Daydream Believer: Did the Monkees shape my “type”?
(Hang ‘em high, Left to Right: Tork, Jones, Nesmith, Dolenz)
I hate to be one of those people, but I don’t have a “type.” Or, I like to think I don’t. There’s a pretty broad spectrum of “types” I’m drawn to. (I was joking with friends recently, after learning that an ex had named his daughter “Catherine” that if I have a son, I will have to think of a very unusual first name, as it seems I have exhausted the spectrum of common male names in those I have dated–with only one repeat! Snaps for me. Future son, if you are reading this, I hope this will give you some insight into why it was crucial you be named Osbert. Love you, Osbert!)
However, in the wake of the most recent wave of celebrity-death-triggered nostalgia, I saw something familiar in those group photos of The Monkees circa 1966. There, flanking heartthrob Davy Jones, were the impish smirk of perpetual prankster Micky Dolenz and the dour grimace of lanky loner Michael Nesmith. Something about looking at these images triggered a sense of recognition.
It was more than a simple recognition of their faces alone–faces I know well. I spent many Saturday mornings watching reruns of The Monkees with a bowl of Lucky Charms in hand. My mother saved many of her Monkees and Davy Jones LPs from over the years, and I have vivid memories of skipping around in circles to “Hey Hey We’re The Monkees” and “Last Train to Clarksville” until I was ready to vomit. And when I was in the fourth grade, I went to see the The Brady Bunch Movie in theatres with my mother and my best friend.
(I remember this being a real thrill, because I was never allowed to watch PG-13 movies–including Batman–but my mother wanted to see this, and had raised me on the aforementioned pop diet of 60s and 70s sitcoms, and probably thought all the sex jokes would go right over my head. Rest assured that they 100% did, and absolutely did not mold me into the lost soul that I am today. Love you, mom!)
Anyway, Davy Jones himself is in the film, along with adult Dolenz and last but not least, Peter Tork. I don’t know why I didn’t develop an affinity for Tork’s persona. He’s probably the most even-keeled of the bunch.
Jones still looked a lot like himself. Petite, charismatic, sparkling eyes–I registered at the age of 9 that he was the same man from the TV show, but I doubt I understood the older, wizened Dolenz to be the curly-mopped rogue I’d grown infatuated with. Perhaps if I had, I would have avoided developing this preference all together.
Back to the pictures. I see Dolenz and Nesmith at the apex of their popularity, and I think, “Yup, that’s what I go for.” Nine times out of ten, if I am around a group of men, if I am attracted to any of them it is generally the joker or the loner. This presents me with two options: share in the adventurous, non-committal spirit of the merry prankster or try very hard to make the scowling guy smile. I suppose both appeal to my sense of humor and let me exercise it. In elementary, middle and high school, I always went for the class clown. As a goody-two-shoes over-achiever, I delighted in silently watching them wreak havoc in the classroom. As a grown up, I still adore the Dolenzes of this world, though I suppose I make them my friends rather than paramours. In that regard, I spent several years going for the outwardly brooding, doleful intellectuals. I thought that still waters ran deep, but more often than not it was the placid veneer of a lack of empathy for other humans or a debilitating chemical imbalance.
A lot’s changed. While I no longer relegate my romantic choices to these two archetypes entirely, old habits die hard. And, I still love Lucky Charms.