there was a time when i loved tom cruise. (confession: just looking into his velvety eyes right there, i’m more than a little in love with him now.)
mind you, i like my men a little wrecked and my celebrity crushes have always, accordingly, been suspect. odds are i was the only 14-year-old with a scrapbook dedicated to matthew modine, isaac mizrahi and michael hutchence. not that i ever told anyone. that crushing was top secret.
tom cruise was legit, mainstream. a celebrity i could share with all my friends because he was safe, sturdy, and conventionally good-looking. he seemed like a beautiful man with whom my younger self could’ve had a very happy, totally fictitious, very public life (while i secretly bitched to isaac mizrahi and romanced matthew modine and michael hutchence on the side).
this was way back. like, in the before times.
before the internet. before rosie o’donnell was a lesbian. before katie holmes and oprah’s couch.
these were the good old days. remember those? films like the firm and jerry mcguire. movies i was too young to see and yet, nonetheless, did. like far and away. omg, remember FAR AND AWAY?! what i would not have given in 1993 to have lived in far and away.
be real: how badly did you want to have curly, red hair and escape to america with tom cruise after seeing far and away?
(incidentally, the movie that made an entire generation of pre-teen girls fall in love with tom cruise and subsequently trick their mothers into renting born on the forth of july, a film that SHATTERED all their romantic illusions. can i get an amen?)
this was when he was with nicole kidman. remember that?
seriously. they owned hollywood brangelina style, circa 1995. it seems like lifetimes ago now. we were all so innocent then.
this was before the braces.
i break my own heart when i confess that, 10 years out, there are STILL days when i remember that we once lived in a world where tom cruise wore braces. a solid decade later, it haunts me. and i grieve.
i’m tempted to blame the braces. for it all, you know? i mean, c’mon. admit it. things went downhill real fast after the braces. like, in the course of correcting his TMJ, tom cruise maybe kind of sort of lost his mind.
i’m being totally objective here. i do not love him now (except for when i get lost in his velvety eyes and like how maybe this post is making me want to watch every movie he ever made). but, really, dear tom cruise, what the hell?
is there any more frustrating celebrity? i’d contend no. because, of all the celebrities, he’s the one who really, really wants it. wants us to get him, to love him, to want him.
and i just don’t.
except I DO.
i do and i hate that i do, but i can’t help it. because i kind of loved rosie o’donnell’s talk show back in the day. because i love love love magnolia forevs. because he’s always been there. because he was in the liz tilberis memorial issue of harper’s bazaar. because i, too, had braces.
in spite of myself, in spite of his neediness and wackadoo religious beliefs, i root for tom cruise. never mind my loathing of dawson’s creek and the fact that katie holmes was maybe the worst jackie ever, i’m glad they’ve found love. i’m glad he proposed to her on the eiffel tower. i’m glad they produced the 2nd cutest kid in hollywood (harper beckham = #1).
ultimately, i want tom to succeed and win awards and be happy as a human being.
and so i applaud when, during the wind-up to press promotion for rock of ages (in which his performance promises to be a crime against xenu), he gives an interview to playboy (playboy?!) where he talks about being a celebrity at the advent of the internet.
because stars don’t usually talk about such things. it’s a big thrill to have a celebrity from the pre-internet age give us context, explain what it was like from the inside and remind us that, even 6 years ago, celebrities didn’t have to worry about their internet presence, much less internet gossip.
i heart so hard that tom cruise said this: “That time was interesting. It was that moment when the internet had really spun out. It was a learning experience for all of us, how these things go. All you can do is learn and say, ‘This is the way it’s going to go from now on. Here is the line.'”
hearts. chocolates. flowers. happy. LOVE.
and then he goes and does this:
and i want him to die a thousand deaths for making my brain bleed.
because it’s too obvious. because it’s gross. because he’s forty-freaking-nine.
looking at these photos, you know he really, really wants it. wants us to get him, to love him, to want him.
and here’s the thing: i don’t want my celebrities to want me to get them, to love them, to want them.
because they’re not meant to be my lovers or friends. they’re stars. i just want them to be.
(photographs: unknown, far and away, cordon press
patrick demachelier, mario sorrenti, mario sorrenti, mario sorrenti