Thursday, March 1, 2012


Some people HATE that term. Probably because we all used it in grade school to describe getting giggly around other small children, who in retrospect spit mac-n-chess when they spoke and stuck legos up their noses. However, the fact remains that this word, as silly and overused as it is and despite its connection to adolescent doomed-to-implode twitterpatedness and awkward girls with braces, is a one-syllable transportation device for a very universal idea.

I see him. I want him. Crush.

Don’t worry.I’m not going to talk about real life today.

I tend to equate all real-life relationships with fictional relationships, not just fictional relationships between fictional people (Darcy and Elizabeth, that makes sense) but I also tend to think about my own relationship with Darcy (that makes less sense and sounds sad) and my relationship with Elizabeth (Hay una?) and my relationship with Darcy and Elizabeth together. I do this, partially because I overthink EVERYTHING and partially in order to better understand character. How realistic are they really? Could I reasonably sit down and talk with them and what would my expectations be for their behavior?

So, let’s talk about different types of character crushes.

Virtual Crush

This is the saddest, so I’m going to talk about it first. This is when you actually have romantic feelings toward a fictional character that can only be compared to the kind of feelings that you might have for a real person. This kind of crush when taken to the extreme is best described by that horrible moment right before you call your therapist when you realize, “Oh no. I’m in love with Edward Rochester. I compare all the men I know to him and I can’t be happy as long as I’m not with him, which I never will be, because he DOESN’T EXIST!”

That exaggerated worst-case-scenario-type example is the logical conclusion of the virtual crush. You actual have feelings for this character. It could range from wistful sighing and fantasying to full blown you-might-want-to-think-about-medication illness.

If you find yourself with a virtual crush. Don’t worry, you’ll get over it. Probably.

For example, growing up… I was madly in love with Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon.

Yep. I was pretty sure I was going to marry him. Then I turned seven.

Don’t judge me.

Archetype Crush

If you’re a writer like me this is the character who you adore and who you will probably create little shadows of in your own stories. This can easily be someone you find attractive, but without necessarily taking it into the sad virtual crush area of character crushes. If this character is romantically involved with another character in the story, chances are you’ll identify with said character without necessarily wanting to take her place. It’s the person you admire but with a safe amount of distance. You might find yourself exhibiting symptoms of the virtual crush, but things are under control and if you happened to slide into another dimension where this person was flesh and blood, you’d probably just want to pick their brain, not jump their bones.

Like the friendship that goes a level deeper unexpectedly, the Archetype Crush can stealthily transform into a Virtual Crush.

Contrary to certain rumors, I don’t usually go for scary, anti-social zombies with facial tattoos. However, that being said, my big Archetype Crush right now is Kai from Lexx. I love everything about him. Spock-speak in a sexy baritone, passive aggressive aloofness, the fact that he’s totally lying about not having emotions, his whole backstory, that stupid wig…

The Dead Man in Black. So dreamy.

…I was going to jokingly post some of 790’s poetry about Kai, but… I just can’t do it. It’s too awful.

I just can’t.

Moving on.

Redemption Crush

Some jerk once said that all good girls secretly prefer evil guys.

The fact is that most girls, regardless of whether they are good or not will find themselves drawn to attractive men, whether they are good or not… but that’s a whole other argument that I’ve been avoiding for a couple of years now.

To get to the point, a redemption crush is specifically when you like the villain (wait for it) and you want more than anything to see him become a good guy (just liking the villain is different and deserves a separate essay all to itself, at least). You feel sympathy for them to the point that you want them to live happily ever after as well, and that can only happen if they’ll lay aside their evil ambitions for nobler causes. This is a pure empathetic love. You don’t desire defeat, for the bad guy, you want him to get a second chance.

You will be disappointed in the story if he doesn’t do a Heel Face Turn. Sometimes he does, sometimes (usually) he doesn’t. It can be effective either way, depending on what the writer is going for.

Anyway, I feel this way about Prince Nuada.

Yep. That’s right. It’s just because he’s pretty.

For me classifying these characters helps me organize my expectations and emotions connected to them, so that I can understand what exactly the writers managed to effectively do that made me feel this way. Tvtropes was right, television is forever ruined.

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