I'm preoccupied with someone I've never met.
June 23, 2011 7:46 AM   Subscribe

I'm preoccupied with someone I've never met. I don't really know what to make of it..

I'm not sure whether to call this an obsession.

I find myself thinking of a person several times during the day. I've never met this person and have only see photos and videos of her. She is moderately famous, was an actress in a show no longer on TV, though she is in some movies occaisionally. For the most part she is not a high profile Hollywood type and has recently settled down from what I understand.

Anyway, this preoccupation with her is not something I'm used to, although it's now going on a couple of years (!). First - I don't harbor weird or sexual thoughts about her. But I am sort of enthralled with her though I'm not really sure why. I think we would get along well in anything from music to world views...from the various things I've read, if they are even true.

It's odd because if I were in college or at a workplace and this was someone I saw there then it would be no big deal to say "hello, how are you. can I introduce myself?" etc. But because she is famous, then the entire thing is turned around. Is it possible to want to meet & possibly be friends with someone famous without having any designs on their notoriety/wealth/lifestyle, or on a more base level, without it being a sexual fantasy like a 13 year old boy with a crush on a supermodel?

I should add this preoccupation doesn't impact me in any way I can think of except in the time I've spent thinking about it. I do what I've always done...work hard at my job, take care of my health, make repairs on my house, have my own hobbies & interests that I pursue.

The extra added "wrinkle" (there is always one, right?) is that I'm married to a wonderful woman I love & adore. No, she would not understand this preoccupation. However, it's there and I don't really know what to make of it myself. The only other time I can think of in my life that I was ever so preoccupied with one person was when I first met the woman I'd later marry!

I expect a lot of "grow up" type replies - I've told it to myself, so that's ok. But I'm wondering if other people have ever felt this way, and how did they resolve it??
posted by dukes909 to Grab Bag (28 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
It just sounds like a celebrity crush. I get them from time to time. They always pass within a year or two at the most.
posted by orange swan at 7:49 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

1. celebrity crushes have more to do with the person crushing than the object of the crush.
2. you don't know this person. You have some pieces of the puzzle, your mind (imagination) has conveniently filled in the blanks for all the other pieces. Meaning your conception of this person is probably way way better than the original.
Escapism, maybe? Something better than reality to occupy your thoughts?
posted by Neekee at 8:04 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

I will echo orange swan on this; it's a celebrity crush.

I had one of my own (I'm mortified to name the object of my crush). It lasted around a year or so, and then faded. I have a weird sort of "soft spot" in my heart for this particular celebrity and was always predisposed to think of them more charitably then some other folks were.

It didn't really affect my life in any measurable way. My wife found it somewhat amusing. :)
posted by DWRoelands at 8:08 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

I tend to think every weird little thing we think/feel is somehow related to a need that isn't getting met somewhere.

When I get deep longings for ice cream, I frame it to myself as really needing to give myself some kind of treat because maybe I'm neglecting to care for myself as well as I should. When I start thinking I want to run away from my life and job and move to Europe, I try to uncover what might be stressing me out to the point of overwhelm, and try to think of what changes I can implement to make my everyday life more fun. If I were feeling little crushy-feelings about a person other than my significant other (celebrity or real person, let's say)--for me, I would imagine that I'd be needing a little break from the mundanity of my usual life and/or maybe needing to feel a little more connected, so I'd try to maybe take a little vacation with my SO, or have an especially romantic date night with him. I think celebrity crushes could probably be about wanting to get away from "real life" a little bit, or to just shake up the boredom of your routine in a way that makes you feel a little more excited about life.

I might worry if you start to feel as though this celebrity is someone who you think would understand you and would relate to you and you'd understand and relate to them in a way that no other person could, and you're perfect soul mates, etc. etc. -- because you DO NOT know her at all, and those are things you'd be making up in your own head, not based on reality. If that's happening to a degree that you feel like it could endanger your relationship with your partner, then talking to a therapist might be a good idea, to explore a little more about what might be going on for you in regard to that relationship.
posted by so_gracefully at 8:15 AM on June 23, 2011 [18 favorites]

There are famous people that I (think I'd) really want to be friends (and more) with, especially ones of the opposite sex, in the sense that I find them physically attractive and they seem like awesome fun people, but I keep my feelings in check by realising that although I'm a nice enough person, there's realistically nothing in it for them. So while I'd want to hang out with them and be able to get drunk and laugh and get tactile, there's no reason for them to want to do that with me. I'm nobody. If I thought there was any chance that they'd want to hang out with me, then things would be harder to take and the crushes would be more all-consuming. But I'm too practical. Kind of like when guys say 'I wouldn't kick her out of bed' - you wouldn't, you're right, because you'd never get the chance to do so.
posted by The Discredited Ape at 8:37 AM on June 23, 2011

Yeah, I totally had some weird celebrity crushes like that, mostly when I was middle-school aged, but also some in adulthood.

I ... cannot reveal any of them. They are all ridiculous. Wow.

They go away eventually and then just seem silly, and it is worth nothing that I have not had any in a long time, which seems to correlate with the general sense of security and contentment I have been experiencing in my actual life.
posted by little cow make small moo at 9:02 AM on June 23, 2011

I thought everyone had Secret Celebrity Boy/Girlfriends?

I don't think of it as being all that different from spending a few months totally into WWII intelligence devices, Chinese art-house films, 20th century cheese legislation, or whatever other Wikipedia rabbit-hole one might fall down and find totally groovy. I figure the brain is a big place, sometimes your imagination needs feeding. It's like an earworm. If you're creeping yourself out, try finding something else to get into for a while, but it certainly doesn't mean you're defective.

I don't think it's necessarily a lack of something significant in your life, it might just be a case of too much free time.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:47 AM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]

I was joking a while ago with a couple I know who have five celebrities that they get a free pass on. I remember at the dinner party, we were all laughing at and with her, because one of her five was Jay-z, and she was pretty clear that it was inexplicable but she wasn't budging from it. I remember one of his was Angelina Jolie. I later joked with Mr Anitanita about Val Kilmer, who will always have a place at my Crush-Table because of the film Real Genius. That was the 1980s. Love him. At least the Val Kilmer in my head, because you know, the whole point is that I don't know a thing about him in real life, but in a way, I get to imagine he has every quality that an amazing person would have. In a way, he's sort of a stand-in, and from it, I start to get some more insight about the qualities I value. All of my friends collectively have some of the qualities I value, but only the Val Kilmer in my mind is always perfect - perfectly groomed, funny, considerate, intelligent, fit, a great conversationalist, a safe driver, a good cook, etc, etc...... But I realize, it's not real, and if I ever did meet Val Kilmer, hopefully I'd be able to avoid imposing who I think he is or want him to be with who he actually is. I also realize that in these imaginings, I am awesome. I'm also perfect - perfectly groomed, funny, considerate, intelligent, fit, a great conversationalist, a safe driver, a good cook, etc, etc..... So there we are, two amazing not actually real people.

Kilmer is not the only person, and throughout my life, there have been many on and off different celebrity crushes, so many I can't even remember. I assume that films are designed to encourage this (I'm looking at you Xmen franchise and the Korean dramas on hulu!). So why would it be nutty that I develop a crush?

I mean to say that I hope you realize that I think many people consider crushes to be perfectly normal, and fun even. You don't need to share them with anyone, though it can be fun to do so- but I don't think you fight them either. Just consider them, consider what they mean from you, enjoy them, and then see how the idea of them ebbs and flows. I'm pretty much assuming that I'm going to appreciate my Kilmer In My Mind crush on and off for the rest of my life. It's good. I think it's okay. I think you're okay.
posted by anitanita at 10:02 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, honey, that's just a celebrity crush, that's fine. Everyone has those.

And as for whether this means something weird insofar as your relationship goes -- this is going to sound counter-intuitive, but I've found that actually sharing that information with your significant other -- in a jokey way -- not only can turn out to be a fun shared in-joke with the both of you, but also put it in a proper perspective. I call it "the exempt list" (Sigourney Weaver was talking about this concept in an interview, and that's what she called it), and I tell all my boyfriends about it: the rules are that these are the people whom, if fate throws me together with them in some fashion and they hit on me, I cannot be held accountable for my actions. I just have to keep my SO informed of who is on the list. And, in return, they can have a list of their own -- they just have to tell ME who is on THEIR list.

In every case, we've both known it is totally unlikely that such a thing will ever come to pass, and it turns out to be a big in-joke (my boyfriends have always used it as an excuse to tease me a little when one of the guys on my list is in a movie or whatever), and it often gives me some interesting insight into their character (to this day I'm not sure what to make of the guy who said that Katie Couric was on his list, and when another one of my boyfriends said that his list consisted of "every single Bond Girl ever" I was not surprised in the least). But it's never been a cause for jealousy or upset, because -- okay, SERIOUSLY, what are the odds that David Tennant or John Cusack would ever MEET me, much less try to pick me up?

You've just got a celebrity crush as part of your fantasy life, and everyone gets that. Don't worry about it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:13 AM on June 23, 2011

Here is what you need to do:

First, go to reddit.com.

Next, search for either Zooey Deschel or Christina Hendericks.

Finally, read the threads that you find and realize that:
a) everyone has a celebrity crush
b) your crush is very normal and mild comparatively
posted by Loto at 10:21 AM on June 23, 2011

Oh, do i feel your pain. You've got to channel it. Last week, I had a most... um, intense dream about my secret celebrity boyfriend. I woke up, rolled over, and proceeded to have wild monkey sex with the hubs. Win-win!
posted by SamanthaK at 10:29 AM on June 23, 2011

my husband and I joke about them (he yells, "I'll KILL HIM!" whenever Chris Isaak or Eddie Vedder come up on a playlist, and then we laugh). but I had a colleague who would talk about her husband's crush on a local news anchor to the point where it made her (the colleague) seem pathetic, and I very much doubted that she was really OK with it. So YMMV as far as sharing your secret goes.
posted by lily_bart at 10:33 AM on June 23, 2011

Ok, thanks for the replies, excellent - though I reject the one person's idea who wrote that though it would be good for me, "there's nothing in it for them" (the famous person). I mean, couldn't you say that about anyone you see - hey that guy is good looking, I'd like to know him but there's nothing in it for him, so I might as well hang my head low? Does the fact that this person is famous give them a free pass to exclude themselves from anyone else except other famous people? (That's another question I actually toss around in my mind sometimes.)

The other thing said about wanting to get drunk with her..no, that never entered my mind, nor the wild monkey sex someone else wrote.. nor do I have an alternate reality in my mind of what it could be. What I did say was I'd like to meet her and see if we had anything in common based on things I've read, seen,..is that a crush?..

Semi-related funny side story: on the XM "Deep Tracks" station a month or two ago they had Tom Petty in the studio with 20 of his fans that got to ask him a question. One woman told the story that she told her husband she'd never leave him for anyone, except maybe Tom Petty - then she proceeded to ask TP if she were going home with him (TP) or to her husband! (Tom said he was happily married). It's kinda like that...ok it is a crush...sigh.
posted by dukes909 at 10:45 AM on June 23, 2011

In a lonely period of my life, I sent Barbara Hershey the only fan letter I've ever sent. Referring to the dozens of roles I had watched her perform, I spoke of "the chorus of women to whom you have lent your instrument" - which I still think a nice turn of phrase.

To my great surprise, she sent a handwritten reply thanking me for having raised her spirits after an unsuccessful audition. I found being the subject of even her momentary attention intensely bashful-making. She loomed less large in my thoughts after that.
posted by Trurl at 10:53 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

It is typical escapism, and I think it that, as long as it doesn't become obsessive (and only you can know how obsessed you are!), then it's harmless, and it can also be healthy. As has been said already, I agree it can indeed be a sort of alert that you have "a need that is not being met". I don't think it's necessarily anything to do with your wife. It's probably lot more general - what attracts you is the kind of personality and lifestyle and aspirations this celebrity projects for you, or rather, that you are projecting on her. You don't know her personally, so she is a projection, a fantasy, a creature of your mind. She is already all yours, in that respect.

It's ok as long as you don't forget about that, as long as the focus is more on "what this mythical enthralling creature makes me feel like, what dreams, regrets, aspirations, feelings she is making come alive in me", and less on "I'd love to meet her in real life if only she wasn't famous I could introduce myself and we'd get along".

I think a need for escapism can be a great thing to have, and it can be channeled into action, in your own real life, rather than just stay in the fantasy realm. Everything we do starts out as as fantasy after all, no? Crushes are a fun way of expressing our fantasies, and should stay fun!
posted by bitteschoen at 10:53 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Duke, you may want to do a search for a particular episode of Jay Leno if you want to feel a little better about this...I don't remember exactly when it was, but it would have been either 1992 or 93. Sting was the first guest, and was on to support his album Ten Summoner's Tales; Marilu Henner was the second guest.

And I have no idea what Marilu Henner was there to talk about because she instead turned her entire 5-minute appearance into a total, all-out, gibbering fangirl meltdown over getting to meet Sting. Jay Leno couldn't get a word in edgewise, and Sting just sat there, grinning sheepishly at first, but his grin just getting a bit more forced as she went on. It was ridiculous.

You may want to track that down on YouTube, if you can (I have no idea if it's there), to watch that and maybe reassure yourself that "well, at least I'm not acting like THAT."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:55 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Does the fact that this person is famous give them a free pass to exclude themselves from anyone else except other famous people?

It doesn't give them a free pass, but many, many of them figure that "civilians" can never understand what their lives are like, so they feel far more comfortable with each other. It's not snobbishness, it's more like belonging to the same club or having gone through the same combat training. I'm not BFFs with the famous, but I work in show biz and normal life for me and normal life for anyone recognizable are miles apart.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:24 AM on June 23, 2011

Yep, I've had these sort of crushes during lonely periods in my life, though it sounds like your is less mushy and sexual than mine were. :) I find they fade on their own over time, but it probably would help to do something like take up a new exciting hobby or take an interesting class. And maybe focus a bit more on your marriage? Are you getting what you need from that, do you think? Do you need a bit more warmth and attention at home?
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 11:39 AM on June 23, 2011

Do you have any signs of mild OCD or OD? it might also be just a little glitch in you brain with no meaning other than that.
posted by Vaike at 11:58 AM on June 23, 2011

'Is it possible to want to meet & possibly be friends with someone famous without having any designs on their notoriety/wealth/lifestyle?'

In theory, possibly, but practically? Almost certainly not. It isn't so much that she's a famous person and therefore must only be friends with famous people - the problem is that you know things about her, without knowing her.

If I got an email from someone who said, 'I've looked at all your interests on facebook, I read your blog, I found your Linked-in page, your old MySpace page, and that article you wrote a few years ago - and I find myself convinced that we should be friends!' - well, that would be creepy, no?

How do you picture these conversations going? It's not the most natural way to start a friendship. ('On July 25th, 2003, you told Oprah that you love Coldplay [or obscure Swedish band]. Guess what! I love Coldplay [or obscure Swedish band] too!')

I sound like a real grump here - sorry! My point is, sure, enjoy your celebrity crush, but I would suggest you take it a little less seriously (for your peace of mind and the good of your marriage).
posted by brambory at 12:21 PM on June 23, 2011

I'll grant you it would sound weird if someone wrote a letter in the manner you describe, but it also appears some of you are forgetting that I said I didn't know if we'd hit it off (though I would be curious to find out), not "I know we're soulmates/BFF/whatever" that you are implying I think I am. Besides, is that not how many relationships start, where you only know a little bit about a person?

I guess the other question that comes to mind is, what if I were famous also? Would it then be okay to call my agent and say "Get her number, I want to meet her." Or the converse, if I were famous and the other was not, say a service person - would it be ok for me to want to get to know her? Sheesh!
posted by dukes909 at 12:54 PM on June 23, 2011

Edit: That is to say, I mean if I were famous and the other person was not famous, like someone in the service industry or whatever.
posted by dukes909 at 12:57 PM on June 23, 2011

"That is to say, I mean if I were famous and the other person was not famous, like someone in the service industry or whatever."

Well, that didn't exactly work out so well for Tiger Woods, but YMMV.
posted by aquafortis at 2:01 PM on June 23, 2011

A number of celebs have married or dated 'civilian' fans over the years, from Elvis to Axl Rose. Can't think of any female examples, but that's not to say that it never happened.
posted by heatvision at 2:11 PM on June 23, 2011

..is that a crush?..

Yup. Also, you're still talking about how awesome it would be to meet Kirsten Bell (the most awesome celebrity I can think of that sounds like your description), and the logistics of how you would meet etc, what kind of friendship you would have. It's fantasising - whether it's sexy or no - and it's harmless. It's also never, ever, ever going to happen. Celebrities have weird creepers and star-fuckers constantly wanting to hang out with and around them cause they're famous or have some vision of how they are. Kirsten probably has, like, a million friends already (why wouldn't she? She awesome!), she's probs not in the market for more. And that's cool. There are millions of people in the world, maybe billions, who I think I would be great friends with. She's just one more on the list. :)
posted by smoke at 4:23 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

"But I'm wondering if other people have ever felt this way,"

Yours is a mild example. I have a friend who's had a strong crush on 3 celebrities for as long as I've known him; damned near 20 years now.

"and how did they resolve it??"

I can tell you how not to resolve it - don't change your name to incorporate all three of theirs.

(I'm a little torn by what he did. He had a rather distinctive - not in a "everybody makes fun of it" sense, just quite unusual and memorable, albeit often mispronounced - name beforehand; now it's still quite distinctive, but much more susceptible to ridicule because almost everybody his age can guess the source of at least one of the three names.

I'm all for defining yourself however you like, but that seemed a little odd to me…)

Bonus lyrical comment: TMBG's The Famous Polka.
posted by Pinback at 4:43 PM on June 23, 2011

Ah, those. I've had my list, too; it's part of an ordinary 21st century fantasy life, I think.

Mine tend to die natural deaths after a period of time; the object of my "affections" eventually becomes not nearly so interesting, or reveals themselves to be rather less... wonderful than I enjoyed believing that they were. (Sorry, Bono, but after about 1993 it was all downhill for you and me. Today, I feel not a flicker of what was once a reasonable crush, back around Rattle and Hum.) I haven't had many of these crushes, but there's generally always one that I carry with me (Polly Harvey, you can call me anytime.) On the other hand, sometimes finding out certain types of personal information or inside stories about the crush object can kill it in mid-flight. (Feet of clay, Thom Yorke, feet of clay.)
posted by jokeefe at 8:14 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had to look up who Kirsten Bell was - did you mean Kristen Bell? Either way I have no idea who that is, even after Googling both names. I'm pretty ignorant of pop culture outside of this one person though.
posted by dukes909 at 5:36 AM on June 24, 2011

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