Thursday, March 6, 2014

All Your Balls Are Belong to Us

Truthfully, this title has nothing to do at all with the content of this post. Perhaps things will come full circle the way writing sometimes does. I would relish that moment and sigh a contented sigh like I always do when things work out that way--when an idea strikes you and you honestly make it work and work well. But, I'm not even going to lie and try to pretend like that will happen here. How could it when that line is twisted from a badly translated japanese NES game? Things like that don't come full circle. So, I'll just tell you that the more appropriate title is Why You Can't Give Up on Love.

No woman will ever satisfy me. I know that now, and I would never try to deny it. But this is actually okay, because I will never satisfy a woman, either.

This line is from an essay in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman. It’s something people almost instantaneously disagree with whenever I bring it up in conversation, but it’s also something so inherently true that it reverberates in my mind each and every time I attempt to dwell on the ideas of love and relationships. Invariably, talking about love leads to talking about marriage and the belief in finding that one person out there for you—you’re other half, soul mate, the yin to your yang. People are looking for another person to complete them, to fulfill them in ways they have never been able to do on their own. 

I can’t help noticing the absurdity of this.

With life-long, monogamous relationships, people believe there is one person in the world who satisfies all their needs, that no one else will ever do, and that in turn, they will satisfy all their partner’s needs. Forever. Despite the fact that people grow and change, people believe they will always grow and change in complimentary ways which never puts their union at odds. You will continually support each other’s endeavors even when you’re not in agreement with those endeavors. You will be an anchor for your partner even when that partner is being a selfish baby and even when they are too busy to be there for you. There’s no marriage clause about picking up your dirty underwear, not picking your nose in the sanctity of your bed, brushing your teeth EVERY single day at the very least, or blowing loads of cash on useless toys. And, even if there were, people would violate them left and right because marriage is wholly unreasonable as it is understood today. That’s why adultery is so commonplace. Vows mean nothing in the long run. They're not, at all, legally binding in that real consequences exist for breaking them. 

I know a lot of people are ready to argue with me here; it wouldn’t be the first time. I have friends who do it all the time. Plus, we've all seen the memes about making marriage last by working on it (memes that fail to mention those two people likely hate each other's guts and only stayed together because divorce was way more of a social taboo for their generation). Memes that attempt to make divorced folks like myself feel like pieces of shit for giving up on something that so obviously wasn't working no matter how much effort we put into it. Memes and comments that somehow imply that forever is possible as long as you believe in it. I mean, if belief counted for anything, my ass would fit in a size 4 dress because I believe it should be.

So, to back up my marriage argument, I decided to conduct a little social experiment. I opened profiles on 2 dating sites just to see how many married men would contact me in a month’s time. What I hoped to show was just how callously people treated their vows even if they truly love their spouses. It seems to be a fairly common occurrence, and people tend to argue that it only happens when a weak minded individual caves to temptation.

Or not.

In just 1 month, I was contacted by 15 admittedly married men. That’s nearly 4 adulterers actively seeking an affair per week. And these were regular dating sites not the kind which caters strictly to affairs like Ashley Madison. On these sites, I filled out my profiles completely, and the messages poured in on their own. I never looked for anyone to contact myself. I never sent the initial message—never reached out to anyone. Obviously, I didn’t have to…those men were ready, willing, and able to find someone.

Adultery seems more forgivable, more understandable when a person loses all will power in a moment of weakness....a whiff of perfume on the cusp of some fierce flirting, the shape of a woman's ass in her pencil skirt, the hint of aftershave on a man's skin, the touch of a hand on your arm...they're all likely to crumble any resolve in just the right scenario. If those were the only cases of adultery that happened, then perhaps it could be chalked up solely to weak-minded individuals. But, in my experiment, that wasn't the case. In actuality, men (and likely women though I didn't conduct the "research" for that apsect of things) knowingly and purposefully sought complete and total strangers with whom to fuck outside of their marriages. No strings attached. No pictures. Sparse profiles. The intent, it seems, is not to satisfy the lack of a connection that could be forged through flirting and shared experiences culminating in a state of weakness. It was to purposefully seek out something new and novel because it's taboo...risque...the call of the forbidden fruit was just to strong to resist. 

Even more telling, though, were the men who weren’t married but were absolutely unconcerned about what I want. I state numerous times in my profiles that I am not looking for any type of relationship and that I don’t believe the commitments, boundaries, and expectations that go along with traditional relationships actually work to make and keep people content. Still, I received messages in droves from men who stated they were clearly looking for long-term relationships. Even when I pointed out the discrepancies to these would-be-suitors, I was told it didn’t matter. It doesn’t matter? What I think and want is so vastly different from what you want, but that doesn’t matter…. Because, in the end, all I need to do is find the "right man" or just get a "good dicking" to straighten me out. That's what I've been told at least.

I think I’ve found a big part of the problem without intending it.

People (generally speaking of course) are very much self-absorbed. That’s the whole idea behind capitalism and the very principle this country demands. Each person worries about his or her self and when it comes to other, the attitude remands to “survival of the fittest.” In essence, what another person needs or wants is of no concern when it comes to your own happiness. We let others suffer so we can succeed. It’s the American way. Relationships haven’t seemed to escape that selfishness even though the idea is to form a union with your other half. The actions of partners are completely contradictory to the very fundamentals of the union they so readily joined.

I blame, at least in part, movies and television for this.

I think media sources have played on and intensified dramatic life events. People go from enemies to lovers before 2 hours have passed. People in the strangest circumstances fall in love and live happily ever after. Men go to great lengths to woo and win over women that had never before given them the time of day. People marry within families, screw best friends, and rekindle with scorned lovers with a dramatic flair that cannot be contained. In movies and television, people fall in love so quickly and fiercely and love so intensely that we set our expectations for what love could (should) be at a high level. Real life can never compete. With capitalist ideals, we feel we each have an opportunity to be successful. We’ve grown to desire our lives to be meaningful; we feel life has no purpose unless it’s spontaneous, dramatic, and intense. Yet, most people fall into daily routines and ruts which vastly contrasts the type of life they crave. Media feeds into that. We selfishly want the kind of life we see play out before us on screen without giving it, and that is why monogamy and marriage fail more often than not. People fail to realize that finding meaning in life is more than a romantic dinner on a roof-top or a tear-filled declaration of adoration. It's more than what can ever be portrayed on a screen because life has more dimensions than that. It's more complex. But, when we don't see real love materialize like it does on a screen or see it peak with no pits, that boredom sets in, and then, apparently, you find yourself surfing Plenty of Fish for the next available easy lay who won’t (maybe) get you in trouble with your spouse if you manage to sneak away long enough to get in a good screw. It's all about the novelty.

We’ve killed what love can be by putting boundaries and unreasonable expectations on it. The media constantly reminds us of the love we’ll never really have, and every failed marriage just strengthens our resolve to find it. That’s why no one I know can sit down in a conversation and agree with the points I’ve made. Their eyes often betray the truth, but to admit it out loud would mean the end of their search for the one thing which can make them whole and finally bring them true happiness. And, it’s so much easier to find that happiness in someone else than to do some self-exploration and find it within themselves---when that happens, there is not a constant need for someone else to do the satisfying and fulfilling, there's no emptiness when routines take hold, and no push to always find something to entertain and escape to...When media-driven ideals are left behind, people begin to realize that being part of a union means compromising and that giving up doesn't mean failing--that it's a natural consequence of human relations. We can't give up on this idea of love we're continually force fed because it seems so much more amazing than the real thing. But, that's exactly what we need to do--give up on the idea of it, and find whatever version really makes us happy for whatever time we have it.

No balls were harmed in the creation of this post.

No comments:

Post a Comment