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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” [11])?

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” [12])?

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” [19])?

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!


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There are so many images that come to mind that cause my toes to curl and my back to arch. That sweaty scene in Monster’s Ball between Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton is a must see for those interested in seeing intimacy in a different light, especially one glazed with an interracial coating. Let’s keep it real for a moment. We are all endowed with some interesting dimensions in our character. But it’s a sure thing that we are all sexual beings—some more that others of course. There is something transcendental about sexual activity that somehow captivates us into using it for purposes beyond procreation. Can you feel me on that?

Every other week another politician confesses committing adultery, while many sectors of the nation stand in awe. Sex scandal after sex scandal, the intimate desires and activities of those in the limelight or those with the misfortune of getting caught, erupt out in the open. During instances like these, so many of us stand back and judge his relationship with a prostitute or her obsession with the lash and whip. But do most of us look closely at our sexual lives? Do we look at how repressed or liberated our ideas on sex are? What is our sexuality being repressed by? Where is our sexuality being liberated towards? Oh I see…this information is just for our journals to hear or that crew of close friends to listen to. That’s understandable as long there is some dialogue about it. This is important because at the core, conversations about sex, romance and love address issues such as power, control, insecurities, abuse and many other things if we are willing to go deep. Does this sound familiar? These are the same issues I’ve encountered while trying to better understand social justice. These are my thoughts for now. Check this out. http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1278672/halle_berry_monsters_ball/. It might inspire you to respond.

*** Enigma AA, I agree with you about the hot sex scene between Berry and Thornton, except what I found most fascinating was how they used one another's bodies to escape the pain they were both going through (both of their sons had just recently died). Perhaps that is what you meant by "There is something transcendental about sexual activity that somehow captivates us into using it for purposes beyond procreation." If so, then yes, I do feel you! I also agree with you that we don't discuss our intimacy enough. People enter relationships and explore all these various avenues that open up, but many of us can't begin to articulate what it is we want, like, prefer, fantasize about, etc. If couples sat down and talked about their experiences, likes-dislikes, understanding of certain adult behavior they witnessed as children, etc. many of the relationship problems we experience might dissipate. That is one reason I am such a large proponent of film. Like novels, film transports us to different spaces and enables us to use its story as a safe point of departure to engage realities that very well could be around the corner. Music also can do the same thing,but you don't get the visual, which often can be an aphrodisiac. Anyway, I'm going to check out the link you provided. Next time can you inform me and the readers of this blog if what you are pointing us to is rated "R" or "PG-13." I like to know what I'm about to get into (sometimes). *** -- J.W.

The Tao of Steve is one film I would recommend you add to that list.

I'm familiar with Sin City and the Unbearable Lightness of Being (the later being a weird film and then some!) but as for which scene you'll be using from Sin City...well, I'm drawing a blank.

It wouldn't be an intro to a discussion of prostitution, would it? Or perhaps the winter-spring relationship of Bruce Willis' character and Jessica Alba's? Or maybe the...okay, I'm outta ideas.

As for:
"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?"

I think there is some really good study being done in the field of psychology as to why certain things are attractive. A lot of it has to do with reproduction (surprise surprise!) and the indicators that one is a fertile mate. Full lips and a certain waist to hip ratio are indicators that one is fertile and has good genetics.

And while it's a blah way to put it, sex is about baby-making and baby-making is about genetics.

So it might sound strange to say: "Damn that woman looks like she has a good genetic structure and immunities to diseases" that may well be what our bodies are thinking when we say: "Damn that woman is hot"

I don't know if RSLM constitutes a class on diversity--well, no more so than a walk down the street constitutes diversity! After all, we are all sexual beings, it's hard-wired into us. Now, I sure did hear and see a lot of diverse opinions and views on sex and sexuality as a student and TA in the class--but it's a class about boning, nor diversity. (as seen from the 20-somethings perspective anyway)

*** Brennan, I hadn't even heard of the Tao of Steve until you mentioned it. So I checked it out on Metacritic and it got rave reviews. I not only will watch it, but will buy it and see if it can make the cut with a scene or two in the class. What is/are the scene(s) that you recommend?

I checked out Metacritic on your recommendation because our taste hasn't always been aligned. Case in point, you called "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" a weird film and most consider it a classic. I know I do.

I haven't decided on Sin City's use in the class yet, but probably as an introductory piece on the first day. You know a change in visual is always engaging.

I agree with you that our bodies may be telling us things that we translate differently when we find ourselves attracted to someone.

I definitely don't concur with you that it is a class about "boning." It may be a class about "boning" as you put it, or sex or "frolicking" but it is also about marriage and romance and love. While "boning" as you put it, is related to all three of those dimensions, it often is not the end, just a means.

Lastly, rethink the ongoing conversations we have in RSLM and then tell me again that you don't think it is a diversity class. Gender is large in our discussions as well as socio-economic class, ability, sexual orientation, race, age, etc. I guess you couldn't focus on all of that because "boning" was in the way. Besides, aren't you one of the 20 year olds?

As always, it is nice to hear from you and know you are alive and kicking. Now, rewatch "Unbearable lightness" and tell me what you think now that you have a few more years on you. *** -- J.W.

My thoughts are on overload with this post, I’ve been trying to grapple with a few of your inquiries for almost a week now. Most of your questions about romance have never come to my mind, or, if they have, I’ve never thought long enough to answer them. I hate to break it down to this but: when the moment is right, the moment is right. Simple, I know. Whether the moment is right on the couch watching a movie, after a party, or in a car pulled to the side of the road (just a little advice: turn the car off or the battery may die and you will have to explain what is going on to her Uncle).

Going back to the latter part of your post regarding movie recommendations, I remember the first time I heard about “Y Tu Mama Tambien” in your office. I was so intrigued by the conversation I rented it that night. Very intense, memorizing (understatement). “A Lot Like Love” is one of my favorite movies, the relationship between the two characters Kutcher and Peet is fascinating to see, watching it grow over time. Especially to the road trip (without giving too much away), the whole montage, was something you don’t see in movies: a true since of loving each other, not just as sexual beings either. Finally, because you recommended it, I have a date this weekend with a good friend and we’ll be renting “Closer”. We will see how it goes.

A few movie suggestions have come to mind since I started writing this. First, “Sideways”, the scene when Paul Giamatti is describing wine while realize he is talking about himself, nearly perfect moment. Second, “City of Angels” in the final act of the movie when Nicolas Cage finds his lover Meg Ryan, his comments on her and their love was well done. And the last recommendation (I don’t know how you could use it), is from the mini-series “John Adams” which I just finished. The relationship between John and Abigail Adams was very interesting to watch, the true meaning of connected beings.

I also wanted to mention that Enigma AA’s post what intriguing regarding political sex scandals. Some great questions that should be discussed. What is sex in our nation? There was an article on MSN I believe regarding what sex is to Americans, I will find the article.

Just a few thoughts. I am sure there will be more on this stimulating post as I reflect.

*** Avery, I am a bit worried that you have some scars you haven't fully addressed on that Uncle scenario you mentioned. I really want to know what you think about Closer. The scenes we use in the class are the cybersex scene between Clive Owen and Jude Law, and the scene when Owen is returning home to his wife Julia Roberts while simultaneously Law is ending his relationship with Natalie Portman. The dialogue between the two scenes is some of the most authentic I've seen in a movie, which makes sense since Mike Nichols directed both that and Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf which also had unbelievably authentic dialogue.

I own Sideways and will revisit the scene. Perhaps you can give me the specific chapter? I am curious about City of Angels, especially since I love Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage, but really found the movie somewhat tedious.

Please find the article and share it with me/us. I think our country is do diverse that it would be hard to say what sex is like in this country unless you described it as broadly defined and culturally relative. *** -- J.W.

JW-

"Perhaps the most important discussion we've had?" Really?

At first I thought this post was a "lightener"...allowing everyone to talk about something fun...something that we all have in common. You know...draw out the commenters. But I found as I read...that the implications hidden in the post really bothered me.

To be honest, I barely got by your question..."Is a preference or disdain to lip size or hip size racism, or ableism?"

What? Are you kidding? Talk about a stretch. Talk about digging deep.

My preference for lip size is no more a reflection of being racist than me saying I prefer General Tso's chicken to a beef chimichanga.

Maybe this is me missing you instigating a discussion...but I don't think so. With all the high level stuff we talk about...this just sounds incredibly flippant.

*** Whaler, First you should know, someone who reads the blog recently told me that she thought I was Whaler. I told her I wouldn't pretend to be a blogger that I wasn't. I told her you were quite intelligent and so I was flattered that she thought I could pull off both roles. And I told her, I doubt he has the interest, or time to wander some of the places I go.

Now, there were no implications "hidden in the post." I asked some fairly direct questions looking for direct responses. You need to consider relaxing and rolling with the blog, my brother. Also, I didn't think it would necessarily be a light conversation. At any given moment in a conversation about RSLM the conversation can take a turn and we can find ourselves exactly where we are, deep in it.

My question about lip size or hip size being racist wasn't far fetched. Just because you don't think your preference towards smaller lips or larger hips isn't racist doesn't mean it isn't, or is, for that matter. However, don't think that a Black person's preference for a white lover isn't predicated on the way she/he see herself/himself in the context of American society. Michael Jackson's preference for White women was often discussed within the Black community, as was his preference for thinning his nose and lightening his skin. Is that just a preference or his succumbing to racism? When we succumb to racism in a racist society do we not become racists ourselves, on some level? When Black men think that their predilection towards light skinned Black women is just a preference it might be wise for them to consider the fact that for years White women were the symbol of beauty in America. If Black women for years have devalued the functional nappiness of their hair, been ashamed of their lips size, and often wished they had a little less junk in the trunk, why couldn't there be some racist bias towards our attraction to one another. I know some Black men who prefer White women specifically because of some of the differences in physical characteristics. Why would lips be off limits in terms of our attractiveness to one another.

Your preference to General Tso chicken over a beef chimichanga is a great example of what I am talking about. If you had been brought up in an environment where chicken is outlawed, considered meat of the proletariat, or a bird that is sacred and not to be eaten, then your taste may have been different and your so-called preference might be beef chimichanga. Some people's preference towards brunettes may be a consequence of the over the top endorsement of blonds in our society, while others actually bought into the hype of blonds having more fun and would settle for nothing less than a blond on their arm. Socialization/indoctrination is an intriguing thing to consider. I'm still trying to get past how much it has affected my disinterest in hockey, how I got over it in tennis, and how for the longest time two men being affectionate towards one another invoked memories of dysfunctional adult voices in my head of how sick the two men were while two women who were affectionate towards one another was supposed to be arousing.

The whole point of my blog was to get people to think beyond the obvious in terms of the way we see what we are attracted to, nothing more and nothing less. If it didn't work for you, then it didn't work. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Consider it again, my brother before you get so "flippant" with me. *** -- J.W.

JW,

I find your post intellectually stimulating, but then again at times I consider myself an intellectual and can and will find the depth in anything you bring up.

There are so many questions you have posed so I will address a few.

When we romance someone do we consider how/why she/he receives us the way she/he does?

This is something that I thought about the other day and it helped me to relax when pondering about “mistakes” in my past relationships. Had I truly considered how someone received me as opposed to how I thought I should be received, maybe I would have handled situations differently. Maybe a little bit of consideration would have spurred a conversation and my lover and I would have been able to better understand each other, giving us both a deeper connection. Or maybe not…

Does our sexual orientation affect the quality/way we are capable of loving or being loved?

I am not sure about this one. I wonder about my sexual orientation sometimes though and ask myself if I am pushing away a possible love of my life because I choose to pursue women instead of men. Is it possible that the love I am shoving away is the same love that I am searching for?

Are these questions that most people ask themselves?

I don’t think that most people ask themselves many questions at all. I feel (from limited experience, I know…being merely 21) that most people are followers and would rather have false statements than true answers. It’s as though the mentioning of questions only lessens comprehension. Then comes the doubt, which pragmatist Charles Pierce made clear to me, is uncomfortable.

Could RSLM actually be a diversity class?

I think that RSLM could be a diversity class. There are many ways to have sex; many ways of loving; many different types of marriages; and too many ways to define romance. From my experience in taking the class, there were couples, threesomes, multiple races, two sexes, and multiple sexual orientations (to cover a few of the isms) enrolled. Each of these people bring different viewpoints to what romance, sex, love, and marriage is depending on their race, class, sexual

*** Via Via, I recall a conversation with an ex-lover once where we realized that, though we had good communication, we were not really talking with each other, but at each other. The difference is huge and considering the other's intention never hurts, it only helps.

Your response that when we push away certain loves we may be pushing away the one we should be welcoming with open arms is really provocative. Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams) in Chasing Amy challenges Holden (Ben Affleck) in the same manner you are challenging yourself about that across sexual orientation lines. It is one of the most well written conversations I have ever seen in a film (though Kevin Smith consistently brings it like that).

Your statement about most people preferring false statements over true answers is one that probably intimidates most people to even attempt to consider, as well as seeing themselves as followers. People are busy and prone to taking shortcuts. Most of us are comfortable with the flow of our lives and don't have time to unpack the intricacies of the things that are put before us, as well as the things we say and do. Does this make us followers? Yes/No! Yes because effective leaders take the time to think beyond the obvious or they flirt with becoming ineffective leaders. No, because no one unpacks the intricacies of everything put before them, so it is somewhat ridiculous to call everyone a follower who doesn't unpack their reality.

Is there anything wrong with being a follower? Yes/No! Yes, because if you get too comfortable following without leading it will be very difficult when the moment arises and you must lead, or fail. You will probably fail, or struggle greatly in ways that weren't necessary if you had only taken the time to develop leadership skills. No, there is nothing wrong with following. The best leaders know they can't always lead. The best leaders know that it benefits them to have experience with the perspective their followers might have of them in their leadership moment.

Thanks Via Via for forcing me to consider and articulate some things I want to keep in front of me. *** -- J.W.

Are the questions J.W. poses really flippant, “lacking proper respect or seriousness”? Or are they simply, and thoughtfully, meant to provoke us to consider additional matters of significance in the on-going discussion of our humanity? Given the nature of a majority of the comments to date, it appears to be the latter.

TL,

In this case, I believe the word flippant is the EXACT word I should have used. And it is exactly what I intended.

JW's discussions are almost always insightful, thought provoking, and enjoyable. However...he often encourages us to "bring our A game". It would be disrespectful to him to not point out the times he crosses the line. Which, in this case, I feel he did.

You seem to base your decision on the value of JW's comments on WHAT OTHER PEOPLE have said about it. Is that what you're looking for here? A consensus? Or are you looking for a spirited, REAL, discussion?

The others seem to have given JW a pass on that first comment...as they didn't address it one way or the other (with the exception of Brennan). I didn't want to give him that pass.

So TL...what do you think of my analogy? DO you really think that a desire, or lack of desire for a full lipped kisser is indicative of racist thought?

I know Whaler's last question was not addressed to me specifically, but if I may...

The lack of desire for a full lipped kisser could be a result of racist thought. This does not have to be the case though.

What if someone did not want to kiss Angelina Jolie, due to her thick lips. Are they racist?

I have rather thin lips for a Black woman. Would a racist slave master back in the day pass on me because I did not fit the stereotypical description of a So-called Negra?

Via Via,

Of course anything can be a result of racist thought. But that's not the point. What did you think of my analogy? Why not comment on that?

It goes straight to the point. Anything can be considered racist if you dig deep enough, and look at things from a colored lens (no pun intended).

And as for whether or not a slave master would have chosen you or passed you over? I bet that would have had a lot more to do with what he needed done than what you looked like. Do you have strong hands? Can you cook well? Maybe lip size might come into play if he was planning on using you for things more specific to lip size. But again that's a preference...not specifically a racist motive.

For a lip size preference to be a purely racist thing, all full lipped people would have to be of one race. Otherwise we're just talking generalizations again. Is that any better than stereotyping?

JW? Where are you buddy?

whaler,

I understand your point about lip size and racism. And with that, I do agree with you that an individual’s preference on lip or hip size would be a stretch to be racist. After limited reflection I do not see the relationship.

But what about the second part of JW’s questions on ableism? Is a preference or disdain to lip size or hip size ableism? Trying a different approach would and individual with no lips (or hips, for that matter) be considered less attractive? Are we basing that off of the individual or on our vision of what a relationship should include (i.e. kissing in this case, or love making)?

Avery,

I chose to talk solely about the first part of JW's question for two reasons...one, because it irritated me most :), and two, because I didn't want to drag out my post too long.

However...I do not see lip/hip preference as being ableist either. The argument is a parallel argument to the racist argument. Of course I may prefer lip/hip types...and I may pick a mate based upon that preference. But that in itself doesn't make it an ableist act.

Full thin lips/hips brunette/blond blue/brown eyed one armed blind scarred...they're all features of a PERSON. An individual.

And while I may have a preference for thin lipped women, I may just as quickly date a fuller lipped woman if OTHER features married up to my liking. For example...if two women were identical in all ways with the only distinction being a thin lipped smoker versus a full lipped non-smoker, I'd chose the full lipped non-smoker DESPITE my preference for thin lipped women.

In order for JW's example of lip preference to really be ableism, one or the other would have to be discriminated against because of lip fullness in every case...i.e. "I'd never date a full lipped woman".

Clearly, in my example...other factors are involved.

Now if you want to go down the road of preference being ableist in itself...then pretty much any individual characteristic could be considered a feature to be used to discriminate against.

I would consider that as offensive as the racist relationship.

JW-

If this space was purely a location for "academic" discussion, I would concede that you make a valid point. In academia...like the old philosophers sitting around a table with a bottle of wine...we have the convenience and ability to look at realities, hidden realities, and explore and consider every likely and not so likely combination of events.

In order for a conversation like that to work...people need to be like minded. Now I don't mean like minded in the sense of agreeing on things...but like minded in the sense that they all are coming from the same perspective...academia. They all would recognize that they were discussing POSSIBILITIES...theory...digging into the guts with a bit of self introspection.

But I don't believe we have that level playing field here at Wiley Wandering. People are coming from all different places...some see the discussion as academic...some philosophical...and some on a more base, practical level.

This is my long winded way of saying that I think that by micro-viewing each and every detail of EVERYTHING from racism/ableism lenses, it cheapens the discussion on racism/ableism as a whole. For example...I ran your original post by some friends at work. They are good friends...and good people...but not at all schooled in the lingo of our discussions here. Their comments were not unexpected...they all wondered why "everything is always about race".

Now before anyone tries to attack that point of view...I recognize that those comments were naive...and even borderline ignorant. But the point I'm trying to make is that by "digging" too deep, and making associations twice removed, you run the risk of alienating people before they even enter the discussion.

The movie, "Jason's Lyric," was an awesome movie with several scenes that distinquish the difference between sex, love, and romance. If you haven't seen it yet, it is worth renting or borrowing. You can check out the review at http://www.reelviews.net/movies/j/jasons_lyric.html

Everyone, no matter their race, ability, sexual orientation, class level, and so on, holds themselves, and those around them, on some sort of shaped and manipulated pedestal. Whether you are aware of your actions or not, you still find time to place people in a category, and why not, why should romance, sex, love and marriage be any different. It is within human nature, that individuals assign a ranking to everything, hence Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest.

It is my belief, that no matter where an individual comes from, how they look or act ECT. that they still have that inkling inside of them to be ‘liked’. When you find yourself in a sexy heated situation with a significant other, or perhaps just another individual, no matter the connection, an individual has certain questions running through their mind. For example, I will place myself in a situation, “Am I doing what he /she likes? Do I look attractive sitting/laying like this? Should I of worn something different? Do they look like they are enjoying themselves?”

Whether or not an individual wants to engage in a conversation regarding RSLM and Diversity/Social Justice, it’s a topic that is with you no matter what situation you are involved in. What an individual finds attractive, i.e. full lips compared to well endowed hips, those are all things that are formulated, compiled and categorized by you as an individual, based on your social surroundings. Again, you want to be well received by your peers, so you attempt to align yourself with what they find attractive as well. Jumping to the question of an individual’s sexual orientation, I thoroughly believe it has a rather large impact on the way an individual loves and is loved. In America, heterosexuality is found more socially appealing, hence male/female couples can broadcast their love without a seconds thought as to whether or not someone would be offended by their actions, whereas a homosexual couple might likely have those thoughts every minute of the day. They have to worry about what people will say or think about their relationship, and really, what kind of a relationship is it, if you are constantly guarding yourself, or your significant other, because of the cruelty of the people in this nation. Is it not then merely just a safety net?

An individual’s Social Justice Lens is a permanent fixture upon the eye of that said beholder. Whether you choose to accept the argument, that no matter what you do, your race, sexual orientation, class level, ability level and so on, have an effect on how you view relationships, who and what you find attractive, who you will eventually love, and finally marry, is something that, in my opinion, is what will be examined and discussed in this semesters upcoming RSLM classroom.

RSLM are four topics, that could send any individual into conversations in any direction, but because of our nations need to fit into that ‘mold’, of what our society finds attractive, or what they find to be right, it’s as if the true meaning of these words has been sadly, lost in translation. RSLM seems almost necessary if you begin to wonder and ask yourself these questions. For years, individuals my age, have been asking questions like this, but to no avail, have found no answers, no explanations for why they feel this way, and the reason why this class seems relevant and extremely important, is because it finally gives us an arena to ask, engage, discuss, and LEARN, how all of these things, being unrelated, relate. Similarly, the Diversity and Social Justice classroom, was also used as our own private sanctuary, where other students, and myself included, were able to say/ask what they truly wanted to understand, and were able to do so, without having to censure ourselves or frame it in a way that would we consider to be, “acceptable”

So how about we tech some things up a bit!? I love thinking about how technology has affected the society of today in comparison to the society of the past and even the society of two years ago, in particular the rise of social media and other technologies that work along the same principle of near instant publishing targeted to specific audiences. You can’t tell me that Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, match.com, twitter, LinkedIn, texting on a cell phone, emailing via pc’s, a laptop, smart phones, etc. have not changed the way we see romance as it is today. It is in fact technology that we use to watch these movies, read the reviews and post to this blog with. Just thinking about all the ways in which tech has changed the way we meet each other, embrace one another, love each other and communicate ‘blue screen’s’ my brain. The list of ways in which tech has affected romance (along with every aspect of our lives) in my mind, could go on forever.
I remember watching a movie called ‘La Tarea’ one time and, after the movie was over, realizing I really enjoyed it. The movie takes place around the mid 80’s or so in which two old time companions meet once again for what appears to be a “bootie call” for lack of a better term. The whole movie is shot in one location, in one room, with one camera angle and yet I never found myself looking away from the screen. I was watching what romance was like for these two characters in a certain time period and was blown away by the twist ending I never saw coming. Unfortunately that is all I can say without giving away too much.
Looking back at this film after really growing into a “techie”, I can’t help but realize how things have changed in the tech world and how they may have in turn affected the romance world. I look back and see how the two communicated using hard wired land line telephones and leaving messages on answering machine, something I feel I have not done in years. Couples used to write love letters and send postcards which for the most part, seem to have been replaced by texting, emails and Facebook. I wonder, is all this tech hurting or helping our romantic lives? We see more romance on screen, tangled in the world wide web and many other places and do we take that and replay that in our own romance? Do more people find romance that may never have before thanks to online dating sites and social media that allows them to expand their search worldwide? Then I think, does this tech hurt our romantic lives as well? Is it easier for us to find someone or something else that excites us more with all this technology at our fingertips? Have we gotten so involved that we overwhelm ourselves and burn out that romance within the first few weeks and with 200 emails and text messages? Why do we make dating official only when it is officially posted as the relationship status on Facebook?
So back to ‘La Tarea’. Perhaps this movie fascinates me so much because the romance in it is that of an older caliber that I did not grow up with. It is of a simpler time, back to the basics. Maybe it is because it truly is a good movie with a great ending? Maybe it is a nice step back and short break from the tech world I find myself blissfully tangled in (and not only because I have to watch it on vhs!). Maybe it is simply a combination of all of the above. Either way it is something I would recommend to anyone looking for a movie about romance, or just a good movie in general. J.W. and others, I would recommend to take a look at it (it is in the Feinberg library) sometime and look back at other movies from years past and see how technology has or hasn’t really affected our romance! This is a short post and a bit off topic to say the least, but hopefully you catch my drift and don’t find it too far gone.

The cause for romantic attraction between two human beings is something that may not always be specifically recognized or understood as such, however it occurs just the same. I propose, that a "perfect kiss", does not necessarily need to be felt by both parties in order to be perfect, it may be interpreted as such by one, or both. A perfect kiss encompasses every essence of the experience. It includes the "mood" going into the kiss, it cannot feel forced or rushed. How about the environment the kiss takes place in? Sharing a kiss in a stinky garbage dump would no doubt be subpar in comparison to a kiss on a beautiful white sand beach in Aruba, to many. Are particular stipulations all that matters in a kiss or is it who the kiss is shared with that matters? In essence, too much pressure put on a kiss might predestine the kiss for doom. Let's not forget about stinky breath.. can a perfect kiss be shared with someone with less than moderate level hygiene? I believe it can. I had a perfect kiss the other day. At the time, everything else faded away and nothing else mattered... but the kisser and the kissee. It wouldn't have mattered if he tried to play tonsil hockey, it still would have been a perfect kiss, because the fact that we had come so far.. is was made it "perfect."

hey i agree what does lip size have to do with anything? i wont answer that! where is romance today the old fashioned way- flirting / flowers / dining/ respect for each other/ laughter my hubby and i started as friends and dated as we graduated to other levels of our relationship. he still spins me the floor in our home breaking into dance without notice/ brings me flowers! sex is nice like frosting on the cake but sometimes when thats over with thats the end! intrique is nice too keeps it alive!!! holding hands is nice!

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