Most young girls become infatuated with pop stars at some point – and reflecting back on those initial crushes reveals a lot about who we are (and how old we are). For example, there were the bobby soxers who squealed over a young Frank Sinatra, the girls swooning over Elvis the Pelvis (before the Vegas sequined jumpsuit days), and teens fainting at Beatles’ concerts. In my day, we were too young to go to a Beatles concert but not too young to pick our favorite – the popular girls all liked Paul, cool girls worshipped John, out-there individualists picked George, and I was probably one of three girls who had crushes on Ringo. (Because he was the funny one – that’s the same logic that drove me to pick Peter as my favorite Monkee . . . . but I digress.)
As we grow older, our crushes evolve – often to include movie stars (while all my friends admired George Clooney, I always had a thing for Kevin Kline – again, he was funny), even comedians (the funny thing works for a lot of us) and political leaders – whether it was liberals admiring Barack Obama in 2008, or conservatives swooning over Paul Ryan last year (or my parents’ generation who loved JFK). These more adult crushes tend to include substance as well as appearance, admiration of talent or accomplishment or potential (like when I was one of lots of people, men and women, fantasizing about Nate Silver, doing statistical analysis with me in a dimly lit office, softly murmuring demographic data in my ear . . . . . . and YES, I know he’s gay, but hello, it’s a fantasy, I’ll never meet him anyway so what difference does his orientation make?)
Where was I? Oh, my latest crush, which seems novel to me, although my friends who grew up Catholic remind me of their crushes on priests, and there were some pretty hot scenes in the Thorn Birds between Meggie and Father Ralph. Still, I’d resisted the appeal of a man in clerical dress (and don’t tell me it’s a cossack or whatever, it looks like a dress to me) until the new Pope started blowing fresh air into the Vatican. The last time people were this excited about changes within Catholicism was Vatican Two – which inspired Tom Lehrer’s immortal “Vatican Rag.” So I figured it was time for another musical salute to the Pope . . . .
“Oh Francis (I’m A Jew Who Has a Crush On You!)”