“Mancrush: A heterosexual man admiring another man to an extreme in a non romantic way.”
-Urban Dictionary

“No, no, no it’s when a dude literally fancies another dude. A Man Crush.”
- A bloke I work with

I hang out with girls. A lot of girls.

That doesn’t mean I have a lot of girly conversations. Rather, that the conversations I have are conducted in a girly fashion, or from a girl’s perspective. A lot of the time the conversation veers toward celebrities. Ones we like, ones we don’t and ones that make “the list”. We all know what the list is.

It’s all in jest of course, but names still get banded about. I’ll sit and listen, nodding politely, gent that I am, but the whole thing’s a Freudian minefield. “Ryan Gosling?” I say “Oh yeah he was hot in The Notebook… career wise! Hot CAREER WISE!”. I mean it, though, Ryan Gosling is terrific. He’s one of those actors that, if you notice he is involved with something you know the project is at least worth a look. It happens all the time, “Yeah Jared Leto rocks that Mohawk, but I REALLY thought he was great in Fight Club… acting wise, ACTING WISE!”

And that’s not even the weird bit, the weird bit is when the girls ask which women I like I draw a complete blank. It might just be conditioning, I’m a happily married man after all, maybe it’s a safety feature my brain his evolved; whenever I’m asked to consider an attractive lady my noggin just shuts itself down.

Who’s hot these days? Jessica Rabbit doesn’t count I guess. What about Helen Mirren? Is she a pin up?

I remember I was having a drink with a mate having the blokey version of the same conversation. “What are you talking about? What about Halle Berry?” He laughed. “Urgh!” I replied “she was awful as Storm”. He stopped laughing. The place went dead. A few guys next to us ran, the old timer at the piano stopped playing, the landlord slowly hid behind the bar as my friend’s eyes narrowed. “If that’s a Goddam Superman character I swear to God!” Ha, joke was him. Not even the same company, buddy.

When my wife and I came out of Sherlock Holmes she just said “Robert Downey Jnr.” with a nod. My reply was “Mmmmmmmm”. Mmmmm? Not, “Yeah babe, the guy is a barrel of charisma”, not even “Yes, I enjoyed his performance but desperately wish he would return to independent films like Chaplin”, just “Mmmmmm” like she had just handed me a delicious glass of Baileys.

But I don’t want to marry the guy, I don’t want to marry Robert Downey Jnr. I would though, hack off my left arm to have a pint with him.

And that’s it. That’s what a man crush is. The desire just to meet and have a knees-up with someone you admire. I wouldn’t even say it’s as extreme as Urban Dictionary puts it, I wouldn’t actually hack off the arm myself (but I would ensure the individual doing it had the necessary credentials).

So, for your judgement, I present my list of man crushes.

Robert Downey Jnr

Russell Brand

Stan Lee

Ray Stevenson*

Dave Chappelle

There. Feel free to share yours. If you’re man enough.

* Fun Fact: Ray Stevenson was raised in the same town as my Father, the town where most of my family still live. You can imagine how that frantic phone call went down when I found that out. “DAD! PUNISHER! BORN IN LISBURN! RELATED?” “Son, please it’s 4 o’clock in the morning!”