Happy Valentine's Day (this week). In honor of this most venerated holiday, I'd like to talk about a different kind of love. The Girl Crush.
Though unable to date the phrase back to its first use, I think I first heard it floating around female lexicons somewhere around the year 2000, probably, knowing the crowds I ran in, in reference to the arthouse crossover Amelie.
The titular character was disgustingly adorable - a twee brunette with large brown eyes and a heart of gold. She talked to her bedroom decor, played elaborate puzzles with a garden gnome and dressed not unlike the Lone Ranger all in her twisty-turvy plot to find love. And France be damned if it didn't work. Men and women the world over were immediately and severely enamored with Audrey Tautou.
Amelie Poulain, about to eat the undeniably twee dessert, creme brulee.
Today, the phenomenon of the girl crush is alive and swinging. My mom has a girl crush on Catherine-Zeta Jones. My brother-in-law has a bromance with Hugh Jackman. Plenty of straight-as-a-door manly men have their hickory-hard hearts carved with Steve McQueen's initials. Jared loves Woody Allen, but "only for his brains." Is anyone exempt from developing these same-gender, non-romantic attachments?
What propels hetero men and women the world over to develop these levels of admiration (is it love, envy, respect?) and then publicly designate them as such?
I was sure I didn't have any.
Thinking back, not only do I indeed have girl crushes, my earliest GCs significantly
. I think I've had them all along.
My first GC was Princess Buttercup. I thought she was like a cooler, real-life version of a Disney Princess. She had the perfect early nineties wave of long blond locks. She taught me not only did you have to have a dash of ladylike wit and grit, you had to be a fox to snag someone like young Cary Elwes. And wow, she's aged so well
. I hope to look like her at 45.
Marry Sean Penn, a man way less attractive than me? As you wiiiiiissssh.
Next came Mia Hamm. Any young girl who hoped to play competitive soccer idolized Mia Hamm. I remember reading books about her, looking into UNC soccer camps, hanging posters of her in my room, and fighting tooth and nail to get the number 9 jersey on my team. (I lost, becoming number 10 for the rest of my career, which I later found out was a more "important" number anyway worn by Pele, Maradona, and now Messi).
And she's an Olympian. Check.
Gwyneth Paltrow. I developed a GC on her about the same time Brad Pitt did. I loved her in Emma and Great Expectations and I quickly decided I would never cut my hair again because she wore her blond hair so well. I thought she had class, style, and her alien-like body was made for designer clothes. And so, when I wrote pretty mediocre poetry in my school lit mag, I used "Gwyneth" as my penname. This GC probably died along with my high school poetry career.
I grew my hair. I grew my hair for you. And all the things you do. And it was tinted yell-ow.
I saw Big Fish when it came out and I remember thinking that Marion Cotillard was really beautiful in an interesting sort of way. She was like an even cuter French version of Audrey Tautou. I still think she's probably the most beautiful actress working today.
Then of course comes the trio of musician CGs.
Robyn, my fearless Swedish pop-pixie, who dances and dresses like a 5-year old and makes KILLER tunes to work out to. . .
. . . Oh Land, who is way too pretty to be anything other than a model, but has managed in spite of her Danish goodlooks to become an avantgarde musician. (In another life, I could have made performance art for a living). . . .
. . . and Chan Marshall aka Cat Power. She is a fierce embodiment of Woman, power, confidence, and I love her voice. I want to sound like her when I talk, sing, or sneeze.
And rounding things out in GC land is the fictional Liz Lemon. Because she gets to say and do the dorky things I say and do, only she does them in public. She is either my fictional clone, or BFF. And because when I saw this scene for the first time, it was night and I was eating cheese, and I probably did a spit take.
and Yoko Ono.
Okay. Now tell me I'm not alone here. Confirm to me that the girl crush (and bromance) is a thing. Go.