Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fantasies and Aliens

Rachel Sa writes something today that once again has me confronting the irrefutable fact I'm an alien. To wit:

We may roll our eyes at the "kids today" who freak out for seemingly lightweight loves like, I don't know, the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus. But there's no denying that, in some form or another, we've all been there, done that. We've all had the pin ups on our walls and the ridiculous fantasies.

I haven't. I haven't been there or done that, I don't have the T-shirt, and quite frankly, I never understood all you people who went and did.

My teenage bedroom had one poster in it: Tiffany. And she didn't last long, maybe a few months. I'd got it into my head that kids my age had pinups everywhere and I figured if I put one up it would give me some small feeling that I fit in somehow. That was my motivation for pretty much everything I did in those years. And like pretty much everything I did, it didn't work.
This in particular didn't work because, as I said, I'm an alien. My body is humanoid, but my mental makeup comes direct to you from Altair-4. I didn't know this as a teenager (though I was beginning to suspect it). Further proof of my essential inhumanity: I had not the slightest idea what I was supposed to do with that Tiffany poster, once I put her up there. Gaze lovingly at her? (Make that lustily: I may have come from Altair-4, but I was raised as a healthy human boy.) Naw, it couldn't be that. How could someone feel lust for a person they'd never met and were almost certain never to meet? (I'd ask anyone under 20 who may be reading this to remember: this was 1988. We didn't have, couldn't even imagine, the Internet.)
I just liked Tiffany's music, especially "Could Have Been", which appealed to my uber-romantic and hopelessly virginal teenage ears. I didn't even find her image all that attractive, to be honest. But she was probably the only female pop idol candidate for my bedroom wall.
I have never understood the common human trait of idolizing celebrities. And sexual attraction to same is right off my personal bizarre-o-meter. Particularly actors. Not only are you never going to meet George Clooney, you don't even know only know his characters. Are you seriously going to tell me you're busy fantasizing about a fictional character? I mean, hey, whatever floats your boat, but sheesh, why not a real person? What about that woman in the corner office or that hot mechanic who fixed your car free of charge? Don't you humans get considerably more spark out of a fantasy if you can convince yourself hey, this could happen?
See, I do. I get absolutely zero out of a fantasy that's so far removed from my reality. Perhaps that's a failure of imagination, I don't know. But I'll tell you this: it's a short, short step from convincing yourself hey, this could happen to imagining it happening. Whereas it's a quantum leap to put myself in a position where I could conceivably get to have sex with Kate Winslet. That's so patently obvious that I knew it at 16, when Kate Winslet was named Tiffany.

This is one of those questions I've asked people over and over through the years, looking for insights. Several women have told me that they fantasize about celebrities (or really, their personas) precisely because they are so far removed from plausibility. If it's impossible, this line of thinking seems to go, you won't attempt it. Whereas (I guess) if you get to thinking about your hunky neighbour, you might not be able to stop thinking about him, and before long you'll be acting out those naughty fantasies, and what will your husband do then?

(Maybe he'll want to watch. Ahem. Did I type that out loud?)

All joking aside, this kind of attitude suggests a few things. If you think this way, you're probably not very good at compartmentalizing your fantasy life. Maybe you have very powerful fantasies and you're a wee bit frightened of them. Also, you may not realize or appreciate that reality almost never lives up to fantasy.

Trust me on that. Fantasies are lovely, clean ephemeral things with defined beginnings, middles, and ends. You can turn them on and chop them off at will. Reality is often messy--the nice candlelit scenario you imagined can wind up by turns harshly lit and dark and shadowy.

But that's no reason to turn off your fantasies just because they're realistic, is it?

The few guys I've broached this subject with say, pretty much to a man, that it's not so much the person that they fantasize about, but what they fantasize the person's doing with or to them. Which tells you all you need to know about the male sexual response: it's as simple a mechanism as Nature allows to exist. We're dogs: ring that bell and we're salivating all over the place.

Incidentally, guys will talk until their faces fall off about their fantasies, and we'll use all manner of disgustingly crude references...but women, take heart: we're much more private about our realities than you are about yours. The few times a woman in my life has let slip some detail she's told her best friend, I'm appalled.
" She knows...THAT?"
"Yep, she does, and boy did she laugh. Oh, wait, have I said too much?
"Well, you wouldn't believe what her husband did..."

Why do you women DO that? And yes, I've asked that, and I get "what's the big deal?" in response. The big deal, hell, I don't know, I just don't feel comfortable seeing my private life laid bare, as it were, with all its foibles.
"You haven't told your friend about the time we..."?
"NO! Why would you think he'd want to know that?"

See? Alien. At least I know that in this respect, my Altairian male mind lines up perfectly with the minds of male human beings everywhere.

But as far as celebrities go, I'm living on another planet.


Rachel said...

I love your blogs. Making a blanket statement like Rachel Sa is always dangerous because everyone can name at least one person they knew as a teenager that did not want to go absolutely gaga over the latest heart throb. I never did understand those girls in the audience when the Beatles or Elvis played the Ed Sullivan show. I had my share of posters up but it was always the opposite of what my friends had in their rooms. It was damned hard getting photos of Joy Division and the Smiths... although Boy George was a little easier to come by. I was supposed to be lusting and screaming over Thriller's Michael Jackson. Oh well... no blanket statements.

As for women talking about what we do.... for the most part, you are correct. There are things I've told my close friends that a number of ex boyfriends and my husband would make them a little red in the face if they knew I was talking about it but for the most part, women are talkers and men keep it to themselves - for the most part

Ken Breadner said...

Oh, sure, Rachel, of course it's generalizations--and I fit as many male stereotypes as I don't. Question: The Smiths and Joy Division (have you always been an Anglophile?...) why them? Just because you loved the music? Did Boy George disappoint you when it 'came out' he preferred other Boys?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I didn't have any pictures of women or (men for that matter) in my bedroom.

Cars? Oh yeah. The walls were plastered with pictures of various Porches.

And some scenes from space.

Nothing human though.

Ken Breadner said...

Hmm. So...the exhaust pipes? Kinky. *snickers*
My stepdad was into cars quite a bit. At one point I think he had seven of 'em. He gifted me with a sincere appreciation for long as I didn't have to, you know, get my hands dirty. Or, them.
I can't even remember what graced the walls of my teenage bedroom. I do remember stumbling upon a colour called "danielle" and clamouring to get my bedroom painted that colour. Danielle was this girl at school, you see...
...maybe I'm not really that alien after all.

Rocketstar said...

You are right on regarding the reality stars in your life rather than the unreal stars of hollywood. When going 'to the vault', conjuring up those in the corner office or 'in the neighborhood' is much better as they are a real potential which adds a lot.

Anonymous said...

Rummaging through my memories, I don't really recall that many of my friends had posters of "women" or celebrities. They mostly reflected their interests if they had any up at all.

The closest to celebs was one friend heavily into guitars. He had posters of all the rock greats, and some obscure ones as well.

Rachel said...

I just loved the music. My cousins were older and one was a DJ so had opened my eyes to other bands etc. I had also gone to England in the early 80s and was exposed to these groups plus Duran Duran (who were just breaking into touring colleges at that point) so few people my age at the time knew who the hell I was talking about until mid high school.

As for Boy George, I wasn't disappointed. It was something I just kind of knew so accepted before any of the "proof" came out. In 1984 I read one of those biographies about him and if memory serves, it mentioned something about his being gay. I was disappointed when it came out that he was so heavily into hard drugs. It was something that seemed so opposite to the early music.

I always had a thing for British music and their 'scene' Maybe it's why I married one LOL