How to fix my inappropriate semi-infatuation with a historical figure?
February 25, 2011 6:47 PM   Subscribe

How to fix my inappropriate semi-infatuation with a historical figure?

As you may know from previous questions, I'm a liberal, rather quirky woman of color in her late twenties.

I've been interested in other countries, world cultures, and history since I was a kid. But lately (maybe even since high school) I seem to have developed a bit of a "thing" for a certain tall, blond military-type official from around 70 years ago. Ordinarily, I'd enjoy it and have fun with it. But this man was, shall we say, not a good person.

I do not support what this man did. So how can I stop my heart from doing that wobbly skip every time I come across a picture of him in some coffee-table book? Should I even try to do anything about it?
posted by tamagogirl to Human Relations (23 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's a waste of time trying to do anything about it.

If sexual attraction were about people being good people or, hell, even marginally pleasant, there would be a lot fewer people in this world and I'd have been on a lot fewer dates.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:51 PM on February 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


He's dead, right? Then you're not going to have to, like, explain to your friends why you're dating a Nazi. Hot people are often assholes. At least this one can't embarrass you at parties or get you knocked up.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:54 PM on February 25, 2011 [18 favorites]


Your revulsion at your own crush might actually be making your crush worse. It's making you think about it even more than you might have if this historical figure weren't so reprehensible! Maybe it's even the fact that you shouldn't be hot and bothered by him that you are. It's a pretty common fetish. Sounds kind of silly when I type it out, but maybe you could simply find another crush? Even if you don't... this is a fantasy that's never going to become reality. The guy's dead. No real harm can come of it. Maybe create a fiction in your head that he went on to regret his awful ways and looked after orphans while still somehow being an asshole, but an asshole with a heart of gold.
posted by katillathehun at 6:57 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Listen, we can't help who we're attracted to. Since the object of your affections is dead, you are spared the part about only being able to control what we do with that attraction. This kind of attraction isn't rational and as far as I'm aware, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. If there were, I would not have the hots for Charles Haughey* and nobody would have the hots for Margaret Thatcher.

I would totally have shagged him back in the day, but I would never, ever have voted for him. Obviously.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:59 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't suppose you've got kinky leanings and friends who don't mind race/ history-related edge play? (If you're interested in that sort of thing, I recommend the blog and other works of Mollena Williams, an experienced BDSM player who's written very openly and honestly about fetishes involving the unacceptable/ unspeakable parts of human history.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:01 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


So how can I stop my heart from doing that wobbly skip every time I come across a picture of him in some coffee-table book? Should I even try to do anything about it?

My solution is to usually try to get some alone time and then masturbate a lot.

Seriously (if I wasn't being serious before), I don't think there's really anything wrong with having stupid crushes on fictional/historical bad people.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:14 PM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


The old trope equating desire with the unattainable seems to be at play here. You admit that you're quirky. Perhaps you should simply write this off as another strange but undeniable quirk that makes up the wallpaper of your character. It really shouldn't make you feel like a bad person.

Also, stay away from the Christopher Reeve classic, Somewhere in Time.
posted by shiggins at 7:42 PM on February 25, 2011


Even if your history crush was an awful person, he's dead now and can't hurt anyone anymore, so you might as well have fun with it.

Note: this advice is from someone who once ditched her friends so she could spend the afternoon visiting sites related to her inappropriate history crush. しれば迷い しなければ迷わぬ 恋の道
posted by betweenthebars at 7:43 PM on February 25, 2011


IMLE, when what gets you hot is deeply at odds with who you think should make you happy, your subconscious, and maybe your Id, are tryin' to start an important conversation with the rest of you. If you can't, for some reason, host it yourself in the foreseeable future, seek help to do so, at your earliest convenience, because the lesser parts of you aren't usually good at waiting.
posted by paulsc at 8:40 PM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Have you seen pictures of young Joseph Stalin? You are not alone, my friend.

Just hope that time travel is never invented.
posted by Sara C. at 8:40 PM on February 25, 2011 [18 favorites]


You know, this was the reason this fantastic website was created.

On a more serious note, I do not think you should worry too much about this.
posted by ruhroh at 9:07 PM on February 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


Hey, I had a total crush on Alexander the Great. I became quite an expert on him. Read every book. Was a Classical Greek major. I finally got over it, but I still get a little dizzy when I come across an article or picture. It is really not a bad thing. Now that I am an old lady (53) I find it really interesting and kind of funny. Of course, if it where Adolf Hitler, I might not want to bring it up with anyone.
posted by fifilaru at 9:16 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember that taboo is hot, and that this is all perfectly natural. I myself am nursing a shameful hate-crush on Condoleeza Rice.
posted by KathrynT at 9:41 PM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


You might enjoy reading about Wellington, specifically this series about how he was kind of a Regency hunk, except... not so much. I think the author might relate to you a little and/or vice versa.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:06 PM on February 25, 2011


Here's a new guy for you to crush on, then.

I give you Robert Cornelius, subject of the first photographic self-portrait. Have at him, dearie. 1839. Smart and haaawt!

As for your current crush, well, these things happen, we know not why. If you're talking about who I think you're talking about, though, well, yeah. He was quite the looker. Is it just his looks, though? Were I in your shoes, I'd explore that a bit. At least you'll learn something about yourself. I don't think we ever crush on anyone solely for their looks; we're externalizing something about ourselves on the people we have romantic fancies over.
posted by droplet at 10:31 PM on February 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


The best way to get rid of fantasies is to wear them out until you get bored. So indulge in this fantasy, build up narratives and storylines around you and this person together (not leaving out all the racy bits), spend a wild half hour before falling asleep each night in the imaginative company of this person and the world you've invented for the two of you. Don't worry about being right or moral, just go at it with abandon. After you've imagined all the details of the two of you in flagrante delicto enough times, they'll start to get a bit thinner each time, and then you'll find you know the story well enough you can begin skipping to the end. And in a few weeks, you will have had your fill and be ready to move on to the next infatuation with the ghost of the hot unsavory man good and exorcised.

At least, that's what works for me.
posted by frobozz at 11:03 PM on February 25, 2011


@droplet:

If you're talking about who I think you're talking about, though, well, yeah. He was quite the looker. Is it just his looks, though? Were I in your shoes, I'd explore that a bit.

If you're talking about who I'm talking about, at least you understand! You do bring up a good point, though. I could sometimes stand to love myself a little more. I sure hope that's not it, and it's just an innocent taboo kinda thing.
posted by tamagogirl at 11:04 PM on February 25, 2011


@frobozz:

So indulge in this fantasy, build up narratives and storylines around you and this person together (not leaving out all the racy bits), spend a wild half hour before falling asleep each night in the imaginative company of this person and the world you've invented for the two of you.

I wish I could do that, but it's pretty hard for me to imagine him not wanting to kill me.

And maybe that's only way to shake this thing.
posted by tamagogirl at 11:07 PM on February 25, 2011


I wish I could do that, but it's pretty hard for me to imagine him not wanting to kill me.

Not if he magically switched bodies with someone else! It's a fantasy. Anything is possible. You can be on a dirigible if you want.
posted by NoraReed at 3:21 AM on February 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


There might be fanfic about him somewhere. This is the internet, after all.
posted by teraspawn at 6:32 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


As long as he is not a Nazi! ;)

Why do you think biographers spend decades researching and write volumes about historical individuals? They either come to love or hate them.

Sometimes they hide the crush better than others, that's all. See (for a very poorly hidden, probably gay example) Edmund Morris's biography of TR.
posted by bad grammar at 6:40 AM on February 26, 2011


Been there. Let's call him...Lucius Malfoy (hot, blond, seriously bad politics, not my usual type at all but compelling). frobozz's technique broke it for me - after I got through all the OMGSEXYTIME bits, my brain eventually started wandering to the post-sex arguments about his creepy friends, something he'd said in a speech, why he thought a guy with no nose could gain the popular vote, etc. In essence, my brain gave me reasons to DTMFHistoricalDeadA, even while I was fighting to keep it all sexy taboo stuff.
posted by catlet at 7:15 AM on February 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks to everyone who answered. I think finally "coming out" about my attraction has brought it down to medium heat (it ain't nearly gone).

I've discovered I only think he's hot from a distance. As soon as I even start to (ahem) go beyond looking at his picture, I remember who he is and what he did. Even if he somehow switched bodies with someone else, it would still remind me of him. And I can only have an extremely superficial admiration of his appearance. Kind of like a mirage of cool water that vanishes the second you get close to it.

So, as of this posting, my "crush" will remain a compelling yet hazy thing inside my head. Resolved :)
posted by tamagogirl at 1:21 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


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