As a result, many of the enduring life lessons were taught to me through the virtual reality of television. I'm not entirely sure that that isn't the most pathetic thing I could possibly admit, but TV is not wholly to blame. I read a lot of comic books too, so Stan Lee probably shares some culpability.
So, it only makes sense that before I became entranced by girls that actually existed in real life, I was first smitten with some damsels on TV. The following is a nostalgic shoutout to the first women who ever gave me, as Adam West might have put it, "strange stirrings in my utility belt".
10 - "Samantha" from Bewitched - First off, she was a witch, which was awesome. Secondly, look at that photo. She was also funny and kinda cool in a down to earth way. She seemed attainable too, mostly because Darren (whoever was playing him) was a complete dweeb. Some may prefer Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie, but I'd rather hook up with Sam. Jeannie seemed too ditzy and sophmoric to have a conversation with, and besides, being with Sam might also mean that Paul Lynde would come to visit, and that cat was hilarious.
9 - "Laura Petrie" from The Dick Van Dyke Show - The very first MILF ever. The proto-MILF, if you will. What made her so attractive? Was it the sexy early 60s hairstyle? The turtelneck sweaters? The impeccable comic timing? The form-fitted capri pants? Yeah, probably the capris. In any case, she was the kookiest, sexiest, funniest young mom on TV.
8 - "Nurse Margie Cutler" from M*A*S*H - I'm reasonably confident this is the one crush on this list that will belong only to me. Marcia Strassman played Nurse Cutler in the first six episodes of the sitcom, and I guess was supposed to be Hawkeye's main love interest. She was quickly dropped in favour of playing Hawkeye up as a womanizer. Too bad, because I was totally smitten with Margie when I was kid, and unlike a lot of the crushes on this list, I still kinda have the crush. Look how adorable she is. She looks like an indie chick but from 1972. Oddly, Strassman never did it for me in Welcome Back, Kotter or any other of the shows she appeared in after this. It was Margie Cutler I crushed on.
7 - Meg Tilly - A few months back, Mrs. Nerdlinger and I were at our local Wingnuts, getting wings and whatnot. Who should be sitting across from us but a former crush of my youth, Ms. Meg Tilly? I know she's a celebrated author who has some bitter feelings regarding her past as an actress, so I didn't go over to her and inform her that the scene in The Big Chill where she wears a leotard and does yoga was an early sexual experience for me. That....would have been.....awkward. From Psycho II and Masquerade, I have endured some pretty crappy movies for you, Meg. I still haven't read your novel, though. Sorry. By the way, that photo there is of her in the infamous leotard.
6 - Bebe Neuwirth - This one is a little odd, perhaps, but I make no apologies for my pre-pubescent self. Yes, I had a crush on Lilith Sternin-Crane from Cheers. What saves me from total oddness is the fact that, when she is not playing Lilith, Neuwirth is amazingly hot. For a woman far older than me, that is. Oh, hell, for any woman really. See Summer of Sam and you'll get what I mean. She was also immeasurably hot as the cool guidance counselor in Say Anything.
5 - "Wonder Woman" - Lynda Carter actually pulled off that costume with such unfettered awesomeness that a show that is probably nearly unwatchable is still talked about today. Even as a kid, I watched this show for pretty much one reason, and I'm a comic book geek. Basically I would wait for her to spin around and turn into Wonder Woman, watch her run around, wonder why I was all sweaty and dizzy, and then go back to watching CHiPs.
4 - "Emma Peel" from The Avengers - The archetypal ass-kicking, cool as ice, super-hot female action hero. First off, this show was so awesome; it was funny and sophisticated and kitchy cool. Patrick Macnee was the epitome of stuffy cool as John Steed, and Diana Rigg radiated sexy as the cat-suited superspy Emma Peel. She was also smoking hot in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, too.
3 - Julie Newmar as "Catwoman" on Batman - Now we're getting into the all-time classic women of "first crush" stories. In her slinky outfit that was so tight that it defies hyperbole, and a portrayal that was overtly sexual, Newmar was the instigator of many kids' first awareness of sex at all. I posted this picture because it showed off Julie's face the best, but there's another shot floating around on the net that is from behind and waaaaay more indicative of a precise moment where a little kid might get a "funny feeling". Do an image search, and you'll find it.
2 - "Batgirl" on Batman - She was a goody-goody librarian and also a crime-fighter dressed in a skin tight costume. She was a brunette and a redhead. In short, she was hot. Craig also gets special marks for appearing as a green Orion slave girl in an episode of Star Trek.
1 -"Wilma Deering" on Buck Rogers - Sweet Fancy Moses, so very, very awesome. You have to love the seventies, because every single costume Erin Gray wore on this show was made of skin tight spandex. This might have been the very first girl who I ever thought was not yucky. She could pilot a space ship, fire a laser gun and wore those suits all the time. Watching the show now reveals how cheesy it was, but Erin Gray remains stunning in every way. Once again, like a lot of women on this list, it's only in this role that Gray really did it for me. On Silver Spoons, she was somehow un-sexy, which would seem impossible, but true.
So those are the first crushes, a mere slice of the many life lessons offered to me by television and movies while growing up. I'm not going to go into the other life concepts it taught me, such as mortality (thank you, Transformers the Movie) or disappointment (thank you, GI Joe the Movie), but I hope you had fun going down memory lane with me.