Friday 22 June 2012

Between What's Flesh and What's Fantasy: The Effect of Film and TV on my Relationships

I have always been inclined to watch the more down to earth, 'realistic' films. Not that such a thing exists, but that's always been where my interest lies. I'm interested in human relationships. And of course, when you love a TV show or film, you tend to say "I relate to that". You see yourself in C.C Baxter or Ross Geller or Annie Hall, and it means something to you.

The characters on the screen get resolution. They figure things out inside of two hours. You begin to get used to seeing relationships resolved in this way. And that leads us to my central problem when it comes to my relationships, especially with women.

I over-romanticise them. See them as more than they are. 

I have always seen life as being like a movie. Struggles and conflicts with an over-arching theme, where we all come together in the end. This view is often how I've conceptualised my relationships, and I'm now realising how nonsensical it is. 
It hit me a few weeks ago, on the train. I'd convinced myself that a beautiful woman on the carriage was interested in me. And then it dawned on me, that I think this nearly every day, and convince myself that these intriguing looking women on the tube are attracted to me, when in reality they haven't noticed me. I realised this is a pattern I have repeated in my head for years and years. You could say it's healthy daydreaming, or a way to pass time on the commute, but it's not. And there's always the disappointment of course when they leave the train and it dawns on you that they're completely unaware of your existence.

Then there's the women I do actually know. And I guess because most of the friends I make these days tend to be in my industry, a lot of them are beautiful actresses. I over-romanticise these relationships to hilarious effect. I like to believe I often have a 'special' relationship with people. That somehow things mean more between us than perhaps they do with other people.

In these past few weeks I have been taking myself to task on these nonsensical pathological thought processes; digging deeper into the inner workings of my mind, especially regarding relationships. It's my ego, liking to see me as special in some way, like the people in my life have some special bond to me.

I always loved 'Dawson's Creek' and 'Ally McBeal'. I still do. In the Creek, hearts would break and people would hurt, but at the end of the episode they'd walk down to the lake and share their feelings and true intentions, to the sound of lovely piano music. In McBeal, John Cage or Billy Thomas would come back to the office at night to check in on Ally, and together they'd share a profound moment, where life made total sense.

I have been chasing these moments all of my adult life, but they don't exist, because they aren't real.

And they stop me doing the work! Stop me paying attention to what's really happening in front of me with other human beings. I float along in a fantasy land believing, despite my disconnect with a person, that deep down we
get each other, or need each other.

I have been caught out numerous times when it comes to love. I add up all the numbers and see connection and meaning in places where it doesn't exist. I believe in this old world romance, which in the reality of the moment exists only in my brain. 
Rather than have true, in the moment relationships, I dream them up; fractured and lost from what's really happening in front of us, I instead live out a romanticised version that I created in my head, which is nothing more than a repeated pattern, an ingrained delusion.

Care to share?


  1. A really interesting and thought provoking post. Your honesty is commendable. AND NO, WE


  2. You mean all those men I've made instant connections with over the years haven't been blindsided by me? Haven't spent the walk home kicking themselves for not coming to say hi; or staying on past their stop?! Aghh MAN!

    Thank you for a searingly honest post, I think most people are in the same boat, aren't they? Because we see the same film narratives, or because we're the same big bundles of neurons and nerves.

    In a total derivation of Le Chatelier's principle, the girl you meet and talk to and like, but don't immediately fantasise a happy-ever-after with, will be the one. Maybe :)