Friday, November 18, 2005
Drawn to the Underaged: On Daniel Radcliffe
On July 23, 2007, Daniel Radcliffe will be legal.
But who’s counting?
Well, my daughter and I, for two. She is 22, so her age differs from Daniel’s about as much as my does from my husband’s, and she feels strange enough about being attracted to the Harry Potter star. So you can imagine how I feel...although it’s a little better than back when he was only 11--at least the lad has passed puberty now.
Seriously though, I’m writing this entry to comfort other women all over the world who might Google “Daniel Radcliffe pedophilia” and find these words. I honestly don’t think most of us need to feel we are pedophiles at all; in fact, being affected by the charms of this young man is probably more a symptom of incurable innocence than incurable corruption.
Hidden down deep within our aging bodies are the little girls we once were, little girls who, naturally, were interested in little boys. Not in any sexual way (and of course I haven’t actually thought about Daniel Radcliffe that way), but in a magical way we simply didn’t understand at the time. Among the heterosexual there is a magnetism between the genders that transcends the mating urge and therefore kicks in before it is present.
Think back on that first childhood crush. Mine was on a boy named Jeff whom I fell for in the fourth grade. I was so ingenuous back then that I never gave any thought to the fact that boys were anatomically different than girls. The-birds-and-the-bees conversation was still a year or two off. Nevertheless, being around Jeff made me happier than just about anything. He had huge blue eyes and long lashes, and a vivid imagination just like mine. Looking at him made me feel giddy, and if I made him laugh or smile it would be the high point of my day.
Looking at Daniel Radcliffe reminds me of those bygone feelings. I’m certain that had the nine-year-old me traveled forward in time to 2001 and seen “Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone,” she would have fallen violently for Harry. He is the essence of everything I found wonderful about “boyness”: the sense of adventure, the budding bravery, the loyalty to friends, the yearning to be heroic. His looks are all boy, and yet promise a future handsomeness just around the corner. Of course, the British accent doesn’t hurt either--what American female of any age can resist a little Briton?
My attraction to Harry takes me back to the most basic feelings of adoration for the opposite sex: the essential awe that simply holds that maleness, at any age, is wonderful.
And if my daughter and I rub our hands together in glee to see Daniel maturing toward manhood, to hear his voice deepen, and to see his baby fat turn to lean muscle, that’s no perversion either. It’s just the joy a female naturally experiences seeing a boy come into adulthood. We wonder to see his shoulders broaden, for ours never will, and to see his hips stay narrow, while ours have not. We delight as his height passes ours and his strength becomes superior. And we smile in tender amusement as he struggles with his own complex attitudes about females.
It’s like hearing an old fashioned love song that reminds you of simpler days. Wasn’t it nice when you found yourself wishing you could just once hold hands with that cute boy who sat in front of you in class? You had no idea why you even wanted to, and that just made it all the more magical.
So take heart, Daniel aficionados over the age of 16. You are not “dirty old women” at all, just women who still have young hearts. And hopefully always will.