My mother keeps implying I might be a lesbian because I have so many "girl crushes".
My colleagues know me as "the defender of fierce girl crushes". And if you spend five minutes with me, I'll sneak my undying love for a female celebrity into our conversation so artfully, you won't even notice until we're analysing Emily Blunt's life choices.
Is it a generational thing, to develop really intense loyalty to certain famous women? Or is it just me?
It all started with Britney Spears. Her first round of fame mostly passed me by, but by the time she was shaving her head and attacking cars with umbrellas, she had my full attention.
A roommate in university became genuinely concerned with the extent of my emotional investment in Britney Spears' life, and my final essay was on the victimisation of Britz by the paparazzi and by us, the people who propped her up with fame. To this day, her breakdown still gets to me.
I fully acknowledge that Britney's latest album was rubbish, musically. But I still bought it on iTunes because I'll be damned if I'm not going to support my girl. Perhaps I value loyalty so highly, I let it seep into the fickle parts of my emotional make-up, like watching celebrity gossip (or writing it, as I do now for a living).
Or perhaps it's a little bit like when you have a sex dream about someone. Any dream-interpretor will tell you it's actually nothing to do with sexual desire: you dream about getting it on with someone because you wish you could be like them (which, incidentally, explains why I always have sex dreams about Stephen Fry - because he's my ultimate professional icon). All my "girl crushes" are on women who inspire me, challenge me, worry me. I project my aspirations and my flaws onto famous women to save me from overdosing on self-analysis.
There have been many girl crushes since Britney, and none of them have been fleeting. I take my allegiance to pop stars, actresses, authors, politicians, and other brilliant women very seriously. It's how I live my own feminist existence, by barracking for women who are doing good things in the world.
Sure... I'd marry Paul Rudd tomorrow, Chris Hemsworth is a babe, and there's a special place in my heart for all five One Direction boys. But other than that, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about celebrity men.
I'd rather fantasise about becoming best friends with the women I admire. What Amy Poehler and I would talk about over waffles. What secrets Jennifer Lawrence would tell me over burgers and lemonade. What dinner party conversation would be like between Beyonce, JK Rowling, Olivia Wilde, Hillary Clinton, Kristen Wiig, Anna Funder, and Shakira.
Countless times, my mama has said things like "You really have a thing for the sisterhood" or "You sound like you're in love with her!" or "I don't remember anyone my age being so passionate about celebrities".
Absolutely, our fixation on celebrity has become more extreme that ever - now that we can track their movements on Twitter, watch their lives go by on Instagram, and rely on paparazzi to invade their privacy on our behalf. But when I choose a "girl crush" - a woman whose fame has tricked me into thinking I know her intimately - I don't do it lightly.
My obsession with certain women comes from a rather sweet place, actually: wanting to protect them from the harshness of the public life they've chosen, wanting to befriend them, wanting to give them advice about their life choices. It's an altruistic kind of obsession, if you will.
And if there's a hint that any of my chosen celebrity friends might be struggling with a mental illness, or distraught in any way, I almost feel personally involved. I guess that's, again, a symptom of a society that thrives on constant surveillance of its citizens, famous or not.
But there's a fragile, well-meaning compassion in me when it comes to people like Tina Fey or Julia Gillard that leaves me particularly vulnerable when it comes to caring about celebrities. I follow their lives as both a distraction and a confirmation of my own.
Tell me I'm not the only one.Suggest a correction