Oh, my teeny-bopping heart
Think back… did you have a teen idol who made you weak in the knees? Did you pore over 16 Magazine or Tiger Beat for the latest gossip about your favorite star? Some of us us don’t want to admit that we cried our eyes out when Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman, thus cruelly dashing our dreams that we might one day become Mrs. McCartney.
But I know you’re out there.
Celebrity crushes are a fascinating subject. I once asked friend’s mom who was in her eighties if she’d ever had a celebrity crush. She pondered for a few minutes, then goose bumps rose on her arms. She gently rubbed them with a dreamy look in her eyes and said, “Oh, my, look at me. Yes, it was Rhett Butler. Not Clark Gable, mind you, but the character he played in Gone with the Wind.”
Such is the power of those so-called silly girlhood fancies that an octogenarian would get goose pimples. In my opinion, it’s a wonderful thing. Who wouldn’t want to feel like a giddy teen again, even for a moment?
That’s exactly how the anthology Idol Talk: Women Writers on the Teenage Obsessions that Changed Their Lives began.
Let’s talk about idols. Seriously.
I’m so proud to be included in Idol Talk: Women Writers on the Teenage Obsessions that Changed Their Lives, a fabulous anthology by McFarland Press, where women dish on their crushes and early influences. Tamra Wilson writes about putting the anthology together with co-editor, Elizabeth Searle:
Among our contributors were best-selling authors Ann Hood and B.A. Shapiro, Breena Clarke and some notable North Carolina writers: Jill McCorkle, Judy Goldman, Amy Rogers, Lisa Kline, Marjorie Hudson, Stephanie Powell Watts, Susan Woodring and Marianne Gingher.
Learning the identity of their girlhood crushes was like opening the door in a game of “Mystery Date.” We were ecstatic to nab Elvis through Goldman’s poignant essay about seeing him in 1956. We reveled in learning about Watt’s love for Barry Manilow. And we were overjoyed to finally land the fourth Beatle, Ringo Starr, thanks to Gingher, who’s now a professor of creative writing at UNC-Chapel Hill.
In addition to pop singers, the writers’ idols included some unexpected choices: Raymond Burr, Dick Van Dyke, Peggy Lipton, Chris Evert, Humphrey Bogart and Bobby Orr. The more unusual, the more fun it became.
Those Bad Boys
Rhett Butler was a bad boy, but my first crush was much darker. I lusted after Bill Sikes as played by the charismatic Oliver Reed. I write in my Idol Talk essay titled “My Horrible Celebrity Crush”:
It was 1968; I was an awkward fourteen year old on a high school field trip to see the musical “Oliver!” I slid down in my seat and yawned, expecting a musical about a street urchin in Victorian England to be as exciting as having to watch Liberace with my grandmother every Sunday evening. That bored attitude snapped to attention when Bill Sikes, played by the late British actor Oliver Reed, skulked onto the screen in his battered top hat. My heart ratcheted and my hands wrapped around the wooden arms of the theater chair. Who was this man? Why did I feel like this? This strange feeling was new to me, but I knew I liked it. I didn’t know what significance Reed’s potent machismo would have on me, or how sexual desire and fantasies would eventually lead to my success as a writer.
I remember being unable to sleep, Reed’s brutish face looming larger than life in mine. I was haunted. I was sure the other girls in my class found him repulsive, and this confused me.
It didn’t matter. My lust for him quickly faded into an obsession for Jim Morrison, another bad boy.
Get ready for goose bumps
Forty essays and 70 photographs in this revealing tell-all may give you goose bumps, too, when you remember falling head over go-go boots for your first crush.
As of August, 2018, Idol Talk had moved up the charts to #4 among McFarland’s titles. The anthology makes a fabulous and fun gift for a woman of any age, especially one whose passions run hot.
“Idol Talk offers fun, distinctly unique stories of the right-of-passage experience of celebrity ‘puppy love’ and celebrates how these crushes changed these former teenyboppers’ lives from a more mature perspective.”–Ann Moses, former editor of TIGER BEAT and author of Meow! My Groovy Life with TIGER BEAT’s Teen Idols.
Edited by Tamra Wilson and Elizabeth Searle.
ISBN-13: 978-1476669120; 252 pages; 70 photos; $39.99
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of the award-winning novel In the Context of Love, a story about one woman’s need to tell her truth without shame.
2017 New Apple Book Awards Official Selection
2016 Sarton Women’s Fiction Finalist
2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist
2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist
“…at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed Once Upon a River,and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters