If You Don’t Mind, I’ll Wrap Myself Around Your Finger

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December 1, 2012 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

I don’t watch How I Met Your Mother; I should, it’s a good show, I just don’t enjoy it as much as I objectively should.  It’s a show that some people claim to be the “sitcom of our generation”, or “the closest thing to real life on TV”.  While I don’t know nearly enough about the show to take an educated stance, I will say that there is at least one episode that does come very close to portraying a real life scenario.  The 16th episode of season 5 entitled “Hooked” perfectly sums up the notion of “being on the hook”.

To be clear there are really only two variations of being on the hook.  The first more stereotypical version is one wherein someone you are interested in gives you just enough to keep hanging around without actually committing to anything, either for attention or to manipulate you into doing things for their benefit.  The example used in the show is with Marshall and his secret girlfriend in high school.  Despite never actually going out or making out, he would do her homework.  That’s the ploy; she gave him enough (the promise of a candid relationship) for a benefit (doing her homework).  She manipulated his feelings for her own gain without having to sacrifice anything.

The second kind of being hooked is one which I suspect to be the more prominent of the two.  This is when we do it to ourselves independent of the actions of the person of our affections.  That is they don’t exacerbate or facilitate any sort of emotional response.  For all intents and purposes this is basically like the high school crush.  You wake up one day and decide to like someone for no reason, and then manipulate yourself into trying to get them to reciprocate.

So after watching that episode the first thing that went through my head was “oh, so that’s what it’s called”.  And then I thought about it for myself and realized that I’ve both been hooked (because I’m stupid) and probably have had girls on the hook.[1]  Both situations suck nonetheless.  Obviously if you’re on the hook, you have the sex goggles on without ever evening doing anything with that person.  You can’t see through your own infatuation so you just hang on whatever that person says or does.  It’s false hope which is the true sign of a fool, and being on the hook is the embodiment of false hope.  Here’s how you can tell if you or a loved one is on the hook:

1)      Everyone else but them realizes that they are on the hook

2)      There is no reciprocation in the dynamic

3)      A moronic sense of trust in whatever that person says

4)      Willing to spend money or other favors at the drop of a dime

5)      Without actually ever doing anything, this person has a greater sense of importance

Now having someone on the hook is a bit more difficult because it branches off into two directions from there, whether or not you know that you have this person on your hook.  If you’re certain that you have someone on the hook, and you continue to exploit them, well then you’re just a shitty person, end of story.  More often than not though this isn’t the case though, I mean how can we just assume that someone likes us without us actually having done anything.  Here’s how you can tell if you or a loved one has someone on the hook:

1)      This person directs an uncomfortable amount of adulation your way

2)      They agree with EVERY thing you say

3)      No favor is out of the question

4)      They never stop smiling at you

5)      Will try to progress things whenever possible (drunk or otherwise, sometimes even out of the blue)

If you’ve just hooked yourself, there really isn’t anyone to blame other than yourself.  It’s not as if the other person spurned you or manipulated you.  At the same time though, it’s weird to not only have someone on the hook, but realize that they are on your hook.  Like I said before it usually comes from nothing you meant to do (unless you purposely manipulated a scenario so that you could wrap your finger around someone, which again means you’re a shitty person).  That was the case with Carrie Underwood’s character on the show.  At face value it appeared that she was purposely stringing Ted along just because she liked the attention and whatever he bought her.  The audience then assumes that she’s just a shitty person, but later on in the episode we find that she too is on the hook of some douche bag.[2]  She throws herself at him as Ted did to her, and as another minor character did to Ted.  The implication being that everyone is on someone’s hook, and that unbeknownst to us, we probably have someone on the hook.

I think the reason why we let ourselves get on the hook is because of the falsified imbuement of meaning.  This is a pretty simple concept that I made sound overly complex.  It’s when we instill more meaning into something than it actually warrants.  In the case of being hooked, it usually comes about from us putting all our chips into someone after a relatively small sample size of knowing them.  I guess it implies more of an infatuation than actually being attracted to someone.  As I said before false hope compounds on this as well, with the idea that things will be so much better with this person that 1) it’s worth the wait, and 2) it’s worth doing whatever to make it happen.  Being on the hook is more about actions, trying to do something to make the other person reciprocate, than actual feelings and letting an attraction develop from there.  The importance is based on adoration and materialism rather than a connection or mutualism.

Being hooked or having someone on the hook is very odd.  It’s something that happens all the time, but we completely forget about it despite the fact that we’ve all, at the very least been one or the other, most of us both.  Either way, it’s not a phun predicament to be in because on the one hand you’re desperately pursuing someone while trying to get them to feel the same, or you’re in an uncomfortable state where you’re wondering what you’ve done to make someone feel so strongly towards you.  Alas, it’s something that has always existed and will always exist, I’m just glad How I Met Your Mother brought it to everyone’s attention.  The least we can do is learn from Ted’s mistakes and not fall for the bait, because if you do, you’ll end up…..hooked.


[1] I may be very wrong with the last part; it may just be me inflating my own ego…..I do that a lot.

[2] I actually don’t know if douche bag is one word or not.

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