Romance, Sex, Love, and Marriage: Perhaps the Most Significant Discussion We Never Had!
When we romance someone do we consider how/why she/he receives us the way she/he does?
When we kiss someone what is the criteria that contributes to our kiss being considered a “good” kiss as opposed to a bad one? Could it be because my lips are fuller or less full than other people’s lips? Could it be that a person has been told they are different, enough to affect their confidence?
Is a preference or disdain to lip size or hip size racism, or ableism?
Does our sexual orientation affect the quality/way we are capable of loving or being loved?
Can sex be better if you have it within a backdrop of a 5 star hotel, or with cars racing past as lovers hurriedly attempt to take advantage of a moment, with the only option available being a car and the only location the side of the road?
Are these questions that most people ask themselves? Would our experiences with romance, sex, love, and marriage be better if we engaged these questions as we move in and out of our intimate moments? Well, what do you think?
Every third semester I teach a class at SUNY Plattsburgh titled Romance, Sex, Love, and Marriage (RSLM). As the director of the Center for Diversity at SUNY Plattsburgh people often are startled to hear that as a man who specializes in diversity and social justice education I could be engaging something that seems worlds apart from the topic of diversity. What do you think? Could RSLM actually be a diversity class? Well, enough of my Examining Diversity through Film students sprint to this class that I have to wonder is it about the interesting places we go with the subject matter? Or the fact that Attila the Hun could be teaching the course? If Attila (or should I refer to him as Mr. Hun?) or anyone else was teaching a class that enabled 20 year olds to unpack some of their romantic notions, or discuss some of the most unromantic things they have heard about or encountered, would it be well attended? Probably so, but that aside, please inform me of some other ways how you think RSLM could be related to diversity and social justice? I have come to realize that the people who respond to my blog often reflect on these topics in profound ways. How does ageism curtail our romantic overtures? How does privilege make someone sexier? How does a lack of privilege make someone hot?
Since the semester is only a couple of months away, I am also curious if any of you would be interested in sharing with me what some of your favorite films/scenes in films are so that I can consider them for my class. Why are the scenes your favorite and what lessons can be learned from these films? More specifically, how would you categorize the choice of your film scene? As a matter of fact, some new film clips that I will use in my class this semester are: Sin City, XX-XY, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Sex and Lucia, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Poetic Justice, Bull Durham, The Human Stain, and Alfie. Any guesses on the scenes I will use? You probably aren’t familiar with any of them, are you?
Recently I watched “Vickie Cristina Barcelona” (VCB) and “He’s Just Not That Into You” (HJNTIY). While the first film could easily gain cult status as a film classic (especially with Penelope Cruz winning Best Actress for her performance) with its 70 rating on Metacritic, HJNTIY could be dismissed summarily as a mediocre ensemble piece with its 47 rating on Metacritic. Nonetheless I easily could use both films in almost all categories, though their strengths may be centered more in one area than another. In HJNTIY and VCB romance is all over the place and sex is in the air. HJNTIY provided an excellent example of a non-traditional perspective on marriage through the relationship between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston. VCB takes sex to some places that films years ago wouldn’t dare go (okay, so Last Tango and Nine ½ Weeks are an exception to everyone’s list) and most of today’s films arguably don’t do sex well. Both of these two films engage marriage in creative ways, as well as provocative notions of romantic love.
So how does romance relate to diversity and social justice (visit my March 5, 2008 blog titled “Here’s Looking at You Romance” )?
While the gender implications of sex or obvious (don’t be so sure), how many of us process our sex through the lens of race, privilege, ability, or socio-economic class (visit my October 12, 2007 blog titled “Is a Kiss Just a Kiss” )?
How is love influenced by our ability, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, age, socio-economic class, and privilege (visit my April 3, 2008 blog titled “Is it Possible to Love” )?
All of these conversations were truly intriguing and provocative as demonstrated by the total of 42 comments that framed the three discussions, or as seen in the number of comments bracketed within the parentheses above.
At the very least, check out the films that I have mentioned if you are interested in escalating an evening to a romantic level where thoughts of sex, love, and even marriage may abound. Do it quickly (watching the film that is) and let the Wiley Wandering crew know exactly (but tastefully) how we spiced up your night. At best, share some of your hottest, sexiest, most endearing/loving selections so that others can fall in love/lust/like through your contribution. Now, let me get back to my triple header: “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” A Lot Like Love, and Closer.“ I know some of you may be thinking that if I am immersed in 6 hours of film watching my insights must be theory based. Well you may be right, but watch them critically and add to your game. Watch them with the right person and you may not need game. You don't hear me!