Jumping The Cardboard

A curious phenomenon: lovers
who appear "bigger than life"

-- Annie Dilliard notes
a male butterfly
will ignore a living female
will ignore a living female of his own species
in favor of a painted
xxxx cardboard one
if the cardboard one is big
bigger than he is, bigger
than any real butterfly
xxxxxxxx could ever be

He jumps the cardboard
He jumps the cardboard
he jumps the cardboard over & over

(meanwhile nearby, the real
living female
living femalexxxxxxxxx butterfly
xxxxxxx opens & closes her wings in vain ...

-- in psychotherapy, this phenomenon
is called "idealization"
& its counterpart, "devaluing"

I saw it at work in a session yesterday:
the woman he was idealizing
& trying to merge with
-- you could see it was never going to work;
meanwhile, he continued to ignore
meanwhile, he continued to ignore the woman
you had hoped he would go for

It happens all the time
I do it myself
-- jumping the cardboard