Category Archives: relationships

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 140: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Forgetting Sarah Marshall w/ Jason Segal, Mila Kunis & Kirsten Bell

May not be one of the greatest love stories ever told but it’s definitely more reminiscent of many of the guys I know. When guy friends fall in love, it’s absolutely adorable, but on the contrary, when they get hurt it gets ugly. It’s not even endearing where you allow them to cry on your should, it’s physically ugly. You think you cry ugly, imagine a grown man sobbing continuously. Sometimes I like to think I’m blissfully ignorant and truly believe men don’t have feelings. So, when I see one of my guy friends seriously heartbroken it breaks that ignorance especially if what the female did was foul. Because for as much as we place importance on how boys are stupid, girls play just as horribly.

I know too many girls who treat men like crap and always regret it later. There are some great guys there hidden behind the douchebags. While I sometimes forget that, it’s a truth that needs to shine.

But dating sucks as well. There is no human filter that lets you know who to date and who not to date. First impressions are killer and always an unforgivable gateway. Some people really know how to talk and motives are always underlying. But if everything flows naturally, there’s always room to get screwed over. Dating in your 20’s is even more of an obstacle. It’s a weird phase in life where everyone is either settling down or enjoying the single too much. I’m on the verge of complacency in my dating life. Mostly because it’s get tiring to make an awesome impression when most of the time I frankly don’t care.

We’ve seen the Jason Segal men/friends in our lives, they totally deserve a girl like Mila Kunis. How they get them? I will never know. It’s a bro’s bro world out there, anything can happen!

It’s kind’ve crazy that I’m almost done with this project, I must say picking the last of these movies is getting fun.

Peter Bretter: [Drunk and waving a cocktail around at the hotel bar] I’m on Sex and the City…”Ahh, hi Miranda…” “Uhh, I’m Samantha… I have sex with everybody.”

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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 138: Chalet Girl

Chalet Girl w/ Felicity Jones & Ed Westwick

While it doesn’t stray too far away from the formulaic “girl-next-door meets hot rich boy” plot line, Chalet Girl brings forth a refreshing leading lady to the genre. The last time I saw Felicity Jones was in Like Crazy, and she was border lining obsessive girlfriend minus the comic relief. In this film, we get to really see Jones in a more comedic light while still portraying her well-done bit of “don’t notice me, I’m normal.” I feel her pain of penny-pinching while all the world is reckless. Shit happens to me on the daily. I say I won’t spend on drinking, but it’s definitely easier said than done. But what’s a single girl to do?

Being single is difficult enough, being single and broke is even worse. Jones’s character, Kimmy, decides to take the unfanciful job of chalet girl, a fancier maid, in hopes to save some dough to help her dad. Sounds easy enough but she’s surrounded by folks who just want to get thrashed and enjoy the alps life. When she downs a glass of $500 Dom, she quickly realizes she just drank her rent money. Ouch. I read somewhere that Jones did some character research and voluntarily worked at ski resort, cleaning barf and all. Good for her.

Ultimately, this one rom-com that didn’t make me want to puke. Maybe it’s the accents, who knows.

Kim: No, irony is free. It’s sarcasm you’re paying for. Ironically.

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Day 137: The Seven Year Itch

The Seven Year Itch w/ Marilyn Monroe & Tom Ewell

The ubiquitous primal male urge, especially one whose wife is out for the summer, becomes the driving attraction in The Seven Year Itch. Oh yeah, and Marilyn Monroe too. Richard Sherman, played by Tom Ewell, is under the impression that an infidelity would occur on the premise that since his marriage has reached its seven years, his “itch” for other women, especially the Girl upstairs, is finally tested. Will he scratch it? In the film, no such thing occurs. While his fantasies get a bit rowdy, Sherman ends each sentiment lonely and empty-handed. Good for his wife?

Do I buy that romance may slip away momentarily in couples, sure I do. Do I think the seven year itch actually happens? Probably not. I’ve heard about the two-year hump, but a seven year itch seems like a stretch. No man’s an island, and I don’t think any amount of time would determine if a person is necessarily waned into committing adultery. After all, Sherman’s wife is in Maine. That already screams trouble for their marriage.  Luckily, Sherman is completely paranoid, which counters his wild imagination, and becomes deathly afraid of his wife discovering his less than satisfactory  thoughts about the Girl upstairs. Yeah, I’m sure his paranoia just saved him a marriage.

To be honest, Monroe’s overall performance is a bit lacking. While we can’t deny her presence in the film, her vent scene was the only thing worth getting excited for. Definitely wasn’t a groundbreaking performance by any means. But that’s okay, it’s Marilyn.

The Girl: You’re married. I KNEW it! You LOOK married.

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Day 136: Anatasia

Anastasia w/ Meg Ryan & John Cusack

I knew after watching My Fair Lady, I found similarities to Anastasia. I love this animated film! Go figure it has Meg Ryan and John Cusack as the voices of Dimitri and Anastasia.

Side note: I remember being in high school and making the bet that Anastasia was a Disney film, clearly I was mistaken. But just some random trivia, Anastasia became the highest-grossing non-Disney animated film in 1997.

 

Don’t lie, you know you imagined yourself some lost grand duchess of Russia hoping to be discovered.

 

Dimitri: If we live through this, remind me to thank you.

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Day 135: My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady w/ Audrey Hepburn

Good grief, I don’t understand why it has taken me this long to see this film. I love Miss Eliza Doolitte and I loved that Audrey Hepburn played her. I still saw a bit of Holly Golightly in Eliza. Despite her transformation, her quirkiness still strikes through.

The project boyfriend/girlfriend has been a thing for centuries. From Pygmalion to She’s All That, we’re stuck in the belief that we can change someone. Albeit not emotional changes (because we won’t succeed) but just mere physical changes. Cutting the hair, adding the glasses, plucking the unibrow – those changes.

I’ve been blessed and cursed to deal with project boyfriends. It’s not fun but definitely challenging. It’s not like I didn’t love them for them, I just didn’t like how they dress themselves. Picture this: tall tees, sagging jeans and Air Forces. Yeah, no thanks. I don’t care how “Bay” that look was, my eyes were not approving one bit. Just a brief shopping spree and a bit of compliments, and man did they start to look better. I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with clothing suggestions…I mean, you’re helping them. They’ll thank you later, trust me, they will.

Eliza was a different case, she expanded more than just her speaking abilities but really evolved into a well-developed woman.
Continue reading

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Day 122: Mystic Pizza

Mystic Pizza w/ Julia Roberts...and etc.

It’s Julia Roberts! Shocker!

I can’t help but relate with the sisters – to fall in love and get the hell out of a small town. Although, I wouldn’t consider where I live a small town, but small enough to see people from high school still. I often daydream the hell out of my future. Nowhere in my future does it say me being whisked away and living in San Jose. No thanks. My ubiquitous white fence is replaced with city lights and a window. The happy husband making the daily bread is replaced with me making my own bacon and possibly raising a family. My idea of the future doesn’t correlate with suburbia, not even in the slightest form. I’m not quite sure what made me not want that, but it somehow formed away.

Anyways, this movie made me have an incredible craving for pizza.

Bill: [to Jojo] I’m tellin you I LOVE YOU, and all you love is my *dick*! Do you know how that makes me feel?

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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 109: Save the Last Dance

Save the Last Dance w/ Julia Stiles & Sean Patrick Thomas

I don’t know how, but the thought of watching Eclipse literally felt like pain. So I opted out and vowed to return to it the next day. I wanted to watch something I thought was fun and a good blast from the past. Save the Last Dance was my perspective of MTV’s last attempt in trying to be actually cool. I thought Julia Stiles was so bad, being the quintessential white girl entering a whole new world filled with amazing hip hop music and dancing. Clearly following the dance movie formula, the movie was an easy hit for me. Oh man, Sean Patrick Thomas is so damn fine. Smart and smooth, pleassseeee get me a fan! Plus, can we be real here…music is so on point in this film. Making me sway side to side and practicing my hip curls.

Anyways, passion and ambition makes life and love better in my opinion. There’s nothing more attractive than being in a relationship with someone who is just as ambitious as you are. I’m a very ambitious girl, I got aspirations to the sky and I want nothing less for someone I date.

Obviously, when I got ambitious on my name tag, I’m clearly thinking of Wale’s “Ambitious Girl.”

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