“Send Tigers Into Engagement Parties”
February 13, 2020 5:46 PM   Subscribe

Rachel Howard on leaving a relationship built in a Bachelor world where partnerships are deals and looks are capital. Sarah Miller on reading Against the Couple-Form and an aromantic manifesto and taking a fight with her partner out of the private sphere.

Miller discusses an aromantic manifesto (Google drive link) by yingchen and yingtong, which argues that we should rethink the societal emphasis on romantic love and abandon the romantic ideal, and “Against the Couple Form” by Clémence X. Clementine and Associates from the Infinite Venom Girl Gang, which argues that “Amorous and sexual relations do not exist in some domain safely taped off from the rest of society”:
This channeling and organization of sex and amorous relations I will refer to as the logic of the couple — that which funnels, simplifies, and reduces amorous desire to the needs of patriarchy within the capitalist mode of production. This logic assumes that women have but a single site for the fulfillment of their social and sexual desires, that being a romantic relationship with a man. The couple functions as the threshold, the admission fee, the golden key that allows a woman to participate in the social world. The couple promises that, upon entering its grasp, one will no longer suffer from alienation, from isolation, from boredom, from rootlessness. The couple grants a woman personhood and social visibility. She obtains a title, a temporality, a space through the couple.
Howard describes the alienation of Bachelorland with a husband who thought “people had two kinds of capital to spend, he said, their intellect and their looks. . . . One of his favorite games at parties was to survey the couples in the room and debate which partner, the man or the woman (interestingly it was always heterosexual couples we analyzed in this way) had gotten ‘the better deal.’” In a new relationship, she found “The deeper reality: a shared world in which there is no competition to win, and nothing to hide.”

Miller, in opening up to friends the truth of a fight between partners, considered “how much energy I spent in my life struggling to make my relationships look more presentable to the outside world, the idea being, I guess, that if I could curate what people saw, then I might trick myself into believing it myself.”
posted by sallybrown (2 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I was in a shitty abusive relationship for a few years, and I knew my close friends could see it, but I always made sure we argued in hushed tones, and I sugar coated and made excuses and avoided topics. That instinct remains, and I am working on it, but I have a steady (but wrong) fear of their judgement, and so I am loath to vent and process about my current relationship with those close friends. I’m working on it though.
posted by Grandysaur at 6:30 PM on February 13 [4 favorites]

I remember feeling so afraid that there was no other world, this is for whoever needs to hear it: There is a different reality. If you make the leap, you will find it.

Well said, Rachel Howard.

My different reality is fantastic, as an introverted woman who intentionally rejects hetero romantic cohabitation for the inherent bad deal these arrangements seem to be for women.
posted by edithkeeler at 2:43 PM on February 20

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