The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Obsessions

I recently watched a cable TV interview with UK lesbian comedian Rhona Cameron on Parkinson. She was describing her schoolgirl crush on a teacher and said it reached 'stalker' proportions. Apparently she would follow the teacher everywhere and was so besotted with her that she would look longingly at the pool of oil the older woman's car had deposited in the schoolyard. I'd been indifferent to Cameron until then, but after that confession, I liked her instantly and could totally relate to her experience.

When I was at school, aged 12, I'd follow certain sixth-form girls (17-18-year-olds), hiding around corners peering at them. Eventually I was hauled off to the headmistress and asked to explain my behaviour. I merely shrugged and said I didn't know. My punishment, bizarrely enough, was to be forced to spend a week with the very sixth-formers I'd been stalking. I had to sit with them in assembly, eat lunch with them and sit in their common room during break periods. What kind of trip my headmistress was on, I have no idea. If the plan was to humiliate me, well I guess it worked in a twisted sort of way - mixing feelings of embarrassment with hysterical excitement is a surefire way to turn a girl kinky, not put her off other chicks.

But it doesn't just stop at schoolgirl level for some of us. In my 20s I managed to persuade the (straight) contemporary dance teacher I was obsessed with to rent me a room in her house. I was convinced she was 'the one', that we'd fall in love and live happily ever after once I took her to see Desert Hearts at the cinema. Naturally I was devastated when she got a boyfriend not long after. Hearing them have sex for the first time produced feelings of ecstasy followed by despair. I cheered myself up by putting salt in his milk the next morning. Then there was the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art student to whom I regularly delivered copious amounts of flowers (who needs money for food when you can thrive on high emotion?) and who a few years later had her 15 minutes of fame by being splashed across the UK tabloids when she had an affair with a prominent politician whose toes she apparently enjoyed sucking (jeez, I know how to pick 'em).

Even now as a 30-something in a long-term relationship with a wonderful and glamorous older woman, I still have my obsessions. Now it's Debbie Harry. In my jam-packed life of work, writing and performing, instead of a relaxing drink with friends, my downtime consists of gazing longingly at pictures and videos of the blonde singer and experiencing an intense stomach-churning, chest-pounding, pussy-pulsating thrill. Some might say I need therapy, but I've got this column instead. Fortunately for me I live with a psychotherapist (no one else would have me). So I asked my girl (aka Dr Tracie O'Keefe) for her expert opinion on obsessions.
"Generally people obsessed with iconoclastic idols are trying to supplement something that is missing in their own life," she said. "There's a difference between fantasy and fanaticism for most people, but for the stalker, they are unable to understand the boundaries between reality and fiction."

Whatever - I'm with Rhona on this one.

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