(Illustration by Gustave Doré)
My brain betrayed me recently. There is a murky, shadowed recess in the mind of every human being that occasionally regurgitates eldritch truths, truths which haunt them in the small hours of the morning when they’re chasing sleep. I am no exception to this rule. As such, a while ago I was treated to a startling personal revelation mid-way through an episode of Better Call Saul– I kinda, sorta fancy Bob Odenkirk.
Let me be perfectly clear: I do not mean a young Bob Odenkirk, in his fresh-faced Mr. Show days (though I get that too. A young Bob Odenkirk is on a list somewhere with Harrison Ford, Joe Biden and Christopher Plummer entitled “Reasons to Invent a Time Machine”). Nor do I mean the character he plays, the charming lawyer-cum-con artist Jimmy McGill, who is earnestly terrible at not doing illegal shit. No, as much as I’d like to rationalise this strange crush of mine, I really do fancy 53 year-old sketch comedy legend Bob Odenkirk, a man older than both of my parents.
He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last. I’ve had similar crises over Rupert Graves and Kyle MacLachlan. I could spend days talking about the lower two fifths of Colin Firth’s face. “I’M NOT EVEN AMERICAN,” I scream at myself, listening to Chris Jackson sing the US national anthem for the 8th time that day. This middle-aged actor thirst will be the death of me.
All my anxieties about the term ‘daddy issues’ clustered around Bob Odenkirk, who became some kind of albatross around my neck (and yes, I’m not above abusing the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge to explain my strange sexual epiphany. Buckle up, reader). This might have happened to you too. You may have had a horrifying realisation regarding your own manifestation of Bob Odenkirk, your own albatross of a middle-aged celebrity crush, in which case I want to sit you down with a stiff drink, hold your hand, and quietly slip you pictures of Adrian Lester.
Daddy issues is the terminological equivalent of Urban Outfitters- it’s a one-size-fits-all solution, except it really doesn’t fit at all, actually, and somehow you find yourself out-of-pocket and having fucked over a marginalised group without even realising it.
It’s a term almost always (though not exclusively) targeted at women, often to trivialise their legitimate issues with parental abandonment and rob them of agency in their future lives. With those two words, you’ve got an easy way to blame someone, tell them that they’re doomed to a lifetime of poor relationships, a substance abuse problem, and overly identifying with Lana Del Rey.
Spoiler alert: this isn’t true. I’m glad to inform you that it’s possible to reach a point of acceptance. Today, I can say to myself, “this is the weird sex thing that’ll probably stay with me to my grave. Unless I reach forty and the whole thing levels out. But maybe the gap will remain the same and by the time I’m that age, I’ll be hanging around retirement homes. God I’m a pervert. Someone call the police and make them take me away.” (Kidding.)
If Odenkirk and his ilk are my albatrosses, then I have learned not to shoot them down. I’ve spent many an hour scouring the internet for evidence of Bob Odenkirk’s potential acts of wrongdoing, in a desperate attempt to dissuade the libidinous thoughts in my brain. For what it’s worth, I’ve found nothing (TALK ABOUT A DICK MOVE, ODENKIRK, JEEZ).
It’s not worth torturing yourself over, trust me. Lean into your weird middle-aged crush, or you’ll end up a creepy old mariner who’s filled with regret and likes to ruin parties. No one wants to be that guy. Don’t be that guy.