Jordan as a "Blind Soldier" / Jordan's Appeal

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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Bacchante
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Jordan as a "Blind Soldier" / Jordan's Appeal

Post by Bacchante » Sep 22nd 2010, 1:24 pm

So, I know this has been discussed in one form or another, but I thought I'd make a topic dedicated just to figuring out why Angela (and so many others who like guys) like Jordan Catalano with such intensity. Jordan Catalano and guys like him, I should say, cause they're everywhere around us. And, if you ask me, liking them is kind of... dangerous and self-destructive sometimes. And it can be beautiful, but not always worth it. Clearly I'm a fan of Jordan's since I want to discuss him so much, but still.

At the beginning of "Why Jordan Can't Read", Angela says "I always imagined I would fall in love, nursing a blind soldier. Who was wounded in battle." I don't know if that's been explicitly stated in the discussion for that episode (http://www.mscl.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2227), but I think Jordan could be seen as that blind soldier, which would explain a great deal of Angela's obsession-- she (secretly?) wants to save Jordan and make him a better person who's more self-aware (less "blind"?), etc. This relates to something else that's been discussed on the forum (I can't find where, but it was in several places) about how Angela likes Jordan because he's one who allows her to project her fantasies onto him.

So to combine these two: I think Jordan and his likes have so much power over Angela (and me, and perhaps others) because despite the lack of any reason to like them (they're not nice guys on the surface), we BELIEVE there is more under the surface, because we want to believe it. And we believe that what's under the surface is beautiful, because we believe the world is beautiful, and because we want to help make it beautiful, by bringing out that inner beauty to the surface. We are willing to sacrifice ourselves in some sense (those guys don't really treat you well most of the time, and are much harder to deal with than "sweet" boys) for the sake of saving these "blind soldiers". Is this a masochistic impulse? Possibly. But it also feels much more special when someone who doesn't normally treat people nicely treats YOU nicely, because you, unlike others, see beyond the surface of who they are.

Yet... Any kind of relationship with people like this is extremely exhausting and emotionally draining, in my experience. I have wasted a few years of my life dealing with such people, and honestly, probably just two of them were worth it. I think that relationships with such dudes are dangerous because there's also the chance that there actually ISN'T anything under the surface worth sacrificing yourself for, but it takes forever to see this, and sometimes it's too late to stop. I think with Jordan, there IS beauty under the surface. Or maybe I just want to think so? :)
"I know you think, how could someone like me understand. Only, I do."

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Natasha (candygirl)
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Re: Jordan as a "Blind Soldier" / Jordan's Appeal

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Sep 23rd 2010, 4:30 am

Sadly, this isn't just a mistake that adolescent girls make. I see grown women (and men) do this too. The object of affection reveals very little, making him a blank slate to project romantic fantasies upon. The little that he does communicate reveals him to have some kind of need or imperfection and that makes the girl think that she can not only fix him but make him into what she thinks he is.

It's like looking at a huge white wall: it has so much potential and you just have to commit to changing it. You get closer and see a few cracks or holes and think hey, I have some spackle! I can fix this! And then I'll paint it! And put up some crown molding! Or a chair rail! Or crown molding AND a chair rail!

But the huge difference is that a hot guy isn't a blank wall to patch up and decorate. One thing I wish people would learn is that if you don't love AND like this person exactly as he is now, it's not going to get any easier. You can't love the idea of what someone COULD be if he just got a haircut, a better job, worked out more, wasn't such a jerk, called more often, etc. Too many girls fall in love with a guy's potential rather than who he really is.

The male version I've seen of this is what my friend and I called the fireman syndrome where a guy wants to rescue the helpless damsel in distress. The distress can be anything from an abusive ex or bad finances to low self esteem. Part of it is that masculine instinct to save the day, but there's a bit of need from the guy's side as well because he needs to feel needed.

I agree that it's self destructive to go into a relationship as the fixer or rescuer because it creates an imbalance right away: you are the vulnerable one and I will help you. It's even worse if the other person doesn't want any help because then the first person becomes frustrated that he or she is giving and trying but not receiving cooperation or gratitude. But we see what we want to see and often the giver then thinks he just needs more time/love/space instead of realizing that what he really wants is for you to stop trying to change him.
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Bacchante
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Re: Jordan as a "Blind Soldier" / Jordan's Appeal

Post by Bacchante » Sep 23rd 2010, 7:08 pm

That's a great point you bring up, about the "taker" of the "saving" not wanting your help sometimes, or perhaps quite often. In fact, they could start hating you quite bitterly, because you make them feel guilty in some way, and because they realize their imperfections but have gotten used to ignoring them, yet you remind them of these imperfections just with your presence.

On the other hand, is it possible that the "giver" (in our case, Angela) desires the "taker" (Jordan) because she thinks that HE can see things about HER that other people cannot, just like she sees about him that other people don't? And if so (which you might disagree with obviously), is this because he is "alternative" or is it because he's "darker" in some sense, and he could possibly understand the complications in her head better than someone who has a perfect, happy, healthy life?
"I know you think, how could someone like me understand. Only, I do."

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