Event and Structure: Romance

Mel has written a post on some initial thoughts on a book she is working on about new rituals of dating. Her blog is not letting me play and leave a comment, so here is the extended remix:

I can’t help but think teenagers and technology are both red herrings here. Well, that’s what Catherine and I are arguing in our book, anyway. The tendency to hedge your bets against commitment, or as Schofield Clark writes, ‘to feel connected to others’ and ‘experience affirmation in an environment that does not risk [one’s] current social position’ seems to be a phenomenon that has been growing for some time, one that has as much to do with class, education, location and work/lifestyle as it does age or technological proficiency. What seems more significant is that feminist movement has been critical in each manifestation of dating. In this sense, if we can attribute the rituals of dating in public to the shared emancipatory desires of the working class and a rebellious upper class – specifically, of women desperate to escape the coercive, surveillant forms of indenture and obligation the family unit and domestic sphere then demanded – then whose interests are being served by the fluid relationships emerging today?

Red herrings: 1) ‘teenagers’ is code for adults who don’t fit the regular expectations. The ramones sang about not wanting to grow up (when they were adults). 2) ‘technology’ is for people who don’t realise that roads and cars were once ‘technology’ and now they are everyday life. This doesn’t change the fact that they are still ‘technology’ however what is also forgotten is the the capacities for human action have also changed as humans have literally evolved to exist within automobilised societies. We are capable of different things now then we were 150 years ago.

Mel’s post has been in my thoughts over the last couple of days as I often write about romance themed stuff on my blog (like actually write it and write about it). I had to set up a myspace because the randoms I was hooking up with when out and about would exchange blog urls with me during txt flirtations and have no f’ckin idea what i was talking about on my blog. This did not help any cause, and it is not without some irony that Mel’s next post on her blog immediately after the above linked post is cultural capital!!!

Some of Kate Crawford‘s ideas about ensembles of different kinds of relationships are probably relevant, like intimacy, romance, sex, and cooking-and-cleaning abilities of a potential housemante don’t all have to be rolled up into a single person.

I want to pick up on something else in Mel’s post. From my perspective the things Mel lists (class, education, location and work/lifestyle, age or technological proficiency) are particular structurations, but intimacy (for example) can be both a structural thing (like familial relationships, in radical gender politics as ‘indentured domesticity’ perhaps) or belong to specific events that are made possible by such structurations (eg my example of ‘hooking up’). Isn’t there a difference between the politics of social structure (that may be, as Deleuze might argue, virtual trans-generational events) and the politics of events?

For example, I find myself continually and almost accidently enthralled in romantic scenarios with those of relatively equal structural position (class, education, location and work/lifestyle, age, technological proficiency), however they are not and I don’t want them to be ‘equal’ to me within the events of romance. From what I have figured out they don’t want me to be ‘equal’ to them either, while actually being their ‘equal’. What does equality mean within intimacy of the event and intimacy of structure? Different things. Equality within an event is more like a rhythm, like the ebb and flow of waves and the tide, where actors play different roles on the same stage. This is not only sexual difference in the biological sense but the difference in complementary libidinal apparatuses. Maybe this only makes sense from my hetro, masculine perspective?

Anyway, it has been bugging me for a long time trying to figure out what is going on with the gendering and politics of asymmetric participation within events from structurally equivalent positions.

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