The crush was a private thing that happened in my room, but it was also a shared activity between friends. It didn’t matter much that Emily’s crush was a haggard guy in his mid-50s, or that Mary’s was dying as the Titanic sank, or that my romantic rival was Gwen Stefani. Our crushes weren’t about anything as simple as attainability, or kissing. You couldn’t take Paul McCartney to the homecoming dance; the very idea was absurd, because the homecoming dance was an absurd nothing, especially when compared with the immensity and violence of our feelings. (…)
My mom should’ve understood. At the Beatles’ 1966 concert in Chicago, she’d had to slap my Aunt Martha hard to get her to stop from screaming herself into a faint. From the teenyboppers to the Beliebers, teenage girls have been mocked for their crushes, but that scorn is just a shoddy mask for the anxiety these crushes inspire. Because a teenage girl with a crush is frightening. (…)
And both groups have flocked to Tumblr to showcase their love—not surprising, actually, since Tumblr turns out to be the perfect medium for a crush shrine, one that’s far more dynamic and interactive than a scrapbook or a bedroom wall. It allows posts and re-posts of pictures, quotes, gifs, and video clips while discouraging wider analysis or any sort of logical connection between content. Instead, the obsession acts as its own context.
I call Tumblr “The World of Henry Orient for necrophiliacs,” with teenaged girls swooning over a guy who died eleven years ago.
If they knew how happy he’d have been to oblige, I wonder if, paradoxically, their ardor would fade.
Maybe not: being compulsive completists, surely most of them have read Redemption Song by now, and watched The Future is Unwritten.
The unscratchable itch, the agony of unrequited, scab-picking, arm-cutting lust is a key ingredient here. The Clash tumblr called “Mick Jones Ruined My Life” is perceptively titled.
Anyway, I’m heartened to see adolescents listening to real music, written well before they were born, instead of that Katy Perry (sp?) stuff.
These girls’ political leanings trouble me more, but I escaped, so let’s hope they do too.
UPDATE: “The Slits were in my life when I was seventeen.” Me too!