I Want You To Want Me

Ottawa XPress – Shotgun – March 1, 2007

I scream, you scream, we all go to extremes to score the one we want to tease and please. Well, okay, some more than others, and the rest of us only sometimes.

Folks trek vast physical distances or make large leaps in logic to win the ones who make their hearts race. Have love, will travel. Some even do it in diapers to skip bathroom breaks. Think NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak, who avoided the loo to expedite her ambitious drive cross-state to allegedly kill off her competition in a supposed love triangle involving the object of her affection, astronaut William Oefelein.

Then there’s globetrotting CFL linebacker Trevis Smith. His public saga dates back to 2005, when he was arrested in Regina for having unprotected sex with a B.C. woman without telling her he had HIV. And yet some of the girls who learned of his dangerous behaviour (including his wife), still desired him.

At what point does lovesick turn psycho?

Should we chalk up overzealousness to mental illness? The problem with that oversimplification is that it perpetuates the myth that people who are mentally ill are undoubtedly criminals. Or deviants. I mean, it’s perfectly normal to give oneself up to enslavement, torture, humiliation and sexual assault, just like the character in Pauline Reage’s Story of O. Not really? But O did it all for love.

Hell, I even lost it a bit this year. I fell for a man in a travellin’ band. Who had a van. Damn band vans. So when I came upon a little greeting card in New York City that had a photo of a white van with the words “I Love You” spray-painted in red along the side, naturally I had to send it my guy’s way. After all, it was a sign, right? (Everything’s a goddamned sign when we’re enamoured.)

A few months later, I might have, myself, spray-painted his GMC with those three little magic words, “Why Didn’t You Tell Me You Had a Girlfriend?” Obviously I can’t count because how many months went by where he didn’t disclose his status and I didn’t bother to ask? Exit stage left.

I’m better now, thanks in part to stories of other Ottawans who’ve done similarly ridiculous things for love:

“A friend of mine was head over heels for this girl and decided to do an interpretive dance to prove his love to her. However, during one of the most erotic and technically challenging sequences, his cellphone rang. As if this wasn’t embarrassing enough, it turns out it was this girl he was doing on the side… she was preggers and it was most certainly not planned. He got off the phone and he finished that dance though. Like, he really nailed it.” -Setbacks guitarist, 29.

“In grade 5 when a girl I kind of liked said that if I wrote her a poem she’d go out with me, I did. Then she read it out loud to all her friends. She didn’t go out with me.” -Joe Thrasher, guitarist, 28.

“In grade 10, I was totally loopy over this aboriginal guy. He listened to good music, skateboarded and rode a motorcycle. He resembled the guy from Dances With Wolves, which was very popular at the time. I wrote him a letter after enduring the painful, unrequited crush I had on him for months. Of course, I had a math test the next day, which I was completely unable to study for and failed. I never got a response to the letter, but it’s good incentive not to bother with fame, as it’s entirely possible he kept the letter and might’ve sold it on eBay.” -Jeweller, 32.

“I once slept in a ditch for three weeks to show that I was serious. But I was only in love with myself.” -Writer, 32.

“Love can do crazy things to a man. One summer, I spent a lot of time at a cottage. I fell in love with a local girl and whenever she was around I was like a peacock in full plumage, strutting my stuff and doing my best to stand out. Her dog got stranded on Dead Man’s Island and she figured I was the only one strong enough to swim out and get it. I almost drowned and had to be saved by the very girl I was trying to impress. I moved on, but to this day I am terrified of open water.” -Big Loser, 30.

Got an embarrassing story? Email Shotgun and we’ll print them in next week’s mailbox.

– Sylvie Hill