I have a toddler in the house, which means I see the same movies over, and over, and over.
During the 6,432nd viewing of Big Hero 6, I had a casual epiphany.
Figuring she should be kept abreast of all developments in my life, I called out to my wife: “This will be the stupidest thing you ever hear me say.”
My wife was skeptical; she’s heard me say many stupid things. Just about every time I open my mouth, in fact, something idiotic exits it.
“I’m adding Honey Lemon to my safety list,” I concluded.
A pregnant pause filled the air a moment while my wife digested the statement.
“That is stupid,” she decided.
But hear me out.
My wife and I each have a “Celebrity Safety List.”
If you’re not familiar, it’s one to five people you’re allowed to sleep with outside the confines of your marriage. People that don’t count as a strike against you in court. Hence the “celebrity” aspect.
(Many a comedian has gotten an easy chuckle using the scenario, quipping: “I chose Selena Gomez, my girlfriend chose her personal trainer.” Ha-ha, tip your server.)
The important part is the word fantasy. You choose someone so unlikely, you get a pass should the stars align. Like winning the Powerball when it hits $350 million. That’s why you don’t pick a celebrity like Paris Hilton or John Mayer. Those would be like the $100 lottery ticket.
(Lindsay Lohan, then, would be comparable to Chicken Pox: everyone will have her at least once.)
Overall, it’s a way of remaining in touch with your sexual side without having to act on it. Instead of playing the role of 1950s lying spouse—“You’re all I’m attracted to, sweetie!”—both partners get to admit to their carnal thoughts, with no one getting hurt.
My wife’s list has been fairly constant for years. It contains Michael Fassbender, Matt Damon, and Leonardo DiCaprio, depending on whether or not he’s been eating donuts as a garnish.
My list is fluid. It’s generally Anna Kendrick, Alison Brie, and a rotating third person. The third rotates not because I’m flighty or attracted to newness, but because it’s so easy to drop someone when they become annoying.
Avril Lavigne, for example. She was on my list, because she is incredibly attractive. Sexy, even. Unfortunately, she didn’t know who David Bowie is, thinks the Goo Goo Dolls are amazing, and married Nickelback. Oh, and she smokes. And released the song “Hello Kitty.” Who could be attracted to that, no matter how physically attractive they are? I bent like a willow in the wind for as far as I could, but eventually she snapped me.
Which is the joy and sorrow involving fantasy: reality always comes crashing through. Celebrities are alluring, until they open their mouth. Then they become mere mortals like us.
I am attracted to Alison and Anna because of insane physical beauty, but that’s about it. I don’t know who they are as people. To me, they are characters; fictional people I can place false ideals on. I don’t actually like Alison Brie, I adore her character Anne Edison on the show Community. Likewise Anna and who she portrayed in the films Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect. I’m fully aware I’m attracted to fictional characters, not the actual actresses.
All too often, people blur the lines between actor and character. We want the person on the screen to be the person on the talk shows. We don’t allow celebrities to make mistakes, and when they do they make the covers of magazines for all the wrong reasons.
If a friend of ours was manic depressive and bipolar, an alcoholic, and going through a breakup, we’d probably be understanding and forgiving if at their worst they said something they regretted. But when Mel Gibson does it—and I’m not defending his words—we refuse to forgive. Instead of saying, “Wow, I’d never want my worst moments made public,” we cast that first stone. And the second, and the third. We throw stones like no others at those we once deemed “above” us. Because fantasy is supposed to take us out of our day-to-day mundane, not remind us of it.
That’s what makes Honey Lemon so “perfect.”
When my wife said I was stupid for adding her to my safety list, she was right. But so is the reasoning behind my madness. Celebrities are, in a sense, cartoons. Yes, they are real people somewhere under the veneer of perfect, but we commoners don’t want to see that. We fawn over glamor, not reality.
Honey Lemon will never use a racial slur, marry the lead singer of the world’s worst band, or hang out with a Kardashian. Also, as with Alison and Anna, I understand I’m attracted to a fictional creation. The Honey Lemon character is bubbly and fun. A kind soul. It’s what I’ve always liked, going all the way back to my childhood and the movie Grease. I loved Sandy the instant she hit the screen, and felt a little betrayed at the end when she lit the cigarette and put on the leather. What can I say? I’m a goody-two-shoes kinda guy.
The chance of my ever meeting Honey Lemon are parallel to that of my achieving “Safety List” status with Alison Brie or Anna Kendrick: absolute zero. So why not include her? The list is nonsense as is; I’m just making it surreal nonsense. If I start buying Honey Lemon posters or dolls, then my wife can worry. Until then, I’ll giggle at my own stupidity and harbor a silly “crush” on a twice-fictional character.
Judge away, haters.