Mapping the heartthrob evolution with my mom

Move over, typical macho man. The titas are crushing on Jungkook now

preen heartthrob evolution

People magazine gave the first “Sexiest Man Alive” title to Mel Gibson in 1985. Fast forward to 2021: A quick look at my timeline would suggest that my generation’s heartthrobs are mostly K-pop idols, K-drama leads, BL stars, and even 2D anime boys. But the question is, have titas’ crushes evolved with ours?

Who better to help me with my investigation than my 47-year-old mom? We had a chat on the evolution of heartthrob qualities, the possible reason behind this shift, and how she feels about sharing celeb crushes with her nonbinary kid.

Who were your first celebrity crushes?

I had crushes on Richard Gomez, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and George Clooney from my high school years until my late 30s. 

Who are you crushing on these days?

There’s Jungkook from BTS, Park Seo-joon, and Park Bo-gum. Among local celebrities, I like Ian Veneracion. 

What were the standard qualities of heartthrobs back then?

Macho and maganda ‘yung physique. Your typical tall, dark, and handsome. A bad boy who’s a gentleman. Richard Gomez definitely fits the bill.

Do you think that the standard has changed?

These days, prefer na namin ‘yung cute and charming. A pretty boy. Gusto ko ‘yung magaling sumayaw and kumanta. But they still fit into the heartthrob category since they’re still attractive and nakakakilig.

preen mom park seo-joon standee
My mom posing with Park Seo-joon standee at the mall

What do you think is the reason behind this shift?

Maybe it’s because we’re getting old. I’m a mom now. When I see a cute K-pop idol, my thoughts are along the lines of, “Ang gandang bata naman niya.” Two of my favorite things about K-pop idols are their dedication to their craft and positive influence on young people.

Siguro rin kasi people get to express themselves more these days in terms of emotional vulnerability and how they look. I’m well over my bad boy phase. Dati, sex sells. I’d think, “Ang gwapo naman nito” or “Ang sarap naman nito.”

Since you mentioned “expression,” do you think it has to do with wider LGBTQIA+ acceptance?

Yes. People are starting to care more about who a person is rather than what their gender is when it comes to attraction.

That’s how I am now and maybe other titas are like that, too. But titos might be 50/50 on this. I’ve seen titos who haven’t fully accepted it. 

preen mom jungkook tarpaulin bts
My mom posing with a Jungkook tarpaulin at the mall

Do titos still try to emulate heartthrobs now? 

Siguro insecure na sila sa heartthrobs. [Laughs] [But from what I’ve observed from your dad,] he also finds BTS cute but he considers them too feminine. I think he finds them attractive, too. ‘Di ba? Crush niya si Jimin. [Laughs] (For the record, I tried to confirm this with my dad but he says it’s not true.)

You know that I’m part of the LGBTQIA+. Do you also recommend bonding over crushes to other parents of queer kids?

Yes. I really enjoy it. Maganda ‘yung influence mo sa akin. Thank you.

Parents shouldn’t worry about who their kids are crushing on. Sabayan ninyo and mas kilalanin ninyo ang mga anak ninyo so you can get closer.


Header art by Amrie Cruz

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