Men of Years Past, or Childhood Memories

It’s the most wonderful time…of the year.  Not only is it the holiday season (well, almost the holiday season, I was singing Santa Baby in a slutty voice to myself this morning, so it totally counts) but it is also the Sexiest Man Alive season, as I alluded to in my last post.  Mark Wahlberg with no shirt on?  Hello nurse. 

I love the SMA awards (like the AMA awards, but sexier) not just because it is a thrill to see Patrick Duffy and Tom Brokaw make the list, against all odds I would think, but also because there is something about a magazine devoted to so many “hunks” (remember when people actually used the word “hunk”?  Actually I think my mom still does; “That Sam Elliott is a hunk.”) that gets my friends’ creative juices flowing.  Maybe that’s not the only kind of juices that are flowing.  Eeee.  I just squeamed myself out.  Sorry, everyone. 

In any case, for amusing commentary on the state of manly sex appeal, visit Hannah, Nan, and Beck.  Last year I wrote a list of the ten sexiest men, not including my husband, of course.  He would be top of the list, but you know what they say about writers who boast about their hunka-hunka-burning-loves, they are lame and boring.  Once I was having a purely theoretical discussion with some male co-workers about their “lists” – and in the context of this post I need not describe what such a list entails, readers will have to come to their own conclusions – and one co-worked informed us all rather righteously that there was one person on his list and that was his wife.  It kind of killed the mood, to be honest.  And so I will say right now for good form that my husband obviously on the top of my list, he’s super sexy and awesome and he looks like a cross between Jim Cuddy and Kyle McLaughlin, but in a good way, and he wears the hell out of a business suit.  Blah blah blah back to my SMA list.

I like my men dark, with strong jawlines, and a certain air of success and confidence about them.  But it wasn’t always that way.

Nicole’s List of Men Whom She Used To Crush On

1982 – Almanzo Wilder

I developed a huge crush on Almanzo as I spent my free time curled up with the Little House books, probably with my “Bookworm!” or my “I Heart Books!” bookmark by my side.  Oh!  How apt it was that his nickname was Manly, as he courageously battled minus forty temperatures and rising blizzards to save the entire town of DeSmet from starvation!  Oh, how my seven-year-old heart beat when Almanzo touched Laura’s mitten tip on the way home from church (when he was 25 and she was 15…but whatevs…).  Oh, the thrill when they exchanged name cards and went for buggy rides.  Remember when he surprised her by visiting on Christmas Eve, bearing gifts of a breastpin and oranges, and he asked, huskily, “Can’t you thank a fellow better than that.”  THEN THEY KISSED.  Old-timey romance; I’d rather not think about how after they got married they got diptheria, had crop failures and crippling debt, AND their house burned down.  Just look at this for photographic proof of pioneer sexiness.  Just don’t think about the one-bath-a-week thing.

1984 – Corey Hart

I was in the Corey Hart fan club.  I had posters and records that I would play over and over.  You can never surrender!  I’m pretty sure I have a xeroxed letter from him somewhere in my possession.  Sorry, younger self, I don’t really see the appeal here.

1985 – Gilbert Blythe

I know, he was on the list last year.  Every year at Christmas time I wish I had a VCR and the old cassette that I had recorded the CBC version of Anne of Green Gables on.  I wish I could still see those old Canadian Tire commercials.  I loved the books, and I just loved Gilbert.  I do still see the appeal, for a ten-year-old bookworm girl.

1986 – Judd Nelson
I watched The Breakfast Club a few years after it was released, and developed an enormous crush on Judd Nelson.  Bender!  This was the start to a long, unfortunate period in which I was very attracted to the Bad Boy.  No good can come of this, younger Nicole!  These are the guys that will end up dead or incarcerated!  Or at very best will be employed in dead-end jobs, still smoking dope at age 40.  Yet, it still is very cute when Molly Ringwald gives him her diamond earring.  EXCEPT NOW YOUR EARRINGS DON’T MATCH, DUMBASS.
1987 – Lou Diamond Phillips
Remember La Bamba?  And the Young Guns movies?  Yeah. 

1988 – John Cusack

Good taste, younger Nicole!  He’s still on the list!  “I’m an athlete so I rarely drink…what I’m saying is that you can trust your daughter with me for the next six to eight hours.”  God, I love that movie still.  And who can resist this?  Even my mom, when she watched this with me in the mid-nineties, got all uppity that Lloyd stood there with his boombox, unanswered.  “Go to him!  Doesn’t she go to him?”  Word, Mom.  What’s up with the sweatpants, though?  Oh, right.  Athlete.

1989 – Tom Hooper

If you are not a Canadian girl in her late-thirties to early forties, then you may not remember The Grapes of Wrath – the band from Kelowna, not the book.  Oooh, how I longed to run my hands through his curls.  Where is he now?  I have no idea.

1990 – Jim Morrison

I almost stopped the list at 1989 because of my deep shame and embarrassment at admitting that I had an enormous crush on a dead guy.  Not only that, but a dead guy who was crazy, wore leather pants, and drank himself to death at age 27.  But in the interest of veracity and full disclosure, I will close with the Lizard King himself.

And now that I have divulged my deep, dark, secret (or not so secret, really) crushes of my formative years, it’s your turn, dear reader.  Who did you crush on, back in the day when it was still all about VCR’s and records and writing notes in class?  Tell Nicole everything.  xoxo


  1. We have very similar tastes.
    Including Jim but I ‘m still hung up on him. BTW he was sober when he died. Heart failure due to his wilder days. But him and his girlfriend moved to France and sobered up.
    Corey Hart was the first concert I went to (with my Mom). I believed he was singing every song to me and we were going to be together, going steady, one day. I think that was grade three or four.

  2. Corey Hart, yes. Um, all of the New Kids on the Block except for Danny because he was Not Cute. Michael Hutchence from INXS, dear lord. Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing because I was eleven and NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER.

    Oh, and Rhett Butler. Both in the book, which I read in the third grade & really really missed the point of except that I knew Rhett was handsome AND rich, and in the movie, because Clark Gable may have had large ears & apparently tasted like a stale ashtray from all the cigars but was still hot.

  3. Oh! And I forgot! I was mere feet away from Sam Elliott two years ago. My much bolder friend actually met him AND had her picture taken with him – I just admired him from a safe distance. He is, indeed, a hunk.

  4. Michael Landon. I’ll go away now so you can mock me behind my back.

  5. Ohh yes! Gilbert..and Felix from Road to Avonlea..later seasons when he was older..Jerry O’Connell..My secret Identity…and shot me for this..Arnold Schwarzenegger..gawd I dont know why now loll..Encino Man Braden Phoenix when he played in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles..sigh..then there was Elvis..and then in my later teens..Polo sport model Tyson Beckford then the Rock lol…and now..Chris Hemsworth…Daneil Craig..although I think hes short..Alexander Skarsgard..yummy!

  6. Ohh ya and my boyfriend..of course loll ops almost forgot was on cloud nine lol

  7. Oh. Lou Diamond Phillips. I am all nostalgic now.

    I remember having very serious debates with classmates in 1985 about who was the bigger talent: Corey Hart or Bryan Adams. I was firmly in the Bryan Adams camp and predicted he would have the longer career. I was correct in this prediction but sorely wrong in my assertion that Cyndi Lauper would outlast Madonna.

    I also had crushes on Michael J. Fox and Mark Hamill and every male actor on every Star Trek tv show. But not Tom Hooper because he was my brother’s doppelganger.

  8. Now that I am evaluating my crushes of younger days, I think I lusted after nonthreatening men. When I was in kindergarten, I had a poster of Christopher Reeve as Superman hanging next to my bed, and I kissed it goodnight. Then when I got older, it was Simon LeBon from Duran Duran, and they wore makeup for gods sake! Then Rob Lowe before he was creepy. So, looking back, it was a series of baby faces and men in tights.
    Thank goodness I eventually discovered John Cusack and set myself straight! And I still love him. He and my hunky husband could hang out and drink whisky, right? That would be freaking sexy.

  9. Hmmm…in my childhood days…Every new kid on the block but not the tall guy…the one that looks like a monkey. Was that mean?
    I loved Corey Hart. Loved.
    i have no idea who the grapes of wrath are and I am a bit embarrassed to admit since I am a lover of all things Canadian.
    Ps. I sing in a slutty voice too. In the shower is where I sound best because no one can hear me. I think

  10. Oh Gilbert Blythe. GILBERT. I think I *do* still have those VHS tapes somewhere.

    Tom Cruise. Yes. Even though, as the TeenBeat magazine pointed out, he was only 5’9″ tall, which is a full inch shorter than me and who wants a short guy? NOT ME but I still wanted Tom Cruise.

    Also, Colin James. WTF? Why did I crush on short dudes? Because there were no tall dudes around, I guess.

    But yes, Grapes of Wrath. And yes, Jim Morrison. And yes, River Phoenix, who was a dead ringer for the boy I lurrrved in grade 11/12, who was also, you guessed it, a midget.


  11. Well, I just about spat out my tea when I read about Tom Hooper. I totally wore out my Grapes of Wrath cassette tape and had to buy a replacement. LOVED THEM. They should totally do a reunion tour.

    Also with you on Gilbert. I thought I was the only one. Perhaps that’s the mark of a true Canadian girl. I just googled Jonathan Crombie and found out he’s now the voice of Benjamin Bear on The Secret World of Benjamin Bear. That’s kind of a sex appeal killer, I gotta say. SIGH. This is why we don’t google, Lynn!

    • Fun fact: my husband is fromn the same town as Tom Hooper and one of his friends went to school with him! He was a high school misfit, which is probably why he was such a good, tragic musician. DOWN IN A BACKWARD TOWN.

  12. R2D2, Jack Lord (from Hawaii Five-O), Gilbert Blythe (I wore my Anne of Green Gables video tape out), and John Cusack too!

    • You have mentioned R2D2 before, and every time I think about it, I laugh, because – what the hell? He’s a droid, Marilyn! Ahhhh. Good times! Although he would be great to get out of sticky situations. I don’t know who Jack Lord is, but hey – rock on, sister!

  13. My first crush I remember having was on Mr. Clean.
    Then it was Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island.
    Magnum PI. I still stand by that one.
    Eric Idle from Monty Python.
    I don’t think I ever had an age-appropriate crush.


  1. […] of myself first thing in the morning and talked about moustaches (not mine), and I reacted to People’s Sexiest Men Alive list with a list of my childhood crushes. December Christmas, Christmas, and goddammit the tree is […]

  2. Lordy, lordy says:

    […] every Canadian girl growing up in the Eighties, and I was no exception. In fact, he made it on my Sexiest Men Of Years Past list, a.k.a., the guys I used to crush on. RIP Jonathan Crombie. We will always be Carrots to […]

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