I’ve been talking to Robyn and Irene about The Feels today. You know The Feels.
The Feels is what happens when you are somewhere between the ages of 8 and 17, and you lay eyes on someone (usually a celebrity of some sort) whose innate charisma sparks something on the inside of you that wakes up a desire you are too young to name, and that your tiny brain is incapable of understanding. The Feels is a sudden rush of desperate, aching, unrequited love, trembling somewhere on the balance between agony and ecstasy, threatening to tip to either side at any moment.
The Feels is accompanied by the need to laugh, cry, curl up in the fetal position, wail, giggle, gag, and lie catatonic for want of the object of your affection.
You might be surprised to learn that I did not have a true case of The Feels for Duran Duran. No. My first case of The Feels happened when I was walking through a Blockbuster Video store in 1986.
I was somewhere in my fifteenth year, having managed to avoid most pitfalls of The Feels because my deep-desire tastes ran to Hamlet and Heathcliff, rather than Jake Ryan and Ferris Bueller. You don’t get a lot of Hamlet in Grand Prairie, Texas. You don’t even get a lot of Ferris Bueller.
I had tremors of The Feels for members of Duran Duran, Matt Dillon, and Judd Nelson, but never anything that shook me out of my shoes. Then, one day I was walking through Blockbuster and stopped cold. On the far right hand side of the shelf closest to the door, facing inward of the store, on the third shelf down was a video.
I don’t know. I don’t know. But everything changed. I saw this video jacket and something happened.
That boy. His tie. His shirt. His sweater. The way his sweater was so… His tie was so… His hair was so… His lips were so…
I had already hit puberty, but when I saw that video jacket, puberty hit me back.
It was like a sucker punch. I can remember feeling like all the air had gone out of me. I felt too hot. I felt sick. I felt like I wanted to throw up. And I felt…good. Oh my word–I had never felt so good. I had The Feels.
I would not allow myself to rent the video because I was so stunned by The Feels I got just looking at the picture of the boy on the cover, that I was (rightly) afraid that if I watched the video, something inside me would break. I would be wrecked. Ruined. Altered.
So, for TWO YEARS, I walked past that video. I would stop and gaze and Feel Things, and now and then I would let myself touch the video jacket, read the back of it, and look at the pictures there. I would fantasize about meeting The Boy on the Cover, who was either Rupert Everett, or Collin Firth (I had hoped The Boy on the Cover was called Collin because Rupert is an awful name, but alas) and telling him how I had abstained from–what? From looking at him doing his job in a movie?
Finally, when I was 17, I gave in and rented the video.
I was wrecked. I was ruined. I was altered. And not just because the premise of the movie centers around The Boy on the Cover being gay for The Dread Pirate Roberts. You’d think that would have dampened The Feels, but it did not. It just made The Feels more complicated, and the only thing a teenage girl loves more than the telephone is FEELING COMPLICATED*. GOD! NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME! YOU’RE RUINING MY LIFE, MOM! GET OUT OF MY ROOM! *SOBBING*
I watched the movie over and over again. Then, I took it back to Blockbuster and asked to buy it. Begged to buy it. I had to beg because they told me no, it was their only copy. I tried to explain how I needed the movie.
I have never told anyone this before: I started crying.
I begged the Blockbuster lady to sell me the movie because THE FEELS and I NEEDED IT. FEELS. I HAD THEM. *TEARS* PLEASE UNDERSTAND MY COMPLICATED FEELS FOR THIS ACTOR WHO WILL NEVER LOVE ME.
She sympathized, but still said no.
So, I did the only thing I knew to do. I stole it.
That is, I rented it again from a different employee, because Blockbuster lady knew what was up and wouldn’t rent it to me again–she made up some rule about Teenagers with The Feels–and I walked out with it under my shirt and never took it back. I also never rented anything else from that Blockbuster because…THE FEELS robbed me of my ability to do so. (You can’t rent new movies until you have returned all the movies you have outstanding, and I was never going to return that movie. I gave up my right to watch Weekend at Bernie’s, 16 Candles, and Mannequin for the love of Rupert Everett.)
I still have that video. I keep it in a special place. You don’t believe me, do you? Believe.
I had The Feels for Rupert Everett into my late 20s. Then, I bought a computer and access to the internet. Rupert Everett kind of ruined Rupert Everett for me. Too much access is bad for The Feels.
But I’ve still got a baaad thing for tall, skinny, smart, slept-in, English boys. And an embarrassing case of The Feels for Tom Hiddleston. Shh. Don’t tell anyone. I am purposefully not rewatching Thor 2 because there was this one scene that wrecked, ruined, altered me, and I am way too old (and married) to be laughing/crying/curling up in the fetal position/wailing/giggling/gagging/lying around catatonic. I have things to do**.
*I thank God I had a boy child. I don’t know what I would do a female carbon copy of myself at 15. My poor parents.
**Like google pictures of Tom Hiddleston in Loki garb.***
***Not really. ****
****Maybe just a little bit*****
*****Okay, but just once and I promise never to do it again.