Before JTT, Leo, Pacey, or Dawson, there was Bill. Bill Nye the Science Guy. My first crush.
I was about 8, and Bill was maybe a million years older, but that didn’t matter. My family wasn’t in the least bit bothered by this—in fact, my parents approved highly of our relationship, because they were much happier to see their daughter watching “Bill Nye the Science Guy” than half the other crap on television.
In the beginning, Bill and I were mere acquaintances. I was aware of his presence, and would sometimes watch him mid-way through a show when flipping through the channels. But then I got sucked in, at first with the program’s “cool” credits sequence, featuring neon graphics, flying globes, and that catchy six-note cadence of the intro tune: “Bill Nye the Science Guy.”
I knew Bill wasn’t exactly a normal figure for an eight-year-old to find attractive, but it was something about the “guy” that made the connection OK, and even encouraged it. Bill wasn’t a man, or a Mr., or professor, he was just a dude.
The basis of my crush began with the physical. Barely a pre-teen, I didn’t have concepts of “hot” or “sexy,” and the Science Guy exhibited neither quality (at least, not outright). But something told me he was handsome. I liked his tall, skinny physique and preppy hair, which seemed to go so well with his uniform of a button-up shirt, bow tie, and lab coat.
But aside from that, Bill was also the smartest person I knew. Smartest person in the entire world, maybe. It was a huge turn-on. He knew about electricity, how planes fly, and what was in outer space. Nye also taught me mind-boggling things. His show is where I first learned about matter (so that’s what the world is made of!), how to escape from quicksand (useful), and why we cry (poignant).
One thing Bill didn’t cover, but seemed implicit in his teachings, is how I would eventually outgrow him. A few years later, I hardly thought anymore about my TV hunk, and had moved on to lusting after the perfect Zack Morris or contemplating what it would feel like to have the oldest Camden son wrap his arms around me.
Except I now realize that, weirdly, Bill Nye the Science Guy never left my subconscious. In fact, he probably explains my penchant for dating almost exclusively one type of guy—the older, beanstalk-like, glasses-wearing academic, who isn’t what you might think of as “cool.” But he’s definitely got something going on.