My first celebrity crush was Peter Tork of the Monkees. I should clarify here that I am not quite old enough to have watched the show when it was a prime-time phenomenon (although pretty darn close), so my sisters and I watched it together in reruns on Saturday mornings with some of the neighbor girls.
Davy was cute, Mickey was funny, Mike was smart. Peter was just sweet . Sweet and stupid.
Not an auspicious beginning for me.
Although my tastes these days run more toward the Eric Allan Cramer/Ed Harris/Michael Chiklis type, I had my share of celebrity crushes on the Peter-type. Sweet, somewhat helpless, always the underdog. Never the popular choice. When everyone else crushed on Johnny, I adored Roy; girls everywhere swooned over Ponch, but my heart belonged to Jon. My friends daydreamed about Michael Stipe while I had all kinds of naughty thoughts about Mike Mills.
Okay, maybe I was the one on the right track with that one.
The point is that I knew the difference between a celebrity crush and the real thing. I knew my fantasies were just that: fantasies. No matter how many imaginary romantic scenes I thought up about my current celebrity crush, I knew the difference between fantasy and reality. I knew what could and couldn’t happen in the real world.
I bring this up because of a disturbing trend that I have been seeing on the fiction sites where I post my work for feedback. It’s called RPF, for Real Person Fiction, and it creeps me right the hell out.
These aren’t all kids writing this stuff. Some of these writers are my age, and older. They write and post graphic sexual fantasies about everyone from Justin Bieber to One Direction to The Beatles. And they don’t just write self-insert tales where they themselves are part of the risqué little romps. No, that kind of story, while still creepy, is at least somewhat understandable. Somewhat.
The stories that make me want to take a three-day shower with a heavy dose of brain-bleach are the ones that pair real people up with other real people, regardless of gender or orientation in real life. Stories that portray members of One Direction performing oral sex on each other back stage, or give graphic descriptions of John Lennon giving blow jobs to Paul McCartney.
I don’t get it.
Then there are the stories that go even farther into “yuck” category. Stories of incest between Canadian siblings Tegan and Sara, or among the members of those squeaky-clean Disney kidlets known as R5. The writers create these tales of sibling love as though it is a good thing. A thing to be envied. And if a baby is born from these incestuous get-togethers, why, the “characters” rejoice.
Why, why, WHY?
I don’t understand how anyone could even think up a story like that, much less portray it as a thing of beauty. I get that there are all kinds of sexual fetishes and different proclivities that are beyond the scope of my admittedly white-bread existence, and I am usually more than happy to step back and agree ”to each his own”. I try really hard not to judge.
All you toe-suckers and role-players, live it up. Whatever floats your boat. Or humps it, if that’s your thing.
But I have to draw the line when it comes to writing real people into these twisted tales. It scares me that there are people out there who would write stories about real people, moving them about like toys in their stories. It makes me worry about their mental condition, especially when they say things like, “but I’ve heard they read these stories and they like them!”
It makes me want to shake them and ask, “Really? You honestly think Ross Lynch enjoys stories about getting his sister pregnant or having sex with his brothers?” or “Where did you see Tegan Quin announce that she likes stories about screwing her twin sister?”
Is it too much of a leap to wonder just how tenuous is their grip on reality?
I’ve had my share of fantasies about Randolph Mantooth, okay? (So sue me. He’s aged better than Kevin Tighe.) Eric Allan Cramer has occasionally been a bit naughty in my dreams. That’s normal. After all, I’m fairly certain my husband has had some impure thoughts about Faith Hill, pin-up girl Hilda, and the adorable blonde mom from down the street. Actually, even a straight gal like me can be attracted to those last two. Totally acceptable to fantasize in that way, as long as neither one of us ever does anything to make those fantasies a reality.
But I don’t write stories about Randy Mantooth and Kevin Tighe doing each other. Call me a prude, I guess. What kind of total nutburger thinks it’s okay to publish tales like this about real people?
I have to wonder how Emma Watson feels when she hears about stories that portray her as a backstage tramp screwing everyone from Rupert Grint to Alan Rickman. Who in their right mind would ever believe that she would be flattered by that? I question how Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato feel about “femslash” tales that have them performing sexual acts on each other that defy logic and gravity. How do Ross Lynch’s parents feel about stories that have their underage kids having sex with each other?
There are arguments flying around on Fanfiction.net about the legality of RPF stories, and the possibility of lawsuits brought against the site because of them. Excellent. I hope it happens, and soon.
But for me, the problem goes beyond a legal issue. For me, it’s a problem of “How can you think this is okay?” Some fans get so obsessed with the fictional tales that they begin to confuse reality with RPF fanfiction. They come up with “ship” names for their favorite pairings. Andley. Raura. Larry Stylinson.
That last one is a fan name for the pairing of Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson of One Direction. Fans of this “ship” are at times so vehement about it that they claim they boys have to pretend to be straight just to appease their manager. The form support groups and sign petitions to help the boys “come out”. These folks have been known to get a wee bit testy – possessive even – if either of the two singers is ever seen in public with a woman. The hatred and pure vitriol that floods the internet in the wake of such a sighting is truly frightening.
It’s almost as if they forget that the RP in RPF means real people. Not fictional characters. These fans don’t seem to grasp that they do not own creative control of Harry or Louis or Ross or Emma –real live, breathing people, who function in the real world. They are not fictional characters created into a fictional universe, and fans have no say in what these real people say or do in the real world.
Whenever I encounter RPF and its fans, I can’t help myself. I get a chill down my spine and I wonder just how long it will be before someone makes the jump from RPF fan to Robert John Bardo or Mark David Chapman.
I don’t think it’s an “if”. It’s a “when”.
And that scares me.