-Dr. Pepper Schwartz in Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love, and the Sensual Years (a dating guide for mature women)
Finding the right relationship can be frought with challenges, particularly as one, ahem, matures. That is why it's important to "do inventory" from time to time, and reflect upon those relationships that have brought you where you are today. In Prime: Adventures on Sex, Love and the Sensual Years, Dr. Pepper Schwartz bravely lays bare her history, inspiring me to do the same.
Men I Have Loved
Andy Gibb – Begins: During a talent show at my elementary school, one of the older girls (a 5th grader) does a jazz dance number to “Shadow Dancing”. Although I am only 8 years old, it is clear that Gibb is singing only to me. Inspired, I begin listening to American Top 40 and watching American Bandstand.
Ends: Approximately one month later when the film Grease is released in theaters and I am given the Grease soundtrack album for my birthday. I do not fall out of love with him as much as forget him entirely. Rest of world soon follows.
Significance: Begins my lifelong love affair with vapid dance music.
William Shatner – Begins: Stepmother’s collection of science fiction paperbacks lead me to pay closer attention to this Star Trek television program. I am immediately drawn to dashing, gilded captain and his propensity for torn shirts. In the space of one summer I watch every Star Trek episode in existence, and comb local used bookstores for Star Trek related paperbacks.
Ends: Combination of first Star Trek movie and advent of TJ Hooker force me to accept that William Shatner is an old man, one who I have no interest in seeing without shirt.
Significance: Begins my lifelong love affair with science fiction. Sets stage for brief future flings with Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes (at different times of course) and ultimately Nathan Fillion who earns coveted “Spaceship Captain for Life” designation.
Stephen Collins – Begins: Steals my crush away from William Shatner in first Star Trek movie. Crush immediately tested when his character bites it at the end of the movie. Dilemma over how to create a satisfying relationship with someone who is dead soon solved with advent of TV show Tales of the Gold Monkey, wherein Collins plays a swashbuckly pilot before World War II.
Ends: Tales of the Gold Monkey is cancelled. I mostly forget about Collins until he reappears 15 years later as minister with seven children in 7th Heaven. I breathe great sigh of relief at my close escape.
Significance: Begins life long weakness for conventionally cute blonds.
Harrison Ford – Begins: Approximately 20 minutes into The Empire Strikes Back, when Han Solo ventures out into the frozen wastes to save Luke. Flowers into full force passion the following year in first scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, reinforced by surreptitious viewing of the very Rated R Bladerunner.
Ends: Upon reading in a Seventeen magazine article that Ford is older than my father. I struggle to convince myself the age difference does not matter, experiencing brief rekindling of affection during film Witness. His Caesar haircut in Presumed Innocent is the final nail in our relationship’s coffin.
Significance: First, although by no means last, instance of my affections evaporating when I realize object of said affections reminds me of my Dad.
C. Thomas Howell - Begins: Upon viewing The Outsiders, my heart is overwhelmed by the young tough but sensitive Ponyboy. Although The Outsiders is known for launching the careers of such luminaries as Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe and Ralph Maccio, I only have eyes for C., even going so far as to fight with my cousin over a picture of him in Teen Beat magazine which happens to be on the other side of a Michael Jackson picture and therefore sacrosanct to my cousin. Our romance blossoms through his next three films, Tank, Grandview U.S.A, and Red Dawn, a film that earns my enmity for killing off my true love.
Ends: Howell becomes the first, last and only man to whom I ever write a fan letter, a letter which he does not return, despite the fact that his career soon enters what will be a 20 year dry spell in which I suspect he had plenty of spare time.
Significance: Begins life long weakness for sensitive guys who never write or call.
Mark Harmon - Begins: People Magazine names Harmon The Sexiest Man Alive and I am forced to agree. I begin sneaking up past bedtime to watch St. Elsewhere behind the backs of my parents. Existential crisis caused when Harmon is brought on as Cybil Shepard's love interest on Moonlighting, forcing me to choose between Mark and Bruce Willis. Unlike Cybil, I choose Mark. That summer the movie Summer School is on cable. I watch it approximately 597 times.
Ends: Harmon marries Pam Dawber, a woman whose work on Mork & Mindy has earned her my respect and admiration. Although I am not invited to the wedding, our relationship does not so much end as evolve onto a higher plane. I still check in with Mark from time to time on NCIS, just to see how he's doing.
Significance: His role in The Deliberate Stranger teaches me that behind every evil sociopathic serial killer, there's a brilliant beautiful actor dying to get out. No pun intended.
Russel Crowe - Begins: Although his character is obviously evil, I am drawn to see the truly crappy film Virtuosity based on a glimpse of his serial killer character SID 6.7 in the ads. His performance does not save the film, but a seed is planted which blooms into full extravagant flower upon viewing of L.A. Confidential. His performance as Bud in Confidential, wherein he plays a very tough, potentially violent, but sweet and sensitive detective who might as well be wearing a sign that says "Redeem Me", is as irresistible as catnip. I tell my best friend that Crowe is the sort of man who has Trouble written all over him, with the dangerous power to cause intelligent women to forget themselves enough that they suddenly find themselves waking up in a rusty trailer in the middle of the Australian Outback wondering what the hell happened to their life.
Ends: A few months after making this observation to my friend, Meg Ryan wakes up in a rusty trailer in the middle of the Australian Outback to find her husband and career missing.
Significance: Despite a brief backsliding romance with Colin Farrell (I like the Irishmen, what can I say?) I realize that bad boys just aren't as entertaining as they used to be.
Anthony Head - Begins: I read an article in American Libraries about a TV show that features a librarian character. Intrigued, I tune in to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and am immediately and passionately smitten with Mr. Giles. He's incredibly smart and has the ability to decapitate a vampire without mussing his tie, a characteristic in a romantic partner for which it had never occurred to me to look before.
Ends: Buffy is canceled. BBC America starts running a sitcom featuring Head called Manchild, which is like Sex and the City for middle aged British men. I don't laugh.
Significance: Although I like them smart and/or with accents, ultimately confirms that I have less than no patience for the male midlife crises.
Jake Gyllenhall - Begins: Enchanted by his performances in Donny Darko and The Good Girl, I dub him my "baby crush", which continues through The Day After Tomorrow, which I go to see on its opening weekend.
Ends: Ultimately, I am too weirded out by my attraction to someone young enough to be my son, assuming I had him when I was 11 years old. Any residual romantic inclinations eradicated by moustache he sports in last half of Brokeback Mountain.
Significance: Although I realize that I am too damn old for this, it occurs to me that perhaps my experiences could be valuable as a teaching tool for others. It's never too late to start bragging about past relationships with celebrities, especially if it will help vulnerable women feel worse about their chances at happiness.
Dr. Kati, The Love Librarian