He has bright brown eyes, great skin and a sexy smile with just the slightest gap between his front teeth to show that he's imperfect and reachable -- a guy you could totally bump into at the mall. And maybe even date.
The object that's set my heart -- and so many others -- aflutter has a name: Jed. Never mind that I don't really know him; his face is plastered on a trading card I can carry in my purse, stick on my mirror or tuck under my pillow at night. Jed, with his thick, rugged, oatmeal-heather wool sweater, has been on Pokemon-style trading cards sold to hormonal girls nationally and in far-off places like England, Germany and Australia.
And from this Boy Crazy! card I can find out that Jed, just 17, is from Colorado. He likes Chinese food -- I'm Chinese! -- Abercrombie & Fitch (I bought a pair of overpriced shorts there last summer!) and he likes intelligent girls. Like, oh my god, we are so made for each other! (OK, he was born in the '80s and I in the '70s, but that's not a problem the Boy Crazy! target audience of teen-age girls have to face.)
Since January, Decipher Inc. of Norfolk, Va., has sold millions of its trading cards featuring the faces of 363 12- to 22-year-old boys plucked from malls across the country. Girls can buy the cards in $3 packs of nine, then play a sort of "dating" game in which they try to match each other with the most compatible boy.
Despite initial outcry from child-development experts who say the cards objectify boys and encourage an unhealthy boy obsession among girls, sales of the cards have been so brisk that the company -- which printed up 10 million early this year -- has started a second press run, spokeswoman Leslie Hellerman says. And the company's Web site -- www.boycrazy.com -- logs about 1 million hits a day from its 104,000 registered users.
On the Boy Crazy! online message board, Jed appears to be a "hottie." To wit:
JeD (#018) iS aS sWeEt As HuNnY :) CrAzEd ... [04/30/00 11:14:40 p.m.] ... I think that the best lookin guy in the whole of the boy crazy world is Jed, the look the style... anyone else agree?? DO ANY OF YA THINK THAT JED IS HOTT? ... ErinLG4 ... [04/30/00 4:41:17 p.m.] ... he looks like a sweetie pie! ... Sweet_Sexy_Ange ... [04/30/00 4:45:47 p.m.]
In fact, they liked my "hunny" so much he was voted Boy of the Week not long after the cards came out.
So I decided to find out just how dreamy Jed was in real life. With his slight Valley Boy lilt, Jed proved to be a charmer -- and one who gets a lot of phone calls. He apologized sincerely each of the five times he got another call during our 30-minute conversation.
How did you end up on a trading card?
I was walking through one of our malls with a buddy of mine, and this lady comes up to me and says, "Hey, how would you like to be a part of this?" I thought it was going to be nothing big anyway, so I just signed up. Two months later, they said I'd been picked as a finalist. Then I didn't hear anything until my mom's birthday came around [in July]. Right when we were opening presents, the doorbell rings. We received this package with all this promotional stuff, and she's like, "What did you get into now? You're always doing stuff without telling me." I didn't see my card until we went to Minnesota in January to debut the game.
How has your life changed since Boy Crazy!?
It hasn't really changed that much, but people do recognize me in obscure places. Walking in a completely different mall, people will be like, "Are you Jed from that game? Cool! Can you sign this?" I've gotten 16-year-olds and 10-year-olds [asking me]. Nobody's followed me around or anything.
In school, I get common high school ragging. People will say, "Oh yeah, I'm boy crazy!" and stuff, and I can sense that some of it is out of jealousy because my face has been in papers and stuff. But it's all in good fun. A lot of my guy friends like it, and my girl friends like it. My girlfriend thought it was cool. I mentioned her in an interview and she was, like, "Wow, I'm in the paper." She was pretty excited about it.
The "favorites" you listed on the card. Are they real?
I was honest. I was trying to think, "Is this truly what I believe in, is this truly what I think?" I probably eat Chinese food twice a week. I love sesame chicken. Normally I don't eat vegetables, but I will in Chinese food. I think it's gorgeous in Australia. When people think of great places, they think of places like Paris. But Australia is cool 'cause it's so laid-back it's a lot of fun. I went there four, five years ago and I swam with dolphins.
I don't really shop at Abercrombie much any more. Now, I'm more money-conscious. [Abercrombie's] real expensive. American Eagle is kinda like it but cheaper. Maybe J. Crew every once in a while. I like to look decent. I usually wear khaki shorts or khaki pants or jeans and a golf shirt.
What do you like to do with your friends?
We go dancing a lot, to local dance clubs. I've been swing-dancing since fifth grade, when I took etiquette classes. I think I'm very polite and generous. I'm very conscientious of people's feelings. I can sense if people are not liking what's going on and need support. I'm good with people. I also like hanging out at the mall. Sometimes we have parties. And I play golf with my dad.
Your card mentions wanting to become a professional golfer. What about that?
I'm not so sure about that any more. I kind of lost the fun in it. I was playing almost every day for two straight years, but now I'm thinking of acting and modeling. It's something I've always been interested in, and [Boy Crazy!] has given me a taste and I like it. I'm working with an agent and an acting coach.
What's your dream date?
I don't like the whole dinner-and-movie thing. That's a little cliched. I like something out of the ordinary, something the girl hasn't done before on a date, something that she'll remember. Like maybe going to a [Colorado] Rockies game or a [Colorado] Avalanches game. Or dinner and dancing.
What do you think of experts saying the cards objectify boys?
It's just a game. If you think too much into anything, you can find some way of objectifying everything. I think this is all just out of good fun.