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“Daisey’s fiction was predicated on the notion that China is essentially unknowable, that reporters never go to factory gates, that highways exit to nowhere.” – Evan Osnos
And that is the state of America’s xenophobia. It goes beyond a mea culpa that cripples any interactions with China. The most dangerous aspect of ignorance is the strength of the conviction. It’s a conviction that drove Daisey to contrive a story to corroborate his assumptions. The most disheartening aspect of the story is that so many of us fell for it. It’s like the moment in French class when I realized that Diderot’s Bougainville doesn’t tell us about any “real” exoticisms of the island people, but that it does tell everything about the distorted prejudices of the very French narrator.
I can’t help but draw a parallel between the Daisey story and Steven of “Seeking Asian Female” (or, Single Asian Females’ worst nightmare). Stereotypes do not waver in the face of actual interactions; however unsubstantiated those stereotypes end up being – it could always be written off as an exception. As if reality can always make concessions to fit a picture painted in broad strokes.
It is particularly disheartening, because this kind of noise and theatrics will almost always drown out sincere attempts at dialogue and truth seeking. The sources for that are out there, but Americans love propaganda more than any socialist do. You’d better believe that shit.
I’ve finally settled back into the routine, though I chose to abstain from shenanigans this weekend, which came as a surprise to even myself. During my last week in China, I had a major emo moment with Janelle [via bbm thankgod] re: my experiment with running away from humanity [ok, don’t take it literally, I’m not making a subversive comment on Chinese and Korean people and their exclusion from humanity.]. Yet after a handful of the requisite “I’ve missed you so and tell me all about your trips” mini reunions, I am looking for a break again. So I took the night off to write and watch “Up in the Air” for the 3rd time in as many months [yes, really]. The movie touches me in so many places; I don’t even know where to start.
I’ve been feeling uneasy all week, for a number of reasons, not all of which can be divulged here. But the mixture of jetlag and lingering cold is doing nothing for my insomniac tendencies. Tossing and turning until the wee hours of the morning makes me more neurotic than usual.
The thing is, I’m not sure what I need right now. I guess it’s just a weird time in life? I just paid my deposit for a seat at L-School, which means this blog may soon turn into a giant snoozefest. I had all these grand epiphanies when I was away – a combination of being on my own a lot and having too much time to think and being in a new place always makes me all introspective about where I am and shit [figuratively and literally]. Whenever I visit a city, I get all curious about history on a much more significant way than I would ever think about New York. I don’t ever think about the fact that I am in New York, like how I think about my place in this other city
So, maybe a brief recap?
I’m a champ at frontin’. Between me and my circle of bitchin’ friends, you’d think females have gotten past that pathetic thing called feelings, attachment, and hurtin’ [wanna check into the heartbreak hotel, sorry we’re closed]. Posing is an art, damn. Sometimes even I’m shocked when one of my friends starts a minor breakdown [except for JY, obvs, because let’s be serious, that act only fools fluffy haired music nerds who dangle their legs over the L train platform at Bedford Ave.]. Obviously, we also totally judge those girls who are constant MESSES over their emotional melodrama.
Is there a medium to this? Since I think both extremes are kinda taboo. How does one strike a balance between exploding with emotions left and right and burying all skeletons beneath a pristine cover of charm and wit?
I remember maybe four years ago, this dude that I was dating told me that he didn’t think I’d be phased by anything. Of course, at the time, I was all like, you damn skippy, son. You ain’t shit, now rub my belly. And then of course I was phased when we stopped talkin’ and whatnot. Actually, I was major upset; admitting this years later is the maturation of Jaezeezy.
Indeed, because she lived about 1500 years after Ceasar?
Between detailing the five conferences, paper, interviews, book, and committees he’s working on, the professor peppered the narrative of his career with mentions of his deteriorated marriage. At the end of the two hour lunch, having summed up his endless commitments over the next year, he trailed off with “yeah, building an empire…”, which just sounded like a sad consolation.
Every relationship fights its own battles of pragmatism and romance. When a client walked in today with a man (as opposed to the more salacious, “paramour”) who was clearly not her husband, it occurred to me how much the balance can shift in either direction. She didn’t seem particularly inclined for infidelity – frown if you will at the thought that I can judge such books by their covers, but she has always seemed very earnest, humble and soft spoken. And yet here she was, with a man whose eyes followed her movements, clear about their place in her life – in possession, while her husband is an ocean away and their marriage certificate silently judged from a file folder in her lap.
Many of our clients pair off in this way.
While many writers have waxed poetic about the higher virtues of “love” as an emotion, which, amongst other things like thought, elevate us above other living things, these scenarios make apparent the luxury of that thought. The mere contemplation of love is truly a luxury. And if it is the case, then does it make these couples any more base, though they may shed tears and hurt just the same? And what of the love that may be borne out of mutual respect for each other’s hardships and suffering? (It is in my nature to glorify suffering, because I am my mother’s child. *Sadface*).
This is not to say that my own notions of romantic love aren’t some convoluted ideals cobbled from Sapphic myths, Platonic musings, and the most egoiste expectations of l’amour courtois (thanks Madame for instilling in me the most impractical/impracticable knowledge). But in light of the more immediate demands of life and its circumstances, this preoccupation with love and its seemingly intangible et ceteras is kind of frivolous.
Because it might as well be renamed Manogamy to reflect a man’s role in dictating the terms of a relationship.
My biggest issue with this article is its perpetuating gender and sexual stereotypes in one shot. Is there really no other way to discuss a new way of defining a “relationship” other than implying deviation and therefore homosexuality?
There are SO MANY THINGS WRONG with this article though – Conflating sex, love, emotion and marriage/relationship; equivocating sexual preference with moral turpitude (projection of moral values and associations onto others whom you judge); the completely male perspective; perpetuating stereotypes; lacking in imagination.
1. Male homosexual relationship model as a guide for a discussion about nonmonogamy in the context of a marriage is misguided on so so many levels. First, as hard as it may try to veer away from the promiscuity issue, the underlying assumption and by virtue of its focus on the male orgasm/sexuality simplifies homosexual relationships are outside of sexual norms and have no concept of fidelity. If you can deduce the fact that homosexuals can be in sexually non-monogamous relationships because of the nature of male sexuality and for that reason alone, then why is the discussion of love, trust, emotions necessary in the context of a hetero relationship? Because it’s inherently different? Heteros can’t do the same, because we’re inherently more complex and less “basic” than homosexuals? And isn’t it just about the non-monogamy in the sexual realm? Isn’t that always the obsession of everyone? Because it’s easy, it’s obvious, it’s less abstract than emotional infidelity? Additionally, homosexual non-monogamy the article refers to doesn’t mention being in the context of having a family/marriage, SO HOW IS THAT EVEN AN APPROPRIATE comparison at all? Non-monogamy is a much more accessible discussion with less risks for EVERYONE, homosexual and heterosexuals alike, when you’re not entangled in a way that makes you liable for more than just emotions and ego. I don’t know why the article couldn’t take a cultural stance and focus on the other cultures’ definitions of relationships (which it briefly mentions) more instead of taking this homosexual/heterosexual dichotomy. Even just in Western European cultures (to which American culture is supposed to be the closest kin), these definitions are a lot more fluid and a lot less conservative. A reading of Heptamern would reveal that life in France even in the 1500s, when Catholicism was alive and well, is more adventurous than a night in Chelsea.
2. With that said, I completely agree with the article’s premise that everyone should define their own relationships and not according to societal conventions that are largely based on some really conservative set of puritan values which makes no allowance for sexual imagination beyond popping out babies for Jesus Christ. I mean I can make no judgment about Anthony Weiner’s scandal except that I think it’s a little pathetic – what is he 15, and likes to cyber? But while the endgame for many people is intercourse or actual contact, if he gets off by sending pics of himself to women, then he hasn’t gotten short changed in the adultery game. The only transgression he is guilty of is his betrayal and dishonesty; those are purely between his wife and him. Americans have to get it through their head that having/wanting non-vanilla sex doesn’t make you morally depraved.
3. Mostly because in the American conception, you don’t get that from your husband/wife, you must get it through some devious channel, you must therefore be susceptible to morally depraved behavior. You have to be whores for each other, true. While the root of infidelity is a partner’s own selfishness and greed, and it’s not fair to then blame the cuckolded spouse (already scorned) for the breach, I can’t, with good conscience, say that I won’t side-eye a spouse who gains over 20 pounds and/or stops giving it up and who then cry about being a victim. And also, these discussions about sexuality inevitably makes everything sound like a fucking perverse fetish – like getting cake smashed in the face, which is so peculiar that it makes this discussion seem inaccessible and irrelevant to everyone but the guy who likes getting cake smashed.
4. The paragraph about women having difficulty saying no to certain sexual requests takes us back to pre-1960 where wives have no voice and only have sex insofar as is necessary to reproduce and satisfy husbands. Give me a fucking break. Male perspective on sex can be far more sanitized than that of women’s. Hello, madonna/whore complex, there is no sex, just a beautiful manifestation/consummation of my admiration, so much so that I would even say that some women may have trouble suggesting deviation from the routine – more trouble than saying no for fear of ruining that image, let’s talk about the difficulty of that gender dynamic instead. It is purely one-sided and about the man in that case. Even just amongst my acquaintances, I know plenty of men who would project fear of a woman being a whore if she is more sexually adventurous than her male counterpart.
5. Male perspective: I don’t know this Dan Savage guy, but he sounds sane, reasonable and not completely vulnerable to categorical principles (either or conservative or liberal/completely depraved). But the whole: I’m a guy, this is my perspective, but anyway shouldn’t you know the perspective of the gender you’re in a relationship with thing is so wack – 1. it’s not that complicated to figure out the perspective of the other person, especially if you’re in a relationship with them (knock on wood, hubris is not my achilles’ heel) 2. not all male perspectives are that of the alpha type A American meat head who compartmentalizes logic, emotions and sex.
6. The article, however, hits it completely on the head when the author characterizes our view on infidelity essentially as an insecurity, both an insecurity of inadequacies within ourselves and the fear of being alone. The problem is that the insecurities are hardly ever addressed, they’re instead projected at the party at fault as if the shortcomings underlying insecurities don’t have any part/contribution to the problem. So they go unchanged and no self improvements are made, because it’s easier to find a scapegoat. And, you know, cheating eclipses everything.
7. I’m just surprised at the lack of a more in depth discussion of the more practical issues of infidelity in a marriage. Like, using domestic funds to woo some mistress. Writing about this without consideration to the practical matters is as futile and unrealistic an exercise as recounting a fairytale as a portrayal of a relationship. We are not 16 and relationships don’t just exist on love. Sorry, no.
I hate it when…
Someone tries to approach me/befriend me based on a supposed common interest when it’s really just based on my interest. Or maybe, I’m dismissive of other people having that interest if they don’t know as much or just suck at having the interest.
Ok, more specifically, I guess I’m speaking of fashion, which is most common.
I’m really not a snob about fashion. I have friends who don’t care about fashion and just wear what they think look good on them and while I don’t always agree, I’m also not friends with them because I can talk about Helmut Lang with them for hours at a time. It’s really not that serious. You don’t have to like fashion or even care, shit, most of the time, I don’t care. When you don’t know jack shit about it and want to talk to me about it, though, for the sake of talking, it doesn’t flatter me that you’re trying to talk to me, I’m annoyed and that’s when I’d judge you and that judgment is excessively judgey. Like, when you say you like Anna Sui and think that that’s a jumping off point for us to conversate, you don’t care or know whatever you’re saying. Be yourself, like what you like, yo.
There’s this broad at school who approached me because she saw that I’m into clothes/shopping, so she figured we’d get along. I mean, fair, but she likes shopping the way all women like shopping. It’s mostly mindless, sequined/pretty shit that’s uninformed and has no perspective. Not that I’m super pared down or edited, but a general interest in clothing doesn’t do a damn thing for me in terms of a camaraderie. Don’t ask me to go shopping for a cocktail dress, I will be bored to death looking at frilly and pointless embellishments and will hate you forever and ever. We don’t have a common interest in that. If you don’t have anything else to say, you might wonder if you have anything else to offer or if you think that’s all there is to me, then should you really want to know me? It is ok, dawg. Trust me, fashion is not known to forge strong friendships. This is why I couldn’t even deal with the fashion club (YEAH I KNOW IMAGINE?). Mindless consumption and not having taste. I just can’t. I mean, it’s like someone approaching a music snob and saying, I love music, don’t you just love that song about the G6? I mean, really. Get out of my face.