The End of the Greenwich Punk: Part 2, A Family Lunch

facebook status

After I posted  this status on Facebook the Greenwich Punk called me immediately.  He wanted to know who was the object of my skills.  I told him that I had been dating someone for a few weeks and needed to dump them in a sensitive way because of a lack of chemistry. “You didn’t think I’d wait for you?” I said.

“Well no, I just thought you might be planning to stab me…”

“With a knife?”

“With your wit.”

“Well you know, If 50% of the guys I date are dicks, I always have to date two guys at once,”

After that I remember chatting a bit about orgasms (no reason) and listening to some songs he was writing at the moment. He said that he appreciated the Facebook status as my clever way of getting him to call me (?), but he was planning to call me anyway.  He said he had to go, so I asked him what the function of the call was.  Was he only trying to get the scoop on my dumping, or did he want to meet up before I went to Berlin?

“Yes, let’s go see a show next weekend, there’s a show up by Richard Kern, he’s a photographer.”

“Ok, I’ll look that up,  See you later.”

I did look the show up.  It was at Cabinet, reviewed by a digital assistant at Dazed.  It was shit.

The artist claimed it was an ethnography of drug use in suburban America.   This was compatible with the Greenwich Punk’s enthusiasm for recreational drugs.  Unfortunately the pretense of ethnography  was merely a fake rationale for taking photographs of young white women standing in their underwear.  The was no ‘conceptual’ reason for them to be wearing translucent lingerie.  There were no middle aged men standing in their tighty whities with bottles of Viagra…   or for that matter people of color.

The photographer’s true motives came through in the interview….He kept on referring to the subjects as ‘girls.’  I thought about him using this word in front of the journalist, a young woman trying to get a toe hold in the creative class by writing this article for Dazed.  She would also be considered a ‘girl’ in his rhetoric.  Was her skin crawling when she interviewed him?  Did the patriarchal power dynamics embedded in this situation fly right past her? She might be extremely grateful for the opportunity to interview a “successful” artist.

I thought about some of the Greenwich Punk’s comments about my blog, “that people would be reading it for their own purposes.”  He felt it was problematic for me to make work about my body and how it felt in the system…but it was commendable for this photographer to tell us about the bodies of others through an obviously tainted lens.

But I doubted that the Greenwich Punk told me about the show to piss me off… It was probably just something that he heard about in his immediate environment… it was ‘marketable,’ so in the rhetoric of advertising he immediately assumed it was ‘good.’  It would be an interesting conversation to have if we ever got to the show….maybe there actually was a middle aged man with Viagra.

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Nightmare (male privilege)

Three Ages of Man and Three Graces, by Hans Baldung

Three Ages of Man and Three Graces, by Hans Baldung

Master of Ceremonies:

Welcome to the all you can eat buffet of male privilege!  It’s all you can eat bodies here, no souls attached!  Need someone to fuck around with while you’re getting over your ex-wife, and before you’ve met the next adolescent to lure into co dependence, we have it!  Need some emotional and physical intimacy while your ex-girlfriend  is still living in your flat and only having sex with you occasionally, we’ve got it!    Need someone to fuck while your partner is away in India! We can help you!

There are way too many bodies on the table here, and it’s easy for the customers to over indulge, which they often do, wreaking havoc on their frail digestive systems.

I have already been consumed.  J.W., N, and the Red Headed Cupid have used a mixture of my blood and fascia to hold together the awkward, unmentionable parts of their lives, never thinking that I needed to have my own story.  After all the M.C. said that there were no souls involved.  Everyone listens to the M.C.. The Red Headed Cupid is still picking the flesh of my heel from his teeth as he greets his partner at Heathrow.

I am gathering my bones together where they’ve been discarded, underneath the table.  I am trying to reincorporate, forming my own story, although I know it borders on the grotesque.  Dry bones held together by alien saliva, and a head, I crawl out from under the table and stagger upwards.

N looks at my face and says: What’s eating you? Why do you look so down?  Look at how the blue the sky is!  There are so many people you could meet!    Put a smile on your face!

I wonder if N notices that I am only a skeleton and barely standing up.  I momentarily fantasize about somehow reasserting my boundaries to protect myself from the ‘wrong people,’  but then it’s still in recent memory that it’s only these ‘wrong’ people who  approached me, and I don’t even have skin to hide the immodesty of my bones any more.  All the sweetness of the flesh:  generosity, empathy, and idealism, has been completely consumed.

I look at N and realize he is wearing strange, circular, opaque glasses. They turn prismatic in the sunlight.  I wonder if he is actually blind, or his vision is distorted.  I try to take off his glasses.

“Don’t Touch Me!” he snaps angrily.  I look slightly wounded. “Maybe you should try dating someone  uglier and less intelligent,” he says.  “People like me only partner with people who look like Jennifer Aniston and own flats near Bakerloo.”

In an awkward pause I  look at his sunken chest and flabby stomach and try to unravel what the MC said to make him equate personal fulfillment with commodity fetishes.

Then I totter back to the feast for women…I have some faint memory of being here before I was lured to that demented table by a chicken pie.  The feast is a bit like the one in Peter Pan and also like the one in Beetle Juice.  The food is very good, pies and cakes, turkey legs and quiche, but you have to work very hard to imagine it.  Then when you put out your hand to grasp the imaginary food, an invisible hand swats at you.

You want emotional intimacy with your sex?  Shut the fuck up you stupid ho!

You want to express your thoughts and feelings? Disgusting, no one wants to hear your imbecility!

You want to be in a relationship? You clingy bitch!  How transactional!

You want to get married and have kidsGrotesque, That’s not for people like you!

I sleepily wonder what kind of people it is for, and where their table is, but I let it go pretty quickly.  I have zero transformational powers in my skeleton, and no energy as my body is feeding on nothing right now.   I couldn’t begin to look like them.  Though I am absolutely starving at this point I don’t have enough energy to imagine any more food….and if I take any more hits from invisible hands I might collapse into a pile of bones. I am longing to….I am a few seconds away from….lying down on the grassy hillside and waiting for the lights to go dim.

The Tall Irish Vegan Discovers my Blog

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I wasn’t totally honest in the post date vlog of 4# and 5#, the Tall Irish Vegan…I was still negotiating how my privacy might exist in this project, and as we all know, it doesn’t.  Or at least, I am still in the process of experiencing the technical difficulties.   I keep tripping up on the fact that these things, the very private things, matter.  They are both the gateway to the way we connect to each other and our power relationships.  So on date #5, what should of been a lovely romantic venture in Kew  Gardens,  I was exhausted… The week of precarity had just happened…and I was  an hour late and ruining my date with the Tall Irish Vegan by bitching all day about J. W. and 19 year old Yuki.  We managed anyway to have some nice moments.  The Gin and Tonics garden in Kew was like a Wes Anderson movie: The set up, the barmen. the music even.  We swore who ever the manager was must of been insane for Wes Anderson, probably put a call out just for these types: tall gawky Englishmen with awkard noses, add a lanky Indian with shiny long hair.  Dress them in flowery shirts.  Afterwards we went to a pub in Kew for Dinner..  we got vegan meals together.  The pub had much better lighting than our cozy Scrabble pub in Dulwich,.. and was mostly attended by Grannies.  We just wanted a little privacy to kiss again like we did in Dulwich.

I have to say that the project has been distorting my attitude towards these ventures.  I want to know too quickly the yes or no.  because if it’s no, I don’t want to waste my time, or break with my project.

So we had the talk about flats…He had some visitors at his: not enough privacy.  I was very ashamed of the mess in my room… most embarrassingly I really needed to clean the sheets.  We came up with a solution..a blindfold.  Then the idea was just too hot to put down.  We started talking about honey.

I think he took a bus home at about 12 am.  In the morning when we weren’t in touch I started to feel that I had messed things up.  Of course it’s a self infliction of sexist standards that I blamed it all on myself.  He called me back at noon, and we talked about the fact that he would be traveling most of September, and we should keep things low key, with no labels.   In a way this is exactly what I wanted.  There was a chance I could go on 30 dates before he came back..or at least 20?  So if he really liked me we could start things in October.. If he actually liked me.  I was also suspicious that the words no labels are just a way to make a graceful exit.

I started to think the latter when our communications cooled off significantly…after a few days I did the post date vlog.

Anyway I just talked to him on Skype.  He called me up to say he found the blog a week ago.  He was hesitating out of curiosity to hear what I said, but felt it was important to tell me before I wrote about him.   He said he was okay with the blog.  He wasn’t confrontational, but gentle, and respectful. It was good to see his face.  I got that feeling you get when your mind is arranging itself around the appearance of  someone you have growing affection for. We talked about the meaning of the no labels statement, and the cooling off.  It was just a knowledge that we needed to slow down things a little (something I already stated in my vlog).  So we will definitely see each other again….at the same time he’s cool with the project and the idea that I will be seeing other people.  He feels like I do, that he’s doesn’t have to ‘own me’  for me to know that I like him more others.  If I do end up with someone else in the process than that’s meant to be.  I feel at peace with this, and I’ve much warmed to the Tall Irish Vegan because of the way he responded…in the right way…  I’m now looking forward to seeing him again much more than I was.  The boy with the Thailand tattoo texted me this morning and said ‘I wasn’t right for him’.  I can’t know if he found the blog.  I emailed this morning to make the leap of faith and tell him about it, and also ask if we could be friends.  But if he found the blog, wasn’t cool with it, didn’t tell me, and won’t respond to an email…that just shows he wasn’t the right person for me.

The Unconventional Woman Outclassed

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Usually a woman sits down with her date, and she is able to assess that he is either physically less attractive, less intelligent, or lacking in emotional intelligence, availability, and confidence.  She sees this and knows that because of the sexism shaping the world around her, he may be judged as equal or even better than her in the pluses and minuses of things.  He will have  more economic, social, and romantic opportunities.  She knows that he also will judge himself by this outside system, not seeing her true value, and feel more entitled than she does.  She knows it is in her best interest to find out what she can love about this person despite his flaws…and love is still possible in this way.   Loving past the flaws can be joyful, fulfilling, and sexually rewarding. Her agency lies in the possibility of quality partnerships, not in a total insistence on equality, which seems impossible to achieve in the short amount of time she has to exist in both a mature and attractive adulthood.  Still, after she is given the opportunity to invest physically and emotionally in him, when he abuses her (during the break up)  and devalues her ( by moving to another country to date a 19 year old) it is a slap in the face.  It will be hard for her to let go of the anger.  This is not just an event or his personal choice, but an expression of how she is always playing a game she cannot win in a machine built to systemically devalue her mind and body.  She loses pieces of herself in the process.

But today a rare event occurred.  I was outclassed.  I was thinking am I smart enough, pretty enough,and  emotionally mature enough to have a chance with this guy?
I said before he looks like my dear friend Min Wei, from the pictures. I think I find him more attractive.  I think I find him more attractive in person.  When a guy does not have hair or height on his side, but is still handsome. it’s  exciting.  You know that nature has not given him any ‘easy in’ and his handsomeness is totally his own thing.  And when you can see the subtle shape of muscle under a button down shirt, that is his personal achievement.  I don’t often fetishise accents because I’ve heard so many, but the Glasgow accent was starting to trip me up.
The first thing I said was can I look at your tattoo?  And usually a tattoo is such a banal, hackneyed thing.  But this tattoo was an intermingling of Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic design culture. He called it ‘sacred geometry’ i told him the intermingling of those design cultures was my obsession when I was 19.  Tantric Diagrams, Mandalas.  It was a Thai tattoo.  We have to tell the story of our lineages because I traveled towards the Thai tattoo in my lifetime, instead of being born near it.  His story is better than mine.  He is Italian, Spanish, Scottish, and Chinese.  Pirate? I said.  His grandfather was from Shanghai, a sailor in the Merchant Navy.  He had a family in Shanghai, Nepal, and Scotland.  He was a love pirate.  I wonder if the genes went down the family tree.
I was really struggling to get my head round this and the world of the political underground that he inhabits while trying to understand all the information in the Disobedient Objects exhibition.  I don’t get how something like decentralized technology matches up with socialism, even though I did the predate Google.  I still don’t really get what a crypto anarchist or a cypher punk is.  It’s mysterious and sexy, and I want to be the type of person who might meet these people?  He has personal stories for at least a few of the objects in the exhibition, and I think where have I been living? Not on the ground.  When I know about the Guerrilla Girls and he doesn’t, It’s a relief.   I had something to add.  Apparently his mum taught textiles at Goldsmiths and is ranty (a sign!) and I say, can’t  believe G.G. got  left out of the rant.   In the pub with a drink in me I feel less stupid.  We talk about conformity, shame as a tool for social control and classism  (the swimming pool story), and who is actually happy in this system, not the producers, not the consumers..not the consumers at any level.  He recommends doing ayahuasca to all my anxious, sad friends because it turns a mirror on your self and gives you insight on a path towards change.  He says he did this and it worked.  I said my friends are slowly trying to get a grip, but I’m not sure they can handle seeing the whole mirror.  They might kill themselves.   He recommends I try Jujitsu for my problem of over empathizing and being turned off to my emotional self.  To learn how to be a fighter.  He does kick boxing and Jujitsu, that’s why his body is like that.  He gives me the down low on the Scottish referendum.  If Scotland stays in they lose their free health care and education, and become a testing ground for all the shittiest laws before they come to England.  If Scotland leaves they stay Scottish and socialist, and England becomes irretrievably Tory and corporately fascist without their influence.  He says he will move to Berlin within 9 months.  I start laughing. You too he says?  Fuck tories, and marriage, me too.   He has to leave for a meeting…he texts his mate for an extra hour but we still only get 3 hours together.  In a final stroke of questionable genius, I explain how Tess of the D’urbervilles killing her rapist is a lot like Dave Chapelle’s series “when keeping it real goes wrong”.  He does seem to find it impressive.  I tell him he is fascinating as he is about to go..no way could I play it cool at this point.  He says I am fascinating too, but we don’t make plans.  He goes.
I text Shannon ridiculously ” I think I’m going to die of hotness.”  I go to the toilet to do my  post first impressions vlog.  I go to the Speed Listening event I have been looking forward to.  There’s good music and people sharing it.  I try to enjoy it, but I go home half way through.  I just want to sit in my room and remember 3 hours passing.

Is the Unconventional Woman becoming the Short Term Dating Girl? a Dark Night of the Soul.

material girlmaterial girl2

I@gmail.com          August 31st

to N

I am afraid I am not the Unconventional Woman anymore.  I am becoming the short term dating girl.  It’s not what I intended to do, it’s just feeling a lack of hope in a future.  Even though I know the short term dating girl has no future, at least she has fun sometimes.  The Unconventional Woman believes in love, she waits for it, she reveals it like a  diamond in the rough.  The short term dating girl takes what she can get and leaves.  She knows she won’t that get much.  It would be a waste of time to wait for the plus to turn into a minus.

The commodity, like the sign, suffers from
metaphysical dichotomies. Its value, its truth,
lies in the social element. But this social
element is added on to its nature, to its matter,
and the social subordinates it as a lesser value,
indeed as nonvalue. Participation in society
requires that the body submit itself to a
specularization, a speculation, that transforms
it into a value-bearing object, a standardized
sign, an exchangeable signifier, a “likeness”
with reference to an authoritative model.
Commodity—a woman—is divided into two
irreconcilable “bodies”: her “natural body
and her socially valued, exchangeable body,
which is a particularly mimetic expression of
masculine values.
It means my only value is a mimetic of expression of masculine values.  This is why J. W.  thinks that only girls just out of adolescence are the right person…He can superimpose all the liberal minded traits like intellectual development, life experience, and self-knowledge.  His ability to sublimate and project is all he needs.
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It also means the ten years I spent curating my experiences, and becoming more aware of myself and what I wanted, overcoming challenges, finally getting into school and doing my masters…it was a minus…I have less time and money now, and I do not express masculine values,  I’m going on less than nil.  I didn’t read any feminism in my BA.  I honestly thought when I got to the ‘real world’ of the city that people would be so cosmopolitan and smart they would have moved past this old fashioned nonsense…so I let myself grow without reference to these structures, without even referencing economic structures.
 
cyndilauper
When I asked 5 men to write profiles of me for my paper J. W. wrote the best profile…and I wrote I am afraid this is a mirror.. He’s just so good at telling people what they want to hear.  He never looks within himself, at least if he did, he’d never tell you what’s going on there.  He’s  a manipulator, and he’s after any one naive enough not to uncover it.  There are no good profiles.  There is no man in the world who could see or value my ‘natural’ body.

N@gmail.com          August 31st

to me

I,
You are lovely.The truth is, your sample of men is shit, that’s why love doesn’t
compute in the way you expect.
Me, overly self-controlled to the point of being repressed, slightly
masochistic Austrian guy who is still in love with his ex-gf that he
drove away by being indecisive.J. W., a skinny English guy who preys on foreigners by using the
English charm, or on younger women cause they are the only ones who
think he is cool. Married once already to an unfit woman who quickly
got bored of him. Hasn’t learned anything ever.

Matthew,  the Irish banker who gets off by having sadistic sex with damaged
women. You had not much in common at all with him, and he
won’t miraculously become intellectual over night.

All three of us, stuck in the past, not yet in the future, just
behaving reckless but glossing it over with “charm”.

The truth is, you are fine, but we are all a bunch of total losers.

We are all blessed that you give us your friendship, but if I were
you, I would stay away romantically as far as I could from any of
these individuals. If they were old-fashioned they would already be
married, or marry you and you would live unhappily ever after with
them.

As for your non-sense on the economic side of your self development,
respectfully and all out of the blue… I slap you hard in the face
that it hurts and push you against the wall and I choke you and then
kindly whisper into your ear: shut the fuck up, bitch. Because you are
talking mega-bullshit. You have made the absolute right decision to
live your life as you have. Your degree programme has now come to an
end, and its normal that you are anxious because of the uncertainty.
May I remind you of three things: Firstly, you really enjoy what you
are doing and in this respect you have already had a more fulfilled
life at your age of 30, than 98% of the world population will ever
have. Secondly, who knows how the next 60 years will turn out? Nobody
does. Whether you will make it or not, depends on luck – if you
continue trying. If you don’t try, then you can’t even hope for luck.
If you find you need to do something else for a while, so be it!
You’ll do something else, but you always have yourself and you’ve got
your brains and your boobies, what else do you need? Thirdly, don’t
honestly tell me you want to have the life of the other boring North
Carolinians?  That’s what I thought. Sorry that I had to slap you hard,
but you need a physical brain shake up. Your neurones of self
perception are misaligned.

The Week of Precarity

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[29/08/2014 06:22:07]:  I am literally handing in my final paper, and putting my work in storage, thinking my mark is irrelevant if I don’t find some way to survive financially and stay in London, basically having a  panic attack…N has been evicted from his flat and goes on two weeks holiday, telling me that his company will leave him like a bad dream while he is away,  J. W. takes me to dinner, and I think it will make me feel better but I also mean to ask him if he would mind being a better friend to me by spending time with me occasionally and more often, and not dismissing everyone who actually does as unethical from his high socialist feminist perch at the Guardian.  He notifies me that he is trying to go on sabbatical and move to Japan  so he can date a 19 year old Japanese girl who  recently gained entry into the undergraduate school at the place where I just did my masters but cannot attend because her English is not good enough to meet the Goldsmiths IELTS standard. There are a lot of tears and feminist book throwing and I keep repeating I’m not the short term dating girl and it does not matter if that’s the way he sees me, and he says I’m making unfair generalizations. There was no generalization, I was talking about specific people and events aligning to destroy me.  I don’t sleep well.  I check my whatsapp at 5am.   Matthew, the Irish Banker, most stable and reasonable of exes, says good news, I’m an artist too.  I quit my job.

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The Reality Checks

Sometimes when things are surreal and you feel like you’ve just been fed a shovelful of horseshit you talk to other women, and see things through their eyes.

“Oh my god, so she doesn’t even speak English, and she’s 19. And he thinks he likes her enough or connects with her enough to go to Japan and essentially quit his job…I’m thinking of some people on our course who barely speak English and they passed the requirements. So they can’t be that strict…That is so sad he needs so much ego boosting he needs to date a 19 year old who barely speak his language. He’s really insecure. Just leave him”

on language differences : “So their connection is telepathic!”

on age : “How sweet, he’ll watch her grow like a flower.”

The Flashbacks

He says to me , “I don’t know why you’re worried, my female colleagues aren’t..  they just figure they’ll get in on a second marriage.”

So he thinks his female colleagues, who he often admits are more educated and ambitious, and by extension myself and his peer group, should be shopping around for second marriages. Meanwhile he shops around foundation courses and finds whatever foreigner has started menstruating most recently. Then he gallantly proclaims “She’s the One, I just feel it!”

When I started to date the Irish Banker he told me “What you’re doing is really unconventional, usually it’s the man that’s more intellectually developed.”

pig.

Little Mermaid Research

SCARY-LITTLE-MERMAID

A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend about next week’s blog post, and she mentioned a Garfunkel and Oates satire of the ‘little mermaid” strategy of dating.  I laughed because it was a familiar cultural undertone for me…not voiced but demonstrated by people’s actions.  Perhaps it was less subtly presented by  my poor mother’s  shunned request that I not be so open with dates so that I can ‘grow on them’ .  I couldn’t find the clip online but I was inspired to make illustrations for the next post with images from Disney’s little mermaid. Then I had to Google the little mermaid dating strategy to see if it was just a cultural undertone  or if it existed as  an overt  message.

I found this:

 http://love.allwomenstalk.com/interesting-dating-strategies-to-borrow-from-disney-princesses/3/

Well, you couldn’t really expect something uplifting from a website called “all women stalk,”  could you?  Already spoon fed to us by Disney when we were too young to deconstruct it, now re anthologized and  delivered to adults:  suggestions about the level of self abnegation a woman should employ in order to get into a relationship.  “Hey lady, I advise you to just shut up so he can project his fantasies on you, I mean be demure….and by the way this is all so he completely focuses on your body..your ‘objectness'” .  In the story the pressure is all on the Little Mermaid to make things work, and quickly.  Nobody really cares about her mind or cares to discover her awesome sea kingdom.

Practical strategies aside, I have to suspect the relationship wouldn’t be much of a relationship in this case (a mutual exchange between equal minds and bodies) …actually it would just be a shallow pool necessary to feed a man’s narcissism.

After all those cultural micro-aggressions who can blame the little mermaid’s friends for just straight drowning those horny sailors?

Yourope Arte TV interview

Snapshot 1 (11-09-2014 08-45)

The Unconventional Woman reveals her face (!) for a TV interview about dating

Original text/ footage from Yourope Arte

On the day of the interview I remember still feeling tired from my course ending,  I got to the studio late, at lunch time, to set up things in a semi presentable manner.  That means I didn’t lunch, probably my first mistake.   I was really looking forward to the interview though.  I had already had a long chat with the journalist, Patricia, and she seemed excited about my emotional and intellectual angle on online dating.

One point I remember discussing on the phone:  In my twenties when I wasn’t that bothered about love and was just experimenting with the functional qualities of relationships it seemed liked it was pretty easy to get a boyfriend.  By the time I was 29 I knew more about what I wanted from relationships started feeling ready for something more serious, and I was hoping the guys that I met in their thirties would be more mature and capable of one.  That was not the case at all.  The more emotionally available I was the more people seemed invested in dating and discarding me.  When they pretended it was otherwise it was a  toxic pretense that damaged me by getting my hopes up.  My friends were getting married right and left to people they met in their late twenties, and I was getting left in the cold because I took my time and waited until I felt ready.  Patricia asked me why that was and I said it must be the responsibility…it doesn’t matter if I look young for my age, maybe it’s the idea that women are supposed to be thinking about marriage and kids between the ages of 30-35. They have to make a decision about that pretty soon, so they can’t just ‘hang out’ in a relationship. Patricia said she knew exactly what I was talking about.

We didn’t really mention that in the interview.  I was interviewed with my friend Sarah, She is in her mid twenties, and she’s a native Londoner who just got out of a long term relationship.  It came out how different our views on dating are!  I was explaining how I try to deconstruct the photos and messages..hoping to discern some traces of personality that make someone more than their level of physical appeal.  Patricia kept on asking me “That’s a very interesting intellectual view on things, but I want you talk about the fun aspect!”  I started to get exasperated. The fun aspect?  Well when I’m going through the process of sorting through potential matches with my friends we are laughing, but it’s very serious fun.  And honestly why don’t people think intellectual processes are fun? Meeting a gentleman with the intellectual and emotional capacity to love you, or even someone who wants to be a cool part of your social network, could change your life.  Meeting a jerk could damage you emotionally and put you off course for months, or years, and prevent you from meeting that caring gentleman.

Sarah gave the journalist more of the answer she was looking for, but first she complimented me on my ability to find interesting dates.   Then Sarah explained how her tastes were a bit more on the superficial end.  She enjoyed the swipe, and she said when friends were around she got even more of a giggle out of it.  She would get carried away and match people on accident.   Unlike me she really didn’t try to meet many of the people she matched with.  Sarah said she was more likely to date a friend of a friend.

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I said this is all totally indicative of Sarah’s background.  Sarah is a few years younger and she just got out of something big, so there’s no urgency.  Even though she is young, she is a native, so all her social networks are in place.  She feels confident that appropriate people will filter through her network..you could also call this Sarah’s ‘circle of privilege’.  Where as I’ve just come here, so I’m trying to construct my network.  Sarah responded to this by mentioning it would be a big turn off if someone said they were new to London, and that she had no interest in allowing a date to become a friend later.  Sarah has enough friends apparently (lucky I’m one of them). Then she said that she felt women she knew of who actually went on dates “really like people”

I started to feel depressed after this.  You could see from Sarah’s comments the sort of glass walls that were keeping me from connecting to other people.

  • People in London do not want new friends outside of their existing networks
  • People are turned off if you are new to London.
  • Apparently “liking people” is a rare attribute
  • People mostly want to date people who are already in their social networks
  • Online dating is just for laughs
  • People using the most functional interface (Tinder) think of dating in a totally superficial way

Add to that my personal elements of precarity:

  • I only have 2.5 years to live in the UK because of my visa, unless I find a job or a partner that likes me enough to help me with my visa
  • I’m 30 and I know what I want.  I want commitment/a relationship
  • I’m an artist/student–I  don’t have much of a financial status to contribute to a partnership (yet)

You can see how the numbers are against me.  All the pain that I experienced individually  over the past two years because of men can be easily be predicted by my social and cultural context.  How could it be any other way?  Why would it change?  So it should make a lot of sense when I say  I wish I had the ‘privilege’ and the ‘right’ to love someone.

After this segment Patricia’s cameramen started to set up for an interview upstairs.  Sarah went and got a sandwich for me, while I tried to push a tear back into my eye so Patricia wouldn’t notice.  Then we went upstairs for the second part of the interview.  Patricia asked me how many people I’ve dated.  I was prepared for this, I told her already that I’ve  dated about 30 people in twelve months.  When people are shocked by this number I guess they don’t realize that its not as much as that I’m a serial dater as a serious romantic, Society has made rules about my identity that make it hard for me to get into a relationship, this is my only way to attempt hacking the systemAnd it’s funny, the numbers show that the rules have nothing to do with my physical appearance.

Snapshot 1 (07-09-2014 16-19)

The next thing Patricia asked me was about the jobs and identities of all the people I’ve dated.  I wasn’t prepared for that, and I was so exhausted  at this point my burnt brain was having trouble recalling more than 5 people.  I had to question whether the Unconventional Woman premise of connecting with a cross section of the matrix was realistic, or were most people going in the delete file?

Our final shot was a picture of me walking down the street near the university.  I felt like drifting down the sidewalk with my head down, nursing my inner turmoil.  I could play a feminist Raskolnikov about to go on a binge of ex-boyfriend murders, except there’d be no Sonia to save me.  Because if Sonia was a man what would his profession be?  Then they reminded me to smile.  Smile girl, signal your eternal availability, just keep waiting for your chance.  Yes, you must pretend you are a girl.