I know this is going to sound completely crazy, but….
I think celebrities stalk us far more than we stalk them.
Have you ever tried to avoid a film star when they were on a publicity blitz for their latest film?
Everywhere you look, there they are begging your for attention. Turn on the television and you get bombarded by trailers for their film, and the inevitable – I’m so shy, humble and normal… really I am – interview. From the covers of countless magazines they stare at you with big, digitally-enhanced eyes, mesmerising you, calling out to you to love them, smiling ridiculously white, perfect, Cheshire Cat grins. Even if you shut out all media from your life, they still find you, through the mouth of a friend, or a casual remark from a stranger.
They stalk us without mercy, they want to own our minds, hearts and souls… and once we give in and love them, they turn on us and tell us they don’t need us. Some even go as far as pretending to quit the business and move to a remote private hideaway. If we shrug off their inconsistency and forget about them, they get angry and come after us with a vengeance with a new film… or project… or charitable cause. If they go the route of the charitable cause, then we have to worship them for they are saints and can do no wrong…. ever!
I had a strange experience which prompted this turn of thought:
Once upon a time, when I was a young woman of about twenty-something, I was sitting in a waiting room, waiting for someone. I was staring at an abstract picture on the wall, trying to figure out what it was supposed to be and mentally moving the shapes in it around to make a more interesting image. I felt the sensation that I was being watched, but there was no one in the room with me. There were net curtains covering the windows and I could see no shadows outside to give a snooper away.
I was puzzled.
The feeling was very real, and rather unsettling. I wondered if perhaps they had installed a security camera in the room, but I could not detect one. Then I saw the offending eyes, they belonged to a man on the cover of a magazine on a table in the corner of the room.
I had given up reading magazines at the time because they all said the same thing, had the same pictures, and were superficial for the most part. The more intellectual magazines were dull and long-winded. Occasionally I would pick up a copy of National Geographic, but over the years the tone of the magazine had grown very preachy and doom-laden, even the pictures of animals seemed to be shaking their heads at me.
Anyway, I stood up and went to investigate who this man was who was so rudely staring at me.
I approached the magazine with caution. It was Vanity Fair. I was not a celebrity enthusiast. I preferred to know as little as possible about people who made most of the true stories about their lives up. I also didn’t want to know things about the private lives of actors or actresses whose films I enjoyed, I wanted to believe them as being the role they were portraying, not look at them as an actor playing a role. I wanted to be swept into the film, not sit outside watching it pass before my eyes.
I picked the magazine up and sized the man up. The cover was a dazzling splash of vibrant colour and in the middle of this was the man. He was baring his chest, touching his crotch area with one hand, and beckoning the viewer with the other. His hair was splayed out behind him in a messy wind-blown mane. His head was tilted forward, his lips were parted as though he was about to speak, and his eye were staring straight at the camera… and me. His whole demeanour screamed out ‘Come hither…’. The headline that went with the cover photo was ‘Hollywood’s Ultimate Sex Symbol’.
I smiled at this. There were so many Ultimate Sex Symbols in Hollywood, that one more just might sink the Good Ship Ego. His name did not ring any bells and his face was just another pretty face. I could have easily seen him in a movie and just not noticed him. This annoyed him, and he urged me with his intense stare to open the magazine and read about him. After all, I had nothing better to do!
I lost interest in the article barely halfway through. Vanity Fair has very long celebrity profiles which they start in one place, then scatter the rest through various pages, and they expect you to be so enthralled that you’ll follow each separate piece to its conclusion. It was a fawning love letter to this actor with lots of praise and sexual undertones. I did see that his breakthrough role was in a film I had seen, but I could not remember him being in it. Then again, I might have fallen asleep during the film. It was a blockbuster, which is one of those must see movies that often disappoint due to all the expectation the hype has created around it.
And, no, I am not going to tell you who the actor is, the clues are there, but the only prize for guessing correctly is knowledge and the end of mystery.
The person I was waiting for turned up, I dropped the magazine, and left the room. I thought nothing more of the incident. I have a fanciful mind, so this was not an usual occurrence. Fantasy relieves boredom.
A couple of months later…
I was standing at a bus stop, waiting again and, again, I felt as though I was being watched. The street was a busy thoroughfare, so I shrugged the feeling off. The bus arrived, I boarded, took a seat, and, as I looked out of the window, I caught sight of a familiar pair of eyes staring intensely from the bus stop on the opposite side of the road. It was the actor.
He seemed to want me to see his movie, so, a few days later, when I had nothing else to do, I went to see it. The movie theatre was empty, it was an early afternoon, midweek showing. I had the place all to myself as though this film had been made just for me and this was a private audience. It was a supernatural thriller and the music, sounds, sights and visual effects drew me in. The acting was lacking any real conviction. Even so, when I left the theatre, I was entranced and my heart was beating as it had never done before. I was in love… infatuated.
I had never been head over heels in love with anyone. And certainly not with a public figure, that just seemed silly, and pointless. I was very practical about love in some ways… I dreamt of meeting a soul mate… but falling for someone I did not know personally, and probably never would, was not a fantasy that appealed to me. Of course I’ve had crushes, but more for the parts the actors had played than on the actor themselves.
I fought against this feeling of infatuation for a while, but it persisted in spite of all my reasoning. I found it very embarrassing to be so out of control of my emotions. I even wrote a poem about it. It was all very girly, flaky and immensely annoying, but I finally agreed to allow myself to be idiotically besotted. I decided that since the experience was one I had never had before, indulging it would lead to a greater understanding of the psychology behind it, and of myself.
Several years of this infatuation passed. The actor rose in prominence. His acting never improved, but he seemed to be very much in demand. His private life was very public, his every romance documented with photographs and endless fluff pieces. Every time that he was on the verge of marriage, I breathed a sigh of relief, hoping that at last my foolish heart would let him go. But my heart refused. Did it matter if he was married. I could still adore him from afar… my heart always knew we would never meet. Actually we did, but briefly and without incident, in fact when I saw him, I avoided him like the plague. I did not want to have a real relationship with him in any way whatsoever, his lifestyle did not appeal to me, and I imagined that we would not be compatible. I just wanted a fantasy to indulge my heart’s fancy.
Then I met my partner and my heart found a real love to embrace. I guess the infatuation had been much needed exercise for an organ of feeling that had had very little chance to dance and bound about with joy. My heart needed to be opened and prepared for real love.
I am grateful for his part in doing that. He taught me how to feel and to be open to feel… albeit in a very bizarre way.
I forgot about the actor and was very relieved that I would never force myself to watch one of his movies ever again.
This was when the celebrity stalking started again.
As long as I was infatuated with him, he had left me alone, only occasionally reminding me of his existence if my interest dipped and my love needed to be rebooted. He started appearing in movies with actors whose work I admired. Or he worked with a director whose films I never missed. If I ignored those films, he would turn up in magazines advertising watches or alcohol, or some other thing that actors do for pocket money and added exposure.
Eventually I tuned out all things related to him and informed him psychically that he no longer had access to my energy, that he had plenty of fans who adored him, more flocking to him every second, and that he could afford to lose one. I thought this was reasonable… he did not. He had an extremely high profile relationship split, and there was no escape from that. Or him. He was everywhere. Every news media outlet covered it as though it was a major global disaster. I could not even watch the BBC, which is normally sober in its approach to news. People I knew and didn’t know talked about him at length, discussing every nook and cranny of his life. He was featured in magazines of all ilk, and his face was on almost every cover. He also had a movie coming out at the time too, which he was actively publicising. Had I moved to some remote rural region without communication, I would have probably still not have been able to get away from him. The world had gone tabloid.
The world is still obsessed with him, but it did me a favour. The astronomical proportions of attention he got for his relationship drama, meant that he no longer needed me. The end of a very bizarre energy connection had finally arrived.
I know it sounds crazy, but life is crazy at times and so am I.
So what do you think…
Are you being stalked by an energy hungry, attention seeking, celebrity and they’ve just fooled you into thinking that you are the one obsessed with them and not the other way around?
And if you’ve ever been infatuated with a celebrity… what purpose did the infatuation serve? Did you learn something new? Have an insight?