Archive for August, 2006

more primates

I’m starting to research a new book about alternatives to monogamy (with much overlap in research — so many polyamorists are computer geeks/computer daters). I’m trying to figure out how exactly monogamy became the totally dominant relationship model in the first place and sexual fidelity such an unquestioned piece of the marriage contract. I get that the male wants to know he’s the father of the babies he’s providing for, but what else is at work, socially, biologically, historically? And how flexible are people in these realms, now that we have control over reproduction and women bring home the bacon and so we don’t really need monogamy for those reasons?

According to this fun, breezy history of sex I’m reading, by Reay Tannahill, after Darwin’s Origin of Species first came out, scientists and social scientists concluded that humans must be descended from gibbons, the only monogamous primates and the only ones who form families. And of course it turns out that we’re genetically much closer to chimps, who are as polymonkeyist as they come. So biology or “wiring” isn’t the answer.

Re an earlier comment, Clint Eastwood must be OK with partners who swing, because it’s chimps and orangutans he runs with, not gibbons. Sassy chimps and orangutans with hearts of gold.

am I being too binary/baby-with-bathwater-throwing?

John G. after a few months of online dating remains open to the possibilities, thank god, unlike certain jaded, bitter, husks who delete without reading almost every incoming message from the scores of dating sites they signed up mostly to write their book (but happily not John G.’s incongruously smart and learned contact via creepy behemoth site true.com).

John and I took our meat selves to play poker last night with friends I’ve made IRL. On the Q train over, I remarked how I’d been looking for both a poker group and a writers group ever since I got to New York in 2000, and how it took more than five years of real-world social attempts to achieve both goals.

Today John e-mailed this,

Thanks, that was fun. I got home at quarter to three, but I had an extra $17.50 in my pocket! [Ed note: invariably the newbie wins at poker; it sucks ’em in like the first free shot of heroin or pack of 3-M post-its.]

I haven’t looked at the link below, but it’s a round-up of social
networking,
which could be a story for you. If you’ve soured on online dating, it still might be an evolving baby/bathwater situation. Take, for example, your poker and writers groups. Could the five years have been shortened by a good, appropriately designed social networking system that is truly about facilitating the transition from meeting online to meeting, say, on the corner of Fourth and Pacific?

The commercial interests are more about eyeballs on ads, so of course
they don’t want users to go off and sit around playing poker. But you could make an argument that while this kind of social networking is a few “clicks” away from a date, those are more organic, human clicks, have numerous corollary benefits other than dating, and are actually more likely to result in meeting and pursuing someone who is a real match, because it provides much more relevant information about the real life possibilities for a relationship.

I do know this of course, but it’s great to be reminded. I met John G. on the Internets. And my friend David who watched my cats while I was in Seattle. And other friends who led to other friends and dates and networking and collaboration via the non-Web web of meat-socializing (meating people?). Like treating depression with the combo of anti-depressants and talk therapy is better than either alone, so with a mix of on- and offline socializing.

Which is not to call singleness a disease or condition: the less the F2F encounters resemble “dating,” the more fun they are, which is what John was getting at, I think.

Another last-night example of the two worlds merging: one friend dropped 30 bucks at the 3-D poker table, then rode her bike home and made about half of that back playing online poker. Back and forth through the looking glass — no need to choose.

now they’ll never finish that Shakespeare play

Yes, orangutans are online dating.

21st century power: bottom on top

A friend had forwarded me glamour’s call for puppets to have their dating lives controlled by readers. This gal bit, and the vitriol’s already flowing. The Gawksters’ faux-parodic bitchiness about her make-up, etc., will surely be the least of what she’s got coming to her.

Why would she do this? How did the opportunity to be publicly reviled become so appealing to so many? And how mean is it going to get? Fans have always turned on their idols for adultery or getting old or other mortal failings, but now it seems the celebs are being raised up specifically to be despised — the audience skips right over the adoration stage and goes straight to the turning-against.

My quarter-baked ruminations on masochistic fame-seeking started with this profoundly depressing article someone else sent me, about the Girls Gone Wild founder. I would hope that a story like this would kill this creep’s career, but I fear that his fame and monetary success eclipse his statutory raping, assaulting, threatening, and exploiting. Hey, so long as they know your name….
I also fear that, no matter what a sociopath this guy is, some readers of the LA Times story, especially fans of the show, will still reserve their contempt for the girls. The GGW fill an appetite for pretty, young naked girls, but the product isn’t their breasts, it’s their humiliation, their being out of control, their being, as one kid who Went Wild in the article proudly puts it, “a dirty slut.” (Another uses Warhol’s most famous quote to compare a tit shot on the show to a Faustian bargain: “If you do it, you do it. You can’t complain later. It’s almost like your 15 minutes of fame.”)

Simultaneously despising and ogling the girls scratches the same itch as Joan Rivers savaging the stars on the red carpet (Paris Hilton is a locus of the two sorts of stranger-hatred). The movie stars, apparently, deserve public humiliation because they have achieved the grail of being in front of cameras for a living. THEY even seem to think they deserve the mean-girl hazing, meekly bowing to Rivers’s microphone with no more protest than the girls pulling up their shirts for a trucker hat.

Being not-famous must seem like a real circle of hell if so many people long to be ripped apart in public. Or to gnaw on the scraps like hyenas Joan Rivers and the Girls Gone Wild guy.

could you call a service No Expectations?

ripped from the tabloids this morning: the NY Post headlines it “Lady’s Court ‘Date'”; the Daily News goes with “4G Can’t Buy Her Love” but both inexplicably leave out the name of poor Sara Valentine, 55, who spent almost $4,000 on dating service Great Expectations and never got set up on one single date. She’s suing the service for their failure to deliver.

Maybe one reason online dating’s so popular; it’s such a huge improvement over the matchmaking racket. You get control, you get to present yourself how you want, look and make contact and go on as many dates as you want, and you don’t (except if you stick with eharmony 3 1/2 years) spend four grand. What I hate most about eharmony, true.com, match.com and some of the others is their pushing their way into the paternalistic (maternalistic?) matchmaking niche, telling lonely, vulnerable people, “leave it to us, we can find you someone compatible better than you can.” And the people they come up with for you are inexplicable, according to everyone I’ve talked to and my own one experience. OK, according to everyone I’ve talked to until softball the other night, where I did meet two nice, appealing guys with good bat speed and strong arms who each had met their girlfriends on eharmony — the first real-life good thing I’ve EVER heard about this 50-bucks-a-month, conservative-Christian-run site.

I’ll next be blogging at you from the Pacific Northwest if my wireless works. I’m going to Seattle for two weeks with my nephews and to Portland for a few days where I’ll see Sleater-Kinney’s second-to-last show.

I’m thrilled to be escaping New York aka Soylent Green: The manhole covers outside my apt. have been rocketing up on a geyser of steam every night, Con Ed trucks are out all night, my electricity goes off 10 times a day, and to walk outside to escape your not-air-conditioned-enough apartment is to inhale hot soup flavored with piss, garbage and despair. Besides Miss Valentine’s striking back at her strikeout, the tabs also reported that 10 people died Thursday from the heat.

The tabs also report that Hispanic people think Yankees fans should stop booing A-Rod.

So here’s hoping while I’m gone that A-Rod gets his pretty, overpriced head straightened out, that the weather cools off, and that Sara Valentine falls in love with her lawyer.

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