1. Archive

Leomania _ it's everywhere

The '90s twist on teen idolatry is cyberspace, where Leomania is particularly evident on the teenage message boards of America Online. It is here, among the more than 30,000 current postings from young subscribers, that you can find the issues and questions that burn in the hearts of Leomaniacs. Such as:

Why is Leo so popular? Take your pick: He's hot. He's fine. He rules. He's sexy. He's cool. He's a babe. He's cute. He's a hunk. He's da bomb.

Is Leo gay? Bi? Either? Neither? Both? Rumors of Leo's sexual preferences run rampant on the message boards, clearly worrying many teenage girls. "He just acts that way in movies," one muses. "Leo is not gay. He's bio!" another misspells. Many of them say it doesn't matter.

Leo is out there. Many girls post messages intended for Leo himself and assume he is reading their words. They do more than declare their love, however. They invite him home to dinner, for example, or to drop by their schools. One girl invites him to her brother's bar mitzvah.

Leo only has eyes for me. Many girls claim to have been involved with Leo, which causes many of the others to declare their outrage. "You lie girl!" is a standard response. As one points out: "If you did date him, it would have said something in the papers."

Leo spottings. Leo gets sighted more than Elvis. Girls frequently write from, say, Arkansas or Iowa, to say they saw him in a restaurant or supermarket. One girl announces that he is building a house next door to her best friend's home. Not to be outdone, another girl writes that he is building a house next door to hers.

Leo artifacts. Offers to provide Leo's home address, e-mail address and telephone number dot the message boards. None of these ever materializes. One girl claims to have one of his shoes but does not explain how she managed to acquire it.

Leo's a loser. Sometimes boys write, too.