I don’t mean to revive this old series – and I actually have had dreams of idols since the last one I wrote about Kumai, including a fun one a couple weeks back where I met all of Berryz at an anime convention – but I think this one bears writing about.
I just woke up from a dream about Momoko and it’s left me feeling vaguely disturbed and out of sorts. I’m trying to think through what exactly happened in the dream, and basically it was this: Momoko and I both realized our lives were inextricably intertwined with each other. Her life depended on mine, mine depended on hers.
There were weird things that were bringing us together, and we were both aware of it. Minor miracles, I guess – moments of true connection. We then found ourselves talking to each other about these incidents and growing close, and I discovered she was a very intelligent young woman who spoke English fluently. Further, she was as beautiful in person as she is on the screen and page. She was exactly the kind of person I’d want to form a deep, long-lasting relationship with in my dream – and while she would need convincing to think the same of me, it was clear in the dream that she was close enough to actually convince.
I woke up feeling the emotions that defined the dream: ambivalence, and a very deep resentment. I kept thinking, this wasn’t what I bargained for, this isn’t what I want from my idol. It wasn’t like waking up from a nightmare as much as waking up from a moral dilemma, as if I’d stolen from work and it continues to haunt me in my sleep.
I think a few things factor into why this dream happened. Her new photobook is coming out next week and I’m going to get it come hell or high water. Of course, her birthday was last week. But mostly, I was teasing somebody in chat last night that, if you’re going to make a worship site about an idol, you have to be obsessed about them, you have to be committed to them in some deep and abiding manner.
And a part of my subconscious seems to have responded with, “You want to believe that? Here we go.”
What disturbs me most about the dream is that I actually, honestly wanted Momoko as a mate – that she wasn’t just some far-off ideal but somebody who on a realistic level would be worth spending my life with. That makes me angry, because that’s not who Momoko should be to me. I’m sure she’s a wonderful girl if I met her in real life, that there would be many charming and alluring things about her. I’m also dead positive that if we were to meet, she would not be someone I’d consider a good mate. Our lives are too different, our ages are too different, I’m sure our priorities don’t match at all, and I’m already married, thank you very much.
If I dreamt that Momoko was the perfect lay, that she was a hot piece of jailbait ass and I was given a free pass to enjoy something illicit with her, I’d’ve probably woken up with a smile on my face. (Alas, my inability to have a sex dream about any idol persists.) What I did experience, however, was different in that I wanted to spend my life with her, not just bed her. Eww. That means a real commitment, and I’m happy with the commitments I have, I don’t want to add to it or upset it in any manner.
In a way, I guess it must be the kind of dilemma people feel if they believe themselves happily married but encounter a different person who they believe they could be even happier with. The Grass-Is-Greener syndrome, which I’ve never seriously felt since I became engaged to Barbara. (My wife and I once laughed at the idea of my taking on a mistress, because the one thing I want right now is more time alone to write, not someone else who’d demand my attention. If anything, we agreed, I’d claim to have a mistress just so I can rent a hotel room and spend a few hours composing a story or something. She’ll call and I’ll go, “Hi, dear. No, I’m not typing. I’m cheating on you. Yeah, really.” Then I fake grunting noises and hang up.)
It also makes me realize something which has been too obvious to ever articulate: when most of us talk about being obsessed with a certain idol, we don’t mean what we’re saying. Obsession is just a shorthand for saying we really, really like a particular idol – there’s no need to break out the DSM-IV or anything like that. It’s loose talk, it’s the fan equivalent of locker room banter where you speculate on who you think is hot and who you’d like to fuck and things of that sort. It’s meant to be fun but it’s meant to be inconsequential – if you’re mature and self-aware, you don’t take that kind of talk and apply it to your life.
That’s the joy about celebrities, as I once described in the “Why Jpop?” series – what we’re dealing with isn’t real people, but media constructions derived from real people. Yes, there are actual humans behind all the flash and glitz, but we’re not privy to that reality so we treat celebrities as figures inhabiting an imaginative space. On a conceptual level, geinou are a Baudrillardan remove from the flesh-and-blood they represent. That remove, that distance, is what allows us to talk about them in such intimate ways without feeling ridiculous or ashamed, to pass judgments on them the way we never would for people in our real lives. (At least, not so vocally.) Miley Cyrus may be a bit miffed if she hears a random fan say something crude about her – but so what? It’s just one fan out of millions, and her life does not hinge on that opinion nor should it ever.
And if you’re a wota, you would hopefully have other things in your life so that you don’t truy feel so dependent on your favorite idol. Idols may be worshiped, but they are distractions and should remain distractions. You can wear pictures of them all over yourself and make elaborate shrines to their greatness; that’s no different than being obsessed with model trains or devoting all your time to a vintage car. But if you sit down for a snack and wonder, “What does she want me to eat?” – well, then you need to get a grip.
This all reminds me of a friend I have who was obsessed with Keanu Reeves and had pictures of Keanu’s naked ass on his wall. He says he loves Keanu, he enjoys his films, and so on – but if Keanu ever rang his doorbell and was standing outside his house, my friend would scream, slam the door shut, and call the police. Why? Because if that ever happened, then Keanu Reeves must be crazy chasing down one of his fans in this manner. Keanu-at-the-door is Keanu without a sense of perspective.
Ultimately, that was the problem with this dream: the proper sense of perspective, the much-needed distance between reality and wota fantasy, was yanked out from under me in a tempting fashion. I think part of the comfort of being a wota is knowing that the idols should always remain out of reach, that I know where my place is and it’s way below the pedestal I place them on. Anything different would not only be disturbing, but a whole lot less fun.
In a short while I’m probably just going to shake this all off as Momoko quickly returns to her rightful place in my life: a carefree obsession, a wonderful imaginary second wife, the object of my irreal desire. That’s all I want from her, after all. Anything more would just be unfair to me.