We all formulate basic ideas of romance and love at some point in our early adolescences. Like most little girls, I dreamed of meeting someone and living the rest of my life out fairy-tale style.
My vision of the perfect mate was someone who was heroic, smart, determined, of a strong moral fiber, a highly skilled fighter, and interesting. Usually, he also had fabulously defined musculature.
With the bar set so high, the only males who fit such a description were often fictional characters.
Here’s what my Top Ten list looked like when I was 6 —
(in no specific order, as my fondness for these characters likely changed on a weekly basis):
1. Link – from the Nintendo game Zelda. My brother loved Zelda and I spent countless hours sitting next to him while he played, listening to him sing Link’s praises; I guess his appreciation ended up rubbing off on me. Besides, Link seemed to be close to my age – but, he was the only boy I knew who could wield a sword and pull off a green bonnet!
2. All of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – I actually loved the Ninja Turtles all so much that, after returning from dinner one night, I made my family stand around the living room while I staged my own wedding ceremony (my mother was very supportive) to each of the imaginary turtles. Michelangelo was first; he had a great sense of humor.
3. Aladdin – from the Disney version of Aladdin. He just seemed like he had great skin and really soft hair. Plus, he was really nice to animals and knew how to put up with hard women. I actually found him more attractive in his street urchin vestments than when he upgraded to his princely garb – I liked him just the way he was.
4. Westley – Cary Elwes’ character from the film version of The Princess Bride. He’s the only blonde-haired, blue-eyed guy I ever had a crush on. But he was just so witty! I watched The Princess Bride so many times that I ended up memorizing most of the script, handwriting it out tirelessly, and then re-enacting each scene with my third grade classmates. Westley and I belonged together. Around that time, I also tried to change my name to Buttercup and refused to answer to my own name.
5. Robin Hood – Kevin Costner’s character from the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The character was just so charming and had such good values. Stealing from the rich to give to the poor and all that. I guess he was kind of blonde, too, but he didn’t have blue eyes. And he fought against the evil sheriff, with awesome theme music!
6. Bruce Lee – not really Bruce Lee, but Jason Scott Lee from the film Dragon, which, by the way, my parents allowed me to see way too young; I think I just really liked the idea of his pectoral muscles. The strange noises he made when fighting were a little hard for me to get over, but he more than compensated with his crazy-good jumping skills.
7. Michael Jackson – what girl didn’t have a crush on Michael Jackson in the early 90s? Though, I must say, I never appreciated the gold leotards. Not strictly fictional, but not strictly in everyone else’s reality either.
8. Edward Lewis – Richard Gere’s character from Pretty Woman, which I saw at a sleepover, much to my mother’s dismay. However, when I told her that I was in love with Edward, she immediately told me that I had to see Richard Gere in his modeling days. Thus began a full-fledged infatuation with Richard Gere that lasted into junior high.
9. The Rocketeer – Bill Campbell’s character could fly AND fight Nazis! Plus, he was a determined man in a uniform. If Jenny (Jennifer Connelly’s character) wouldn’t accept him, I was hoping he’d fall, even if heartbroken, into my outstretched arms.
10. Zeus – The Greek god. I had an idea of what he looked like from drawings, and he seemed like a really charismatic person: very good with women. The beard, I could do without, but on the upside, he’d never age. We could be young together for eternity, eating grapes atop Mount Olympus (his powers would prevent any potential nosebleeds), being serenaded by musical cherubs, and sneezing lightning bolts at rivals!