Category Archives: Relationships

On doit exiger que je cherche la vérité, mais non que je la trouve.

“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.

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I have no direction here, stop whereever you want.

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?

Escapism

Everytime your name was brought up, I would act all nonchalant in front of an audience

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.

What am I doing wrong with my life?

Last night, between writing a draft of my 25 page final paper for China Intellectual Property and browsing Cyber Monday deals, I uncovered this piece of gem on Daily Intel: Yale is offering a seminar class on night life in NYC.

A SEMINAR.

I took my fair share of culture studies, namely just the freshman intro to rhetoric, the syllabus for which was built around relevant pop culture and media, you know, so as to appeal to the sleepy freshman brains who are in class at 8:30am in Binghamton where the sun don’t shine. And, yeah, I did write papers discussing the reciprocal/symbiotic influences between Hip Hop music and fashion, analyzing the seemingly divergent female narratives on the deterioration of a relationship in a Kelly Price R&B jam and a Eve rap hit. But this was in my first semester of college, I was 18 and I never thought for a second that this would be permissible topic of study as a thesis to a 4 year program that is supposed to be the build up of my 21 years on this earth. I assumed dedicating 4 years of education would add a new facet to my life, and that I should at least acquire new knowledge. College, in short, was not supposed to be an extension of my life before or out of college, because if that were a legitimate topic of study, then why would I even need to be in college? Even after composing a thesis on the cultural nuances I witnessed between living in Shanghai, New York and Paris, I always assumed that this intellectual curiosity is a natural by-product of, oh say, living a life. It was not until much later, after having worked for a year, did I realize that there are people out there who take on pop culture and lifestyles as a course of study and then as a overarching theme to a CAREER. People are making a living out of simply synthesizing fragments of everyday life through verbal articulation.

My ninjas, that is bullshit.

I get it. There are implications upon implications in every trend ever in society. But the implication of this particular phenomenon seems to be: this is a generation of people who is so existential so 24/7 that they find enough relevance in these trivialities to not only dissect but to create a whole discourse out of as if such extrapolations can have even a de minimis worth to the society beyond themselves. Not only that, but that the few who are “elevated” as studied in these issues, means that there is a whole generation of people who are interested but are capable of even less.

I am all about reading the casual blog post on fringe social issues that come thru in the movies, ads, or songs on some inadvertent philosopher business, but a seminar class? What do you suppose is the pre-requisite for the class? What are the accompanying texts? Perspectives on the gaze? Feminist response to the male gaze?

A quick google search of the instructor turned up his catalog of works on the Thought Catalog, after which I read a few more random posts on the site, which are desultory, if anything. These are published. When Charlie sent me a NYT post by Edith Zimmerman 2 weeks ago, she was critical of the casual style and generally lax standard of writing. I lamented that it is a new norm, that this is apt as blogs are increasingly legitimized as a medium of expression.

But these jawns are making me weep. I never considered pursuing writing, because I hold the discipline with esteem, and didn’t think that I had the requisite skills. Apparently, those skills? Not such a requisite! These writings make a mockery out of the craft by simply existing beyond a private realm. I mean, I just CANNOT.

Mona Lisa cannot Rome without Ceasar

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.

Twitter is down

I was making a Spotify playlist and updating facebook when I realized I have a blog, so here is another one of my infamous sudden overflow of entries.

Another post toward building my rep as a type A or someone who expects common courtesy:

What is the typical email reply time frame? A day? 2 days? How busy do you have to be to neglect emails? Otherwise, what’s the excuse? You’re rude? I have heard that people can just forget to respond or forget that they’re in correspondence with people, but I mean, is that acceptable? With the ubiquity of Smartphones which is attached to most bodies and or checked at intervals of no more than 5 hours, you’re really going to tell me, it just escaped your mind that there are messages which bear replying to even though they probably glare back at you as soon as you check your messages box? I’m not talking about the game of let me wait 10 hours before I text back in the beginning of a relationship; I’m talking about friends, and even worse – professional colleagues. A prompt response is not only necessary for clients, but a courtesy for all. There is little to no excuse for email – all the technical glitches are a weak attempt to justify it. It takes about 2 minutes tops for most emails, especially for friends. I understand professional emails require some time for drafting.

This is not like the whole I am so above all modern day technology and regular communications and the internet. This isn’t television. Remove the medium from it, it’s an issue of courtesy. Maybe I am too personally invested in this, because I routinely send out emails that get no replies. You’re not hiking the Himalayans, you’re not curing malaria in some obscure country, if I send you an email, especially one with a question? I am waiting for or expecting a response; otherwise I would’ve kept it to myself. Much like, if I didn’t want people to nodd furiously in agreement with my rant, I would’ve ruminated this rant and filed it away. What? Do I have to wish on a shooting star every time I send out an email? A reply too much to ask for? Because you’re so much busier than me? Or you just could care less than a poorly constructed/less than thoughtful response to my concerns/questions? And just because other people do it, doesn’t mean you’re excused. What are we, children? We do things because other people do it? If that were a justification, so many other things would be different – slavery would still be ok, no? Because other people do it?

It boggles my mind that people don’t see it as a problem and will shrug as if not answering emails is a character trait, like not having a sense of direction is a character trait (which one of my friends says all the time in a way that suggests that I should find it endearing). We can have a chuckle about it the first time you’re lost in Chinatown, but the fourth time you call to ask for directions while I’m at work or school? No, you’re lazy and inconsiderate.

The only kind of message that doesn’t deserve a reply? Random solicitation for sex from trifling dudes who have even less courtesy.

Manogamy

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.

A rant

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.

Nutella to my peanut butter

I don’t know if this makes me sadistic, narcissistic, or removed from my own emotional development, but:

I often try to imagine how you will feel when this entanglement begins to unravel – through the passage of time, a unilateral force, circumstances or whatever. More accurately, perhaps, I project how I imagine I would feel onto you, because I don’t know how this indefinite event at some undetermined time in the future will affect you. But when we lie in bed, bodies stacked like human Jenga, the mind wanders to far away places in the future when the space I occupy is a visible void though marked by nothingness and absence.  This feeling of reminiscence I’d have in the future for this very moment overtakes me and that’s when I want to tell you that I miss you, which is absurd, because you’re right there. So instead, I untangle myself and away from you, because I can’t face it.

In other words, how am I supposed to make peanut butter sandwiches when this jar of Nutella runs out?