A Look at TalHotBlond
The documentary TalHotBlond, directed by Barbara Schroeder, is a fascinating film about a cyber love triangle that implodes—without the subjects even meeting in real life. The story ends up telling us as much about our own perceptions and views of infatuations as it does of the people featured in the film.
Two people meet in an online game chatroom. One says he is a young sniper for the Marines, hence his handle “MarineSniper.” The other, “TalHotBlond,” is an 18-year-old woman graduating from high school. A third player, “BeefCake,” works with “MarineSniper” in real life in a factory, who is introduced to “TalHotBlond” by “MarineSniper.”
The story that unfolds is dramatic and strange, with twists and turns that only real life can create—no spoilers here, though ….you need to watch.
What struck me the most was how these people communicated, and how even though they are individuals, the characters they create are extremely derivative of what our society dictates is attractive in a mate.
For one thing, the chosen handles are obviously used to attract a mate—stereotypical to an absurd point. “BeefCake” and “MarineSniper?” Both convey a masculine, testosterone-fueled strength considered attractive both on a societal and biological level. “TalHotBlond,” the female? Instantly conjures up an image of a model featured in both men’s and women’s magazines.
These handles, obviously, use very specific archetypes as a mask. The power of fantasy, of blind faith based upon what you wish were true versus what probably is true, is a key element to this film.
This faith has little to do with intelligence, and more to do with the optimistic denial that comes with infatuation. To a degree, we know all love is based on elements of denial and projection; some variants of love rely solely on those two elements, which is what appears to have happened in this film. Once a person has made an active choice to pursue another, there’s more incentive to believe in the other’s persona, regardless of how clearly stereotypical or unbelievable the other has presented his/herself.
We believe in the idea that people “fall in love,” that they are passive players in a life-altering event. This isn’t true. We decide when and how we communicate with someone, even if there is an initial infatuation. We decide how to spend our time, and if we invest in another person, that is our choice.
Even though TalHotBlond plays with our ideas about stereotypes and our own versions of persona, it also, as a story in itself, is unpredictable, challenging, and worth every minute spent watching. You’ll find yourself pondering the nature of “love” for a long while after.
Erich Fromm, German sociologist and psychologist once said, “Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever.”
Erich Fromm Quote: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/8788.Erich_Fromm