Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition.
Friendship is not a pale imitation of sexual romance. It is a romance unto itself.
Debate whether [Jason Collins] is a hero or not in your world, but he’s leading by example for a small subset of people who need examples, and doing so positively: with love, and work, and still more work. The two are ultimately indistinguishable when done right, and what they leave behind is the capacity to pass that work forward.
Marriage these days signals that you’ve figured out how to be a grown up. You’ve played the field, backpacked Europe, and held a bartending gig to supplement an unpaid internship. You’ve “arrived,” having finished school, settled into a career path, bought a condo, figured out who you are, and found your soul mate. The fairytale wedding is your gateway into adult life. But in my experience, this idea about marriage as the end of the road is pretty misguided and means couples are missing out on a lot of the fun.
It’s become, I think, a straight American commonplace to want to dignify same-sex relationships by treating them the same way we would heterosexual ones — which means that when someone tells us, for instance, that he’s gay, some of us who are straight might silently assume his relationships are not just as valid as ours but fundamentally the same as ours. As habits go, it’s politically useful and often accurate, but it also means we don’t see much mainstream discussion of the way that figuring out a sexual identity, via any one of the million different paths we all manage it, influences a person’s experience of love itself and the stories they have to tell about how it feels.
Nitsuh Abebe, as thoughtful as ever.
If it’s common now for men and women to be friends, why do we so rarely see it in popular culture? Partly, it’s a narrative problem. Friendship isn’t courtship. It doesn’t have a beginning, a middle and an end. Stories about friendships of any kind are relatively rare, especially given what a huge place the relationships have in our lives.
It is close to impossible, for example, to recognize that a painting depicts two (or more) friends without a title to that effect or some similar literary artifice or allusion. The reason is that friends can be doing anything together and no single event is ever enough to indicate the presence of friendship.
He goes on to make useful analogies with the arts in general. You come to know a friend like you recognize a painter’s style: you can’t predict them necessarily, but you can see how things fit the pattern, once the friendship has “time to develop in the first place and time to flourish.” There’s also the idea that friends, and art, are things we use to become our individual, differentiated ourselves. Like Deresiewicz said elsewhere,
Introspection means talking to yourself, and one of the best ways of talking to yourself is by talking to another person.
Via Matt Thomas’ weekly NYT Digest, for which I am always grateful.
That was the idiot hopefulness of humans, always to love what was unformed.
I am frankly embarrassed that most of my musical life has been spent in the search for new materials. The significance of new materials is that they represent, I believe, the incessant desire in our culture to explore the unknown. Before we know the unknown, it inflames our hearts. When we know it, the flame dies down, only to burst forth again at the thought of a new unknown. This desire has found expression in our culture in new materials, because our culture has its faith not in the peaceful center of the spirit but in an ever-hopeful projection onto things of our own desire for completion.
Love has never failed. It has won every battle. And today and forever more it will go on undefeated.
Children — (if it Please God) — Constant companion, (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one, — object to be beloved & played with. — —better than a dog anyhow. — Home, & someone to take care of house — Charms of music & female chit-chat. — These things good for one’s health. — Forced to visit & receive relations but terrible loss of time. —
My God, it is intolerable to think of spending ones whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, & nothing after all. — No, no won’t do. — Imagine living all one’s day solitarily in smoky dirty London House. — Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music perhaps — Compare this vision with the dingy reality of Grt. Marlbro’ St.
or Not Marry?
No children, (no second life), no one to care for one in old age.— What is the use of working without sympathy from near & dear friends—who are near & dear friends to the old, except relatives
Freedom to go where one liked — choice of Society & little of it. — Conversation of clever men at clubs — Not forced to visit relatives, & to bend in every trifle. — to have the expense & anxiety of children — perhaps quarelling — Loss of time. — cannot read in the Evenings — fatness & idleness — Anxiety & responsibility — less money for books &c — if many children forced to gain one’s bread. — (But then it is very bad for ones health to work too much)
Perhaps my wife wont like London; then the sentence is banishment & degradation into indolent, idle fool —
The final result:
Marry — Marry — Marry. Q.E.D.
See also: lay it all out where you can look at it.
Glances are the big guns of the virtuous coquette; everything can be conveyed in a look, and yet that look can always be denied, because it cannot be quoted word for word.