Early Gay Crushes: Zac Hanson

Zac Hanson will never be hot (but he comes close at times). When Hanson burst onto the international music scene with their infectious pop smash MMMBop back in 1997, he still had his long and unruly, girly hair, and even today, his chubbyness disqualifies him from the conventional definition of classical beauty. I don’t always strive for perfection, however, and therefore the young drummer has always been my favorite Hanson.

One could of course argue that it didn’t take much for me to development a crush on anybody at that age (I was approching my twelfth birthday as Middle of Nowhere hit the charts), but in retrospect I’m not ashamed of it. Much like my fondness for Backstreet Boys, my Hanson fandom had to be kept secret, however, among other things because being a Hanson fan was considered wimpy and gay among my peers. (In fact, it was not until the release of their third album, 2004’s Underneath, that I publicly admitted to being a fan.) The irony in all this is that the fact that their music was so widely ridiculed made me feel that I was less weird for actually having a crush on Zac Hanson than for liking their music. Even though I was the only one who knew about either, it became important for me to emphasise that I liked the band because of Zac, and not because of the music. I’m not gonna psychoanalyze any further, but I guess that’s an early that I would be accepting of my orientation once I finally realized who I really am.

One of the main reasons why Zac was my favorite, was of course that he was closest to my age. I dreamed about being his best friend (even though my sexual fantasies were all about guys – something I, oddly enough, didn’t connect to being gay until several years later -, I still didn’t think about having sex with them), and I simply wanted to achieve the same level of success that he had. I guess I thought he was cute, but I wasn’t mature enough to see that that was how I felt about him. I kept saying to myself that I liked him because he seemed like a fun guy (he was sort of the band mascot, and he still is, in a way). Both Taylor and Isaac were more obvious heartthrob material, but they didn’t interest me the way Zac did.

The memory of my Zac crush stayed with me for years after Hanson temporarily disappeared from the charts, and it recurred when the second album, This Time Around, was released in 2000. His slightly androgynous looks had now gone into full bloom, and though I still didn’t have the guts to embrace them publicly, I was definitely drooling over him in secret. Yes, his pony tail (2:29) looked absolutely ridiculous, but there is really something about those lips. And on a different note, is have to say Taylor never looked better than he did did back then.

Perhaps paradoxically, as I have grown into an all-out Hanson fan, starting with Penny and Me from Underneath, Zac Hanson has come to be less important for how I define my relationship to the band. But still, it would probably come as no surprise when I say that Zac was the first one I looked for in the music video, and that his sudden grown-up manliness was a very big part of the reason why I kept coming back both to the band and that particular song. He will never be the most world’s most sexy man, but as long as he stays cute, there’s now way I will cut off someone who has been this important in helping me define myself over the last eleven years.

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11 Responses to Early Gay Crushes: Zac Hanson

  1. Smilie says:

    I was a closet Hanson fan too although it was Taylor that did it for me. I started listening to them around the same time that I started to realize I was gay. Hanson, the Backstreet Boys (Nick is still my favourite to this day) and others really helped me get through that time of my life and kindled my love of music.

    Awsome blog man. I look forward to reading more!

  2. queerlefty says:

    Thank you very much! I’ll try to post more regularly, but I can’t promise anything. It would be nice if you kept dropping a line every once in a while when you visit. It’s always nice to know there’s someone out there actually reading my stuff.

    I’m still a little bitter that I couldn’t embrace the 90’s boybands when I was younger. I guess they helped me set myself apart from the pack. I’d choose Nick as well, if I were to choose a BSB favorite, but I can’t say I ever had an actual crush on him.

  3. Chris says:

    I remember watching Empire of the Sun and being fascinated by Christian Bale, who would have been about my age – 10-12 ish when I saw it.

    I didn’t realize it, but I had a crush on him. I’d think of him without knowing why.

  4. queerlefty says:

    I haven’t seen EOTS, but I know the feeling from my formative years in the mid-to-late 90’s. For me there were several (Leonardo DiCaprio, Ethan Hawke, Joshua Jackson), and I hope to write about them in later installments of this series.

  5. Juliana says:

    hi, there.

    first of all, sorry about my english, it’s not my first language.
    well, i have to say, zac still is so cute. i have to agree with you in all aspects. lol :)
    i’m a girl, so i guess it was easier to me knowing that i had a crush on zac. however, i don’t think this crush made a lot of difference in my lovelife. but it’s good that zac helped you some way. let’s thank him for that!

    ahh, nice blog! :)

  6. queerlefty says:

    Thanks. I’d only hope more people would understand that Hanson has now grown into a superb pop/rock act. And that Zac and Taylor have become even more adorable than they once were.

  7. Sue B. says:

    Thank you for bringing attention to the fact that Hanson is an amazing musical act and not just pretty young guys in a boyband. About their looks though, I always loved Taylor and I found him to be almost angelic. Zac was so crazy but if you captured him in a moment of stillness he too had that angelic quality. I have never been attracted to Isaac but I think he has certainly grown into his looks and is quite handsome. The most attractive thing about them though is that they are really good people. Is that your picture with your post? you are quite handsome too, good luck with your life and maybe I will catch you sometime at a Hanson concert.
    Sue B.

  8. queerlefty says:

    Welcome to my blog, Sue, and thank you very much for your comment.

    Hanson have certainly grown both musically and personally over the years, but I confess to still loving them just as much for the instant catchiness of ‘Middle Of Nowhere’ as I love them for the sophisticated messages and music of ‘Underneath’ and ‘The Walk’. To be a Fanson never was something to be ashamed of, but I still hope more people will discover them now that ‘MMBop’ (in my mind still an excellent pop song) have presumably faded in people’s memory.

    I too, was never quite attracted to Isaac, though he’s not unattractive by any means. I absolutely get what you mean by Taylor’s ‘angelic quality’, and he’s definitely very good-looking.

    I hope you’ll pop in again if you feel like it.

    (Yeah, it’s me in the picture. Not very many people have said that about me before, so consider me seriously flattered, hehe).

  9. Jack says:

    Taylor is the most beautiful man alive. I’m his age, and I’ve had a crush on him since I was 14. His wife is one lucky gal :O)

  10. queerlefty says:

    She sure is, Jack. I’m still really glad that I’ve had the opportunity to grow older with Hanson in my ears, heh.

  11. Pingback: WELCOME TO ALL THAT « BryanBorland.com

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