Friday, March 31, 2006

Phantom Lovers

What is it with men and masks? From The Phantom of The Opera to V For Vendetta, we have a long line of fictional 'heroes' who think that the best way to court women is to wear a mask and whisk them away to some underground lair. Their whole technique seems aimed to scare the bejasus out the objects of their affection - gifts mysteriously left by unseen hand, enigmatic and anonymous notes and love letters, rivals conveniently maimed or murdered, constant secret surveillance from behind paintings, etc. Maybe they think fear is an aphrodisiac? The ultimate test of course, is whether they still fancy the bloke once the mask is gone and the hideously ugly visage revealed.

Interestingly, whilst in certain types of fiction this is presented as somehow 'romantic', in the real world we'd call this sort of thing stalking. Even worse, the whisking away to dank subterranean catacombs seems suspiciously like the abduction fantasies you see on bondage websites (so I'm told). As for all that organ playing the Phantom of The Opera tries to impress Christine with - well, you don't have to be a Freudian to see the significance of that!

The question is, do men really think that being stalked and kidnapped by a masked lunatic is really what women want? Or are these simply the desperate fantasies of inadequate men who think it might be possible to brainwash women into loving them (or at least sleeping with them)? Is the unmasking bit an attempt to reassure themselves that women aren't really so shallow as to judge someone simply by their looks (of course, the woman involved is always stunningly beautiful)? I only ask because, off the top of my head, I can't think of any equivalent fiction where masked women stalk and kidnap men - who eventually fall in love with them despite their hideous facial scarring and baldness. Do women have similar sexual fantasies at all?

Of course, being a misunderstood masked genius who produces a brilliantly witty (but scandalously under-appreciated) satire site from a cellar deep beneath an opera house, my idea of a good date involves chloroform, kidnapping and shackles. Why waste money taking a women out somewhere (where she'll probably only flirt with other men and ignore you for half the evening), when you can chain them up and have their full undivided attention for a couple of hours whilst you show them your fascinating collection of medieval torture instruments?

Did I mention that I was still single?



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