Wednesday, February 14, 2007

happy valentine's day!

in celebration of this vaunted Hallmark holiday, i give you a particularly Contrarian™ and deliciously incisive passage from the first chapter of Against Love. enjoy, mes amours*!

Could there be something about contemporary coupled life itself that requires all this hectoring, from the faux morality of the work ethic to the incantations of therapists and counselors to the inducements of the entertainment industries, just to keep a truculent citizenry immobilized within it?...

Clearly the couple form as currently practiced is an ambivalent one – indeed, a form in decline say those census-takers – and is there any great mystery why? On the one hand, the yearning for intimacy, on the other, the desire for autonomy; on the one hand, the comfort and security of routine, on the other, its soul-deadening predictability; on the one side, the pleasure of being deeply known (and deeply knowing another person), on the other, the strait-jacketed roles that such familiarity predicates – the schtick of couple interactions; the repetition of the arguments; the boredom and the rigidities which aren’t about to be transcended in this or any other lifetime, and which harden into those all-too-familiar couple routines: the Stop Trying To Change Me routine and the Stop Blaming Me For Your Unhappiness routine…Not to mention the regression, because, after all, you’ve chosen your parent (or their opposite), or worse, you’ve become your parent, tormenting (or withdrawing from) the mate as the same-or-opposite sex parent once did, replaying scenes you were once subjected to yourself as a helpless child – or some other variety of family repetition that will keep those therapists guessing for years. Given everything, a success rate of 50 percent seems about right (assuming that success means longevity).




*i like having knowledgable blogger friends like educand who can correct my french grammar. this is especially useful when one doesn't actually speak any french whatsoever!

5 comments:

educand said...

Wouldn't that be "mes amours"?

Ahahah, sorry, shouldn't nitpick French grammar on people's blogs...

kate.d. said...

ha, educand, i was wondering how long it would take for someone to correct me as i knew that was almost certainly incorrect french :) i actually don't speak a lick of french, and completely pulled that out of my ass!

that's why i having knowledgeable people like you around! i'm going to change it right now :)

kd'sm said...

Again, I can't resist... the presumption that duality is inevitably going to exist in marriage is a given...we can't escape duality in any aspect of our lives as long as we are on this planet:) The decision to stay unmarried likewise carries similar duality delemmas..not avoidable....

As for the second half of the quote I guess I could take serious offense that the description given is really nothing short of an incrdible generalization that I question regarding it's the reliability and validity. Does she have any data to back up such a dire description of "marriage"? It doesn't have to be that way unless one enters the marriage without long involved open communication between partners prior to deciding on marriage.

maybe, its the process, not the institution that needs changing??

Just My thoughts....Happy Valentine's day to you & Boycat:)

kate.d. said...

ah mom - it's a polemic. anyone who's married or in a long term relationship can certainly find something to be offended by here :)
don't go by the put-up-your-hackles factor, because that's the point!

Nadia said...

That's it, I'm buying the book!