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.


Erica said...

Thank you for posting this. I saw the movie this past Saturday and I admit... I was feeling the Harry love. I'm so bad. It seems as though the older I get, the younger the age range of young men whom I find attracive seems to become. Sigh... but yeah Harry's a cutie, and he has very pretty eyes. His costar (the young man in the role of Cedric) was very handsome too. Loved the movie, and yeah, I admit, Harry and Cedric too.

Great blog today Diana!

Diana Laurence said...

Thanks Erica! I totally concur with what you said...the older I get, the younger age of men I find I can appreciate. I just finished watching a special on A&E about the movie and it's just so good to see what a mature, good-natured, witty, and fine young man Daniel Radcliffe is. Does the heart good...and man, if I were 14 I would really be a goner! :-)


Trish said...

Hi, Diana --

I've been sporting a somewhat ashamed crush on Radcliffe since the Prisoner of Azkaban film. And I've wondered, especially since seeing the last film and all the promotion/talk show appearances, why my crush stays on Daniel Radcliffe at that particular age (POA - I guess he was 13). And like your other entry about Krasinski/Jim on The Office, you nailed it perfectly. I finally (thank God!) realized that my crush had little to do with Daniel Radcliffe and everything to do with me in 8th grade. He, without a doubt, would have been my big crush that year -- with his glasses and beautiful skin and expertly mussed hair. Not to mention the accent, of course.

That was my magical time -- 8th grade. Girls were getting boyfriends, but they weren't serious or sexual. My desire for a boyfriend was about two things: a) we could kiss and hold hands, and b) we could exchange gifts. The rest? I couldn't even wrap my head around. Older boys -- filled out and developed, with facial hair and really deep voices? They scared me when I was 13. I knew I wasn't ready for that. My feelings for my crushes at that age were so innocent. But so incredibly intense. I still kick myself for not having kissed Jeffrey David Johnston when we played Spin the Bottle at my 13th birthday party. We were each other's flirting partners without even knowing it. The boy made me swoon. Talk about a lost opportunity.

The POA Daniel Radcliffe would have fit in perfectly at my 13th b-day celebration. Things then were so exciting and yet, in hindsight, so uncomplicated. Now, as I watch him mature (and I do, much like I observed my nephew grow up), I am strangely tickled to see the signs of manhood -- the broadening shoulders you talked about, the voice changing, the height, the strength, the beard. Perhaps out of necessity, I didn't notice those things in male friends my age while growing up, but now -- with the wisdom of years and a different perspective -- it's fascinating to witness (and appreciate).

Thanks for making it seem normal (and not shameful) -- and for attempting to describe the very real sweet aspect of crushing a teen as an adult.


Diana Laurence said...

Trish, you definitely got my point PERFECTLY, and obviously we've had some of the very same feelings about boys over the years. It's nice to hang on to that innocent desire even as the years pass...there's nothing quite like it. I can just imagine Jeffrey David Johnston and how you felt about him. Oh for a time machine, hey?