or How Five Pretty-Boy Faces Changed My Life
by Erin Kanary
I am a big fan of top-fiving elements of my life. It allows me to prioritize the unimportant as I pretend to work or perhaps am drinking alone. I can put things in perspective and get a better handle of my existence. Here I plan on following in the footsteps of John Cusak in High Fidelity and count down the five great loves of my life – that is, the five great loves of my life from the movies and/or television whom I have never met and will never say a word to as long as I live. Nonetheless, these Hollywood honeys have proven more impactful in my life than most men I know. Having just typed that sentence and reading it back to myself, I realize how sad that sounds. I choose to keep that sentence in, however, and I proudly stand by it. So without further delay…
Number One: Clark Gable.
Right, Erin. Clark Gable. How original… *eye roll*
Damn you, it’s true.
I was blessed with having my Granny live with me as I grew up with my two brothers. She kept the household peace as my single mom worked her butt off. Granny would do little else than smoke Viceroy cigarettes, drink instant coffee, and watch Gone With the Wind while she worked on crossword puzzles. Because of this, I had seen Clark Gable’s face more times by the age of five than I had seen Care Bears. Clark’s face wasn’t just present on the television around the house, either. Clark was Granny’s heartthrob and she had the memorabilia to prove it: countless coffee table books, a commemorative throw blanket, a porcelain jack-in-the-box, and of course the infamous signed head shot she had framed in her bedroom.
Clark Gable was the first impression of a gentleman that I can remember – the way he dressed, the way he slicked that dark beautiful hair to complement his pencil-thin moustache, his wooden teeth smiling so dubiously. From the get-go, Clark Gable was my idea of what the man of my life should look and act like. Every proper suitor of mine has been put through the Gable check list in my head and none have reached Rhett Butler status as of yet. Until that time comes, I can still get my Gables out with classics like It Happened One Night and Boom Town. Come here, Netflix. Let’s spoon.
Number Two: Kirk Cameron.
I would be lying if I said I have never kissed a poster of Kirk Cameron on the mouth with my mouth.
Kirk Cameron was the eye of my Tiger Beat hurricane. Sure, this tropical storm weathered elements of Fred Savage, the Coreys, and Scott Baio, but they all swirled around Kirk. In hindsight I am sure that I was actually in love with Mike Seaver, his Growing Pains jokester character with a white bro fro and classic 80’s sitcom one-line zingers. Either way, my Kirk Cameron phase marked the beginning of the transitional girly phase of thinking boys are “sooooooooooooo cute.” My life-long instinctive gravitation toward the class clown can most likely be psychologically rooted in my early-childhood Growing Pains viewings. However, Kirk’s sudden swing into a righteous Christian life tells me it is probably better that we didn’t hook up on a non-poster basis. Would I still get that tingle feeling, though, if Kirk bothered to show me that smile again? Absolutely.
Number Three: Jimmy Fallon.
Did I mention I have a thing for class clowns?
Between the Growing Pains episodes, you could find me covered in popcorn crumbs watching any and all sketch comedy throughout my adolescence: SNL, SC-TV, Kids in the Hall, Monty Python, The State. So when this Brooklyn-born Irishman of a cutie made his late-night debut, I was head-over-heels. My dorm room was covered in pictures of Jimmy that I had printed off in the computer lab downstairs. I wrote him a letter way past the acceptable fan-mail-writing age. His “Bathroom Wall” album would play in my Discman as I wore oversized headphones and drifted off to sleep.
Not only did I find Jimmy Fallon handsome as pie, but I found him to be an inspiration. In my Jimmy phase I started writing sketches and emailing them to my friends for feedback on my comedy writing skills. I learned the least amount of guitar chords needed to play songs I could rewrite the words to in a hilarious way. I didn’t want to just be with Jimmy Fallon. I wanted to be Jimmy Fallon. And that right there, my friends, is love.
Number Four: James Franco.
There are two things I remember from the movie Spiderman: 1. Kirsten Dunst’s nipples in the rain and 2. James Franco. However, I was a bit hesitant on adding Mr. Franco to the list, thinking it might be a bit premature to put him on the level of the other four sweeties. But here’s what got him in: James Franco has rekindled that ol’ throbby feeling in this girl’s heart. James has spent time as backgrounds for both my computer and smart phone, and I often find myself taking time out of my day to Goggle him just to see his smile. James is an example of how technology has changed the heartthrob game. I don’t have to wait for the next Tiger Beat centerfold or scheduled TV show to air. I can literally press a button and look at Franco face all day. And I do – even if it’s his face kissing Sean Penn’s face from Milk. I can get down with that.
Number Five: Christian Bale.
1993. Sixth grade. Mrs. Butkowski’s class. Movie Friday.
I was wearing a plaid skirt and large, round glassses. I sat near the back of the classroom, playing with the friendship bracelet on my wrist. I look up through thick lenses and my heartthrob life changed forever.
The movie that particular Friday was Newsies and from the moment I first laid near-sighted eyes on Christian Bale as Jack Kelly, I knew he was The One. I could barely breathe as I watched young newsboys dance around fake shaving and singing about delivering newspapers. “Who was this Jack Kelly boy?” I wondered and “Where can I find more of him?” I headed straight to the library and got my hands on the soundtrack, which I quickly transferred to my own cassette tape. I rented Swing Kids which sent my life in another whole direction. I taught myself how to swing dance and I listened nonstop to the licks of Django Reinhardt and Benny Goodman. I kept a file (which I still have) on Christian Bale filled with anything I could find on him. I had pictures ripped out from magazines I didn’t buy, the children’s book version of his Little Women film, and a printed out list of all his films which I would keep up-to-date and check off the movies as I watched them.
To this day my heart still flutters when I hear the sound of his name. I don’t even care that he might have beat up his mom or that he humiliates defenseless production assistants. And I understand his extreme weight loss for the sake of character. I get it. And I will overlook all of that for you, Christian. Just be mine forever…
I can’t wait for the day that I’m smoking cheap cigarettes and drinking shitty coffee as I show my granddaughter the many roles of my heartthrobs. I will probably start her off slow with the Growing Pains and classic SNL, working my way into the Spiderman trilogy, and then end things off with the superbAmerican Psycho when I think she can handle all that murder and Huey Lewis.
-Erin Kanary is all woman. Check out her magazinehere.