Despite being raised in a culture that would have me believe that there is nothing more sinful or shameful than loving someone of the same assigned gender as yourself, I have always struggled with accepting my attraction to men more than my attraction to women. After all, it is a truth universally acknowledged that men are mostly pretty bad. Not all men, they keep telling me. Then how come I still have yet to meet a single Not-All Man, huh?
Those of us who like men but also hate them need a safe outlet for our Male Attractions. This is why it’s great to flirt on the internet with guys who live in different states while absolutely never paying attention to any guys you meet In Real Life (IRL). This is also why it is truly vital to attach elaborate romantic fantasies to famous men who will never actually speak to you. The only man guaranteed to never hurt you or leave you wholly sexually dissatisfied is the man who exists primarily as a figment of your own imagination.
Let us start at the beginning.
The Cast of The Lord of The Rings, With Special Attention Given to Elijah Wood (2001-2005)
Aside from some nebulous, googly feelings re: Liv Tyler, the Lord of the Rings film trilogy was a real Heterosexual Awakening for an eleven-year-old me. My peers and I swooned over Orlando Bloom’s elfin prettiness. We were intimidated by Viggo Mortensen’s rugged appeal. We giggled over how cute Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd were. Elijah Wood was special to me, though. His big, blue, vulnerable eyes cut straight through my soul, and I yearned for him.
Highlight: A couple years ago, Elijah Wood came to shop at the Pittsburgh grocery store where I worked. I didn’t bother him. I’m not a sociopath. But I watched him from a distance, agitatedly trying to get his upscale groceries as quickly as possible without being harassed by strangers. I cried. My coworkers laughed at me.
Lowlight: The several years where my primary extracurricular activity was watching the hours upon hours of LotR DVD bonus features. Over and over and over again.
Seth Meyers (2007-2009)
When I first discovered comedy existed, I became a dedicated watcher of Saturday Night Live. I watched it every week in my dad’s upstairs office, sitting in a rolling chair wheeled about two inches from the TV screen, volume on the absolute lowest setting so I wouldn’t get caught. I would smash the power button and sprint to my bedroom about six times every night, thinking I heard someone on the stairs. I loved Seth Meyers, for some reason. I imprinted on him. Weekend Update was always my favorite part of SNL. At least until Kate McKinnon showed up, anyway.
Highlight: I never got caught watching him.
Lowlight: Of all the SNL alum to crush on, I chose Seth Meyers.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (2009- 2011)
From the first time I saw (500) Days of Summer and absolutely did not get it at all, I was smitten. I went to see Inception in the movie theater four different times. Tall, thin, great hair, impeccably dressed. Oh, I have a type now, I guess. I bought DVD copies of every movie he ever starred in. He was sweet and goofy and so very earnest. Sexy but non-threatening. I thought about him nearly constantly for a good while, just like falling in real love with a real person. Then, I don’t know what happened, but earnest started to seem like oblivious. The more cynical and battle-hardened I got, the more I found him… annoying more than anything.
Highlight: There was this one photo shoot he did where he was wearing a suit and sunglasses, chewing on an unlit cigarette, and I just about lost my mind.
Lowlight: Don Jon.
Donald Glover (2010-2013)
There were three types of male-attracted Community fans. Joel McHale worshippers, Danny Pudi enthusiasts and Gambino Girls (were the boys called Gambino Guys?). As far as I was concerned, Donald Glover invented rap music and also invented acting and writing for 30 Rock. A true renaissance man. A bad boy. With a staggeringly fit body. #DonaldforSpiderman
Highlight: The Gambino show I went to about five years ago. It got nuts, and his freestyle blew my mind.
Lowlight: Realizing that most of his rap lyrics were pretty misogynistic. And his stand-up was… problematic too. I still haven’t seen Atlanta. I hear good things, though.
This was a real big one for me, a huge part of my fantasy life for many years. A friend turned me on to his music. Then I googled him and those photos turned me on to his perfect face. He’s a gifted storyteller and lyricist. He lives the life of a true adventurer. He inspired me to start doing the shit I always talked about. I have had more erotic dreams about this dude than I have had visits to the dentist over the past five years. (Granted, I have had zero visits to the dentist over the past five years, but you get the point.) Sometimes, I would develop another fantasy crush and focus on it for a while, but I always came back to him eventually. That is until he got married. I have some boundaries.
A couple weeks ago I finally got to see him live. Yes, he was fucking magic, and I’ll never forget that night. Yes, he was kind and absolutely a delight when I got to speak to him afterward. But it was achingly clear to me that this was just a guy doing his job, and I was just one of countless fans he would meet and speak to on this tour. There was nothing special about our bond, in real life. There was no bond to speak of. I still love him dearly, but in a different way now. I’ve moved on.
Highlight: His Instagram pics after he got into motorcycles.
Lowlight: Finding out the boy finally found his lady and settled down.
Neil Campbell (2013-2016)
Have you ever met someone so mind-bogglingly funny and adorable you’re pretty sure you should call the cops? Well, I’ve never actually met Neil Campbell, but if I had during the depths of my crush on him, 911 would definitely have been in order. When I heard his first freestyle rap (Seeing it all laid out like this, “funny rappers” is emerging as a strong trend for me.) on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast, I texted my boyfriend at the time. “Who the fuck is this dude? I think I’m in love.” He has never made a bad joke. He has never not been the cutest boy I’ve ever seen. However, he’s not quite famous enough for my crush to not be creepy, so I had to get myself in order.
Highlight: I saw him improvise live in New York City for my 23rd birthday. Other people were there, too, but I barely remember them. It was pure joy.
Lowlight: Spending at least 10 hours of my adult life crafting an elaborate fan fiction about a character he played on a comedy podcast.
Rami Malek (2016-FOREVER)
It’s the age of Rami, bitches. I started watching Mr. Robot like two months ago, and this is my life now. I’m going to get famous solely so that I’ll have a chance to run into him. He will see past my looks and lack of talent and obnoxious personality and love me for my terrible attitude and utter inability to keep my room clean. He is my sweet, humble, thoughtful, disgustingly hot husband now. Deal with it.
Highlight: Watching him win his first Emmy while I was supposed to be working. I cried. My coworkers laughed at me.
Lowlight: THERE WILL NEVER BE ONE. THIS IS REAL, THIS IS TRUE, THIS IS PERFECT LOVE.