I was 13 in 2002, when A Walk To Remember came out. That summer, I plastered my room with giant posters of Shane West. Shane West leaning insouciantly against a brick wall in ripped jeans. Shane West beside a pool, reclining. Shane West mugging like Kurt Cobain, wearing flannel and eyeliner and holding a guitar.
Something about Shane West made me pretty sure I was in love. I couldn’t ignore his sensitive side, which was showcased in A Walk To Remember. Clearly he knew how to take care of his one true love.
Oddly, he was my gateway-drug into what my family calls my “alternative” interests in men. Something about his non-threatening demeanor but association with a “punk” band led me down my eventual path towards men stuck in 1993′s Seattle. Shane West was technically a musician, and was sexy and dangerous. Not actually dangerous—13-year-old dangerous. Like snagging your parents cooking wine and saying “I’m pretty wasted” after two sips.
Wikipedia describes Shane as a “punk rock musician,” and I can personally confirm that this characterization is inaccurate. That is because I am a lunatic and went to a concert of his horrible band, Jonny Was. My two friends and I stood in the front row, looking up at him and trying to touch his shoes. The spotlights shone off of our braces. When we were getting ready at my parents’ house, Kate, the most sexually confident of us, said “I think maybe if I wear something really low cut, he’ll think I’m 16.” Somehow, this didn’t work out as well as we had hoped, and we went home, virgins.
A few nights ago, I watched Get Over It with my roommate, in which West does a horrifying approximation of a British bad boy offensive to British people, men, bad men, and anyone with ears. None of the old feelings stirred, and I felt like I had truly moved on. In fact, now I find photos of him to be borderline grotesque, because isn’t it always humiliating to look at someone you used to love?
Photos: Getty Images