I have been falling in love with fictional girls on screens since I was a kid. These characters have played a really big part in the formation of my love life. They’ve helped reveal to me my tastes and interests, and perhaps even created the basic archetypes of girlfriends I look for. Kind of like actual exes, I’ll always love these girls, even though they’re not even real.
My first love was Tiffani Thiessen as a teenager: her petite shoulders, hair and cute face, her sweet voice and affable nature. I wasn’t an adolescent yet, but she sparked something in me that would last forever.
The Disney animators understood my desire better than I did as a child, and perhaps instilled in me a deep appreciation for a certain type: bright eyes and button nose, frail shoulders and lithe frame. But Ariel was more than the cutest thing ever – she was strong-willed, curious and apologetically passionate for male attention. I’m embarrassed but I’ll admit it: this flatters my male ego.
Once I hit puberty, I watched Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend with intense desire – so mysterious and sophisticated, her demure manner and fawnish features. And she’s so cool.
I wished Winona Ryder was my girlfriend many times during the 90s. It started with her as the perfectly empathic emo dream girl that “really understood” Johnny Depp’s whole thing. And she was so strong as well, her love for him so defiant against a cookie-cutter society.