Note: In preparation for writing this post Gracie and I watched all 174 minutes of The Sound of Music. The last time I saw it, I was still in high school. I watched it with my girlfriend; we were stoned and spent most of our time making out.
My first celebrity crush was on Julie Andrews, in the role of Maria in The Sound of Music. I was six, my family had gone to Radio City Music Hall to see the movie for a big night out. I already knew the music because we had the original cast album from the play. I was not prepared for how lovely Maria was, and how sweet she was towards the seven children in the Trapp family (Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and Gretl). I was doomed. I wanted to be Kurt. I wanted Maria to be my governess.
Kurt is on the far left wearing leather lederhosen.
I particularly wanted to have lederhosen made out of curtains (Maria made Friedrich lederhosen from old curtains). When I first saw the movie, it was all about Kurt. On re-watching it, I can see that he played only a minor role in the movie (two love stories and the Anschluss are more important).
I am a second generation American Jew, of Polish and German descent. Little Jewish girls are not supposed to run around in lederhosen. My family still identified German products with Nazi Germany (e.g. Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz). In that culture wearing lederhosen would have been perceived as hardly different from wearing a swastika. No lederhosen for me; no celebration of Oktoberfest either.
I am not a person who moves quickly; I do not have a crush of the week. I am loyal. I am not onto the next big thing. I focus intently (compulsively) on things and work my way through them very slowly. When I was a child I listened to The Sound of Music soundtrack over and over and always imagined myself as Kurt.
For years, even after I came out, even after I identified as butch, I allowed myself to have an active fantasy life. In that fantasy life I allowed myself to be a boy. That boy was drawn from movies, from books, from television, and from music. The fantasy sustained me for a long time. Then it didn’t.