And so it went. Night after night. This was the fantasy I invariably fell asleep to when I was 10 years old. Sometimes I would change up the scenario, adding in super powers or a pony, but it pretty much held solid through the fourth and fifth grades. There is much I forget about those years but these memories came washing over me last week – vivid as ever –when Davy Jones died unexpectedly. Like many of my contemporaries, part of my 10 year old self died along with him.
Teen idol worship appears to be a “girl thing.” I’ll admit to you here that while Davy Jones was my favorite fantasy, I would sometimes cheat on him, substituting Scott Baio, Shaun Cassidy or Lance Kerwin (100 points for the first reader to name the TV show for the last dude) in my dreams.
There was no shortage of teen boys to rip from the pages of Tiber Beat magazine and tape to my bedroom wall. Ask any woman of any age and she will invariably get that dreamy look and unabashedly relay her “list” of teen heart throbs to you. Prior to my generation there was Fabian, Elvis, James Dean; after there was Ricky Schroeder, Mark Paul Gosselaar, the Jonas brothers and, of the course, The Biebs.
But I find it fascinating that idol worship is largely lost on young boys. Either they don’t have it – or they don’t admit to it. In doing a little research, I asked the brothers what celebrity girls they “liked.” I chose my words carefully as suggesting that they “love” or “worship” anything except their X-Box would shut the conversation down immediately – but I didn’t get much further with my shrewd phrasing. They didn’t understand what I was asking. Even after I prompted with a few names –Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Taylor Swift – they just kinda stared back at me. Finally, Noah summed it up by explaining that “its just not our nature.” Clearly, they don’t have the fever. For those MoB readers who are thinking, “What about the Farrah Faucet, Cheryl Tiegs, Paulina and the Snake posters that decorated the walls of boys in the 70s and 80?” Well, that brings me to my next point:
Boys catch the fever much later in life –about the exact same time girls lose it.
Fast forward to present day and I am talking to my sister and sister-in-law about a potential girls night out and the possibility of going to The Cave. The Cave is a fine establishment for women patrons where the staff dress code is black tie only – and when I say only, I mean ONLY (at least for the male Adonis entertainers that work there.) While I’m certain that the quality of these men is astronomical – and put my dear departed 5’3″ Davy Jones to shame — I would rather spend the evening having a root canal.
My male fantasy days ended when I entered my teens.
While as an adult I can appreciate the fine looks of Clooney, Affleck, and Cooper (as in Bradley), I don’t dream of them showing up for an appearance at the Acme and picking me over all the other prettier Mommies to spend the rest of our lives together. I don’t think I would even want these guys around me for a month, unless they would be willing to drive the Hebrew school carpool each week.
Men, on the other hand, seem to begin their idol fantasies in their late teen age years – and never grow out of them. I realize I am over generalizing here but there is a reason why strip clubs and Playboy remain viable businesses. And I don’t know too many adult men who would turn down a chance for an evening (and morning after) with Angelina, ScarJo or Cameron. I don’t fault them for it –because I’ve been there. With Davy. When I was ten. I get it.
Still, I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with a smart anthropological analysis of why men and women cross this threshold into and out of idol fantasyland around age 15. For me, when I was a child, I desperately wanted to be noticed and feel validated. Davy’s attentions would have been the ultimate cure for my insecurities. As I grew older, my romantic fantasies were replaced by life fantasies where I dreamed of being validated in a different, more realistic way (I got that job, I wrote that book, I looked completely awesome when I saw that old boyfriend.) Perhaps boys and men experience this dynamic in reverse. Validation when they are young comes from real life opportunities (sports, video games, buddies) and much later they need to feel attractive and wanted in a physical way. Enter The Mantasy. I’m sure there are studies. And opinions – so please weigh in if you think I have this all wrong.
Regardless, I have to thank Davy Jones here on these pages for putting my 10 year old self to sleep each night with childhood fantasies that would come to pass – but made for a happy bedtime. Daydream believer, indeed.