Next month's Vanity Fair's examines the horror wreaked by the "man crush" upon our civilization in recent years: apparently Karl Rove formed a Man Crush on George W. Bush, who in turn nursed a mutual man crush on Tony Blair. Less disastrously, Nicolson Baker had a hardon for Updike. Every male member of the Washington press corps has crushed on John McCain just like every vaguely nebbishy college dude crushes on Obama and every pro-capitalist business journalist crushes on Jack Welch. (Oh yeah, and every guy also crushes on Tom Brady.) My friend Steve forms man crushes so frequently he has a standard line for when he's telling me about a new one: "And then we split a Luna bar." Which made me wonder: Women, you know, get girlcrushes all the time and it's no deal. So what is it about the man crush that is so excruciating to watch? I figured it out.

Men always form crushes on other men who are like, the exact opposite of them. (If they're sufficiently alike and the feelings are mutual, they immediately enter into that sort of buddy matrimony wherein the "old married couple" quality of the union obscures the newness of the bond, since dudes sort of instinctively hate the idea of making new friends.) (Like have you ever noticed that, even if two dude friends met last year, they will talk about high school and old hardcore shows as if they attended them together?) Anyway, whereas girls โ€” is this egotistical of us? โ€” tend for form crushes on girls whose, you know, outfits and pop cultural touchstones and pastimes mirror our own, dudes only seem to form man crushes on the sorts of men โ€” torture victims, ladykillers, capitalists, foreigners โ€” who represent a mysterious Other Path, so any girls present are subjected to first watching a dude totally question every facet of his identity, then possibly undergo a mini existential crisis under the influence of infatuation, then gradually become disenchanted as breaks free of both states until he finally grasps that this whole thing has publicly sunk him to the depths of indignity because it turns out his Crush is actually, like, George W. Bush. And that any man who crushes on George W. Bush must hate himself. Yeah, so I guess it's sort of like what happens to us. Anyway.

Does The Media Have A Man Crush On John McCain [Vanity Fair]