Celebrity crushes are a weird subject for me. I’m currently nurturing a celebrity crush, which feels stupid for a grown woman in her late 30s. But given the current climate of men being exposed as chronically inappropriate, I’m sticking with a man whom I enjoy very much from a safe distance. Once things calm down, I’ll consider physical and social contact with a man I may actually meet in real life. But for now: therapy. And famous dudes I’ll never meet.
My brother and I had been raised on a very safe and saccharine diet of Disney cartoons and children’s programming. Anything that would enable my mom to keep us safely protected by an external womb over which she still had some control. But kids will always eventually find ways to squirm out of that bubble and find a world replete with glorious cursing, violence, sex and dirty jokes. After sneaking over to my neighbor’s house to watch slasher movies and MTV, my mom finally decided it was time to loosen her grip a bit and let us watch movies that were rated PG.
One of those movies was Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I went with my other neighbor’s family and the cute middle brother saw that I was a little scared during the climactic Judge Doom battle. He leaned over and quietly told me “Don’t be scared. It’s just a movie.” That was my first real-life love.
But a year later, someone else came along and it felt… different. Out of nowhere, I got tingles in places that were too intimate to tell my mom about. My body and soul were shaken by a feeling that felt way more sophisticated than my first official celebrity crush when I was five: Ringo Starr. Ringo and I were close, and I thought he was really cute, but no tingles. But this time around… I was shook. At nine years old, without knowing what it even meant, I had pinpointed My Type: the sexy nerd. That nerd was Egon Spengler.
It wasn’t even the original Ghostbusters that gave me my first tingles; it was Ghostbusters II. It was the “Do… Ray… Egon” scene. It was that look. That smirky, silly, sexy as all bloody hell look that Egon gave to his bros. That look that said “I get laid more than you do, Venkman, I just don’t brag because I don’t want to make you feel bad.” If Egon’s gaze in that scene had been directed upon me, I would have turned into one of his beloved puddles of research slime. (You know, one of the ones he slept with.) To have earned that gaze, to be worthy of the attention of that smirk, that brain, that dry humor that didn’t have to try so goddamn hard… that was what it meant to be loved.
What kind of girl would be worthy of Egon Spengler? Not just one of the women interested in his epididymis. No. Someone who could go toe-to-toe with him and pick that brain and have a conversation for hours and hours. Someone with whom he could have a heated argument and prove herself an equal player in this wicked game. Someone who earned his affections and then cracked open his heart.
After seeing Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters II, I wanted to be the kind of girl who could impress a man that impressive. It was my first aspirational crush. So many celebrity crushes are just about wanting to fuck someone silly, and that’s fine. But I like my crushes to inspire me to do more, to make more, to be more. I want them to be muses. Egon Spengler was the first man who made me want to be the best, coolest, smartest, most talented and funny and beautiful girl I could be. Maybe I would never be a scientist who works in the paranormal, but boy, did he get me writing stories.
Ever since Egon, my celebrity crushes have always run kind of nerdy. Egon was clearly a precursor to Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park, though that’s more of a Jeff Goldblum crush. But when I like a guy in real life, I wonder what I can do to impress him. How can I be just as awesome as this guy? Better yet, how can I surpass him and get him to admire me? Even if he’d not impressed, I’ll still come out better. And Egon was the first one to get me to try.