Nov 26, 2010

What's In A Name?

It seems that when it comes to personal relationships, the world is ever-too-quick to want us to tie ourselves down to labels. Facebook gives us a number of alternatives: Info-->Edit-->Relationships--> and you get presented with the usual "single", "married" and "in a relationship", to even include options that have traditionally been difficult to define, such as "its complicated". I mean really??? What's in a name?To be honest, I'm just waiting for the day they include "friends with benefits" as an option. Anyway, I actually wrote a piece about that (READ IT HERE) previously, and my conclusion after all that hemming and hawing was that it really is to each his or her own.

The question: Is it really necessary to box ourselves into a particular categorial relationship with a person, and along with that, its (unnecessary, i'd argue) accoutrements of sex and exclusivity and time spent and a host of other obligations? Labels are preconceived, and that's the heart of the issue. Our continued use of them just entrenches the roles and responsibilities tacked onto each label--and i'm not sure that's what I want. Of course i'm not talking about familial relationships--flesh and blood are the 2 things you really cant cut. Ok fine, Heidi Montag might contest the former, but blood? Man, that is for life. No question.

So now that that's out of the way, I personally prefer referring to these relationships as plainly, The Human Connection. If you prefer a catchier (read: with a vowel and hence pronounceable) acronym, let's go with The Human Experience. To be fair, 'connection' does presuppose the existence of the other person, whereas 'experience' can be solo--ask anyone with a vibrator. I MEAN, WHUT!?!? That never happened.

We interact with tens, hundreds of people on a daily basis. We're CONSTANTLY forming more relationships. The rule in practice is that all our relationships are valued based on relative closeness. To that end, we tend to measure interpersonal relationships on a pyramidal scale. I doubt anyone can successfully argue against the relativity point... and pursuant to that, how is it possible that we choose such a linear, check-the-boxes type of labelling, when really, everything is a matter of degree? I might be dating a few people at once, for instance, and forseeing varying levels of likelihood of an actual relationship with each-- then what do i label any of them? To-Be-Boyfriends? Dates? Prospectives? Do i tack on percentages for my own ease of monitoring?

This neatly brings me to my next point in favor of anti-labelling (see the positive spin there? HA.): non-exclusivity. You don't just have ONE prospective at a time... and let me clearly state now that i am pro-fidelity, pro-monogamy, etc etc etc. But what I'm saying is, labels force you into a corner where you limit the behavior to just that one person. Again, Facebook example: "in an open relationship with [insert name]". Anyone else find this a bit ironic? If you're in an open relationship, it really isn't with anyONE in particular is it? Also, just realized multiple consecutive questions make me sound ranty. (Right? Right?!?!?)

Ultimately, my issue with labels isn't the labels themselves, but our obsession with them. It doesn't matter what you want to be with someone-- it just is. You don't have to follow the rules and answer the questions about "so what ARE you guys, really?", or "what are WE?", etc etc. Sometimes, it's easier to just let things be.

After all, a rose by any other name is just as sweet.

that's my mac's wallpaper btw.
separately, will be tres busy from now on: in the midst of finals NOT EVEN FUNNY, followed by camp, then a monkeybunch of travelling for 6 weeks-- India, Sri Lanka, England. there's no way im remotely ready for any of the above, but you know. lemons, lemonade. i am really psyched to see my friends elsewhere in the world thou, so that's a major bright spark.
finally, the best summation of 2 years i enjoyed immensely:
(yea dont worry if you find it amazing friends wrote this and props if you can figure out which lines are attributable to me LOL)

HELLO! (waves) | we found a witch! may we burn her? |
| *gasp* globalization! | you shut up you! |
| she turned me into a newt! | obviously antithetical. | well done. |
| die. just die. | nnniiii! | ni ni ni ni ni! |
| oh my gawsh, you guys are sooooo |
| oH maH gaWsH, yOu gUys aRe sOoOoO |
| eh, you. shaaaaaadap. | eh, wonderwall wonderwall! |
| today is going to be the day that they're | NO PLEASE STOP |
| all off key la! | you're just jealous of my natural talent! *smirk* |
| go and die la. | eh change song leh, boring liao. |
| speed of sound! | nooo i want boulevard of broken songs! |
| eh you all grow up finish then call me ok? i'll be over there. |
| K bye. | nooo you're supposed to show some concern. |
| friend, this one called fist. you got try before? |
| wah lao dun liddat leh. | k la we go play basketball ok? |
| set! | but must sing wonderfull first! | wooo ok! |
| i close my eyes when i get too sad | wah chee raining leh! | *beep beep* |