. But one thing I'm always open to is a good old fashioned crush.

You remember crushes, don't you? When you'd see the object of your desire and get all heart-fluttery and excited. You'd doodle initials on any unsuspecting scrap of paper and drop whatever you were doing to listen intently should a song come on the radio that reminded you of the Crush. You'd go out of your way to put yourself in the Crush's path and become absolutely giddy with joy if you found out that the Crush kinda crushed on you, too. And heaven help you if the Crush ever managed to kiss you. Ahhh...what a moment of pure magic.

Since I'm not about to ruin a perfectly good marriage on a real crush, not to mention the pool from which to pick from is pretty shallow at this point in my life, I've had to limit my adult crushes to the unreachables. Movie stars, TV personalities. The usual suspects.

A lot of times my crush is not on the person (read: actor) but on the character he plays. I was really digging on Spike back in my Buffy days, and I don't admit that so you all can come jump on my head and say "Spike!? No way. It's Angel!!" I've spent time crushing on Dr. Doug Ross (from ER), Jack Traven (from Speed) and Aragorn (from Lord of the Rings), although he had to share the spot with Legolas.

Now, before you think me really shallow, there are some that I've chosen who aren't the run-of-the-mill superstar types. When I was in college I had a serious crush on Tom Brokaw, so I don't limit myself to just the glamour guys and pretty boys. Nothing sexier than a smart man. In fact, I can confess that my very first celebrity crush was on Davey Jones (the really short one) of the Monkees, and I still tear up when I hear "I Wanna Be Free."

Having a crush at any given moment keeps my blood flowing. Sure I love my husband. But there is nothing like those feelings evoked when you are in the beginning of a new relationship. The massive surge of endorphins that doctors and psychologists label the "falling in love" stage and what explains why over time that feeling diminishes as a course of normal physiology because no-one can sustain that high of level of hormones indefinitely. A life time commitment and the love that grows from building a home and life together is warm and secure and enviable. But it's different than the high you get with a crush. There's simply nothing else like it. In fact, I'd wager if drug manufacturers could figure out how to legally duplicate the sensation, Viagra would have a run for its money.

I think that's one reason I love romance novels so much. Over and over again I get to read about those first thrilling moments, when indifference or animosity turns into a crush and then into something more. There are so many variations on the general theme, but in every case there are those moments of pure electricity that, if done very well, can generate those feelings in me, too. It's how I determine if a book is a keeper - if it has the ability to make me feel like I myself have developed a new crush.

Even more, in the fantasy world of romance novels, that feeling never goes away. Even after the hero and heroine have spent time together - even a lot of time - you always get the sense that the electricity for them is as high as it was when they first met. They have an endless supply of those endorphins, apparently. Kind of like heroes having an endless supply of great muscles and heroines an endless supply of silky, touchable hair and creamy smooth skin.

Because this feeling is so critical to my own reading experience, it's something I feel is necessary to put into my own writing. And in order to do that, I need to maintain a steady stream of crushes of my own. So that feeling is always there, just beneath the surface where I can tap it and try to convey it. When I walk around in my daydreams, thinking up scenes for my heroes and heroines, I know when I have something when that feeling starts to bubble to the surface and my fingers itch to type.

Right now I'm currently between crushes. I'm thinking that Sawyer from Lost is a good contender because I have a really big thing for bad boys who are really heroes underneath (see, that's why Spike). Although, I also think that guy Sayid's pretty cool and a lot sexy, too.

Best thing about crushing on an unreachable - you can have multiple objects and no one complains.

1 comment:

SandyO said...

I am great at rationalizing so I consider my "crushes" vital to my writing. I tend to use them as visual references when I'm writing characters. I "cast" the movie. ;) (right now the object of my attention is Vaughn on Alias. But I've been known to use various sources for characters. My regency hero looks a lot like an NHL hockey player. Yes, he has all of his teeth.)

I had a delightful friend who just passed away at age 85. I use to attend local hockey games with her and her daughter. I would tease her about the attention she got from the players (they called her grandma). She told me (and she was past 80 at the time) "Well, when you can't look at a good looking man, you might as well die. And I'm not there yet." That's how I want to be at 80.