As a pre-teen, when The Karate Kid movies came out, I was obsessed with Ralph Macchio. I would listen to Chicago and look at the multitude of pictures from the teen magazines I had brought, swooning over his dreamy face, imagining what a date with him would be like.
Of course, the person I imagined resembled the character of Daniel Laruso, not the real Ralph M. since I knew nothing about him. As I got older, my crushes and infatuations shifted from movie stars to rock stars and eventually to more attainable crushes in the guys I went to school with. I didn’t have another movie star crush until this year.
What I find strange about this current crush that I have developed is not that he is younger (though this could always have its advantages), nor that I even have the crush (which actually is strange since I haven’t lusted after a celebrity since I was a young teenager), but that I am joined by SO many other women in admiration of this young man. A friend sent me an article on how to get over your Robert Pattinson obsession, though my friend asked why you would want to, and found something which at the time I dismissed. Celebrity crushes are based on fantasy rather than reality; so the Robert Pattinson obsession really has nothing to do with him as a person, but is about the character he plays in the Twilight series. OK, so that accounts for a large portion of the fascination, but you have to admit that his good looks and obvious charm add another level.
Recent declines in the economy and the resulting stresses it puts on people have many looking for some sort of escape; a place to go where the reality of unpaid bills, no job, angry partners and the like can be forgotten. That’s where films and the movie stars in them enter the picture. Fantasy is all about that which we don’t have- loads of expendable cash, fame, excess. I think this has helped fuel his popularity, too. The perfect man with tons of money would describe both Edward Cullen and Robert Pattinson to many women.
As a mother of two boys who have proven themselves very popular with the ladies (I watched two little girls literally shove each other out of the way so they could sit next to Ellwood when he was two. Luke Skywalker has at least two fans at school- the mothers asked who he was since their daughters talk about him all the time. He has yet to mention them…) I wonder how I would feel if they were the object of such mania. I think it would make me very uncomfortable. People who know nothing about my children throwing themselves at my boys, stalking them for pictures, an autograph, invading their privacy. The whole situation would make me nervous, even if people say that’s the price of fame.
A sudden rise to fame can change people for the worse. We have seen child stars get caught up in self destructive spirals of drugs and sex. Just look at Charlie Sheen, the most recent casualty of celebrity excess. Rob appears to have things in hand, with family and friends keeping close and making sure he doesn’t think too highly of himself (which would be totally normal considering the sheer number of his fans. There are a TON of professional and fan web sites out there dedicated to him. It’s enough to make the head spin.) and keeping him normal. Here’s hoping he and the other stars of Twilight manage to stay sane.
Meanwhile, the fans will continue their obsessions (and web sites), based either on the fantasy of Edward or on their imagined version of Rob himself. Personally, I’m looking forward to more movies. In these trying times, escape can be a good thing.