Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The obsession with E.

It's easy to get obsessive about the person you love, or even the person you'd like to love but can't have. It's easy to get carried away despite yourself by longing and lust.

Fortunately I've never been obsessed to anti-social extremes. I've never harassed or stalked a woman, or sent unwanted letters or gifts. I've always kept the obsession to myself, and hopefully the women never knew I was so besotted.

But I remember one woman I just couldn't get out of my head - a short, pensive brunette I once worked with*. Everything about E. mesmerised me - her movements, her speech, her laugh, her hair. I just couldn't ignore her, I was always aware of her, always thinking about her. And of course imagining a sexual relationship.

At least once a week I dreamt of her. Each time it was the same dream. She would be standing in front of a mirror, naked, endlessly brushing her hair, as I dropped ripe strawberries into her mouth. I always woke up as she swallowed the last strawberry.

Needless to say, E. didn't fancy me in the slightest. To her, I was just another workmate she asked for help or swopped shifts with. She would have been amazed to know how fascinating I found her.

Naturally I would tell myself my obsession was irrational and baseless, that E. was just an ordinary woman like a hundred others, that I was idealising and airbrushing her, but it made no difference. Still I wanted to drink in every little detail, every little gesture.

The obsession only ended when she left to work somewhere else and I never saw her again. But I've had other obsessions just as intense and unshakeable, for the most unlikely people.

What puzzles me is why one particular person arouses such passion while someone else leaves me indifferent. Is it an unconscious association, is it chemistry, is it some imagined flirtation? I've never got to the bottom of it, and probably never will.

* This was before I met Jenny. But she knows the person I'm referring to!

Photo: For a serious obsession, rose-tinted specs are essential.

22 comments:

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Nick,

I think that these sorts of feelings help us over time to first, blow off some emotional steam and second, to begin to understand what attracts us to others.

It's good to examine our obsessions it can lead to a better understanding of what makes us tick.

Nick said...

Hi MDC! I think I understood very well what attracted me to this particular person, the only problem was (a) it wasn't reciprocated and (b) I was probably idealising her hopelessly. But yes, examining our obsessions clearly and objectively (if that's possible) can be very illuminating.

Wisewebwoman said...

Been there, etc. Nick. I don't think I'd ever want one of those obsessions brought into reality because that litmus test would fail the everyday. I've had a few in my time. Writing about them helped me see that they would remain the "magnificent obsession" because to move them into real life would shatter the dream. Or as someone wise once said, where their every former adorable quirk would get on your nerves right quick!
XO
WWW

Nick said...

I'm sure that's true, www, the reality wouldn't have lived up to the fantasy for very long. But that's what makes it so intriguing - even though a part of me knows it's full of make-believe, the obsession has a life of its own and carries on regardless.

TextualHealing said...

You caught the feeling of obsession really well and were honest enough to sahre you own recognitio that it was unreciprocated. Nice piece of writing from the heart.

Nick said...

Thanks, TH. No, I always knew if it wasn't reciprocated, and I wouldn't pretend otherwise. Those who insist the other person loves them just as passionately are dangerous indeed.

Annie Rhiannon said...

At first I thought this post was about the drug.

I think it's mystery that sets off these massive crushes. As soon as we REALLy get to know that person they lose their magic. Probably best she never fancied you!

Nick said...

Hi Annie! Yes, I should have called it The Obsession with F! I suppose mystery is a likely factor, but then again anyone you don't know has an air of mystery, so why one mysterious person rather than another? It's all very puzzling.

Hullaballoo said...

Nick: Who did she remind you of in your life? The fact that you didn't really know her meant that she could be anyone you wanted her to be. You're right, the reality could well have been really disappointing.

Nick said...

That's very perceptive, that being unknown she could be anyone I wanted. Except that it would still have to fit the visible reality. So who did she remind me of? Nobody at all as far as I know. Maybe it's just that I have a mental list of ideal qualities in a woman and somehow in my mind's eye they all seemed to coalesce in this particular person.

Medbh said...

I'm not sure you can pin-point it to one thing in every case, Nick. Maybe it's a combination of pheremones (sp?), personality, aesthetics?
Love the strawberry symbolism in your dream. It screams vagina.

conortje said...

and I bet people have secretly felt that about you Nick!

gayƩ said...

I agree with Conor. :)

I obsessed over a man only after I lost him due to my stupid-headedness. !st year university we got close just before summer holidays, we were great friends and spent all the time together. But he only told me he liked me more than just friends few days before the end of the finals, so we said byes. I then met someone and got together with them during summer.
So, after summer we meet again at school he says he has something to tell me and I say "guess what, I have a boyfriend!" that was the end of that. He didn't talk to me for a year and I ended up dreaming about being with him day and night... *sigh*
I agree with Annie, also. The chances are if she reciprocated your feelings and you got together, it was probably that you could have split up in a few weeks. Sometimes, it's best the mystery remains.
Tricky question: Do you ever wonder what would it be like? (you don't have to answer that, but being me I had to ask it) :)

gayƩ said...

AND,
Happy Solstice, Christmas and New Year, Nick!
It has been great to meet you this year, whether it be cyberspace or blogsphere. I hope in 2008 we can meet you and Jenny, in person!
Lots of love to you both.
Gx

Liz said...

I do think it's the element of mystery that makes these obsessions grow like they do. I have definitely been there as well and it was so emotionally draining. It was quite an imbalanced state of existence.

Nick said...

Medbh - yes, I'm sure it's a combination of things like that. And maybe also some unconscious memory of a similar person. Impossible to unravel it. I was wondering when someone would remark on the vaginal symbolism!

Con - I'm sure they have - and not just women either! Sometimes you pick up a little hint of undue interest, but people keep these things so secret you never really know.

Gaye - A shame about the spurned man. Hope the new boyfriend was worth the lost one! Yes, I'm sure Annie's right, the reality would have been a big let-down. What would it be like? What's the IT exactly, I'm a bit puzzled? And an ecstatic and rollicking festive season to you too!!

Liz - Imbalanced is the word. Nothing is quite normal because this running fixation gets in the way of everything else. And yes, an air of mystery can inspire the most wild imaginings.

Medbh said...

You know I'm all over that symbolism stuff.

Nick said...

All over? As in a thing of the past? Don't believe you. Symbolism is so fascinating. I love staring at Dali's paintings, where practically everything seems to be a symbol of something else.

diane said...

nick,

Tag!

I'll bet you can come up with quite a list for this little meme.

diane

Nick said...

You cheeky little imp! Tagged indeed. How very dare you! Well, why not, eh? I'll cobble something together over Christmas, in between the wine and the nut roast and the rubbish TV films (for anyone who's reading this, the meme is seven random or weird things about me).

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I, too, tend to believe it's partly the mystery, perhaps a subconsciously remembered resemblance to someone else, and pheromones, which should not be underestimated.

I met someone on a boat returning from Europe when I was 22, and we had a brief romance which never became sexual for lack of opportunity.

Even though I am happily married with grown children, I still think of him sometimes and even know from the Internet where he lives, but I'll never contact him or cross any other lines. He will thus remain idealized and in his 20's for me forever.

Nick said...

Heart, you must have been very deeply attracted to the guy to still be thinking of him and following his life so many years later. I commend your restraint and good sense in not trying to make contact again. If you did, I'm sure it could cause an awful lot of trouble.