As you may or may not have gathered from my past few posts, I’m getting through my seasonal malaise by a little male objectification of a certain British actor. Is it technically objectification if I’m fascinated by his charm and talent in addition to his looks? I guess that’s besides the point.
In my slightly deranged googling of said actor, I ran across an interview in which he said that he gets truckloads of fan mail, a good deal of which is fan fiction of the erotic kind.
Now, I’ll admit I’ve ventured into reading a little fan fiction, but underscore a little. I usually can’t get past the first page without cringing for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the inadvertently silly tone of these things. It’s like reading an x-rated version of Tiger Beat magazine. (Does that periodical still exist? I should post a picture I took of my sister surrounded by centerfolds of Rob Lowe from that esteemed rag). And most of the fanfic writing is just plain bad. I suppose it’s not fair of me to judge what I’ve read so little. I’ve yet to understand the 50 Shades hullabaloo, but apparently loads of people dig poorly written smut. Me, I go for the quality smut.
When my son was small, he’d sometimes watch a movie or TV show in which a character does humiliating things to themselves, like when Sam Weir wore the blue leisure suit (sorry — Parisian night suit) to school on Freaks and Geeks. When the character did these things, my son would run behind the sofa and hide, popping his head over the side to see if the scene was over. When I asked him why he was doing this, he said it was because he was embarrassed for the character.
This is what fan-fic does to me in regards to its authors.
What I really find astounding is that people actually send this, er, literary stuff to the object of their lust. Stuff that really should stay in the privacy of their own thoughts. What do these writers hope to achieve by doing this? That said object of affection is going to read it and think, “Right on! Let’s play this fantasy out and have babies and live happily ever after”?
I’m not sure I’d want to be with a celebrity who would be interested in hooking up with someone based on a pornographic, thinly-disguised autobiographical author’s wish.
Sending a letter of appreciation to a celebrity seems reasonable and probably rewarding for them to know their work resonates with their fans. But sending an explicit fantasy about them seems like an act that should be featured on next week’s episode of Criminal Minds.
I don’t know how celebrities deal with that sort of thing. Fans think because an actor puts himself out there, he becomes property to the slobbering masses. Or more succinctly, a fan thinks that actor belongs to HER and that he’s likely her soulmate if he only knew what’s inside her, uh, head. Therefore, it’s ok for her to send inappropriate things to his home.
Just — ew.
I’d never survive that sort of attention. I’ve gotten the occasional “secret admirer” letter, and these were usually fairly sweet. But I still felt a pressure, like I owed the mystery guy something, although I don’t know what, and that I was being overly scrutinized by someone who really didn’t know me except from afar.
Or not so afar. In eighth grade, this boy, Kyle, sat in front of me in science class, and he would frequently turn around in his seat and plant his elbows on my desk and stare at me. It unnerved me. I finally told him to stop doing it and he refused. In fact, he told me he was going to “make it my problem.”
I wasn’t sure what exactly he meant by that, but it definitely freaked me out. After class that day, I broke a cardinal rule of middle school and tattled on him. I asked the teacher to please move one of our seats so I didn’t have to deal with his harassment any more. Thank god she listened.
Partly because Kyle did some of his leering at me during an unfortunate mixed-class sex ed movie that showed an ejaculating penis, this experience made me realize that this boy was probably having nasty fantasies about me in which I was doing or saying things to him or letting him do things to me that I might never partake in with anyone, nevermind this creep. It made me feel incredibly helpless and exposed.
I can’t say I don’t have dirty thoughts about my crushes because, well, I’m human and sexual and I think that’s pretty normal. What’s not normal is inflicting those things on other people. It’s just rude and kind of frightening. I know some folks call it “flattering,” but it frankly makes me shudder.
And if you fanfic or otherwise One-Direction-frenzy in my presence, you’ll find me hiding behind the sofa on your behalf.
I will now get back to my regularly scheduled program of ogling a British actor while pretending I am not a sleazy-brained hypocrite.