My 90s Crushes

Grab your New Kids On The Block sleeping bags and put on your footie pajamas, girls, because we're going to talk about BOYS!

One thing that Clayton will never understand about me is how fondly I look back on my adolescent crushes. Adolescence was the WORST and the only things that got me through that horrendously awkward phase of my life were my friends and copies of Tiger Beat magazine. I was pimply, oily and felt wicked out of place in my own body, but in a weird way I will always cherish that time and how purely I loved a very select, elite group of celebrities boys.

Real boys at my school never gave me a second glance, and I told myself that was okay because one day Jonathan Taylor Thomas was going to ride up to my bedroom window on a white stallion and whisk me away to a fairy tale life in Los Angeles.

Side Note: Sometimes I wonder if any of the boys I went to middle school or high school with see my profile on Facebook and regret not taking the time to notice me or be my friend. But then I remind myself that pictures like this are on my profile, and I assume the answer is probably no:

But I digress ... 

Titanic came out when I was 6th grade and that movie was IT. Ladies of all ages lined up around the block to watch the epic blockbuster and at my final count, I saw it in the theater three times. And I fell in love with Leonardo DiCaprio all three of those times (just like pretty much every other woman on the planet). To this day, I still get a little giddy when I see him in a movie because he will always be Jack Dawson to us 90s gals.

When we lived in Muncie, I had a poster of 1998 Leonardo DiCaprio hanging on my bedroom door (framed, with a matting I made out of hot pink construction paper because come on, art) with one of his quotes from a magazine article that read:

"I love acting because you get to do all of these things and not suffer any of the consequences."


Then one day my mom came into my room, saw the quote and said, "Hmmm, I don't like that."

I replied, "Mom, I'm 11. I have zero life experience. I don't even understand what it means."

In retrospect, if Leonardo DiCaprio did actually suffer the consequences of the roles he played, he would have OD'd like, 10 movies ago.

But as embarrassing as it is to admit, the main man in my heart through the mid-late 90s (and if I'm being perfectly honest, every single day leading up until the night I met Clayton), was one Mr. Nick Carter from a little boy band called The Backstreet Boys.

Down with that turtle neck swag.

The Backstreet Boys was the very first cd I ever owned and to this day, I still don't think I've played any cd as much as I played their debut album. I know it forwards and backwards. I know that the original LP didn't include "Everybody: Backstreet's Back" and I bought the cd again when it was re-released. I still love that cd so much, I'm totally willing to overlook that I received it as a gift from my dad's ex-girlfriend who I absolutely hated.

My sister called dibs on Brian, so Nick's blonde hair and blue eyes made the most sense when paired with my brown hair and brown hair. 12 year-old logic: It makes sense.

The Backstreet Boys were also my first (and second) concert, and both my sister and I filled binders will meticulously cut-out pictures from posters and magazines. We may have even put cutouts on popsicle sticks to make our own Backstreet Boys puppets, but the details of that event are foggy and maybe it was just me and maybe we're all just better off pretending like it didn't happen.

Pictures of Nick flooded my room and poor Leo was eventually bumped down to second place. I even had a cutesy poster of the Backstreet Boys playing at the beach and I remember thinking it was just like, so seductive because NIPPLES.

Nick's singing voice is actually kind of nasal-y and I think he may have gone down a rough path when BSB's fame eventually began to fade, but I was never more thoroughly convinced I was going to marry a man than I was with him. When their music video for "As Long As You Love Me" came out, I was legitmately heartbroken because I thought Nick was dating the model that played his girlfriend.

I can just picture myself sitting cross-legged in my room, furiously flipping through the glossy pages of my Backstreet binder and pointing at Nick's face like, "WHO IS SHE? HUH? WHO IS SHE!???"

That didn't really happen. If it did, I would need to insist my mom drag me to therapy ASAP.

Though I vividly remember when the video for "I'll Never Break Your Heart" debuted on MTV. Each of the guys had separate scenes (with girls) and I had an intense, deep hatred for the chick with blonde braids who got to sit next to Nick and blow bubbles. I secretly referred to her as Bubble Bitch because adolescent pain runs DEEP.

Oh. My. Gosh. I am laughing so hard right now as I write this. Why? Because as awkward and weird and uncomfortable as she was, I have so much love for the girl I was then. I just want to give her a hug, tell her she's okay just the way she is and let her know that one day, not too terribly far away from this time, she's going to meet the most amazing bearded guy who will sweep her off her feet and make all of these fantasies fade away. I'd tell her that one day she'll find these years mostly hilarious, but to just hold on to that innocence because the one she ends up with was definitely the one worth waiting for.

And he'll never break your heart. 


Who was your teenage crush?



  1. This is flat-out fabulous. Exchange the Backstreet Boys for the New Kids and it is like I wrote it! haha Oh, and your line about secretly wondering if any boys from school regret not noticing you? Guilty! You, Miss Courtney, are fabulous. This post is awesome :)


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