Saturday, June 10, 2006

The “How’d-I-Not-Notice-Your-Hotness?” Syndrome

My younger daughter is going through a J.D. Fortune phase. The interesting thing is, back when the show “Rockstar: INXS” was on last year, she didn’t find J.D. particularly attractive and was deeply into his rival, Marty Casey. But with the release of INXS’s new album with J.D. as frontman, Amanda has suddenly discovered the charms of the guy.

Been there, done that. More than once, in fact, but the best example is from back in 1990 when I suddenly discovered Sting. Not that he had exactly gone unnoticed by me, of course; it was hard to live through the 80s without being aware of the guy, and I certainly always thought he was attractive. I had bought the album “
Synchronicity” in the mid-80s through one of those “10 records for a penny” Columbia House deals, but for some reason only listened to it once or twice.

But this particular evening I was hanging out by myself and decided to chill out by listening to some music with the headphones (the big kind that plugged into your stereo). On a whim I pulled out “Synchronicity” and threw it on the turntable. I lay myself down on the couch and closed my eyes, and “Every Breath You Take” came on.

Now anyone over the age of 30 knows “Every Breath You Take” was easily the most overplayed song of the 80s. It was even in heavy rotation on the TV show “All My Children,” where it was the theme song of a guy who was stalking Brooke English. Don’t ask me why it should have hit me any differently on this particular occasion.

But it turned out to be the closest thing to an out-of-body experience I ever had. I gave myself over to the music and somehow became it, I became the sound emanating from Sting’s throat. The rest of me, along with everything in my environment, seemed to disappear. I felt that throbbing bass line sustaining my life force, and the chord progressions were my emotions. It was so intense that when it was over I knew I’d been changed forever.

That seems like an overly dramatic statement, but it proved true. My Sting phase ended up ranking in my top three celebrity obsessions of all time, and led me to learn all I could about the man. This quest was also an effort to figure out what exactly had happened to me during that headphones incident. Before too long I learned of Sting’s fascination with the works of psychoanalytic theorist Carl Jung, and so I started reading Jung voraciously. I basically ended up conducting a do-it-yourself Masters program in Jung, even writing a book (Living Beyond Reality: A Jungian Primer for Enhancing Your Life) that could serve nicely as a fake Master’s thesis.

What I learned in the course of this little personal journey did irrevocably change my beliefs about a lot of very important things in life. My erotic romance writing is certainly strongly influenced by Jung, and therefore indirectly by Sting. It’s hard to believe that someone who impacted me this greatly could have gone unnoticed by me for years.

But that’s the “How’d-I-Not-Notice-Your-Hotness?” Syndrome for you. Sometimes there are people or characters that hit you like a ton of bricks at the very first glance (for me, my hockey idol Guy Carbonneau). Meanwhile there are other people you can see fifty times, and then suddenly one day something clicks, completely out of the blue.

I suppose this is because there are a lot of complex things going on in the psyche, developments that occur constantly without our awareness. Sometimes we arrive spiritually at some point where a certain archetype has a new, intense appeal it never did before. Certainly it’s true that at the time of the headphones incident, I was going through some significant personal difficulties and questioning some long-held beliefs. The mysterious, wise, sexy shaman archetype that was Sting fit my needs perfectly. As for the fact that he led me to some real answers to my questions…well, that’s pretty uncanny, and Carl Jung would undoubtedly call it synchronicity.

At any rate, I think a person ought to pay particular attention to those instances when the “How’d-I-Not-Notice-Your-Hotness?” Syndrome occurs. If someone you normally would have overlooked is suddenly a powerful figure to you, it has to mean something fairly significant.

And if you find yourself moving on eventually, as I did from Sting after a couple of years, it doesn’t mean you’re fickle. You’re just growing.

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