I was perusing Facebook a little bit ago and my friend Dan mentioned that he’d recently bought the DVD of Cannonball Run, a great film classic if there ever was one (yes it is! Fuck you!) This got him talking a bit about Cannonball Run vs. Cannonball Run II and it made me ask if he’d ever seen the third installment, Speed Zone. Of course, I’m not surprised that he hadn’t. Honestly, it’s one of those movies that I don’t expect anyone other than me to ever have even heard of. It never came out on DVD. It wasn’t very good. And it’s one of those little footnotes in movie history that only matters to people like me.
I probably haven’t watched it in over 20 years. All I really remember about it is that Jamie Farr was the only returning member of the original cast, it starred John Candy and it had cameos from a lot of late 1980s stars including an EXTREMELY hot Alyssa Milano. And that’s where I really started to think about it.
See the movie is from 1989. Alyssa Milano wasn’t REALLY super hot in it. She was sixteen when she filmed it. And in fact, her characters entire subplot is that she’s trying to learn to drive while the Cannonball Run is going on around her. The thing is, I was fifteen when that movie came out and like all fifteen year old boys in 1989, I really wanted to fuck Alyssa Milano. Seriously, it’s true. This is even an easter egg in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
The nice thing about her, is that she’s a totally age appropriate crush for me. See, now that it’s 2016, I can look up a picture of Alyssa Milano at 43 and it turns out that 42 year old me still totally would love to fuck Alyssa Milano. This works out well! Age appropriate crush! Yay!
But here’s where it gets weird. There’s this crazy cognitive dissonance. When I think back about that movie, all I can really remember about it is that she’s hot in it. But looking at an actual picture of 16 year old Alyssa I say “Oh my God, no! That girl is such jail bait.” But close my eyes and forget the picture and I’m back to “yep, I’d totally hit that.” So then I started thinking about other crushes I might have had in the 80s. Tatyana Ali has always been my standard bearer of “actress that you look at as a kid and know she will grow up hot.” Lisa Bonet, if anything is even hotter now than she was then. So is Soleil Moon Frye. Nicole Eggert went on to become a Baywatch sex symbol so no surprise there. Heather Graham is totally bangable to my adult fantasies, and again is someone who takes sex symbol roles to this day. Danica McKellar, oh God yes. (Seriously I have a massive crush on Danica McKellar… Math has never been so sexy).
The thing is, it turns out that most of the stars I had crushes on as a kid, I got to see grow up into adults and they’re either still on my radar or at least the the most recent mental picture that I have of them isn’t underaged and is still super attractive. In fact I had to think really hard to come up with one that who DIDN’T fit that bill and the best I can come up with is Lark Voorhies, whose appearance has been affected by much publicized other issues. But in her case, in my head, she still totally looks like Lisa Turtle. Except, in my head Lisa Turtle still *feels* like she should be hot and not like she should be jailbait.
It’s not so much that she is aging with me. If I close my eyes and think of other childhood crushes that were already legal at the time, they certainly don’t seem to have aged. Catherine Bach looks like Daisy Duke in my head. She’s still 25, even though she’s a wonderful looking woman at 62 in real life. Dawn Wells is probably the hottest 77 year old woman alive but in my brain she still looks like a 26-year-old Mary Ann. Audrey Hepburn will always look like Holly Golightly and not… you know… dead.
But for the ones that were underaged then (as I was), something weird happens when I look at their pictures. When I look at the pictures I have attached to this post, Winnie Cooper and Samantha Micelli look like children to me for like half a second… and then I realize “Oh my god, that’s Danica and Alyssa” and they’re suddenly hot again… and yet, when I look at the pictures next to their adult selves, it just sort of feels…. creepy.
So my question is: think back to the crushes you had as a teen. What I guess I’m wondering is, “do they age in your head?” Do you still find them attractive today and if you think about them do you think of them as they are now or as they were then? And does it feel creepy to think of them as sexual beings as teens to your adult selves even though you probably thought of them as sexual beings then?