An accidental James Dean impression, in Boston

Posted on
Jul 21, 2011

Little known fact about me: in addition to my crippling love of cupcakes and comfortable shoes, I have a soft spot for James Dean. In high school, my room was blanketed with photos of the ill-fated star. I owned his every movie (even Giant, which is AWFUL), read his biography repeatedly, and slept in a James Dean t-shirt at night.

“He’s going to haunt you,” my mother would tease.

“I damn well hope so,” I replied. Otherwise I’d totally wasted a Christmas present asking for a ouija board.

It carried on into college, when I found myself dating moody boys who would pout outside my dorm while smoking cigarettes. After getting my heart broken (eh, not even. Slightly bruised.) by one-too-many asthmatics, my fascination with an actor who had died twenty-five years before I was even born begun to fade. By the time I met Rand, the only thing that remained of my teenage fandom was an affinity for men who had sideburns and popped the collars of their coats in the cold.

Fortunately, even in the early days of our relationship, Rand pretty much nailed both of those criteria:

I was sure we'd always be in love and we'd never grow old. I was half right.

Years passed, and I assumed my fascination with James Dean was long over. But even now, there are times – often when we’re walking through a grey and foggy city and his collar is turned up against the wind – that I’ll swear my husband looks like James Dean. And it positively slays me.

James Dean smoked cigarettes. Rand chews on pencaps (which is healthier and cheaper, but ruins more pens).

Rand will probably argue that it’s precisely because the city is foggy and grey and visibility is limited that I find this to be true, but I still maintain it.

Except, you know, James Dean didn't smile wistfully. And he wasn't Jewish.

Okay, fine. I’ll forgive you if you don’t see it (did you try squinting heavily? Like, to the point that your eyes are almost shut? Because when I do that, they’re like twins). My husband is, admittedly, not a bad boy or a rebel. But he is a self-made man, and walks around wearing dark coats in big cities, occasionally looking as though the weight of the world is on his shoulders.

And such were the circumstances when we were wandering around Boston a few months back, on an unusually chilly and grey day in early May: I found myself staring at Rand, and thinking about James Dean.  The direct result of this was that I started making googly eyes at him, like a teenager.

To be fair, I'm actually staring at, like, his left nostril or something.

And snapping photos like a papparazzo.

After twenty minutes or so, Rand gently inquired as to what I was doing, though to the untrained observer it may have sounded a bit like, “GAH! DAMN YOU, WOMAN! STOP TAKING PHOTOS OF ME!”

Like any good papparazzo, I ignored him.

Consequently, some light wrestling may have transpired on the Longfellow Bridge, when the love of my life pried my camera from my hands while I screamed something about how he shouldn’t get behind the wheel of a Porche 550 Spyder.

Then, rather regrettably, he turned the lens on me. For shame. James Dean never would have done that (probably. I have no idea, actually).

It was not my finest moment.

This one is slightly better.

Um …

I have no idea what's going on here.

In the end, I managed to get my camera back, and then, well this happened:

Sometimes I even sicken myself with all the face-sucking that takes place on this blog.

And also this:

Seriously, ew.

You’ll forgive me for this moment of sappiness, right? Because I swear, in the dwindling light of a foggy day, with my eyes half-closed, he looked just like James Dean.

And I was fifteen, all over again.

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