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2D Love or “Why is it the men that are creepy?”

January 19, 2010

We are social animals.  This means that in general, we like to be around other people and are actually built physically and psychologically to do so.  For example, human babies are born utterly helpless and must rely completely on another person for their survival unlike say, baby sea turtles who never even meet their moms.  And we are attracted to babies, as in think they are cute, so we don’t just stare at them blankly when they’re in need.  With our delightful affinity for closeness with others of our kind come, well, complications.  The most important one is that of the intensely negative feeling that ends up being the consequence of not having that closeness. Some psychological studies have even shown that the pain of being rejected in a social situation uses many of the same brain areas that are used when we are experiencing real, physical pain.  It sucks.

Enter the 2 dimensional world.

If you’ve all seen the latest episode of 30 Rock, one of our favorite shows here at smartiepops, you’ll likely have meet James Franco’s character (umm…himself) who is suffering from 2D love, a “syndrome” marked by feelings of love toward an inanimate object, usually a doll or drawing of an anime character.  Yes….a cartoon.  And people, it’s real.  And to be honest, it’s not that surprising.

Not long ago the New York Times had an article about it.  You can read it here.  Basically, dating is hard and for some reason (or a whole host of reasons) dating is particularly difficult in Japan.  There is a movement by some to give up dating in the real world if it doesn’t seem to be working and to find someone in the 2d world to love.  Great thing about that, they can’t say no.  Bad thing, they’re ummm….two dimensional.  But nonetheless, their psychology allows these men to believe that their lover is filling some emotional need.  I’m not saying they’re crazy, I’m saying they’re surviving as best they can in a world that isn’t making it easy to find a three dimensional living person with whom to connect.  Yes it’s sad, but it’s not that much different than treating our pets like children, falling in love with fictional characters (a la Twihards), or turning to drugs/alcohol/food/sex to make us forget that we’re alone in the first place.  And it’s not like it doesn’t happen in the United States.  For all those of you who haven’t heard of the “Real Doll” you can actually have a life-sized fully, anatomically correct doll delivered to your home for the low price of close to $6,000.  The new movie Lars and the Real Girl shows how 2D love can happen stateside as well:

Moral of the story here is to make sure not to push people away if we don’t have to.  Loneliness is quite literally painful and even though we need other people around, relationships are terribly complicated.  To answer K’s question (the title of the post) I’d say the reason 2d love is more prevalent with men is because they also lack the social acceptance of just having other guy friends to lean on.  So I’m all in favor of bromances if it means fewer guys having sex into a pillow and calling it their girlfriend.

With that I welcome comments on whether or not you think 2D love is real, and what needs to happen for people to avoid that path.

(And yes I’m using this post as a constructive way to avoid work and depressing news coming out of Haiti.  But please donate if you haven’t yet.  Or you can text HAITI to 90999.)

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