ANTM (obliquely): 1 Mulligan for Shandi and 6 Pineapples for Situational Judgement

Uh-oh, I'm getting personal, all-encompassing, and a bit too big for my britches. So kick me.
No actually, don't. I'm already fricking nervous about getting personal.

It's obvious; it's inevitable; so enough of chomping on daisies with wild-eyed stares. Time to be honest. This is what is about to happen:
1. I'm going to start fleshing out and spiraling out pop culture-- away from memey-pockets and into themes. Fun? Fun.
2. This discussion will too often morph into an f up-ed expository piece about the nature of relationships.
3. I will end up turning on myself and disagreeing with the very core of my argument right at my crucial moment of analytic gold. But then I will write a highly ambiguous "bow statement" and you will say okay and think about it and maybe, just maybe, think about not disagreeing completely.

Why? Because this is my default mode: flit, float, wrack, crumble, flirt with redemption. Clockwork of the post-modern variety, so orange it hurts.
So. Theme 1. This theme will most likely get me into trouble, but it's been a major topic of debate among my most favorite Fluffernutters as of late. And I need to explore it more, get some more feedback, since it's been festering among three of us with similar opinions that sort of float around each other but never get stabbed and deflated, or, conversely, aerated and sent ballooning away to higher ground. And, although I most certainly have found myself in the middle of about 672 dating fiascoes, digital and otherwise, this time it's not about me. Rrrright. No, no, no, really. And let's all take a moment to remember Shandi from season 3 of ANTM. See? Yay... now wait for the tie-in.
See, as I'm about to start this story with "see, I have this friend...," I feel like a pre-chewed liar.  But, seriously, I have this friend (I actually have a few, but that's another issue) who is in a very nice committed relationship (I say "very nice" because, really, I don't have all day to expound upon the ins-and-outs, and really, really, who really knows what goes on behind anyone else's half-closed doors anyhow).  So, given that she's taken a few dips in the online dating pool (no judgement, I've taken 450,000 such dips), she's racked up a sturdy little arsenal of...let's call them... "contacts."  With one of these "contacts" she is, quite aptly, still in contact....purely via email; in fact, they have actually never physically met.  Sometimes, these emails transcend the typical "hey was was your day and your turkey roll-up and was your pickle good too?"  Maybe, let's say for the sake of metaphorical consistency (about which you know how strongly I feel), that the conversation is more heavily weighted toward more pressing personal matters...sometimes work, sometimes family, sometimes the aforementioned pickle (I hate that word and I think the metaphor is childish, but i'm over it and going with it because it fits with my how-was-your-lunch opening statement).  More of "let's think about what would happen and how it might go and how it would feel if we...if we...if we..." and so on and so forth.  So what, right? Simple as it seems, I think that's what I'm leaning towards as my stance.  Yup: So what, right?  I feel like I'm going to spiral into a SJP iBook monologue, so I'll really try to rein in the sweeping rhetorical questions, but just let me have two... If I'm not going with the cop-out "so what, right?," I'm bandying about these skittles:
1. Does the sharing of intimate ideas (sexual or intellectual) constitute cheating?
2. Is this a more hurtful offense, in some cases, than the physical variety?
Okay, one more (shut up):
1. Are thoughts of non-sexual passion expressed to the Other-Other actually even more intimate than just simply digifucking?
I am tempted, at this juncture, to freefall into a warpzone explanation of the veil of the digital world, and of the freedom of avatar creation, and of the kicking of inhibitions in the balls (since, of course, they are only composed of data-packets of zeroes and ones in this here-discussed world), but I won't. Why? Because we've all gone one step too far on Instant Messenger one night and consequently couldn't look that hot guy in Sociology in the eye for the rest of the semester. And I hate being all "I know stuff about the digital matrix" unless I really hate the person I'm talking to. And I don't hate any of you at all because, of course, you're spending your time reading my messy drips.
Well, lucky for me, another one of my closest Fluffernutters just had a run-in of her own. An actual physical slip-up from a four-year committed relationship with a hot guy from her office. Oh my god, right? No, not really. It's funny, when she told us the story out at dinner, the other two of us just nodded calmly. No "ohmigods" or even quiet gasps. More like, "oh, yea, I can see that." And that was it. One incident, a kiss (a solid one - and who doesn't want to be pressed, cordially, against the hood of a car?), and it was over, and she felt so much freaking better. Are all flings that innocent- so clean that you can settle for the dustbuster, no need to pull out the big clunky vacuum? Nope. 
See, and this is where I start to crumble and lose ground and feel like I'm moving into "a'ight I want to wrap this up mode" and I'm going to profess a huge generalized statement that only causes people to stir and get uncomfortable and punch me in the face. and then that would cause me to just punch myself in the face and save everyone time. and i don't have time for that...so here are some things upon which I will remain pointedly non-committal:
1. If you ultimately strengthen your relationship by misstepping, is it really misstepping?
2. The digital world bursts open a means by which we can play out our fantasies without swapping bodily fluids. For good or ill? Or-- neither-- because it's all basically the same underlying motivation and the motivation is the breach?
Okay, wait, I thought I was done, but I'm not. I was about to ask the question: "Can you have a passionate relationship with someone other than your mate and still have a 'committed' relationship?  I'm not willing to be non-committal on this bad-boy. Yes.-- and you should. Wow, I'm powerful. But no double-snaps yet. Does sex automatically get to be the scale-tipper? 
Now I'm going to spend the next twenty years trying to define "passion" while alternately slapping myself in the cheek in a snowstorm. Wish me luck.
And, if you don't remember Shandi's story (since she's my damn lynchpin here)...I'll toss out a quick summary so i can get back to overgeneralizing: undiscovered pretty girl from a Nebraska Walmart gets on ANTM, has a cutie-pie boyfriend at home who tells her how much he loves her eighteen times at the end of every maple-syrup-drenched phone convo, makes it to the final 5, goes to Italy (France, England?) and finds herself in a jacuzzi with beautiful Italian men, beautiful Italian wine, and beautiful revived emotions of how good it feels to be touched. fucks a random Italian guy. Calls her boyfriend in a frenzy the next morning and admits her wrongdoing. he flips and tells she her ruined the greatest thing ever, calling her a stupid bitch or something of the like. We find out in an ANTM "where are they now?" special that the pair ultimately got back together and are still engaged. So my sweeping statement for this particular tale is that if Shandi's boyfriend is over it, then who am I not to be over it, too? I'm assuming Shandi went home and got tested for every STD ever and begged forgiveness and they parsed the situation and decided it would be better to work things through than not. So, situationally, the physical fuck was forgiven because it didn't involve an emotional bond. I know, I know, I'm assuming things. Come on, when are we not? Alcohol, hot bubbles, hands... All I need to say is "ahem."

I'm sleepy and I shouldn't think about the digital shift and it's impact on relationship ethics right after eating salsa. 'Night.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

so the digital person is cheating on the physical person? is that possible? i mean after all, the physical person does not know the digital. or - is the physical person at fault for helping to create the digital manifestation?

9:55 AM  
Blogger kate.d. said...

christ on a bike, woman. i'm going to need to read this seven more times before i can even form a coherent thought about it. i will get back to you tuesday-ish...

(but, in short, i don't think that the motivation is the breach. otherwise, everyone in the world has cheated at some point.)

4:17 PM  

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