At What Age Was It O.K. To Be Sexually Attracted To Uncle Jesse?

Photo: ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images.
Like many a tweenage girl, I spent the ‘90s hanging posters of my celebrity crushes on my bedroom walls. We're talking Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Devon Sawa, and Jesse Katsopolis. One of these is not like the other. For one thing, John Stamos is 24 years my senior. It’s no wonder Tiger Beat didn’t really include tear-away posters of him in its magazine. Yet Full House’s Uncle Jesse was decidedly a babe — a truth I knew at nine years old. It looks like I’m not alone either.

Today, Stamos turns 52 and continues to age like the fine wine he is. And he’s returning to his role as Uncle Jesse in the upcoming 2016 Fuller House reboot on Netflix. It feels like the right time to finally answer a question I’ve had for years: At what age was it appropriate to openly crush on Stamos, who was a grown-up?

I was born the same year Full House premiered, in 1987. And, by the age of nine, I was in full-on puppy love with Stamos. But, there has to be some kind of deeper reason why I thought Uncle Jesse was It. I recently asked my mom if maybe Full House was playing on the TV in the delivery room, or if maybe it was on TV a lot when I was too small to remember it. Maybe there’s a subconscious connection there. My mom confirmed that Full House was definitely on all the time when I was small, “but so were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” And, while I have zero romantic feelings about my reptilian friends, I did 100% want to date Casey Jones. (That is a separate story.)

However, KidsHealth.org, a site for kids endorsed by D’Arcy Lyness, PhD, asserts that it’s theoretically normal that the child version of me had feelings for Uncle Jesse. “Your crush could even be someone you don’t know, like a professional athlete or celebrity,” the site explains. “Maybe you think about what it would be like to meet that person, even though you probably never will. It’s still fun to imagine!” The most fun!

Over the years (as in, to this day), I still found Uncle Jesse to be the bee’s knees. No matter how many cute and age-appropriate boyfriends D.J. had (yes, even Steve), I was still Team Stamos. What made Uncle Jesse so special? He was a good dad and uncle. He was in a band. He had great hair. Oh, and for a time, he made a profession out of pest control; the ability to kill bugs quickly and without me seeing them is high up on my list of perfect-man qualities.

Still, I needed someone professional to weigh in, here. Am I a weirdo?
Photo: ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images.
Sex expert Logan Levkoff, PhD assured me I am not. “We have eyes, too,” she told me via email, adding that crushes can begin quite early and that preschool-age children often talk about marrying someone. (Guilty.) “They don’t really know what that entails," Dr. Levkoff says, "but they have feelings, even if they aren’t consciously ‘sexual.’” It’s true that, even though I claimed to love Uncle Jesse, I didn’t want to bump uglies with him — nor did I fully understand the concept of intercourse.

Levkoff suggests that maybe I wanted to be part of the Tanner family, and that I became attached to Uncle Jesse because he was part of it. “We use role play throughout our lives,” she explains. This is a possibility. But, it still doesn’t explain why I not only started a crush on Jesse as a child, but also maintained that crush for more than 20 years. I don’t think any of the other guys on my wall are babes anymore. (Sorry, Taylor Hanson.) And I certainly didn't crush on Bob Saget or Dave Coulier.

I suppose it was never totally socially acceptable to be attracted to Uncle Jesse as a child. But, I can take comfort in knowing that this type of attraction was a widespread phenomenon — whether or not it was an appropriate one. “You are certainly not alone. I promise,” Dr. Levkoff wrote. “Go to an all-girls sleepaway camp and check out the photos hanging on the wall.”
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