I went looking on the Internet for my next column topic.
Side note: I might be obsessed with the Internet—the whole Internet—but not nearly as obsessed as I am with my favorite show, “The IT Crowd,” which I just referenced. Follow me on Twitter if you know exactly what episode that was from; I don’t follow back but it’s important to experience rejection on a small scale to be prepared for more important rejections in the future. Or so I’ve been told by the boys with whom I have made attempts at flirtation.
Anyway, I did end up finding a subject to write about by looking up obsessions and noticing that at least two (so most) of the websites that offer guides on getting over obsessions are interested in helping readers overcome fixations related to love. On just one website, you can learn “how to get rid of an obsession of love” and “how to overcome love obsessions” and “get rid love handles!” The Internet is very interested in helping us deal with approximately four things, relationships and “excess” fat being two of them, the others being too few erections and “excess” money. This could be the mystical powers of the Internet supplying something there is not necessarily a demand for, or an example of popular websites addressing a need with which the public presents them.
This kind of fuzziness is present when it comes to love and media more generally, I think. Is it that we are demanding through polls and ticket-purchasing that every other movie has that four-letter word in its title, or is Hollywood deciding that we are looking for love and just not being convinced otherwise at the box office?
But what does it mean to be obsessed with love, anyway? The tips for getting over it tend to be directed toward getting over ended relationships, so the focus there is apparently on love that was but is no longer. One of the interesting (and alternately fun and devastating) things about obsessions, though, is that their objects do not really have to exist. What is Twitter, really? Certainly nothing tangible. I would love to believe that the Internet is a small black box with a flashing red light on top that does not weigh anything, a tiny box that is usually kept up in Big Ben and is watched over by its Elders, a tissue box-sized prism whose destruction would lead to that of society’s, an item that Stephen “The Hawk” Hawking himself demagnetizes. But none of that is true, and my life is not my favorite episode of “The IT Crowd.” A fixation on an abstract idea of love, a la “Moulin Rouge” or “(500) Days of Summer” or my 15-year-old self, is a little bit cute and a lot bit dangerous. I think the scary part starts when you feel like you need to be defined in terms of someone else, and that’s a message that is imparted often in the media (hello, heterosexual salvation in rom-coms and romances, as well as thrillers, horror movies, period pieces, musicals, actions movies, and every other movie deemed marketable in the U.S.). It’s also scary if your desire to be with someone overrides that person’s interest in you.
A limitation of obsessions: feeding them does not advance them into existence, as evidenced by the fact that the mad spiral into British sitcom land in the previous paragraph did not transport me to that fictional London. Such boundaries are worth noticing, and adhering to, even more importantly when other people are involved. I am generally pro-obsession, but my love for pictures of food is not going to hurt the object in the scenario. On the other hand, excessive love for love can make you forget that the so-called object of your affection (starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston) is a person. And no matter how badly you want to be wanted back, it is important to remember that you are not just crushing, you are crushing on a person, a whole human being, with thoughts and feelings and a body ze likes to call hir own. Disrespecting that is not romantic. In fact, it might just be relationship violence, which includes rape.
I am writing against type by writing against obsessions. Even worse, this will almost definitely hurt my chances of being crowned and sashed “Miss Obsessions” in that pageant I made up just now. What can I say, other than that I am simply more interested in real healthy relationships than I am in winning fictional contests? Love is lovely, readers, but when it is regarded as “all you need,” it may come at the cost of someone’s wellbeing.
Side note two: aren’t The Beatles great? This might be an unpopular opinion, but I think they are just groovy.