Monday, November 03, 2008

"Hetero man-crush"

One of my very favorite expressions to use is "hetero man-crush", in part because it always gets a laugh from people who've never heard it, and in part because it's almost always perfectly apt. I use it to describe non-sexual-but-more-than-platonic attraction to other guys, though it seems to be used by most other guys to exclusively describe an attraction to male celebrities or other guys that they don't actually know. (I suppose it's somehow safer or less anxious if it's confined only to people you'll never meet?)

I can't recall when I first started using it or who/where I got it from, though the very oldest reference to "hetero man crush" (as opposed to simply "man crush") that I could find on Google is in August of 2005, which uses it "to denote a man that [one] admires, to the point of wanting to get to know that person more, admiring that person to the point of thinking about them often and wanting to be like them." In fairness, though, that definition seems to fit "man crush" more accurately than "hetero man-crush", the latter being a bit more ironic and cute about the way that it self-reflexively asserts the heterosexuality of the speaker/writer. (And, in that assertion, also winks knowingly at the anxious and tenuous construction of that heterosexuality.) There has to be some admittance that you want to be too much like them, that your fandom (in the case of celebrities) approaches a discomforting level or your interactions with them (in the case of people you know) are already ambiguously gay. No definition of "hetero man-crush" works without the inclusion of those levels.

As for specific examples of my own? George Clooney as Danny Ocean is maybe at the top of the list, and I suspect it has something to do with both his overwhelming coolness and my love of Clooney's hair, given that I'm getting a number of grays and hope sincerely that my gray hair will somehow eventually be like his. It's incredibly unlikely, sure, but just maybe...

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