A reader sent me the following email this morning:
Dear Dustin —
Let me just preface this by saying that, I’m not gay. I’m married. I have three kids (a darling boy, and two adorable identical twin girls) and a wife that I’m madly in love with. However, recently I have been experiencing some confusing feelings toward Chris Pratt, who you know as Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation. I’ve always found Pratt to be funny in a harmless, goofy completely non-sexual kind of way. Yet, after seeing him in the Guardians of Galaxy trailer, my feelings began to shift from an appreciation for Pratt’s brand of comedy to something more … troubling.
I know that you used to battle this particular demon with Ryan Reynolds, and I was wondering if you could offer me any advice? Is it OK for a furiously heterosexual man to have a man crush on Chris Pratt?
A Fan of Your Work
Thanks for the question, AFoYW, and congratulations on what sounds like a lovely family. In answer to your vexing conundrum, let us look at the criteria for an acceptable heterosexual man crush before making a determination. It is important to ask yourself three questions.
First of all, while it’s certainly acceptable to recognize and appreciate another man for how good looking, rugged, or handsome he might be, it’s important to make the distinction between wanting to be like another man, and wanting to fuck another man. If you fall into the latter category, you probably shouldn’t be calling yourself “furiously heterosexual,” not that there’s anything wrong with that. Like the Olympics, we’re all a little bit gay.
So, is Chris Pratt — or the persona created by Pratt in television and the movies — something with which you aspire? Would you like to be a well-built man with a charmingly goofy sense of humor, an easy-going attitude, and well situated face stubble? If so, Pratt meets the first criteria of an acceptable man crush (and wouldn’t we all want to be a guy like that?)
Did you know that Pratt is also deeply into hunting? I know, I know. It’s not something many of us on the liberal spectrum think highly of — shooting innocent animals for sport — but it does sound kind of sexy when it’s Chris Pratt, doesn’t it? Shirtless Pratt prowling through the forest on his stomach wielding a shotgun … shit, where was I?
Anyway, the second criteria in an acceptable man crush is whether or not he reflects well on you. For instance, you wouldn’t want to have a man crush on, say, Jared Leto or Shia LaBeouf, because that would make you kind of a douche. Likewise, you could, say, have a man crush on Kim Coates, but people might grow suspicious. A gay man could obviously be attracted to Kim Coates, but for a straight guy? That’s strange enough to at least suggest that you shouldn’t advertise such a man crush if you want to maintain your reputation as a “furiously heterosexual” man. In this case, however, Pratt, obviously, would reflect well on you. No one would question that man crush, because how could you not find him a little bit attractive? That’s not a gender thing. That’s a human thing.
The final criteria is determining whether a man crush is acceptable is, if you are in a relationship with a woman, asking yourself if that man crush is one someone your significant other could respect and be proud of? This is similar, but not quite the same as the second criteria. For instance, let’s say you had a man crush on Andy Samberg. He’s a perfectly fine candidate for a man crush, except for the final criteria, because you never want to put your wife in the position of having to say to a friend of hers, “My husband has a total man crush on Andy Samberg.” She wouldn’t be able to do that turning up her nose. No woman would respect an Andy Samberg man crush.
In this final regard, I believe that Chris Pratt also passes the test, although not in his role as Andy Dwyer. It’s important, in fact, that before you share this man crush with your wife or girlfriend that you first show her the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, otherwise, she might believe you have a man crush on this guy:
Instead of this guy:
After all, man crushes are not about being attracted to what’s on the “inside” (that’s called a gay crush).
After seeing the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, only then will she completely understand your man crush, and may even encourage it. After all, if it means that you might give up beer for six months and go to the gym every goddamn once in a while in order to be more like your man crush, she would also certainly benefit.
So, there’s your verdict: A Chris Pratt man-crush is OK!