Married ladies can have crushes, too

. . . Well — book crushes, that is.

My earliest relationships weren’t with actual boys, friends. I didn’t manage to catch the eye of the cute kid in math class or Peter Brady or even Daniel, the first boy to earn a sappy valentine in second grade.

They were with book characters.

LoveI fell for bookish leading men long before I dared to express my feelings to any real-life ones. Relationships in my favorite novels taught me about relationships in general, especially in those impressionable teen years, and I feel like I’m a better reader — and person — because of it.

Though I am, in fact, a happily married lady, my devotion to my flesh-and-blood husband does not negate the underlying passion I can feel for literary men. We’ve all been there, right? Sometimes you can’t help but fall into a bottomless pit of yearning for some bookish dude who just pushes all the right buttons.

It’s easy to lust after someone two-dimensional. We don’t have to rinse out their dirty coffee cups or throw their crusty socks in the hamper or deal with ambiguous text messages at 2 a.m. It’s fun to pine for an unavailable guy sometimes, right?

And being fictional and all, these men definitely qualify.

Now, it’s very easy for me to become enamored with a leading man in the moment. As in reality, bookish gentlemen are appealing at different times for different reasons. But I’m going to highlight the lasting crushes — the ones that come to mind immediately, even a decade-plus since I was introduced to them.

So grab a fan, ladies. It’s about to get hot in here.


Michael MoscovitzMichael Moscovitz
Of Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries series

Michael was easily my first major book crush — and for that reason, I find it impossible to deny his allure. First loves, right?

I loved how Michael and Mia’s relationship evolved over time, culminating in the unexpected magic that was Forever Princess . . . a book I’m pretty sure I need to re-read, like, now. The perfect blend of sweet, thoughtful, sexy and smart, Michael was pretty much my ideal dude growing up.

Just mentioning the tenth installment in that series makes me giddy because true story: Meg Cabot actually saw that review and mentioned me on her blog back in 2009. It was my first taste of blogging notoriety, and it tasted delicious. Better than any cupcake.

I’m pretty sure I ran around the house screaming like a lunatic, getting proof that a favorite author had read my little words. I didn’t even know that was possible.

But I digress.

Portrayed by Robert Schwartzman in the 2001 “Princess Diaries” film, Michael was the everyman who loved Mia before she morphed into a sleek royal. He played a musical instrument, didn’t care what others thought, cleaned up real nice. You know, the epitome of awesome to a teen girl.

Loved it. Loved him.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my old brain around the fact that “The Princess Diaries” film I adored came out 13 years ago — and Robert is 31 now. And also a successful musician.

Way to go, Michael.


Garrett as MarcusMarcus Flutie
Of Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series

I’ve documented my eternal love for Marcus before, but it really bears repeating — especially because the flame still burns, friends. It burns.

And anyway, I wrote that post four years ago. I think it’s safe to revisit the topic.

So. McCafferty’s beloved series is like the bolder, sassier, tawdrier big sister to Cabot’s, and some of the more memorable Jess/Marcus scenes are . . . well, they’re rather racy. But in a good way. It’s been a while since I finished the final book, but it’s not the sort of thing you forget.

Though rumors of a Jessica Darling film have floated around for years, nothing has come of it — so I’m left to form my own visual representation of Marcus. Another fan nominated actor Garrett Hedlund . . . and though he lacks Marcus’ signature red dreadlocks, I’m okay with the idea of Marcus growing and changing. And he does eventually cut his hair, so we’re going to rock it.

Also, I could totally see Marcus rocking a manly scarf.


Michael PittHarry Delancy
In Eva Rice’s The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

Probably the least-known of my top four crushes, Harry is an aspiring magician and rich society boy who falls surprisingly in love with the protagonist in Rice’s historical novel.

I read The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets in 2009 and haven’t really shut up about it since, mostly because it was freakin’ awesome and I’ve had so few people to talk about it with.

So go read it. Then we can talk about it.

Actor Michael Pitt seems like a solid choice for cool, disaffected Harry — a decent guy with an edge who exudes the couldn’t-give-a-care attitude that belies his actual compassion.

I could work with that.


James McAvoyFitzwilliam Darcy
In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

. . . We don’t really need an explanation, do we?

I didn’t think so.

There are lots of Darcy portrayals floating around in cinema, and I am now going to totally cheat and possibly enrage Janeites everywhere by doing something completely crazy, because sometimes that’s how I roll:

I’m going to showcase James McAvoy, who portrayed alleged-by-some-but-not-ever-proven paramour Thomas Lefroy in “Becoming Jane,” which happens to be one of my favorite movies ever.

With many Darcy-like characteristics, some claim an ill-fated flirtation with Lefroy was the inspiration for Darcy — and McAvoy is incredibly easy on the eyes, so I’m going to go ahead and splash his mug here.

But because I don’t want y’all to be mad at me, we can also bring in the Firth.

Colin?


Colin Firth as Darcy


Okay. So we’re good?


literary love

I’m participating in Literary Love this week — a celebration of all things lovely and bookish! Feel free to play along by checking out other links at Estella’s Revenge, Doing Dewey, Love At First Book and From Isi, and check out posts under #LiteraryLove14.




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115 Comments

Filed under book talk

115 responses to “Married ladies can have crushes, too

  1. My wife has some serious fictional crushes and you mentioned one, Mr. Darcy. The rest come from Jane Austen, as well. Makes it tough for us real boys to measure up.
    Fun post!

  2. Oh, Mr Darcy… *swoons* I feel so stereotypical for being completely and utterly in love with Mr Darcy everytime I see the series (because, let’s face it, Colin Firth IS Mr Darcy). But there’s just something about Darcy, the way he changes throughout the book… I don’t know, I can’t explain it. But you know what I mean! ;-)
    I had a huge crush on Michael Moscovitz as well, but mainly after seeing the film. I’ve read the first (or first two) books, but can’t remember all that much about them… I should read them again!
    Loved this post. :-)

  3. Wow! I had/have a major crush on Michael Moscovits and James McAvoy too. I listened to all of his music religiously during that phase. Mr McAvoy can’t really go wrong in any film. He won my heart in Atonement. Great post!

  4. Two words – Jace Wayland (or whatever the hell his last name is!) x

  5. I LOVE that you included James McAvoy! I heart Becoming Jame SO much so I always imagine that his character is who Darcy is eventually based on.
    And now I feel an intense urge to go watch that movie instead of doing any of the other things I planned on doing today…

  6. Great post! I am on a time crunch or I would totally love to break out the list of bookish crushes I have had through the years ;)

  7. I just watched a Say Yes to the Dress where the girl kept trying to look the a character in a book. She would LOVE this idea too. :)

  8. Gah! I always forget about Michael when I talk about book crushes! I love him so so much!

  9. Oooh girl, the whole time I was reading Outlander, I was like, hubba hubba, Jamie, I will happily follow you around Scotland! They’re making it into a Showtime series and cast a relative unknown into his role, but I think someone like Gerard Butler would be ideal! (No red hair for him, but he seems to fit the role.)

  10. How awesome that Meg Cabot mentioned you! :)
    I absolutely loved The Princess Diaries when I was younger (and still do!) and thought Michael was the sweetest. Now I want to go read the books/watch the movies again!

  11. I think my most embarrassing and frustrating crush as a preteen was with a cartoon character! lol, I can’t even remember the show but remember he had black hair and looked so cute! Of course all the Austen men have had my heart racing, Mr Darcy, well, he may own the miserable half of Derbyshire but wow! Sizzle! ;-p

  12. Oh Mr. Darcy, how I love you so. You’ve made it difficult for real live men everywhere to live up to the idea of romance and we ladies thank you for it.

    My literary crushes continue to this day. Current book crush: Jon Snow from A Song of Ice and Fire series. Granted, he’s about 16 in the books and literally HALF my age, but still …

    Also, Sirius Black may have died in book 5 but my crush on him lives on forever. ;)

  13. When I was first married, I felt guilty about my book crushes. Cute post.

    OMG I LOVE Becoming Jane. James is never more dreamy. *le sigh*

  14. Fun post! I am participating, too, but I haven’t been able to think of a title for my post yet… So, I am blog-hopping instead. haha

  15. I love this post! Now I’m trying to remember some of my favorite book crushes…Oh there were so many! And so worth it to crush on them :)

  16. I love this post! I can totally relate. I was a HUGE fan of The Princess Diaries series and I always loved Michael. Totally forgot about those books! I think this same concept (though a little more obvious) is completely applicable to movies. I have a real-life SO but it’s always easy to fall in love with a 2d movie character, especially when he’s played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (but that’s beside the point).

    -Taylor
    http://tayloryates.wordpress.com

  17. Reblogged this on 365 Palavras and commented:
    Quem nunca se apaixonou por personagens de livros? Acontece. Só é meio esquisito se for o Mr. Grey de 50 Tons de Cinza…

  18. I don’t even typically have bookish crushes and I loved this post! The Princess Diaries homage got me, since I enjoyed that a lot in high school too. And really just a well written post. You made me want to gush about bookish guys too :)

  19. I have not read The Lost Art Of Keeping Secrets, but I am intrigued enough now that I’m going to now. I cannot name the other crushes I’ve had, so many books. Mr. Darcy is and always will be a classic. I don’t know if I want to go watch Pride and Prejudice (full version) or go through all my books for these crushes. It will probably take the same amount of time for either.

  20. I completely agree with you about Mr. Darcy being totally dreamy, although I have to admit that the movie portrayals have deepened my love. Seriously, what girl does sigh with Elizabeth Bennett when we see Matthew MacFayden walking across the misty field with his long coat open, his chest bared with the sun rising behind him. And I love James McAvoy as Jane’s love interest. The scene in the library where he is reading from the nature book about the birds. That is some steamy afternoon reading! He would definitely inspire me to write a love story! Thank you for this post :)

  21. So I’m totally Team Jacob (both book and movie versions) but then I remind myself how old he is and I’m like yikes! :D

    Thanks for participating in Literary Love 14!!!!

  22. So after seeing you highlight McAvoy, I just HAD to re-watch Becoming Jane. SUCH a good movie! I sobbed like a love-struck teenager.

  23. Oh my GOODNESS! When I saw your tweet about writing this post, I immediately started thinking about who I would include and Harry Delancy was so on that list! I adored The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets – I bought it for most of my friends as birthday gifts the year I read it and if they’d already had their birthday, badgered them into getting a copy and reading it :)

    I think my copy is still at my parents’ house, I’m going to be picking it up and bringing it home for a re-read as soon as possible. It’s been far too long!

  24. SUCH excellent choices! Especially Mr. Darcy. Any day of the week. Thanks for participating in Literary Love 2014!

  25. I loved this blog post!!! I am married and have been for almost 7 years and I love with all my heart Michael Moscovitz from Princess Diaries. It is still one of my favorite movies and he is still one of my favorite characters. I was so excited to see that he made your crush list too. Every time my stepdaughters and I watch the movie they don’t understand my attraction to him, especially since he is the exact opposite of my husband.

  26. Mr Darcy *swoon*! I’ve been loving him ever since I was in my early teens! So many books, so many handsome men, so many lovely men – makes me NOT want to date in real life :-P

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  32. Funny post!!
    We call these ‘free passes’ in our marriage. I.E. if one of my ‘boyfriends’ actually confronts me and asks for a roll-in-the-hay, I’m free to roll-away!!
    Congrats on getting pressed!

  33. I fell in love with Fitzwilliam at 13 years old. Named my dog after him that same year. I still have my dog and my love for Darcy.

  34. I have a SERIOUS book crush on Marcus Flutie!!

  35. Love comes in all shapes, sizes and people.

  36. Oh Colin, be still my heart. I JUST wrote a post this week about falling in love with characters in a series. I would love it if you would check out my post called, A Good Read is Easy to Find, Series-ly. I

  37. Hmmm . . . I think I loved the hero in Sweet, Savage Love. While not really a literary masterpiece, he was a “good” bad boy:). If we must get serious, I’ll say it was one or two kings of England featured in Shakespeare and other tomes. Go big or go home:).

  38. I can definitely say that I have some great crushes on some book characters. In the ‘Twilight’ Saga, I love Jacob even if he is always getting the short straw. I do agree that even married women can have crushes on book characters.

  39. Ahem. Jamie from Outlander. It’s ridiculous, really. ;) Happy Valentine’s dear Meg!

  40. I had crushes on fictional characters long before actual people, too. I remember spending summers reading books before the internet or computers were in everyone’s home and pining after men in books and on the screen. I still get crushes on fictional characters. I usually fall for the smart, strange men that not everyone gets in part because that’s how I’ve always felt about myself I suppose. I was nerdy and geeky long before that ever became trendy.

    Characters like Sherlock in the BBC show or Richard Cypher (also known as Richard Rahl) from Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth book series (don’t ever watch the TV show; it’s absolutely awful). They are safe fantasies that cannot be fulfilled and pose no threat to your real life. They are far less likely to break your heart, too.

  41. Don’t really think it is a crush as much as it it a fascination of the character the actors are playing :)
    - Britt

  42. Love Mr Darcy – my favourite portrayal by Matthew MacFadyen, but have a soft spot for Colin Firth also <3

  43. Mr. Darcy…. *sigh* The epitome of the perfect man.

  44. I love the warmth of your photographs — and the meticulousness in the piecing. Last month, I authored a universal handbook book on life & relationships.

    It’s available worldwide on amazon. Cop it out and share the good news with your comrades.

  45. My first… Sir Gawain. Don’t judge me.

  46. Book crushes are the best! My first one was definitely Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, and it just kept growing from there!

  47. recently my book crush is Nat in The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

  48. Ok you made me think. My first crush hmm ……Dr Kildare ……..in the old time soap opera that’s probably not even on the air anymore was Richard Chamberlain
    My BFF and I used to kiss the Tv when he appeared on screen

  49. I am so glad you mentioned Michael Moscovitz, because I totally loved him too!!! Great list, such a fun read ^_^

  50. I have heard this before, but the Love is what stops you from cheating. Crushes keep you young.

  51. I remember fantasizing about Luke Brandon in the Shopaholic series. Isn’t is wonderful to fall in love with books and the heroes therein?

  52. electronicbaglady

    Oh dear – just read this over breakfast and the reminder of the scene with Colin Firth emerging from the lake should only be allowed after the 9pm watershed! Great start to the weekend :)
    Thanks for a brilliant post!

  53. Nothing like a paper crush, and even if you get tired of him you are free to erase and start again. Love it.

  54. i say’s that’s amazing & amazing

  55. Thank you for this post. Literary crushes are the best–you never have to be disillusioned by the reality, and they can always be perfect in your imagination.

    I’m quite partial to Mr. Knightly, of Jane Austen’s Emma. And Theodore Laurence, the one Jo didn’t marry in Little Women.

  56. My long time crush is Jamie Frazer in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. A tall, red headed Scotsman with long hair and the ability to fit in anywhere, and a natural leader.

  57. Literary crushes are the best. Just the best.

  58. JC

    If we’re talking literary crushes, then it’s all about Sir Percy Blakeney, aka The Scarlet Pimpernel. Marguerite was a lucky lady!

  59. Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby was always mine. Sadly, for me anyway, the character never lived up in any of the film versions.

  60. I had the biggest book crush on Harry Potter! Magical, sensitive, mysterious, he was my ideal guy… when I was 13 that is.

  61. Interesting and funny post

  62. Oh my GOD!! This is too good to be true! Someone else! WHOOO WHOOP!!
    And Michael..such a…such a….dah-ling.
    I also had this thing for Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables too….Jonathan Crombie was fabulous in the films!
    But Michael….*swoon*
    Oh I’ve got to dash, I’ve just spilt my tea all down my front. :)

  63. Love this post.

    Oh yes, I lust after many leading men in books, even some that are not leading characters. As well as several today’s Film and TV stars…Hugh Jackman…Yum!

    But my husband of nearly 20 years doesn’t mind these affairs of the heart in the least. After all, he’s got a few of his crushes going on!

    Like you and several other among your readers, Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy is high on my list too. Though this brings up an interesting point…

    How many of us would actually want a man so emotionally detached and well, snobbish? Sure it turned out in the end that he had good reason to be so aloof and come across as a snob. But really, in this day and age, not the Victorian era in which the book was written and set, I have trouble believing any of us would even give Darcy a first date!

    Wordsgood

  64. Ahhh, Mr. Darcy. Definitely a great book crush.

  65. I am married and have many crushes too, mostly actors and singers of the 80′s, Sting, Morten Harket, Rob Lowe, etc, etc, too many to mention!.

  66. very much agree with this, the amount of times i have fallen for a boy/man in a book is actually embarrassing

  67. I have to add Gilbert Blythe to the list – when he rescues Anne Shirley from her ill-fated trip across the Lake of Shining Waters in the Lady of Shallotte scene, I melt. Still. And a doctah too! Be still my heart :-)

  68. Lol. Michael Moscovitz was my first book crush too!!! Loved the list, btw.

  69. This is a great subject for discussion. I asked my wife if she has any book crushes; she replied “Only Jesus! – and maybe Darcy.”

  70. Fun post! I have my own too.

  71. Get book crushes all the time. although sometimes being in a real relationship makes me feel kinda guilty..

  72. why do all married women have crushes on Colin of all people?? And all the single ladies have crushes on Thor. Go figure.

  73. Reblogged this on Bev Elle and commented:
    Which adds so much credence to the phrase, “we may be married, but we’re not dead.” :)

  74. I don’t know whether I like Mr. Darcy better or Colin Firth:) My childhood hero was Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre.

  75. May

    Two things: firstly, I LOVED The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets. It’s a wonderful book! Secondly, clicking on your link revealed a fact which I had not previously known: the Princess Diaries series was released with different titles in the UK! Racier titles, from what I can see. I remember the last one I read was The Princess Diaries: Six Appeal (see what I mean about racier?!). How funny. I’ll have to go and find the rest of the series, I enjoyed those books.

  76. Reblogged this on harbdoularhi and commented:
    When the real epitome of cuteness is displayed in a boy nicely dressed in nice attire,a boy with everything a complete man should possess,ranging from manners,caring for a wife and deep love,I can say with no fear of contradiction that a married woman can still have crush most especially in cases when the boy is better looking more than her husband.To her ,her husband becomes a figure head and here is she tripping for a boy who doesn’t even know there is an old woman somewhere.

  77. Oh, wow! As I went down your list, I thought “Nah! Nothing there appeals to me!”. And then I got to the end. Colin Firth in Nanny McPhee.

    But yea, books and movies! I had a crush on Edward Norton the actor. We “met” through “The Illusionist” (2006). The character was so compellingly intelligent and handsome that I just had to check him out. Then I found more films on him I absolutely love, deepening my crush on him. “The Painted Veil”, “American History X”, “Down in the Valley”, “Leaves of Grass”, “Keeping the Faith”, etc. he had such a wide repertoire which meant talent. In movie interviews, he had so many intelligent things to say. A check of his background supported his academic intelligence – History major from Yale; grandfather was the father of the mall concept; … I could go on and on.

    For a while, I felt as though my chances of meeting my idol were high! Such intensity was my crush.

    But since then, I’ve had a few on actors. The latest being Joseph Lawrence in “My Fake Fiancé” (2013). For his SNAG character and romantic marriage proposal in the TV movie.

    Wonder how many more I will have!

    But after all is said and done, I have a down-to-earth, practical, intelligent yet intermittently surprisingly romantic husband, who is the best father ever for our four beautifully unique (and challenging) kids. I’m living in my own book / movie! What more could I ask.

  78. its the romantics of fiction…..

  79. I feel the same about some literary ladies. You should have your husband write about his literary lady crushes…

  80. I had been forever in love with Phett Butler (Gone with the wind) & Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights)

  81. Awesome post!! loved it.

  82. Cay

    It’s almost impossible to not have a soft spot for Mr Darcy.

    I have a crush on Mo Hayder’s character Jack Caffery. I used to also have a crush on Mikael Blomquist in the Stieg Larsson trilogy and Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole.
    Oh, and I was infatuated with the main character i Shantaram for a very long time, but when I googled the author, I decided I rather had to pretend he looked like Johnny Depp. Just…er…because.

    I think I might also have a crush on one of my own main characters, even if he only exists in a rough draft form.

  83. mmmm. Michael Moscovitz lol this is funny

  84. You said “Though I am, in fact, a happily married lady, my devotion to my flesh-and-blood husband does not negate the underlying passion I can feel for literary men. We’ve all been there, right? Sometimes you can’t help but fall into a bottomless pit of yearning for some bookish dude who just pushes all the right buttons.”

    Is it true that “you can’t help but fall into a bottomless pit of yearning?” I do not believe that is true. One simply allows herself to fall into that bottomless pit, and once she starts to fall, she continues to fall.

    Men and women are different no matter how much our culture is invested in rabid egalitarianism. Men are more visually motivated and women are more relationally motivated. However, the destructive power of covetousness does not only affect the masculine realm.
    “Crushes” on fictional characters for women are ultimately no different than men’s fixation on pornography. Both types of “crushes” take the spouse away from reality into a fantasy world. Both men and women covet what they don’t have. Both types of “crushes” destroy marriages, or at best, diminish one spouse’s affections or respect for the other.

    We are not animals that cannot help but follow our “passions.” We are special creations made in the image of God. Through the redemptive work Jesus Christ did through his death and resurrection we don’t have to be slaves to our passions. When those yearnings lead us to a bottomless pit, we are not compelled to jump.

    • Meg

      I understand what you’re saying — and you make an excellent point! Falling for another — even a two-dimensional other — is a choice. That being said, my piece was written in fun and I am, of course, very devoted to my real-life husband. :) No Darcy could change that! Thanks for your thoughts.

  85. JaneyJane

    Mm mm Mr Darcy

  86. A really enjoyable piece. Ian

  87. As a guy who loves reading, I’m trying to remember any literary crushes I had when I was younger. It’s kind of tricky, because there’s not nearly as many female protagonists to choose from. I’d probably go with Hermione, Hua Mulan, and Elizabeth Bennet. And though technically an adaptation, Disney’s version of Belle was the coolest characters in my childhood.

  88. What about Holden Caulfield. I just wanted to HUG him in college.

  89. Reblogged this on CowgirlJess and commented:
    Love this :o)

  90. Beautiful piece of writing. I love it… :-)

  91. Sigh, Darcy :) Lovely, funny post, thank you!

  92. Pingback: Married Crushes … (To any conservative reader, please read before judging!) | krallstan

  93. Bruce Patman from the Sweet Valley series. Oh. Yes.

  94. “bring in the Firth” lol. Love that! :))

  95. I also have movie crushes, like Zack Morris from “Saved by the Bell”, Landon Carter from “A Walk to Remember”, Jesse from “Hannah Montana”, Mandy Moore’s partner from “Because I Said So”, Austin Ames from “A Cinderella Story”… and maybe even more :))
    I am not married yet, but I hope I will soon be, because I found someone I love more than I have ever loved anybody in my life :) And then I really want to forget about my old crushes and totally love my husband. But anyway, these boys were a help for me to define what I want in a man :)

  96. Man, I’m a self-proclaimed straight guy in a monogamous relationship, but if Edward Cullen came onto me one day… Well, I’m not quite sure what I’d do (to him >:)).