By Squares 30 Comments
I remember reading Generation X and wondering why Husk and Chamber ever started dating. If they ever went on an actual date, I mean. And yes, I am aware that the catalyst was technically both a bottle of beer and Gateway (Imagine telling THAT to your kids?). They have practically nothing in common; they share little to no interests, hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc. They don't even have very compatible personalities- Husk is passionate, Chamber is remote. So why did we have to endure their unsatisfying and unconvincing romantic attempts?
I have a theory, and it centers largely around stress. By that, I refer to the threat of an impending, most likely painful and seemingly unavoidable, death (and/or oppression). When faced with the idea of death and/or pain, people have this tendency to desperately attempt to form a connection (usually romantic, if not outright sexual) with someone else. This is for a myriad of reasons; to take their minds off their impending doom, for a sense of euphoria, to feel less alone.
Think about it; the entirely of the Gen X team had recently been made aware of the Legacy Virus, and keep in mind, at this time nobody had any idea how or where to find a cure. Makeout city. And given Chamber's lack of a mouth (great choice, Paige) we can't rightly say exactly how far they both would have gone, had he not blown up part of a freaking building. I'd rather not think too hard on that...
You may be thinking that this doesn't really apply to other relationships within the series....and you'd be WRONG. Okay, granted, it doesn't apply to all relationships within the X-men, but it accounts for at least a few, including what can be said to be the most famous pairing the series has ever known. That's right, I'm talking about Cyclops and Jean Grey.
Alright, let's take a look at the reasons. Waaaay back in issue number one of the first run of the X-men (there was a hiatus of a few years, before the Giant Sized issue came out, introducing a new team comprised of Banshee, Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus, Warpath's older brother, and Sunfire), we're introduced to Professor Xavier and his crack team of super-powered teenage boys. There's some introductions, a bit of buffoonery that I can only assume is supposed to be characterization, and suddenly the professor announces that a new student is coming...and it's an attractive girl! I kid not, that's his wording. In walks Jean Grey, looking positively normal (especially compared to what everyone else in the room is wearing), and the boys are all taken with this mysterious young beauty. They all make their passes at her, and eventually...wait for it....cyclops offers her a chair.
Let me bring up a little something that comes up at some point in the 90s; Jean Grey at some point states that she first fell in love with Cyclops when he offered her a chair, back at her first day at the academy. Yes, I'm talking about this scene, right here:
Now, put yourself in Jean's shoes, a few issues later. Her status as a mutant having been impressed upon her, she's most likely beginning to feel the weight of oppression and hatred bearing down on her, not to mention having had to endure violent attempts at her life at least twice. She is a young teenage girl, considered attractive, in a relatively closed-off setting, with a pool of four not unattractive young men (and one creepy old man) showering her with attention. In the end, she falls for the one boy who doesn't try to molest her (and is in her age range); Cyclops. Now, we're supposed to believe that Cyclops is just smitten with her the moment he catches sight of her. Seriously, I'm fairly certain it's not really given any better reason than that.
I'm at a bit of a loss as to how many other pairings can be said to result from stress, but I'm looking, so in the mean time, this is it. Thoughts?