Another defining moment brought to you by YTV

Do you remember that moment when girls and guys suddenly went from being icky, yucky, and gross to being kinda attractive? The age when sexual attraction becomes a thing definitely varies, but somewhere between 2001 to 2007 something awakened in me.

Like Harry Potter, I could feel the beast begin to howl.

Well, not really. I don’t think a lot of kids go through this sudden transformation gracefully. A select few end up doing ok, but most end up being awkward, dorky, and overall unable to communicate with the opposite gender.

Hey, that sounds a lot like me during those first few years.

After some therapy and some cootie shots, happy to say I’m a lot better now. Seriously, I can hold a conversation with the opposite gender for about 10 minutes without breaking into a nervous sweat. Pretty impressive.

However, one revelation from that period of time came in the form of a life and childhood ruining moment. I found the nexus.

Sugar was hot.



Ok, let me preface this by saying… bear with me.

As a fairly balanced individual, I’m trying to write this as level-headedly as possible. No matter what sex you are or sexual preference you have, sexual attraction is something that just happens. It can take a lot of forms from older people lusting after one another to the more innocent “Do you like or like like, me?” kind of thing.

There are also people who are asexual, so there’s that too.

Finding someone attractive, therefore, isn’t something we should be ashamed of, right? No, I’m actually asking because my little self was pretty conflicted at the time.

In 2001, Stephanie Beard became a host on YTV. I was about 10 years old at the time and still in that phase where I found girls a little gross. They were different, I didn’t get invited to their parties and I didn’t understand why they didn’t like the same things I did. They often laughed at me and my friends. They seemingly plotted our fate in their cabal within the classroom.

You can imagine how stupid I feel looking back on my behaviour.

I was a typical little boy and like a typical millennium degenerate, I watched a lot of television. As a Canadian, my channel of choice was YTV. At first, there was some resistance to having a new host like Sugar taking over for people like PJ Katie or PJ Aashna. Unlike the other hosts, she was just too girly.

The high-pitched voice, the overly-pink wardrobe, and characters she played on the channel were infuriating.

Yet over time, she became and remains my favourite host.

A few years down the road, Carlos Bustamante became a co-host and the golden age of The Zone was heralded in, although I think some could argue the early 90s YTV in terms of content and video production was a lot better.

Sugar and Carlos were a power team and managed to keep me entertained for hours after school.

Then the changes started to happen.

(She kinda made it to Hollywood)

Oh boy, puberty ravaged my body… including the development of a pronounced underbite and introduction of a rather extensive network of metal wiring into my mouth. Girls also started to appear more attractive. One I noticed was unfortunately also one of my favourite hosts on television.

I think we all have a friend that we have put up a boundary where we say, “There’s no way I would ever, ever like/date/love him/her”. There’s just something intangible preventing you from having feelings for them. It’s a kind of sexual detachment regular human monkeys experience with their relatives and people who they consider to be family.

In my case, YTV hosts were like best friends. They weren’t the intangible faces on the television screen we see on the news or on television shows. They spoke to you. And when you’re a kid, you grow attached to the people who pay attention to you.

You start to really, really like them and I still like Carlos no matter how fluffy the television channel has gotten in recent years. (Also saw him in person once and pretty sure I embarrassed myself).

But you could imagine how conflicting it would be to go from liking someone to like, liking someone when you barely understand what’s happening to you in the first place.

The early 2000s were formative years in my life and Sugar was a constant female presence.

She went from being an icky, annoying girl to a pretty good friend, and then to someone who my adolescent self found attractive. As I mentioned in a previous article, writing about this makes me sounds a bit like I’m Jim Carrey from The Cable Guy. It is not like I grew up isolated from the rest of society. I had friends, two brothers, went travelling, and interacted with people in the outside world.

But the hosts on YTV were pretty close to being real people in my childish brains.

Sugar just so happened to be part of that realization that certain kinds of females were attractive to me.

As I mentioned above, there’s a boundary people put up between themselves and friends. For me, the barrier was a television and the knowledge that as real people like Carlos and Sugar seemed they ultimately didn’t know who I was.

I saw this cool, bubbly, awesome, radical, and happy individual every single day after school and they helped me realize something. I realized this is the kind of person I really, really like.

Everyone has these formative individual in their past. Whether it’s the good boyfriend or character on a television show that was your “type”, I think they’re important figures to reflect on. For me, Sugar played a big role in making girls more relatable as she’s was pretty much an uber example of one.

(Kind of a creepy interview, “A taste of sugar”…)

Anyway that’s just some reminiscing for you about the days of good television and awesome youth programming. I haven’t watched YTV for a while now, so I’ll likely be taking a watch of it.

Halloween was a pretty awesome time of the year on the channel and the bumpers between shows were awesome!

If you’d like to comment, feel free. Would love to know if the same happened with the opposite sex while watching other programming with hosts. It’s funny how much television can alter your perceptions as a youngling.

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