Friday, January 17, 2014
Though when I heard last night that Dave Madden, who played Reuben Kincaid on the Partridge Family, died, I felt a little rush of sweet affection for him (or for my memory of him), I have to say I was always a little put off by Mr. Kincaid. I was generally, as a kid, very leery of bachelors, and his relationship with Danny (who I also never much liked -- too mouthy) made me uncomfortable, the two of them fighting like an old married couple. For that matter, I can’t say I was even a fan of Keith. I was mesmerized by David Cassidy but terrified, the same feeling I had toward the cutest boys at school: obsessed but afraid to look at them directly for fear of betraying that I was not a boy, not like them. I loved Laurie. I had intense crushes on girls back then, and Laurie Partridge was the gold standard for the kind of girl I loved and wanted to be near. Tall with long straight hair, monotone and aloof but easily hurt. Almost all my best friends until I was in college were girls, but especially when I was under 12. That’s why I get angry/hurt/amused (I need a word for that) when I see parents of very young children sexualize their kids’ opposite sex friendships. “Oh my son is definitely straight. He loves girls! He and his little girlfriend are inseparable. ” Whatever you say.