Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Last summer, when I fell for someone (which I am often wont to do, though this time it was different for a variety of mundane reasons I won't parse out here), I began having a successive lineage of daydreams about said person. The most vivid and hopeful was one in which, on his travels abroad in Ireland, I fancied he would buy me a claddagh ring and bring it back for me. Romantic, no?

Yes, but it is also ridiculous. We hardly knew each other, I'm not convinced he knew I liked him and I'm rather certain he didn't even like me. But that didn't matter at the time. Not in my addled brain. All I saw was the possibility of an immensely romantic gesture, and I clung to it like a drowning rat clings to a piece of wood (whoo, rough imagery there. I need to work on my metaphors).

The thing is, I dream of deeply romantic and impossible things. I want to come home and find someone sent me roses. I want to talk with someone under the night's sky and watch the stars come out. I want someone to fall for me before I fall for them.

I would argue that I don't think my romantic notions come from films and books and music, but I admit that would probably be lying. In the legions of romance movies, I don't really think I've seen a ton (but I'm a sucker for Love Actually and Amelie). Romance books, I've read a fair few but I'm rather skeptical of them. Twilight, of course, comes to mind, where Edward really stops being romantic once he starts sounding like a stalker. Harlequin is distracting and absurdest with their utterly impossible (and not even romantic) scenarios and bad illusions to penises. But then there's the case of Jane Eyre. I am utterly obsessed with this book. Should anyone ever call me a little elf as Rochester does to Jane, I will throw myself at their feet (especially if this is accompanied by said individual dressed in drag; seriously, Rochester as the old gypsy woman is the best - why does it always get cut out of the adaptions? Really, guys, we didn't have time for that? Whatever...). I am utterly won over by this book. Which is probably incredibly dangerous (one should not base their ideals on a man who keeps his mad wife locked in the attic, I'm sure).

And then there are fairy tales. I am a child of the 90s; I adore Beauty and the Beast like mad (what's this? A brunette protagonist who's snarky and reads? COUNT ME IN). But I'm not even distinctly thinking of Disney or a precise fairy tale at all; just the idea of them - the concept of being swept off your feet and away from your troubles by Prince Charming. This rhetoric is well and alive, let me tell you. I'm reading The Other Boleyn Girl and the two sisters are going on and on about how great it would be to marry a king. And I'm thinking, "Pffft, who wants that, really?" (also because it's King Henry VIII and I have a preconceived bias towards William Carey) (and while we're on this tangent, why are other nationalities perceived as being violent and passionate when England, England, is the one with the king who had six wives and a thing with beheading people? Really? And the Italians are the passionate ones?)

Then I stopped myself from judging, which I am finally learning to do, and thought this over. Sure the idea of marrying a king may not appeal to me (especially given the lack of monarchies today). But we regard celebrities in much the same light we once did for royalty (but if anyone EVER calls the Hiltons or the Kardashians American Royalty in my presence, I will be forced to smack you). And who's the girl who keeps getting crushes on celebrities and blogs about it?

Balls. I am so dumb. (Or as the 9th Doctor would say, "Look at me, I'm stupid!")

Other than being a terrible hypocrite, I also have a rather active imagination. Combine that with the fact that I apparently am being affected by romantic imagery far more than I think I am, and I am in a deep shit. I have a inclination towards the romantic as it is (at least our idea of romantic; I like poetry and art and I could listen to "Clair de Lune" over and over again. I like talking about literature and music and tea. I like dancing in the rain. I am a walking stereotype without even trying to be one) and so all of this yearning for the romantic just makes it worse.

Not to mention, most of the time my line of thought is something far more like this:

And we're back to an issue similar to that of body image - you can see beauty in others but not in yourself. Here, one can be in love with someone else, but they can't see someone else loving them.

Why? There's a number of reasons. But since we're on the discussion of romance, I would hedge a bet (at least going off of my personal experiences) that part of this stems from harboring high, if not impossible expectations, for a future significant other. I/we/they want someone who is romantic and sensitive and willing to do romantic things and not be a tool about it. And still be a normal human being. Yeah, we're told pretty early on that men are never going to measure up to our delusional daydreams. And it makes us depressed. So then we turn to the movies or television or books in the hopes that isn't so... and so we keep on hoping, all the while thinking our expectations are too much and that we'll never find someone because we're too picky (something my grandmother has often said about both me and my mother when she was my age). And then I/we/they read about celebrities who scuba dive and read poetry and like art (random tangent, I had a guest speaker in one of my classes today who sat next to Christopher Walken at the opera. WIN) and like [insert awesome activities and hobbies here] and the general reaction is, "Wait, people like this exist?" And for a moment, the daydreams seem less absurd. But I/we/they know the daydreams are not real. We aren't confusing reality and fiction; we are reminded of the difference everyday and it makes daydreaming all the more painful. Especially when it seems the ideals aren't fictional - just unattainable. And we're back to wanting to marry the king, which at least in the privacy of our imaginations seems possible.

This results in more frustration... but I've rambled on long enough here. More on that later, when I discuss "life ruiners." Yay. (I just had the oddest sensation of myself reading this aloud on some strange educational series as I pretentiously announce, "And next week, in our discussion of fangirls...." I have got to get out of academia.)

I'm not convinced Mrs. Hudson would be a goose... although her expression is pretty priceless... and geese are BAMF... I'll think about it.


  1. How can you be a stereotype if you are being yourself? Who you are comes first, the rest... Meh.

    1. Right you are, anon. Sometimes I get a bit too tied up in the rhetoric that culture influences totally, that we are completely made and molded by cultural forces. The stereotype existed before I did, thus I'm just becoming a part of it. But as you say, if it's who you are, how is it a stereotype? Lord knows I don't like Debussy just because it's the stereotypical thing to do; I actually just happen to really like his music. Thank you, dear anon, for pointing this out to me.