A best friend of mine recently recommended the show Dexter to me. Like me, she shares a morbid sense of entertainment choices, we’re also both huge fans of My Favorite Murder Podcast, which if you don’t listen add it to your queue right now. Okay? Back to Dexter.
Dexter is extremely funny to me. I find myself laughing my face off when he thanks the couple for their love and dating advice before killing them – to the chagrin of my roommate who couldn’t hear what was happening and only saw the gore and me laughing. It’s dark, but it’s fascinating and funny in the way it presents an inside look at a lawfully evil serial killer.
Episode 5 of Season 1 really hit on something that is often over looked, and even in the episode itself is kind of overlooked and played up as normal. That is the idea that being alone is not normal and something that is rightfully shunned by society. Here’s what the show says about being alone and the need to be with another, especially in a romantic way.
Dexter: I’m not the monster he wants me to be. I’m Dexter. I like to pretend I’m alone, completely alone, maybe post-apocalypse or plague, whatever — no one left to act normal for, no need to hide who I really am. It would be freeing.
Dexter: Yeah, well, I don’t really care about girls. I just like being alone.
Harry: But most normal people don’t, and it’s important that you seem normal.
Dexter: Even though I’m not.
Harry: Because you’re not.
It frightening especially to those of us who are comfortable being alone, or not dating, or not in a relationship. The idea flits of the wondering if people who like being alone serial killers and not normal. Statistically speaking, single people are the minority, and of them people who like being single even less.
There’s even the ever persistent and classic fear of the man walking alone down the street. And the pity of the single woman walking alone and that she must need help. Dexter doesn’t cover the female side of aloneness, at least not as directly as the male side though perhaps there’s another posting about that to come. But Dexter is the epitome of the reason society cast such a negative light on the man alone. Because he could literally be a psycho killer in the privacy of his time alone. And of course Dexter is.
The laws of Harry dictate that being alone is not normal, and it is not in spite of but because of Dexter not being normal, liking being alone, that he has to fake emotions and happiness in being with another. That he has to work to have a relationship solely because he needs to blend in as a serial killer.
Dexter of course completely subscribes to the dictates of Harry and therefore makes it a part of his mission to not be alone. He has trouble with relationships though when the woman he is with realizes he doesn’t have another level – but with training, he is learning even to fake that. In a way, he decides to buy in, because of Harry, the social norm of not being alone, of not being single and always seeking out relationships.
While not every single person is a serial killer, and not everyone who likes being alone is an empty mental void lacking emotions, people who choose to be alone are certainly looked on an odd with the potential to be dangerous by society.