“ I don’t know what’s with me and mind control.”
I was in 5th grade (eleven years old), playing G.I. JOE with a friend of mine who was staying the night, and I was starting to realize that I was a little bit too keyed in to that particular fantasy trope. I had always stood out to me in comics, in cartoons, and maybe in my earliest mind control memory, that episode of Gilligan’s Island where Ginger tries to hypnotize Gilligan, but it was that moment where I finally put that wonder into words.
You see, I had a read an issue of the G.I. JOE comic where Storm Shadow the former COBRA ninja assassin (turned good) used an ancient secret art to put Snake Eyes into a trance where he would feel no pain and become a perfect instrument of war.
I, being a pre-young writer did what all writers do, and stole the best parts of that story. Only this time an Alley Viper who had defected to the JOEs (because COBRA looked way more bad ass, we always liked their toys more) along with his girlfriend (a COBRA Headhunter, and since COBRA troopers never really showed their faces you could pretend whatever gender you wanted was inside) used the same technique on him. Now a good guy, he ran around under her influence killing bad guys for probably six months of continuous plot development.
Then, I got the new model Lt. Falcon action figure and I wanted to do the same thing. But, and here’s the thing, I was somehow self aware enough to realize that there was something weird going on in my brain. What about that story made me want to repeat it? I mean I cold have said Falcon was a cyborg (I could have cribbed from either Robocop or the newly released at that time Terminator 2) and gotten the same killing machine effect, hell I could have said he just never got shot, (ever!) but I wanted to go with the girl hypnotizing the hero into being a killing machine again.
This was also on top of using the same, “I’ve been hypnotized to not feel pain so getting shot by the bad guys doesn’t hurt me, and that was just a flesh wound” in running around toy gun make believe, as well as innumerable other mind control elements being displayed in every aspect of my imaginative play.
So since that had all tallied up in my head, I asked my friend.
But he had already fallen asleep.
Then, the next morning when we were back to saving the world, he asked me that exact same question. I figured I wanted to talk about it, but I didn’t know how and I just said, “I don’t know.”
And to this day, I don’t know might still be the best answer. After all, people’s minds are complex and layered, not nearly as simple to condition or explain as say one of Pavlov’s dogs. Our minds take in the entirety of the world as we understand it, and with all the streams of information, all that sensory input pouring in, it becomes difficult to understand the cause and effect of something like a fetish.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s beyond us, after all we’ve been to the moon so there’s probably not a lot we can’t do. We fundamentally understand cause and effect after all, and we not only grasp but value on a profound level the ability to sequence and explain events in a chronological order. But it might be safe, and not original in the least, to say that the mind is more akin to art than science in that classic dichotomy.
So, six years after I asked my friend that question, six years of puberty that saw mind control feature nearly exclusively in my fantasies, I found myself at a live performance of Love Line with Adam Carolla and Doctor Drew. During the show a girl asked a question about why she liked guys with tongue piercings, and instantly I became even more invested in what these guys had to say. Maybe he could answer that question without me even having to ask it.
Besides, how on earth do you ask anyone why you find hypnosis and mind control arousing? Have you ever thought of that? Have you ever thought of how fundamentally ridiculous that can sound sometimes? I did. I thought that all the time, and honestly, I still do but I’m in a place where it matters much less now.
Anyway, Doctor Drew went on to answer the question by saying that most fetishes are implanted early in life and that they’re something that is associated with intimacy, not necessarily sexual intimacy, but by closeness or familiarity.
Now, if I were Freud, or agreed with him (a lot of his more well known stuff has been debunked) I’d say, “The reason you’ve developed a hypnosis fetish is because your mother used to sing you the Trust In Me song from the Jungle Book as a lullaby when you were very young”. Which, and I will be totally honest here, was pretty much my first thought as soon as Doctor Drew was done talking.
But here’s the problem with that, I’m pretty sure I hadn’t seen the Jungle Book, and she also read the Chronicles of Narnia to me as well, but I don’t want to fuck a lion, so there’s that as a counter point.
There’s a danger in wanting to explain everything, especially when what you want to understand is something that makes you feel different, when what you want to explain to yourself is a secret you feel you have to keep buried. The danger is that if we can explain its causes then we can find a way to fix it. We can find a way to try and change ourselves by revere engineering our fetishes, and when we do that or even when we think about things in those terms, like what we have, what he desire, is a problem or a broken part of ourselves, then we give it all the power.
Aside from the one I’m in now, I’ve never told any of the women I’ve been in relationships with about my fetish. The anxiety having this secret has caused me has made physical intimacy more terrifying and anxiety ridden than it is normally, and it has made me so afraid that there was something wrong with me that I thought I could never be happy. Then, when I realized I could share this with the special someone in my life, I started telling all my friends about it.
They didn’t want to hear it.
No one wants to hear it.
But, since they’re good friends, they asked questions and they asked why I thought this was sexy in the first place.
That’s the question for next time:
Why is hypnosis sexy?