I’m reading Eric Metaxas’ recent biography of Martin Luther, and it’s the first time in many years I’ve studied Luther in any depth. The first time was when I was in middle school. I don’t remember exactly what I read and/or listened to (there may have been some Adventures in Odyssey episodes involved), but I do know that through this process, I developed a crush on the German monk and reformer. Huh? I know. (Google a picture of him now if you don’t know.) It’s a bit baffling, but I don’t think it was his physical appearance I was drawn to. (Years later, though, Joseph Fiennes played him in a movie, and he looked pretty hot.) It must have been his earnestness in pursuing God’s true will for the Church, his clever and sometimes shockingly bold writing style, and the undeniably romantic way in which he met his wife, a former nun (he hid her when she escaped from her convent). And it probably had a lot to do with the fact that back then I didn’t know a lot of guys–young or old, living or dead.
Surely this factored greatly into my even less explicable crush, around the same time, on Union general Ulysses S. Grant, a short man invariably pictured as scowling and chewing on a cigar. And it’s not like he had a pretty face; actually, you can barely see his face in pictures because it’s covered in one of those full-face beards popular at the time. I don’t think I can explain this one, except that he did win the Civil War. Also, I remember reading that he used to get terrible migraines, and his wife would put a “mustard plaster” (I never understood exactly what this was) on his feet to ease his suffering. I guess I appreciated this humanizing weakness, as well as the humility and gentleness expressed by both parties in the anecdote. I don’t know. The ways of love are mysterious.
The next person I would like to tell you about has the advantage of being young and admittedly cute, but the disadvantage of being completely fictional, not to mention animated. Let me preface this by saying that one of my favorite Disney movies has always been Pocahontas. It was the last animated Disney film that came out before I got arbitrarily too old for Disney movies (roughly age 11), and I still think its music and color palette are gorgeous, even if the love story is as sappy as Grandmother Willow. (That was a tree pun.) You probably think I’m about to say that I had a crush on John Smith, but I didn’t. He was too old for me, too blandly handsome and boringly heroic. Nor did I go for Pocahontas’s arranged fiancee, Kocoum, nor her dad, though as an adult I can now appreciate his stately good looks. No, I was into Thomas, the wimpy redheaded sailor voiced by Christian Bale (though I didn’t know that at the time) who accidentally shot Kocoum because he was too nervous to hold his gun straight. Even now, I have to admit he has a sweet face. (Click the link above to see a picture of him, along with my brief review of Pocahontas.) And I’ve always liked his floppy hat.
I like to think that my celebrity crushes have matured over the years, but on the other hand, what’s more impressive–starring in a few movies or starting the Protestant Reformation? I’ll let you decide. I’d also like to hear about your early celebrity crushes.
You are never to old for Disney movies!
You’re right! But I think a lot of people go through a phase during their teenage years when they think they’re too old for kids’ stuff in general. 🙂
My literary crush has always been Edgar Allan Poe. I have always been drawn to people with sad stories and, well, his is pretty sad. I want to know how his mind worked.
Unless people listen to country music, they would not know my celebrity crush. My celebrity crush will probably always be Marty Stuart. In all fairness, I have met him three times. The last time was with my husband, who pretty impressed by his talent as well. When I was a teenager, I bought a Fender Telecaster Clarence White model guitar, a custom-made guitar that cost me $3,000.00 at the time (I had it on lay-away for over a year and paid for it with money I made from paper routes) because it was quite literally patterend after his guitar. His guitar originally belonged to Clarence White of the Byrds. He took it in to Fender and had the guitar I have (and a few others just like it) made from his. It is a cool guitar because it has a B-string bender. I do still have the guitar. I do not have as much time to play it as I used to, but I still love it. (Oh, he also autographed my mandolin the second time I met him. It says, “To Kandy. Love, Marty Stuart”). I won’t bore you with the details of the t-shirt I have that I wore to the first concert of his I attended, that he hugged me in, that smelled like his cologne (the meet and greet was in the summer after the concert, so he was pretty loaded with cologne in interest of not smelling sweaty). That was over twenty years ago, and it still hangs in a poster frame on my bedroom wall.
I don’t know Marty Stuart, but I love your story! I always like to hear about celebrities who are friendly to their fans.
And yes, Poe’s story is so sad. I recently read a children’s book called Eddie: The Lost Youth of Edgar Allan Poe. It’s fictional and includes elements of fantasy and mystery, but it incorporates a lot of accurate biographical details. It’s supposed to be a fun, low-stakes middle-grade adventure, but I had a hard time enjoying it because I felt so bad for poor little Eddie–not only because of his family situation and depression but also because the illustrator gave him these huge, sad, haunted eyes. It was a good book regardless, and you might enjoy it! The author is Scott Gustafson.
Thank you! I will definitely check it out.