- Considerations of "Modern life"
- Creative writing
- Joie de vivre
- New York City
- The law
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.
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.
It’s difficult to strike a balance between the opposing forces I’ve internalized. Say, the kind of romantic inclination which drives a person to take an international flight to play out a fantasy and the kind of cynicism that would tend to kill that seed of optimism from years of callous relationships. Those same forces pull me in directions I know I shouldn’t/needn’t go. Like, even though these non relationships are unstable as fuck, there’s a certain comfort in them that I have, mostly from the control, even though I have none. Whereas a “real” relationship seems to make me really uncomfortable (if I think too much about it) even though everything in my life right now indicates that’s what I should probably stop playing wild games with myself.
Makes no damn sense.
It’s like when Carrie fainted from the Russian’s “romantic gestures”, which were admittedly contrived and far-fetched, but the hyperbole makes a point: dating is so fucked sometimes that gallantry and chivalry almost seem out of the norm and would have the opposite effect of driving you away.
Which is just rude and unfair.
What kind of world is that, where we’re quicker to rationalize dysfunctional behavior than to take a nice gesture at face value? More wary of genuineness than these detached inaccessibility?
And what is it with dudes and their sixth sense about certain things? Impeccably bad timing on the miss you, let’s hang texts.
Turning the overthinking off, which has ruined many good things.
Related to the last post on the banality of “getting to know someone”, the thing is, it’s at once
interesting exciting and banal. on the one hand, everything you say and ask feels like something that’s been done before, but then there’s this completely new person that changes the equation a bit. Still, I’ve done it often enough that I almost expect a certain set of answers from people. Contrary to personal beliefs, topical interests rarely vary from the standardized 20 something urbanite answers. And while these topical interests may forge a common language to begin a conversation, people absurdly try to assert it as some sort of identity fortification. No, just no. As much as someone tries to distinguish themselves with some zeitgeist musical/movie/whatever taste, all of it is generic. I mean, people’s taste interests me in a way; but at the same time, it’s utter ennui especially when people curate this persona of varied interests but there’s nothing underneath it. You know? I mean, what does it matter if you know all these indie bands that don’t exist yet if you are a boring bag of generic peas? Music taste per se does not make you interesting. Or maybe people get off on talking about topic interests, because that is the only scope they’re comfortable with. Maybe I just want to overshare.
I think I’m feeling a little jaded at the moment. My attitude can be at such polarity sometimes – for awhile I was a fiend for meeting new people; now everything is settling a bit and I almost have (rigid) expectations for how human relationships develop. Everyone knows exactly what game the other is playing. The strategic timing and content of texts. All of it bores me. It is especially disheartening when you still have to do that months into it, but such is the dynamic of the “non relationship”. Please, je suis fatiguee. All of that get in the way of having any sort of actual meaning, which, depending on who you are, could be preferable or not. It’s such a restless state of being – to move through life without some sort of anchor. It’s doable, and not really difficult or painful or anything negative, but it’s as much of a lull as some people would see in a relationship. Sidebar: why are non platonic opposite sex relationships so necessarily more complicated than regular friendships? Remove the sexual expectations, you are still trying to learn a new person, no? Or is the lack of interest in the latter the real complication? Feigning interest in order to hit it in the morning? Is that why I find dating extra banal? It reminds me of absurd theater. Everyone’s at it like it’s a rehearsal over and over again that after awhile it doesn’t even require thought. Where is the humanity in that? Everyone becomes a…role. Am I the only person who find it absurd that you can decide to bypass some serious requisites (in other human interactions), decency for example, in people you are doing the most with? This is perhaps why my heart can’t catch a boner. Whatever happened to the idea of the dating dance being an extended session of foreplay? I mean, really, dim lighting and awkward conversations, is anyone really ever aroused by that? Or do you have sex in lieu of having that? (I get the biology and physicality of it, but there’s got to be more, right?) There’s no dignity in it. At the same time, I understand you can’t force these things, so it’s just frustrating.
Is it wrong that I preempt endings with men way before anything happens? And I mean, I talked about this with a friend last week. This basically causes me to act like an asshole – when there is really no reason to – just in case.
But on the bright side there are the rare connection and mutual empathy that almost feel like physical weight; so much so that it’s perpetually present even when you’re alone. You know? It’s amazing.
Pretty much the best thing he’s ever said. Hi, I’m a girl.
Essentially, I was writing about the romantic temperament. Jim Willard is so overwhelmed by a first love affair that he finds all other lovers wanting. He can only live in the past, as he imagined the past, or in the future as he hopes it will be when he finds Bob again. He has no present. So whether the first love object is a boy or girl is not really all that important. The novel was not about the city so much as about the pillar of salt, the looking back that destroys. Nabokov handled this same theme with infinitely greater elegance in Lolita. But I was only twenty when I made my attempt, while he was half as old as time. Anyway, my story could only have had a disastrous ending. Obviously, killing Bob was a bit much even though the original narrative was carefully vague on that point. Did he or didn’t he kill him? Actually, what was being killed was the idea of perfect love that had existed only in the romantic’s mind. The other person—the beloved object—had forgotten all about it.
– Gore Vidal, Paris Review
1. Do you enjoy the recent increase in posts? I feel like I might as well have a tumblr sometimes since pitching Rih Rih against Charli doesn’t exactly do justice to the kind of blogs that WordPress is supposed to maintain. And I increasingly feel like sharing less on fb and more random bits on my blog, because I am friends with real people on fb now. People who are in law school and are more serious than I am, and I need to therefore be more PC, etc. My humor can be obnoxious to other people, just because they’re not always kosher. Sharing on a blog filters out people who might not want to see it, since you’d have to seek it out. I’m so considerate sometimes I feel like Mother Theresa. And Tumblr is a much more friendly platform for that kind of sharing. Also, as I started blogging more, I toyed around with the idea of a more focused blog so as to earn more consistent readers, like, only about fashun, but then I realized that I would not be able to take myself seriously if I did that.
2. As you may know, the CFDA and Fordham Law established a Fashion Law Institute, I sat awkwardly in the audience when Madame Von Furstenberg lauded Fordham warm regard and support of the fashion industry and its struggling designers. Well, the fashion club (Couture Counselor), in conjunction with the Fashion Law Institute will be holding the first event on Wednesday, in which, we will be learning about the art of drafting a “licensing agreement”. I got the workshop materials the other day. The fact pattern is for the licensing of the name of a female celebrity to produce a line of “party” dresses, tops, jewelry, shoes, handbags and eventually perfume. Seriously. Can you reconcile the supposed end goal with that? I mean, I had an idea how naive and idealist my initial hopes for fashion law were, but this is kind of cruel.
3. I love any individual with a genuine albeit effed up point of view way more than someone who is so vested in the politically correct that it’s become their actual value system (or those who just feign PC-ness without genuine conviction). Way better, if only because it’s more interesting. A little irreverence goes a long way. What does that say about me? Nothing, don’t read too deep into it, I’m much too vapid. By the way, I knew a guy like that. He used to read this blog, because he “liked” me (the idea of me, being this better than you broad like he’s a better than you dude, except it was all in his head.), not because he liked the blog. Obviously, we no longer speak.
For the moment my desire to be loved is enough to spur me to action. I want to be loved despite my faults. It isn’t exactly true that I’m a provocateur. A real provocateur is someone who says things he doesn’t think, just to shock. I try to say what I think. And when I sense that what I think is going to cause displeasure, I rush to say it with real enthusiasm. And deep down, I want to be loved despite that.
What is your definition of a Romantic?
It’s someone who believes in unlimited happiness, which is eternal and possible right away. Belief in love. Also belief in the soul, which is strangely persistent in me, even though I never stop saying the opposite.
You believe in unlimited, eternal happiness?
Yes. And I’m not just saying that to be a provocateur.