Back in the '90s, some crushes were universal. For example, literally every human being with access to a working television set was in love with Jonathan Taylor Thomas, George Clooney, and the entire cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There's no shame in copping to those infatuations, but what about the weird '90s crushes you never told anyone about? Not even your best friend needed to know you were strangely into a certain animated lion — you know exactly which one I'm talking about — or watched Power Rangers for reasons that had more to do with the villain than their mighty morphing.
But I'm here today to remind you that it's 2017. Thanks to the Internet, weirdos can unite like never before. If you think you're the only one who secretly drooled over cartoon characters and swooned over the same pop stars as your parents (despite an age gap that was more like a canyon), a quick Google search will show you that you're not alone. In fact, someone has probably drawn detailed fan art about it. So while you're indulging in some '90s nostalgia on your lunch break today, take a moment to remember the weird crushes you had back in the '90s. Who knows? Some of them might still make your heart beat a little faster, 20 years later.
Let's start things off with the one weird crush everyone admits to: Simba from 1994's The Lion King. Not only is he literal royalty, but he's compassionate, strong, and in touch with his emotions. Check out that brooding gaze.
2Ramen-Haired Justin Timberlake
Having a crush on 2017 Justin Timberlake makes sense. Only a true hottie could be suave enough to marry Jessica Biel. But back in the '90s, Timberlake had hair that resembled nothing so much as a bowl of instant ramen. Can anyone remind me why that was considered attractive?
With his wide smile and spiky, highlighted hair, Aaron Carter stole every tween's heart the minute he bounced onto the pop music scene. The weird part? At the time, everyone already had a crush on his older brother, Nick Carter, and choosing between the two was pretty much impossible. (Now, however, not so much.)
You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone attracted to Steve Urkel, but his alter ego, Stefan, was a different story. A ladykiller on the show and in real life, Stefan was the coolest cat around.
Of all the characters in Hocus Pocus, there was one clear frontrunner for the title of Hottie Extraordinaire. I'm not talking about the protagonist, Max Dennison, or even the witch played by Sarah Jessica Parker. I mean Thackery Binx, the Pilgrim cruelly transformed into an immortal black cat. At least we got to see his human form a few times before he shuffles off this mortal (feline) coil.
If you were a kid in the '90s, you were aware of Ricky Martin, and if you were aware of him, you certainly had a crush on him — and so did at least one of your parents. We can all agree that Martin is wildly, absurdly attractive, but the pop star was a bit age-inappropriate for anyone younger than the age of 15. Not that it stopped everyone from crushing on him anyway.
7Carlton From "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
Underneath those ugly sweaters and the absurd dancing was an impressive number of chiseled abs. Do with this knowledge what you will.
Before Elizabeth Banks played the character in 2017's Power Rangers, Rita Repulsa was an alien with a weird headdress, fabulous eye makeup, and diabolical plans to take over Earth in the '90s series. And yet, somehow, we were into it.
Now that Hollywood is filming a live-action adaptation of Aladdin, maybe it will be less weird to admit to having a crush on the titular thief.
10Kat Stratford AND Patrick Verona In "10 Things I Hate About You"
It's not weird to have a crush on Kat Stratford or Patrick Verona from the seminal '90s classic 10 Things I Hate About You. Anyone whose heart doesn't throb at the sight of dreamy, dreamy Heath Leger in that role is obviously an unfeeling robot. But I'm talking about having a crush on their beautiful relationship, which is the ultimate rom com #goals.
11Salem From "Sabrina The Teenage Witch"
Sophisticated, kind of a jerk, and literally magical? Sabrina the Teenage Witch's Salem was the whole package — too bad that package was a cat puppet until he's finally transformed back into a human.
The last six months of the millenium gifted us with yet another hot cartoon character in a series of hand-drawn hotties. (Thanks, Disney Renaissance.) I'm talking about Tarzan, of course, of the eponymous movie. He spent half of the movie half-clothed and silent while Phil Collins played in the background. I challenge you not to fall a little in love.
13Bernard From "The Santa Clause"
Nobody expects to develop a crush on some elf from a Christmas movie, especially when that elf isn't even the main character. But Bernard the Elf, played by David Krumholtz in The Santa Clause, gave heart palpitations to tweens everywhere in the '90s. Was it his cranky demeanor? His dark, soulful gaze? Whatever the reason, he was the first crush for '90s kids everywhere.
What's weird about crushing on Daria isn't that she's animated. It's that she was one of the crankiest cartoon characters of all time, and if she was a real person, she definitely would have hated your guts.
15Miss Jennifer Honey
I'm sorry. Was Matilda's Miss Honey supposed to be a mother figure? Because she was the woman every bookish kid's dreamed of when they tried to envision a future partner: kind, smart, and cute in glasses.
Let's face it. Tuxedo Mask may have been Sailor Moon's love interest, but only because she failed to notice the hottie under her nose the entire time: Sailor Mars. As we've already established, it's probably weird to have a crush on an animated character, but look at her shiny, dark hair and sparkly eyes. It's not that weird, right? Right?