Because Rosemary asked, in the long-standing debate over David Cassidy vs. Bobby Sherman, I would have to say . . . Mickey Dolenz.
But first I need to clarify. I do not think it occurred to me to have crushes on adult men who sang little-girl songs until I first discovered a magazine called “16.” I would have been 8 at the time, not that I think that makes me precocious. I think the average 16 reader was a pre-teen. There was also Tiger Beat, a better name if one is writing about that era in fiction — it would be so much more evocative. But 16, edited by Gloria Stavers, was the far superior magazine.
When I began reading16, it featured the Monkees, the Cowsills, Jack Wilde (from “Oliver” and “H.R. Pufnstuf.”) Strangely, it did not write much about Peter Firth, older brother of Colin, who was my true objet de crush, thanks to a television show called The Doubledeckers.( I say “strangely” because Colin Firth’s older brother was clearly worth writing about; nothing will persuade me to see the new Pride and Prejudice and risk my allegiance to Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.) They would run lists of things the “boys” liked, creating the illusion that if one matched up with them in enough categories (“Hey, I’m shy at parties, too!”) then he would be your soulmate. Should you ever meet him. And you might, as 16 ran a contest in which girls did meet their faves and, I think, got a lot of records.
By the time one was 16, one wouldn’t be caught dead reading “16,” or even Seventeen. Later, I found out that the singer that Gloria Stavers most liked was Jim Morrison, who was much too scary for little girls, but she kept putting him in the magazine, anyway.
Rosemary framed this question as the eternal either-or, David versus Bobby. Other famous either-ors include:
Beatles versus the Monkees. (Even 6-year-olds knew to say the Beatles, but they were lying.)
John versus Paul. (I’m a John girl.)
Mickey versus Davy Jones, because Michael Nesmith was married and Peter Tork was weird.
Jermaine versus any other Jackson.
Cowsills versus the Partridges.
And, finally, the eternal female dilemma of identity — Betty or Veronica?
I am, alas, a Betty. What were you? And how were your choices framed, whether they were teen idols or some other defining aspect of childhood. Regular seat versus banana seat? Tank suit or bikini? Baskin Robbins or Friendly’s?