Category Archives: False Expectations

Day: i feel like it.

So…in the midst of entering post-grad adulthood, I realized I actually miss blogging here everyday. I never realized how much of a home this was to me and my unsettled feelings about romance, love and movies. It was a good friend that allowed me to vent about everything without silently judging me. Sometimes, that’s all I really need.

Anyways, I wanted to share with everyone a small ethnography project I did for my cultural anthropology class. It was based on understanding the sociolingustics about dating among males and females. I’m not denying this could be more thorough, but I was able to grasp a small concept and delve a bit more deeper than I normally would. So take a whack at it, tell me your thoughts and enjoy!

*Obviously, names have been changed.

*Bing, It’s an Exchange of Power

As we venture deeper into the tech era, the modes of communication have diversified. Implications in dating have transformed and have aligned with such transformations. We are now not only faced with explicit difficulty in dating, but are now confronted with the difficulties of expressing emotion through electronic sources. In this paper, I demonstrate that males and females use various forms of communication, in particular electronic communication, in dating to maintain power over the variability of social situations.

This process of maintaining power within relationships allows modified curating over an expected language, a set of existing behavioral norms, both in the text message context and interpersonally. When we analyze the data, we can see how certain key terms such as “confidence” and “control” are frequently used when describing dating behaviors. For this study, a combination of methods was used. A series of in-person and informal interviews were held. Subjects were male and female, ages 21-26, all frequently engaged in several technologies to maintain contact. Subject A, Lothario, “thrived in interpersonal connections.” Once he attains a woman’s number, he is inclined to call them the next day. The idea of waiting seemed pointless to him he states and that he did not believe in a set of dating rules. He believed that it showing a sense of insecurity and to set himself apart, calling seemed more like a direct move instead of texting. When asked why he preferred calling he said, “conversation shouldn’t be scripted.” He described his style of dating as a means of proving “you’re not like anyone else.” What was present in this interview was Lothario’s ease in detecting what would be the form of communication based on the retriever. Lothario’s confidence seemed to differ from Subject B’s point of view when it came to approaching relations with the opposite sex. Steve can admit he was never keen on having phone conversations, a habit that carried on throughout his life. When asked what he thought was the best form of communication, he answered texting was. He explained, “easiest way to communicate because it gives you instant access, simulates being right there.” Steve felt that at times, phone calls could get “stale.” He cared for the fact that there was no urgency for immediacy, and more importantly, texts protect him from the awkwardness that phone conversations can have the tendency to do. The word “protects” seemed correlated to the idea of power once again.  Curation of conversation was also a novelty of texting. As Steve points out, texting allows him “to craft your senses to make it sound a bit clearer.”

However, what I needed to understand was this existing norms of dating etiquettes that was constantly referred. Subject 3 was able to touch on this aspect. Subject 3, John, 25 and a student, believed there was no set of preferences in calling or texting. In fact, everything related to communicating was based on existing set of dating rules, but somehow translated into today’s times. He felt like once a connection was established with the opposite sex; he would generally text them two days after. He felt the absence of his presence built anticipation and his “value would not be diminished.” Value seemed to fit in the pool of self-image, and again correlated to the facet of confidence. Texting too soon would make him appear desperate; texting too late meant he was not interested. John also noted that texting was the easiest way of not dealing with rejection because in essence, it was one-way communication. When asked what simple rules he followed up, he just said, “It’s common sense. The basics, we have the ability to take hints which is dependent on the communication.” When asked similar questions to females, there was an astounding agreement that there was an existing etiquette into texting and calling. There was a limitation provided as well, too soon would be considered “too much.” They all agreed, when meeting someone, they expect the other person to follow up. Calling would be a surprise, but a text was perfunctory. As part of my fieldwork, I noticed that online dating allowed a sense of selection that I would have otherwise have not outside the web. Being provided with information about someone’s life at an instant provides an overwhelming sense of control and security that is not quite present when meeting someone in person. Selection becomes even narrower at this point. Another thing to note, messages that were exchanged followed the same prototype as texting – concise and curated. There was no room to allow variability because we had the Internet right at our footsteps.

Discussion

            Forms of communication essentially became physical metaphors of power. Analyzing the interviews, key terms that described the exchange of communications surrounded ideals of confidence and self-identification. These set rituals of dating only reinforce such power exchanges. What is striking that the nature of these existing rituals of courtship prompted men to initiate conversation, hence they have more power to lose. According to the study, “The Evolution of Courtship Rituals in Monogamous Species”, Wachtmeister and Enquist have examined how partner quality may be revealed because high-quality males can afford to use more elaborate displays or because a direct relationship exists between quality and performance. The study also noted “for manipulation to be possible, biases must exist in receiver’s behavior so that it is possible for a sender to elaborate on existing stimuli and thereby elicit responses more favorable to the sender” (Wachtmeister and Enquist, 1999).  Dictating the conversation was then a crucial component in courtship as it meant manipulation in achieving partnership. Checking at female subject responses, not many mention a lost of confidence as feedback, the perception of the male played a more significant role in responses. These implicit signs of a power struggle ultimately impacted males more than females. It concluded that males are in control of the conversation. Variability solely relied on the female reaction. Therefore, whatever was said within text messages would be implicitly applied in person.  This alludes to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, in which language shapes or limits in which a speaker forms conceptions of the world. We can look to Hollywood to propel these explicit and often exaggerated representations of these modes of communications.

To summarize, I argue that there is an exchange of power, whether gained or lost, in communication between males and females. The various modes of electronic communication are metaphors of self-confidence in the perspective of the males, while a determining factor of perception for females. The ideals of courtship nurture the ideals of manipulation in the curation and control of conversations as understood in text messages.  It is important to notice the language surrounding such courtship rituals that identify with the concepts of confidence an self-image. The variability of social situations is dependent on how quickly females can adapt to attraction. In conclusion, my arguments provides an explanation on the heavy reliance on texting as an acceptable form of communication in courtship, and how the presence of power is implicitly implied in such social situations.

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Day 139: The Shape of Things

The Shape of Things w/ Paul Rudd & Rachel Weisz

“BUT, the great equalizer.”  BUT in so many situations often welcomes in a slew of unwarranted and sometimes disheartening news. The Shape of Things, originally performed on stage , is an interesting parable of morality and sexual cruelty. Adam (played by the adorable Paul Rudd) and Evelyn (played by Rachel Weisz) cross paths at Adam’s work, the museum. The two embark on what is an illusion of dating, at least according to Evelyn later. In tryst with Adam’s former roommate, we start to understand the complexities of morale and what determines a “better” person. Evelyn heartlessly experiments with morale, manipulation and more importantly, free will, by inadvertently suggesting Paul changes. His changes would eventually lead to weight lost, change of clothes, loss of friends, a nose job…everything. Evelyn delivers her motives to the public in her thesis presentation. She claims that he is now “better” for society according to their standards. BUT, is that really better? Continue reading

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Day 133: XX/XY

XX/XY w/ Mark Ruffalo

Oh boy. Boys and girls never seem to just get along no matter how adult we think we are.

Thanks for reinstating the notion that my twenties are going to a hotbed of unrequited emotional turbulence. Awesome.

Side note: I’m a sucker for Mark Ruffalo but this was even more ridiculous than I expected.

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Day 119: Bridget Jones’s Diary

Bridget Jones's Diary w/ Renee Zellweger

If I ever breach this brand of singleness before I’m thirty, please slap the silly out of me.

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Cleaver: Come on Bridget, we belong together – you, me, poor little skirt. If I can’t make it with you then I can’t make it with anyone.
Bridget: That’s not a good enough offer for me.

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Day 114: Love Jones

Love Jones w/ Nia Long and Larenz Tate

What happens after the attraction? This is a key element that drives the main characters in Love Jones. Darius and Nina, both devoted to the arts, meet in harmony in a bluesy-jazz poetry bar. While we expect them to fall in love immediately, we get that this isn’t the right time. They’re just “kicking it.” Kicking it takes the back seat as both figure out wherein lies their attraction and the rest of their lives. They’re both struggling artists in their craft, forcefully putting themselves first before anything. A premise, I can only solely relate. But their strong attraction toward each other leads them into this journey of discovery about each other. Is it fate riddled with bouts of doubts? Darius goes on the verge of saying Nina might be the one, despite her leaving to New York City to handle “unfinished business”. The story takes the normal and unfortunate familiar route of life:  such as “Where is this going?” talk, the “I’m cool because we’re just friends” talk, the I’m going to bring my new date to the place I know you’re at, and let’s not forget “I miss you and I just want to see how you’re doing.” Quite familiar roads in any relationship, each stop either made out of helplessness or because we’re plain stupidly in love. But one point is clearly made, the “jones” need to survive to make the relationship work. Jones/love all mean there is potential in one another, hence why we work hard to make things go well.  Continue reading

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Day 111: Eclipse

Eclipse w/ Kristen Stewart & team

Okay, I finally forced myself to watch the third installment. Of course, I needed liquid encouragement to get through this film, so a glass of Chardonnay definitely aided in this decision. So, Twilight. To be honest, I’d be really freaked out to be in that serious of a relationship in high school. It’s just so intense. Magnets. I know love knows no limits, but in all sincerity, that would cause a lot of drama for any teenager.  Who can think of prom when you got a wedding and a vampire baby on the way?! But I guess not all of us fall in love with vampires either.

Jacob looks hot, he’s the only thing that makes me actually that much intrigued. Taylor Lautner, just stop talking and just stare at the camera seductively please.

Maybe this is why girls are in love with it.

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Day 101: Conversations with Other Women

Conversations with Other Women w/ Helena Bonham Carter & Aaron Eckhart

“It’s so fucking hard to be happy.” The veil of loneliness often leaves us to surrender our true feeling of our situations. Whether we’re married or single, we’re always a bit lonely. That’s what brings these two characters together – loneliness and a good a night of fucking. We’re weary of their relationship, but the film clearly indicates they’ve had a past. The entire film is shot in spilt screen, each side representing respectively the man and the woman. Each character is intertwined with a past at home, she’s married, he’s in a relationship. Both seemed unabashed of each other’s relationship, but each with the clear intention of where it would all end, in the bedroom. Each questions the details of their intentions, whether it was contrived by physically loneliness or emotional loneliness, but each rendered useless because in the end, they were each other’s past. A former ghost of what they had, each seeking a sense of closure to it all. He wanted her back, she wanted to know she made the right decision in leaving him. Their rendezvous ended with more questions than answers.  Continue reading

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Day 100: Casablanca

Casablanca w/ Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart

So it’s finally here. I’ve reached 100.  A milestone within this crazy project. I must say it has been a long and cultural cinematic blur. 100 movies in 100 days so far. I’m surprised I haven’t gauged my eyes, but it’s a thought that hasn’t been fully dismissed. There have been movies I’ve loved and absolutely loathed. It’s kind’ve like I formed this unexpected relationship with romantic films. If there’s one thing to note thus far in this journey, it’s that the themes of love don’t ever change. We often test these theories in several circumstances, hoping someway we can prove them wrong. But, that’s the thing about these films, they’re often the same formula and we love just the same. Scripts, budget and actors and whatever else make the difference in what makes a film great, but there are uncertain tangible expectations that often make love great. But unlike movies, we’ll never really know the ending. We often allow ourselves the opportunity to put aside reality when watching these films, but the fine lines of expectations are often scribbled over. We give ourselves too much credit for our foolishness.

So this love affair with this project – there are days where we’re incredibly compatible, depending on the status of the day, my mood, the mood of the film. Often times, I have no patience for it and condemning it for even existing. The late nights, always searching for time to make time.  Then I let my frustration subside and somehow appreciate the good it has brought into my life. The insight it has brought me has made me truly astounded by the many facets of love that are sometimes misrepresented. This project has made realize things I have refused to believe or acknowledged what I’ve always have.

I’ve never seen Casablanca until now. It seemed befitting considering it’s such a classic. It’s everything you thought and more. Romance in the most desolate of conditions. To chose love over the “right” thing. Bergman and Bogart are just striking characters. The ensemble duo makes the stereotypical flair of being mysterious absolutely effortless and makes us envious of such effortless cool. Bogart is the hunk of hunks. Cheers to him sweeping me off of my feet during wartime.

Thank you all for the support! I wouldn’t have made this far without you guys. Please continue to pass on any recommendations, it’s more than appreciated.

“Here’s looking to you, kid.”

 

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Day 95: Always Learning

Go SJSU!

If you’re fortunate enough to have cinema festivals, you absolutely have to go. If you’re also fortunate enough to have a school that participates in the festival, then support the hell out of that film. Always Learning was produced by SJSU production studios and made with fellow SJSU students/professors/their moms. It was a great coming of age film with an odd focus of romance blossoming in the sea of awkwardness. In this film, we watch Tobia (awkward name) enter the world of bad-assery much to his mother’s dismay. He willingly leaves his former world, being home-schooled with your occasional nerds and kid-children, to join Joey and his sister and their more than dysfunctional lives. We’re talking about extremely dysfunctional. We want to have hope for Samantha and Tobia’s relationship, I mean she did let him experience his first sexual encounter a.k.a. touch her boob. But alas, she’s too fucked up to save. We can only hope that she learns something from the innocence that Tobia brings with him. Not everything has an evil intention despite your life experiences. Easier said than done.

Why do coming of age films always regard some unlikely opportunity for a romance to grow. Because I’m pretty sure during my awkward years, I didn’t just coincidentally meet someone who would change my world forever. Me thinks this is an abusrd fallacy, coming of age just literally means you’re suffering a good amount of awkwardness for a substantial amount of 4 years before you do anything remotely cool.

Hey, at least Joey didn’t just magically change over time. He’s still an asshole..without a girlfriend.

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Day 93: She’s Gotta Have It

She's Gotta Have It w/ Tracy Camilla Johns

Seriously one of the most sensual movies I’ve ever seen. It’s shot in black and white, and yet delivers a vivid and colorful storyline that only Spike Lee can bring. In essence, it was a story about sexuality and sensuality. In the perspective of African-Americans in Brooklyn, Nola, the protagonist, embodies what could be the transition of sexual freedom into the 90’s. It’s raw and makes no apologies. It’s a film with contrasting ideologies coming from both men and woman – the idea of multiple sexual partners, being an assertive and independent person, all through Nola’s life.

I think every woman who considers them as a “bad bitch” is Nola. Indefinitely. She’s doing her own thing on her own terms. What’s enticing about Nola is her sheer outright personality about her sex life. Although this movie is made during the late 80’s, Nola’s personality aligns with most women I know. Frankly, the mentality of the single 20-something year old has not changed, if anything it’s been encouraged. Assertiveness and freedom has culminated into this badass. But it is a double-edged sword regardless. Being free technically leads to others calling you a slut. It’s a shame in deed. We can go and on about the double standards that occur, but let’s be real. Shit is not going to change in a day. I’ll stick to my guns, thank you.

Nola Darling: It’s really about control, my body, my mind. Who was going to own it? Them? Or me? I’m not a one-man woman. Bottom line.

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