04 May 2010

Oh, last issue of Maroon Weekly! You make me so angry.

You know what is the best of all procrastination methods? Blogging! So, if you regular readers are like, "Holy shit, Courtney, are you on crack? Four posts in one weekend?" the answer is no, I am not on crack. I am avoiding paper-writing. Well, not avoiding. Just break-taking. A lot. But I am still writing things! So, neutral?

Anyway! Maroon Weekly! It is often horrifying! Let's talk about it. Last Thursday was the last of the issues this semester, and it was a doozy. Shorter Autumn Dawson: "Obama is teh worstest of all presidents! Liberals are sheeple for voting for him! Obama is un-American! Obama has done more damage than Bush! Also, Christians are totally persecuted in the U.S.!" I wish I was exaggerating. The best part is the claim that liberals are sheeple who voted for Obama without thinking. (Yes, the people who voted for McCain/Palin were thinking really hard about what that would mean for our country. Whereas liberals were just, "Oh! Black guy! I has vote?") The suggestion seems to be that Autumn doesn't understand how Obama was voted. I can tell her: by a majority. All presidents, barring electoral nonsense, are voted in by the majority of people. Does that mean all presidents (except Bush) were voted in by brainless sheeple? Is this yet another conservative claim that we should limit the vote to people who matter? (We all know what that's code for.) Autumn suggests that Obama is failing even at being liberal, and that liberals have unthinkingly gotten us into a mess that even they don't like. (You know what my liberal friends who voted for Obama and I don't like about Obama? That he isn't being liberal enough. He still hasn't made DADT a priority. He still keeps throwing women under the bus. He didn't push for single-payer hard enough. And etc.) This article was so fucking ridiculous I had a hard time reading it all the way through. I handed it to a friend, whose reaction was similar. About two paragraphs in, he handed it back to me.

And then, the "Love Connection!" Written by our favorite resident misogynist! In this edition of "Cody Lillich gives judgmental and generally terrible advice," Teri asks the "Love Doctor" how to move from an open relationship to a closed one.
Dear LC,
I’ve been in an open relationship with Tim for about 4 months. We both have really busy schedules, and we decided early on that commitment–for either of us–was impossible. So we decided we would spend time together when we could (once or twice a week), and that’s worked out fine.

I’ve never asked him if he’d been on other dates or if he’d fooled around. Although I’ve been curious. He never asked me, either. Honestly, I haven’t seen anyone else since we started the relationship. I’ve left the door open for anything, just in case something came along. But I’m so busy and focused on other things, so the time I spend with Tim is enough for me.

Last week I was joking with him about all of the other guys I’d been seeing. Just for fun, just to get a reaction, in a flirty way. Tim said, “That’s good to know. Now I don’t feel bad.” But he didn’t say it in a flirty, joking way. He was serious.

It turns out Tim has been seeing two other girls the whole time. And I don’t know why, but I feel jealous. I knew the rules when I jumped into this, but still, my heart sank when he told me. When we agreed in the beginning to not have anything serious, I was fine with the idea. But now…I actually have feelings for him and I do feel like I want him in a closed relationship. How do I go about asking him to date just me? Is it possible?

Second-Thoughts Teri
There are a lot of sensitive, thoughtful, and genuinely helpful responses that one could give to Teri's dilemma. Cody's is not one of them:
Open relationships are for porn stars, hookers and gigolos. In fact, the words “open” and “relationship” don’t make sense next to each other. It’s a paradox. It’s like saying the door is open closed. So call it what it is: promiscuous dating. You guys are just friends with benefits (and apparently he’s had more benefits than you).
Is this guy allergic to sensitivity? Could he be any more fucking judgmental? Also, is he living in a box? Tons of people have open relationships. Successful open relationships. It is not a paradox. And it is not necessarily "promiscuous dating" or "friends with benefits." There are even books written to help people navigate the different kinds of open relationships they can have. (The Ethical Slut is a good starting place.) Open relationships (or poly relationships) are not for everyone; but then, neither are monogamous ones. In short, Cody is being an ignorant asshat.
Of course you like him now and want commitment. He made you jealous, told you that you’re one of the two other hot chicks he’s been doing. But ask yourself if the feelings would be the same if you had also been fooling around with other guys?
Listen, these dating games only work when there’s no contractual terminology. The word “relationship” implies a contract, even if it’s tenuous next to the word “open.” Next time, get your terms straight from the beginning. Steer clear from labels that might bind you. Just say “Let’s date,” or “Let’s just have fun,” or “I’m not looking for anything serious right now.” But you’ll only be able to say these things if you really mean them. Make sure your skin is thick enough to deal with the possibility of a guy with multiple women. And make sure your heart is out of it.
 And, sure. You can ask him if he’d like a closed relationship with you. But good luck getting him to kick two other girls out of bed.
Actually, open relationships work best if there is "contractual terminology." The reason that Teri and Tim are having issues is because she is not talking to him honestly, and he is not talking to her honestly. The only real solution to this problem is an honest and open conversation between the two of them about what they want. And Teri needs to consider whether she would be open to a poly relationship, albeit one that is more committed than they currently have. You can care for someone (keeping "your heart" definitively in it) and still have an open relationship (which can mean a number of things).

Cody's advice is non-advice. He tells Teri to forget it, basically, because he assumes that every man is as big of an asshole as he is. Cody acts like all men care about is sex (Obviously, no self-respecting man would want to have a relationship with icky women. Gross.) and that if women don't trick men into having relationships with them, and use sex as a bargaining chip, they'll never have satisfying (as if that kind of relationship could be satisfying) relationships with men. Which is, of course, bullshit, as any person who is in a healthy, happy relationship (or who knows other people in healthy, happy relationships) knows. Some men actually like being around their female partners. Craziness, I know! But it happens! And when it happens, they might actually be willing to be in a monogamous relationship with them. Or might be willing to compromise. If Tim and Teri have something, they'll be able to have an honest conversation about what they want from their relationship, and come to an agreement about what that relationship will look like. And they'll continue to have those conversations. It's a novel idea, I know, and not quite as much fun as telling Teri that she's an idiot and kind of slut.


Garland Grey said...

Maroon Weekly: When The Daily Mail section of The Battalion simply isn't racist, sexist, homophobic, or upper class entitled enough for you. Isn't it interesting that blatant sexism often goes hand in hand with verbal ineptitude?

"It’s a paradox. It’s like saying the door is open closed."

I think we can all agree that is pretty lazy paradox - in addition to failing to grasp the fact that paradox is a real concept - not just a catchall for "things my male privilege won't let me understand."

"Women wanting real advice about their relationships without being slutshamed? That doesn't make any sense. That's like an allegory. One about a turtle and a chick pea. The point is, stop being empowered."

Love your blog.


Lauren O said...

Oh man, when I read the line "Open relationships are for porn stars, hookers and gigolos" I actually wanted to laugh out loud. It was just so over the top and phobic and cruel that I couldn't believe someone wrote it in an advice column, let alone as the first sentence of their response. This is a medium that's supposed to be helpful and relatively non-judgmental, and this column just starts out with the equivalent of "YOU WHORE!"

Also can we talk about the grammatical confusion in the sentence "He made you jealous, told you that you’re one of the two other hot chicks he’s been doing"? He told her she was one of the other girls? That is a way bigger problem than hurt feelings in an open relationship, that is a serious identity problem, like a doppelganger-level identity problem. "Teri, I have something to tell you. You are one of the other two girls I'm sleeping with. I know, it's crazy. I thought I was sleeping with 3 girls at first too. But she looks exactly like you, she has the same name as you, and in fact, I stole both your social security cards, and she even has the same SSN as you. I think she might be an alternate-universe version of you, or possibly a future you who has traveled back in time specifically to fuck with my head. I don't...I just don't know what's going on anymore!"