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Home > Culture and Society

Take the blue pill, twice a day

21 December 2003

Jordy Connolly is a fairly run-of-the-mill teenager: he plays tennis, does karate, enjoys Japanese animation and loves his family. But this fresh-faced teenager from Georgia is one of a growing number of people worldwide who suffer from a distressing new syndrome: 'Keanic Dismorphia' - which means, in layman's terms, that he's absolutely convinced that he looks like Keanu Reeves, but doesn't.

"I'm not very big", says Jordy on his website, "but some say 'dynamite comes in small packages'." And his young tennis-toned body throbs with pride when he reveals: "A lot of my friends say that I look like Neo (Keanu Reeves in the Matrix), especially when I wear dark sunglasses." Right. So This is what Jordy
actually looks like...

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves

As you can see, it would take a very special pair of sunglasses to make Jordy look like Keanu Reeves. Magic sunglasses. The sort of sunglasses that fairy godmothers give away in folk tales. "Wear these glasses, my child, and lo! it will seem to one and all that you exactly resemble Neo in the Matrix and Matrix Reloaded!"

Another tragic sufferer is Brandon from Seattle: "I keep getting told that I look like 'neo' from the matrix when I wear my trench and sunglasses"...

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves

Note that Brandon and Jordy are suffering from the common variant: Transferential Keanic Dismorphia, which causes them to attribute the belief that they look like Keanu to third parties.

An extreme formulation of Transferential Keanic Dismorphia is to be found on the website for the 'International Keanu Reeves Fan Meetup Day' (no, really, it does exist). Someone called johnnyutah007 contributes the following post: "I'm continuously told I look like Keanu Reeves. Not too hard to take. Lucky for me I have always enjoyed his films, 'Point Break' is still my fav." Note here the tragic keyword 'continuously' - in johnnyutah007's befuddled head, not a moment of the day passes without someone affirming the fact that he looks like Keanu Reeves.

The population of the globe is circling him, arms linked, chanting "you look like Keanu - you look like Keanu". He hears it muttered in doorways as he passes. He sees it reflected in motorists' eyes as he crosses the road. He knows, as surely as he knows his own name, that the person behind him in the queue at KFC is thinking it.

The pure, non-transferential form of Keanic Dismorphia is considerably rarer. It requires a stronger mind (or a mind less sane, depending upon how you look at it). No third party is needed to affirm the Keanic likeness; the knowledge comes from within. It is displayed by this 20-year-old Spanish gamer:

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves

And by this fellow from Russia:

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves

The Russian website contains a fine pair of Keanic images: matrix1.jpg and matrix2.jpg, which are taken from an artful angle in an attempt to maximise the imagined Reevsian likeness. A likeness which reaches a tragic nadir in this image:

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves

One final variant is worthy of mention: Transferential Keanic Dismorphia By Proxy, in which you're convinced that people think that someone other than you (but perhaps intimately related to you) looks like Keanu Reeves. These symptoms are exhibited by Leslie from http://www.seamlessness.net - who states: "People say my boyfriend looks like Keanu Reeves."

This is certainly the hardest variant to treat, as it is involves the most transference: in the sufferer's head, they themselves have nothing to do with the belief - nor is the belief about them. The whole dynamic is taking place between other people.

The medical establishment is divided on how to treat these appalling syndromes. Some psychologists advocate a course of heavy slaps round the face, others suggest pointing at the person who is supposed to resemble Keanu and laughing so hard that it becomes so painful that you have to sit down.

Currently, there is no support group for people suffering from these conditions. Perhaps closest thing to it is the 'International Keanu Reeves Fan Meetup Day'. So, if you're suffering from Keanic Dismorphia in any of its many forms, you
know where to go.

(Say hi to Johnny Utah. And don't forget to compliment him on his trench coat. After all, it cost him nearly $300).

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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