Spiderman and Oneitis

With Spiderman 3 coming out in NZ soon, I am reminded of how much I enjoy the Spiderman 2 soundtrack. The songs kick quite a lot of ass, and the line-up includes at least one of my favourite bands. When I listen to it, however, I am reminded of Peter Parker’s wussiness and extreme oneitis for Mary Jane. Wait, you haven’t heard of ‘oneitis’? Perhaps this is an excellent time to introduce you the concept!

It makes sense to make Peter Parker’s character poor with women. It reflects the reality of many comic book geeks and young men that women are attractive, mystical figures who cannot be approached, talked to or understood – only worshipped from afar. This unhealthy attitude, especially when it pertains to one woman in particular, is what I label oneitis.

Oneitis: The unrequited feeling that one particular woman is the only one for you. Victims ignore all other romantic opportunities and pine for the object of their desire. They are frequently close friends with this woman (“let’s just be friends”) and are having their guts ripped out hearing things like “I can’t believe I fell for that jerk. I wish I could find someone like you.” I’m right here! they scream. Unfortunately, one-itis is strongly associated with wussy behaviour – what the woman means is “I wish I felt attraction for you, but you’re way too much of a wuss.”

I believe that Oneitis is a huge turn-off for women, and it completely sabotages a man. Unless the woman happens to return his affections (unlikely), a man may be stuck in oneitis mode, staring creepily at the object of his desire and approaching no other women, for months or years at a time.

Throughout Spiderman 2, Peter Parker is two people. He is Peter Parker, the gentle unassuming face he exposes to the world, and he is Spiderman – his inner hero. I believe that Spiderman is symbolic of Peter’s inner masculine power, the power of agency, strength, selfhood and power which is present inside every man. The problem is that Peter is divided. He keeps his abilities as Spiderman secret from everyone including Mary Jane. Of course, his powers are amazing and she falls in love with them (ie, with Spiderman). Because Peter cannot integrate his powers into his self-image, he cannot reveal that Spiderman is his secret identity. He probably fools himself that he wants Mary Jane to fall in love with the ‘real him’. He cannot see that his powers and his courage as Spiderman IS part of his ‘real self’.

Let’s examine some of the lyrics in the songs on the Spiderman 2 soundtrack and see what they tell about about wussiness, oneitits and Peter Parker’s situation.

Maroon 5 – Woman

If I’d be so inclined to climb up beside you,
Would you tell me that the time just isn’t right.
And if I ever find the key you hide so well,
Will you tell me that I can spend the night?

Helplessly melting as I stand next to the sun.
As she burns me, I am screaming out for more

“The time just isn’t right” – that’s female code for ‘I’m just not attracted to you, you wuss’. He thinks that having sex with her involves finding a ‘key you hide so well’ – all he has to do is hang around and get hold of it. He doesn’t understand that she has to be attracted to him. He is so helpless in his oneitis that all he can do as she rips his heart to shreds is ‘scream out for more’. Looks like a helpless case – but sadly, this rings true for many young men.

Train – Ordinary

I think I’m trying to save the world for you
You’ve been saving me too
We could just stay in and save each other

Although he isn’t romantically involved with the object of his desire, he is “saving the world” for her? He couldn’t put any more effort in – and she doesn’t even know he exists. What’s more, the mere thought of her “saves” him in return. Eww. That’s the very definition of unrequited.

Yellowcard – Gifts and Curses

I see your face with every punch I take,
and every bone I break, it’s all for you.
And my worst pains are words I cannot say,
Still I will always fight on for you.

Wow. Although he fights supervillians, they barely concern him. The only thing that actually hurts him is his own inability to confess his love to Mary Jane. Sadly, if he did ever say what he feels, she would probably give him the ‘let’s just be friends’ talk. Again, he is saving the world and doing everything in his ability to impress a woman who doesn’t know how he feels, who quite literally doesn’t know who he really is. It’s an exercise in futility, yet he will ‘always’ keep fighting for her. If only women were attracted to this kind of thing – men would be so much more productive! But instead, women are attracted to confident men who don’t put them on pedestals. Men who talk to them, instead of hiding from them. Men who aren’t wusses and who don’t have oneitis.

Oddly enough, as well as wallowing in Parker’s wussiness, the album actually contains some good stuff that might actually help him out.

Smile Empty Soul – Who I Am

Look into their eyes
Rip off your disguise
Let ’em see the real you

“The real you”. Everyone says ‘just be yourself’ and it doesn’t get guys like Peter anywhere – because they don’t explain what the heck this actually means.  Let me give you my take.  It’s actually really poor advice, because each person is made up of hundreds of different facets. I have a sense of humour, yet I can also be really serious. I can act loving … yet I can also be tough. Sassy … or wussy. The thing is, in BEING MYSELF, I am actually picking and choosing from all these behaviours that I already have inside me. Instead of being an insecure, quiet, wussy nice guy, I am choosing to be a confident, happy, powerful, nice guy. I am still being myself. Can you see that I can be different people by showing particular, different parts of myself?

Being yourself – ‘the real you’ – doesn’t have to involve being helplessly in love with a girl who doesn’t know you exist. Respecting yourself and knowing that you’re good enough for her is a good start. Not putting her on that pedestal in the first place is an even better start. Don’t get oneitis. It’s not a good look.

In a future post, I’ll tell you about the only cure for oneitis: GOAFTOW. It’s more fun than it sounds, I promise. 🙂

Wolf Cub 


~ by wolfcub on May 10, 2007.

4 Responses to “Spiderman and Oneitis”

  1. I agree about Oneitis being a killer with dating women. That’s something many men have a hard time learning, myself included.
    Can’t wait to read about the cure. I haven’t seen you around my blog before. Thanks for the link! I’ve linked to you as well. Got a new read here. Cool.

  2. Thanks bj – I’ve really enjoyed reading about you and trueself, the crossover is fascinating!

  3. […] GOAFTOW: The Cure There is only one cure for Oneitis: […]

  4. […] in meaningful ways”.  In this post, the Doctor gives an evocative description of wussiness/oneitis and then proceeds to exorcise his own inner wussy in a spectacular fashion. She has always been […]

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