When it comes to classic stalker movies, Fatal Attraction is way up there on my "creepy" list. In the film, as everyone undoubtedly knows, Dan (Michael Douglas), a happily married family man, has a weekend affair with Alex (Glenn Close). Dan thinks of it as a quick, meaningless fling, but he's got another thing coming. Alex wants more — much more — and will kill innocent bunny rabbits to get it. As per the standard morally correct Hollywood formula, he pays for his sin — through anguish, guilt, possible loss of his marriage, recriminations, and the machinations of a psycho woman who just won't go away. But in the end he lives, and Alex dies.
This started me thinking about real-life stalkers and some of the personal feelings I had while watching this movie.
First off, stalking is a serious problem in this country, with celeb-stalking in a horrific league all its own. But perhaps no miscreant is considered more reprehensible and downright terrifying than the female stalker. Thus, seeing Alex in any sort of sympathetic light or identifying with her in any way is just not deemed acceptable.
Women, after all, are just not supposed to chase men. If they do, it is at their own peril — especially if they are looking for a long-term relationship. It's still considered cheap, slutty, and gauche in many circles — and I, for one, would prefer not to engage in it. However, it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to be a passive mental stalker, viz:
Obsessing over a guy. Waiting by the phone for his calls. Taking all sorts of ridiculous crap from him and making oneself too readily available to his whims instead of having a life. Endlessly deconstructing every move "Mr. Right" makes so you and your girlfriends can analyze his demeanor and motives to determine if he does/doesn't care about you. In other words, all the usual women's nonsense. Browse through the pages of Cosmopolitan sometime — or better yet, go to their message boards — and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Prematurely pushing for an exclusive relationship is often a deal-breaker. But in any case, no matter how smitten a woman may be, it's considered particularly bad form to have a quickie one-nighter and then demand a "commitment" the next morning. Not cool. No clinging, no whining, no blackmailing, no wrist slashing, no bunny boiling.
But let's face it: statistically speaking, most dangerous stalkers are overwhelmingly male. How many real-life female psycho-stalkers — meaning those with the potential for real violence — have you heard of or encountered?
I suppose there are women out there who might resort to more passive aggressive schemes such as calling a lover's wife or even trying to blackmail someone to get their way. Although these are creepy — even seriously sick and damaging — behaviors, they usually do not result in bodily harm or death.