As I get more and more engrossed in the second season of The Walking Dead (I’ve long given up on being even the slightest bit upset that it’s not exactly following the story arc of its source material), I find myself getting a little knock-kneed over sexy-hick-with-a-crossbow Daryl, portrayed by Norman Reedus:
The houseboy rightfully points out that it’s probably not Norman Reedus that I’m making squeaky noises and little damp spots over, but DARYL. You know, like I don’t find Harrison Ford the least bit attractive, but Han Solo is the sexxxiness. I am totally Team Daryl, as much as I hate being Team ANYTHING, since I’m over 40 years of age and refuse to use acronyms or emoticons. It’s okay to be Team Daryl, because he’s not sparkly, he’s sweaty and dirty and foul-mouthed and HOT. HOT.
I’ve had plenty of bizarro crushes over the years. I learned early on, as a matter of fact, to PRETEND that I crushed on the same people my little girlfriends crushed on, because to admit the real sources of my pre-and-post-adolescent yearnings was to invite much scorn and derision.
“Ohhh, Donny Osmond IS SO CUTE (but really I want to marry Gene Wilder).”
“Scott Baio. SQUEEEEEE! (actually, I prefer Anson Williams).”
“I like John first, then Simon, then Roger (I need to go home because they’re showing Time After Time again on HBO and I am COMPLETELY in love with Malcolm McDowell as H.G. Wells).”
In high school, when I wasn’t swooning over an ACTUAL guy, all my hopes and fantasies were pinned on this dude:
Oh GOD. Griffin Dunne. I saw After Hours when I was a sophomore in high school, and fell hopelessly in love.
Upon returning home from the movie, I went into my room, dodging the records and cassettes strewn all over the floor, pushed the pile of clothes to the foot of my unmade bed and sat there, crosslegged, pondering the complexities of this situation. Was it truly Griffin Dunne I was after? If so, I had at least a few years to truly transform myself into the bookish, cynical, sylph-like siren he was bound to be attracted to. I would probably also have to take up smoking. Naturally, then, I’d have to set my sights on NYU, and Tisch. I figured by the time I was a senior, our paths would have crossed, perhaps at some staged reading. I would be aloof, of course, which would fascinate him, and slowly but surely I would allow him access into my complicated mind. Eventually, over drinks at Elaine’s, I’d confess my teenaged crush, and we would spend the rest of the evening trading choice lines from “After Hours” before he’d walk me back to the trendy loft I shared with a paint-splattered recluse and a cheeky, smart-alecky gay waiter. Outside the freight elevator, we’d share our first kiss. I bounced a little on the bed, girlishly thrilled by this not-too-distant vision of myself.
But then guilt overtook me. I was being disloyal. Disloyal to the REAL BOY for whom I was also carrying a torch. Never mind that he was across town, probably practicing his guitar, and not thinking about me. My leaving for New York was going to devastate him, eventually. Maybe. I had such a knack for longing for the unobtainable.
I never did go to NYU. I never did meet Griffin Dunne. But damn, he’s still cute.
I’m just not sure I’d want him on my team when the zombie apocalypse comes down.