You can be heterosexual, homosexual, pansexual, bi or tri sexual; it matters to me not. I am a heterosexual man, married with three children, and a fire burns inside of me for certain celebrities and sports stars. No, I’m not talking Charlotte Johansen or Rhonda Rousey. (Although, yes, please!)
Nope, I’m talking about good old-fashioned man crushes. The unwavering affinity straight men develop for other men and if you are anything like me, you couldn’t give a damn who knows about it. Bradley Cooper and his azure pools of ocular splendor could gaze on me for hours and I would never break eye contact. Shemar Moore, from the television show “Criminal Minds” could be my forever bromance and I would not think twice about it.
Why the “Man Crush?” I think it boils down to me accepting the fact that I look the way I do and if I could get a do over, I kind of hope I’d come back as a Bradley or Shemar look-alike. I think hanging out with either of these guys would be pretty cool and instead of pouting that I look more like Drew Carey and the Brawny man had a baby, I should appreciate what they have instead of obsessing over what I lack. (Also, Bradley is a Birds fan and I’m pretty sure he could afford the best seats at the Linc so I’m simply keeping my options open in case Bradley decides his real soul-mate is a tattooed dude that enjoys pizza more than treadmills.)
However, my ultimate man crush is a particular Philadelphia Eagle. It is much simpler to admit a man crush on a football player because of what he does on the field. An actor’s work is a final edit of dozens of scenes where the “best” scene makes the film or show. A football player does not get a “take-two.”
This is nothing more than an extension of being a kid and playing any sport while claiming the identity of your favorite player. When I was a kid, I would occasionally keep baseball cards of players whose position I was playing in my back pocket during Little League games. (My apologies to Von Hayes and Darren Daulton for sitting on their face for all those years.) A pick-up basketball game? Please, ya’ll better watch out for Sir Charles. Football? You may call me Reggie White. I never played hockey but if I had, I’m sure I would have claimed Dave Brown.
As an adult man who rarely plays pick up games of any sort, I cannot go throughout my day pretending I’m someone else. I mean, I could do that but then I’m pretty sure I’m traversing down a slippery slope of lunacy I’m not quite prepared to adopt.
Yet, Connor Barwin IS my man-crush. There, I said it. Damn, it feels good to just get it off my chest. This crush does not involve me standing outside of Connor’s house with a boombox over my head like I’m in the movie “Say Anything.” I do not know his favorite food, his favorite musician or his favorite movie. What I do know is that I love his style of play.
Attitude is everything for me. When I cycle through the Eagles roster, I identify those players that stand out because of how they carry themselves. A player that is a warrior on the field and an all around good guy off the field is precisely what I need to develop a man crush. I fall for the player that will detach body from soul on the field and stop traffic to help an old lady across the street. (My only gripe are those SEPTA radio ads where Connor tells everyone why he takes SEPTA.)
Connor, I know about your bonus; stop acting like if we were ever to become besties that you or I would be cool with you picking me up on a bus.
The ladies reading this should know that while you may have one of those manly men that could never in a million years admit to having a crush on another man; it is imperative that you watch him closely during an Eagles game. Is there a player whose name comes up more often than other players? Does your man make excuses for a certain player even when his mistake could be disastrous for the team? Does your man have an indisputable glimmer in his eye when a certain player is mentioned during a game? Does he reel when his player earns an accolade like “Player of the Week?”
Pssssst, he’s got a man crush. It’s okay. Does he rock a certain players fashion? Similar hair style? He has the Connor Barwin (a la Kramer from Seinfeld) hairdo? Well, tell your man that’s my hairdo and I already called dibs on Mr. Barwin.
Seriously though, football is an escape; for men and women alike. If along the way a person does not develop an affinity for certain players, then they are more than likely pedestrian type fans. The die-hard fans, the ones that know inordinate amounts of information regarding one player but subsequently forgets wife’s birthday is more than likely crushing hard on one of his favorite players.
Again, it’s okay! Somewhere in the midst of all of our football fan’dom, we develop the occasional affinity for players that stand apart for whatever personal reason. The football man crush may seem silly but it is real.
I know I’m not the only one. I wonder if Connor will read this? O….M…..G…could you imagine? Seriously, now I’m nervous. What if he doesn’t like what I wrote?
Maybe I’m not even Connor’s type?
That’s okay, it’s not like he has Jason Kelce’s beard.