Monday, 2 November 2009

Narcissists in Tight Pants

Narcissus – the figure from classical mythology and not the charming flower named after him, was a boy so beautiful he fell in love with his own image. Now I don’t know any boys that pretty these days, but it’s a feeling that isn’t too foreign…

Aren’t we all just a little attracted to those aspects of ourselves we see in others? Or am I alone in this narcissism?

The thing is, I’ve been doing those “Which Firefly character are you?” quizzes. And 100% of tests tested brought the result…drum roll please…Captain Mal!. Yes, according to the highly scientific sciency stuff that quiz-makers do – I like to wear braces, push people into spacecraft engines and wear very tight pants. Very tight.

Shiny I say. I’m big and brave and self-sacrificing. Oh and moody, crap at relationships and with a tendency to acts of extreme violence. Apparently I’m also loyal, a great leader and pretty damn smart. The flipside – I have a thing for power, have lost my faith (in what, in what!?!) and I never clean my room.

Now while some of the above may fit and I’m prepared to wear the tight pants on this one; it got me to thinking. Its no secret that if I could swap ten years of time on Old Earth for 10 minutes with the Captain; I’d be signing up for it…so surely that would mean I’d identify with his potential love-interest? Surely…?

But what I’m identifying with instead are all the things I see in myself. And though I’ve never been faced with a horde of hungry Reavers, I reckon I can make a fair guess at what I’d do…Which leads me to the conclusion that I fancy the Captain not for the tightness of his pants but rather his psychological similarity to my own self-identified character traits.

So having self-diagnosed narcissic personality disorder, I got to thinking some more. And as so often happens when I let my mind wonder, it was slash I was thinking about.

I’ve put a lot of thought into what it is about slash that makes it so…compelling (yes, that’s the word I was looking for). And surely some sort of transferred wish-fulfilment must be right up there. So when I’m enjoying a bit of Mal/Simon or maybe even a dirty little piece of Mal/Jayne am I just being a voyeur and watching two bits of hotstuff at it? Or am I identifying with one of my BDHs? And which one?

And why, given I’m not a gay man, am I reading about acts I don’t even have the equipment to carry out?

I think the narcissism finally answers some of these age-old questions. If I identify as Mal but also want to get freaky with myMalself then it makes some sense to find him some sort of object to carry that lust out on. Because lets face it pages of the Captain self-“loving” just wouldn’t be that fun to read…though I’d be prepared to give it a go…for research purposes…

One way or another, I think the narcissic self wishes to have the experience of intimate relations with the beloved – the self as other - and one way of doing that is reading about the self/beloved getting it away in an enthusiastic manner.

And having established that, I’ll be accepting donations for the several years of therapy I clearly need.

1 comment:

  1. Clearly Capt Mal has wonderful qualities as a commander and his attributes should be adopted at once as selection criteria for leadership positions instead of the writings of Sergiovanni in the industry I'm in. I don't think there is anything narcissistic about identifying with him because you share certain positive traits. You're just drawn to the good in him--that sounds life affirming to me.
    And, ok, I've only seen about 1/2 an ep of Firefly at someone's house (though I want to catch up with the series very soon), but it is clear that Mal is a very sexy dude who can carry off the tight pants with a great deal of elan. So of course you'd want to imagine him in a paroxysm of passion with someone. That's not narcissim, that's just the celebration of the life force!!
    But it has to be someone exciting and dynamic and worthy. I don't know about Firefly, but in many other series with slash potential, there is often a habit on the part of scriptwriters to put in someone disgustingly girlie or conventionally gorgeous--without any redeeming qualities of brains or feistiness or anything--as the love interest. What a waste of time for Mal--and for the fantasist. So, slash can be good, as part of a long tradition of warrior friends that dates back to the Epic of Gilgamesh. And I don't think you need the actual physical equipment to legitimise imagining such a slashy relationship...The big payoff for me is to imagine these very cool, brave guys actually being kind and nice and un-macho to each other, at least for awhile.