I’ve fallen in love with some interesting men in my life—angsty teens, worldly adventurers, and loveable nerds. Ok fine, so they’re not technically “real people,” and one of them isn’t even “human,” but the loving relationships are still palpable. And I have a feeling that I’m not alone (but back off my men…). Here’s to the fictional characters we truly, deeply, passionately, and un-reciprocally love.
Cory Matthews from Boy Meets World
Even though the name Topanga sounds like a lesser-known yoga philosophy, we all wanted to be her. Cory was our first love—curly-haired, awkward, relatable—and we didn’t even realize how into him we were until a couple seasons in when we all turned eleven or twelve and boys stopped being gross…
Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice
Mr. Darcy is the original bad boy, the pre-Hugh Grant RomCom star, and the reason that generations of women have been able to power through 9th grade English. Mysterious and smoldering, sharp and hard-to-get, the best way to explain Mr. Darcy’s widespread appeal is through a bad literary joke: it’s a truth universally acknowledged that any single girl should be so lucky as to have the good fortune of Mr. Darcy wanting her.
Aidan Shaw from Sex and the City
Forget Mr. Big (and the slew of other eligible bachelors Carrie and her crew took to bed), the Sex and the City boyfriend we all actually fell in love with is Aidan. Kind, funny, endlessly loving, and good with his hands, I’ll never forgive Carrie for cheating on him while he was laying her floors. How many times do I have to reiterate that when you find a good guy who looks sexy in a denim-on-denim outfit, you can’t just throw that away? But don’t worry, Aidan, we’ll always love you.
Ron Weasley from Harry Potter
It took Hermione seven long books to realize what we all knew for years: “I’m bloody in love with Ron Weasley!” I paraphrased to sound British, which was obviously my first priority in this blurb (and in life), but the point remains… Ron Weasley is hot. Maybe it’s because he’s the sympathetic underdog, or the family man, or the loyal friend, or just the only redhead, but for whatever reason we’re seriously under his spell.
Jim Halpert from The Office
I’m dreading the conversation with my future real-life husband when I’ll be forced to explain that I still have feelings for another man: Jim. The charming and witty boy-next-door prankster makes us all wish we worked for a paper company—and that’s saying something. If Pam and Jim weren’t the most adorable couple since—Adam and Eve?—I’d be personally offended that he settled for a woman that’s not me.
Casper from Casper
I don’t think there are any powerful religious lobbies preaching the immorality of woman-on-ghost romantic relationships, so I’m just going to say it: Casper was so hot. I’m not talking about the animated cartoon versions, I mean the 1995 movie with Christina Ricci; you know, the one where you actually fell in love with the friendly ghost.
Jack Dawson from Titanic
We will neverlet go of our love for Jack Dawson. The colder he got the hotter he became, and it’s almost impossible notto fall in love with a man who looks as good in a life jacket as he does in a tux. He’s chivalrous, romantic, and brave. I’m tearing up just thinking about Jack.
Don Draper from Mad Men
Never before has a sleazy, slutty, slimy advertising executive looked so good. As long as you’re not his wife. The good news about harboring a longstanding imaginary love affair with Don Draper is that, statistically speaking, you actually have a shot at consummating the attraction. (Guy gets around…)
Seth Cohen from The OC
We loved Seth Cohen so much that he singlehandedly made nerds cool again. Suburban Jewish boys everywhere triumphed as we lusted after the most adorable guy on prime-time television. I’m not sure how serious you were about Seth, but I know that I toyed with the idea of moving to California.
When our real romantic relationships fail, fall short, or let us down, we will always have the fictional men we’re (actually) in love with. Hey Casper: call me.