You know what kind of pisses me off? On the day that certain celebrities turn 18, many of the gossip blogs — especially those ran by 35-year-olds obsessed with masturbation jokes — think that, all of a sudden, it’s OK to make sexually suggestive remarks about the celebrity in question, as though the age of majority gives us carte blanche to ogle, stare, and objectify. What’s the difference between 17 years and 355 days and 18 years old, besides 24 hours? It kind of kind of creeps me the hell out — it’s as though they are saying, “Look! I’m not a pedophile! I waited until her birthday to describe all the disgustingly salacious things I could do to a girl half my age, who could still be a senior in high school. She’s legal!” Ick. Reason 4,567 that I was a failed gossip blogger: Inability to objectify women who are 17 years and 358 days old.
Anyway, we’re killing time before Dan’s Harry Potter review comes along (have some patience — we don’t do advanced screenings; Dan’s on the West Coast; and it’s a three hour movie), but this list really only really applies to those of us who are now over the age of 30 (although, I’m curious who the same category of people are for those of you over 40 — Tracey Gold? Alyssa Milano?). These are five celebrities who we were or still are so used to seeing as child actors that — at least the sexually healthy among us — should feel bad about appreciating from an aesthetic point of view, if you get my meaning, you fucking pervs.
5. Alison Lohman: Lohman is 29 now, but it took until Drag Me to Hell before I could square my perception of her as an adult actress with what I saw in Matchstick Men. In fact, I can’t tell you how uncomfortable she made me feel in that movie — I felt so terrible about finding what we thought was a 13-year-old attractive, that the revelation that she was 23 at the time only relieved the guilt slightly, even though I was not that much older than her. It didn’t help, two years later, when she appeared in Flicka, as a 15-year-old. Just whatever you do, never try to have a back-to-back marathon of Flicka and Where the Truth Lies, which features Lohman in an explicit lesbian scene. It will mess with your brain.
Maximum Age Before It’s OK to Find Her Attractive: 35
4. Natalie Portman: She’s in her late 20s now, but as far as I’m concerned, despite our relative lack of age difference (five years), Portman will always be Mathilda in Leon and Marty in Beautiful Girls, which means that, in my mind, she’s still 13. Closer was an ungodly uncomfortable experience in which I spent the majority of it wishing that someone would find that girl a goddamn towel and drape it over her. Where the hell was child protective services for that movie? It’s also has the unfortunate side effect that sometimes I think Clive Owen is a leering old man.
Maximum Age Before It’s OK to Find Her Attractive: 32
3. Emma Watson: The upskirts of Emma Watson are just starting to pop up on gossip blogs now, and besides turning away immediately, my first instinct is to call the FCC and get these guys arrested on charges of child pornography. That’s Hermione, goddamnit. Leave that girl alone. Has she even hit puberty yet?
Maximum Age Before It’s OK to Find Her Attractive: 23
2. Hayden Panettiere: Not only does Panettiere still look 15, but she plays up that Lolita look to an extremely uncomfortable degree. I will never get over seeing Ice Princess in a Boston theater, mid-afternoon on a weekday, where there were nothing but middle-aged men in attendance. That is messed up, people. Messed up, but Panettiere seems all too happy to play into that audience, nevermind what’s going on in the heads of those 45-year-olds watching her movies. Ick. Ick. Ick. She’ll always be the little girl in Remember the Titans and “Ally McBeal” to me, so unless she leads a hard life and ends up looking like Dominique Swain after she turned 25, she’ll continue to play teenagers and should be treated as one.
Maximum Age Before It’s OK to Find Her Attractive: 20
1. Daniel Radcliffe: Ladies, ladies, ladies. Just because he’s 20 now doesn’t mean he’s hot. He’s freakin’ Harry Potter. And I don’t care how many horses he sidles up naked against, he still looks 12-years-old. The sexual fascination with that kid is just wrong … wrong wrong wrong. I cannot believe how many people got off on seeing Radcliffe bathing shirtless in the last Harry Potter movie. On this site alone, the comments about this kid’s sexuality have managed to make me extremely ill at ease. If you’re not a teenager, then it’s not allowed, damnit! What happened to this country’s puritanical streak?
Maximum Age Before It’s OK to Find Him Attractive: 16