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Monday, December 27, 2004

The Trouble With Relationships

In Iran, a 16 year-old girl was recently hanged for having an indiscretion with an older man. I'd link the article, but it seems that if you google "Iran" and "horrific class induced injustice" you probably get about twenty thousand similar stories, and those are the ones that get reported. Now, I'm not saying that the unthinkable, repressive and sexist religious tyranny in the Middle East is a good thing, nor would I, were I female, want to live there. But at least there would be fewer magazine articles playfully titled "The Bambi Complex: Playing Hard-to-get While Maintaining Innocence."

Now, I have this theory, which most people will call obvious (becuase it is) but which I've had a difficult time getting people to admit to when applied to their specific situation. The theory is, quite simply, that people have bought in too heavily to the idea that strife defines a relationship. Somehow, there has to be some obstacle overcome in order for a person to enjoy movies with another person and occasionally have sex. It's not enough to just like someone any more, there has to be some epic drama accompanying it, preferably with an accompanying score that has at least three Radiohead tracks. There just aren't nearly enough good reasons not to end up with someone. With all the class divisions gone and social taboos fading fast, with families no longer selling daughters like cattle and the lack of social prestige associated with marriage outside all but the most Old Money circles basically all you have is disagreements about whether to watch Seinfeld or The Swan.

Even distance, which previously was tantamount to the death knell of a meaningful emotional togetherness, is becoming more and more of a nonissue with the proliferation of so many technological advances. A hundred years ago, the journey from Washington to New York was a serious thing undertaken by serious people. Now, there are six different ways to get there for the cost of a sandwich. Now there are just a bunch of Dr. Phil-esque excuses, all of which boil down to essentially the same platitudes about social norms.

cranked out at 8:30 PM | |

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