Over the past few months two TV programmes; one American, about Hollywood royalty Alfred Hitchcock, and one British, our own regalia ‘Downton Abbey,’ featured aspects of unrequited love, manipulation and control. ‘The Girl’ an HBO Film, focusses on the director Hitchcock’s obsession with Tippi Hedren, his leading lady in ‘The Birds.’ In ‘Downton’ gay viewers have witnessed for several series now, the suppressed, emotionally-controlled, homosexual footman Thomas Barrow clumsily attempt to pursue silent affection from afar. Hitchcock in real life terrorised and stalked Hedren ending both their careers, and Barrow, a made up character in a drama series, both excel in the desire to be loved, by choosing the wrong person.
Checking up on wiki, ‘unrequited love’ is defined as ‘love that is not openly reciprocated or understood as such, the beloved may or may not be aware of the admirer’s deep and strong romantic affections.’ Many gay men have experienced such a conundrum in the search for a relationship or discovering sexuality awareness. Before the internet, face to face cruising was the norm so younger readers may not be aware that before smartphone apps we really did have to go by our intuition as to whether someone was gay or not, especially in the workplace. Lusting after a straight co-worker is one thing, but forming an imaginary obsession is quite another. This is fantasy kidnap. Set in the 1920s, ‘Downton’s’ Thomas watches, waits and pounces when he thinks his chance is ripe, but alas get’s knocked back with public shame and humiliation when he strikes.
At least on GuySpy you can see what you are getting (and often more than a torso shot), but as eye contact is usually made first on a sexual level, rather than an emotional one, the risk of public shame is limited. This level of sexual flirting, sexting and playfulness is harmless and in many ways educational, but where harms starts to penetrate is where the flirts results in obsession, as in the case of Hitchcock. Although married to his long suffering wife, Alfred became obsessed with Tippi Hedren, the ’emotionally and sexually unavailable’ prey. He used his power, his lust and obsession to control, manipulate and psychologically damage her, so she never worked again. It was also the end of his career. Many relationships, including same-sex, indulge in these pastimes believing obsession to be love, when in fact it’s taking someone hostage. Emotional kidnap is a form of codependency: the need to be needed, the lust to be desired.
So in order to achieve what you desire, it pays to check out how you operate on the web. Do you send ‘Hi’ messages and get nothing back? Maybe a a sentence will help. Do you chat with escorts to get a freebie or is it a way of convincing yourself of being ‘not good enough’? Do you wait to be chosen on GuySpy, or use your power, status, or big pecs, to acquire someone who needs to be rescued? Spend the next week checking out how you operate online. Write down all the things that form a pattern, good or not so good, where you get kick backs, and where you get the best results. This will form a template for future success and stop you from choosing the wrong guy to date with, who eventually, via emotional kidnap, could be the next relationship you are trying to escape from.