against love

I finished Against Love: A Polemic last night and boy am I conflicted. I like the idea of the polemic – being provocative, making people really think about the issues – but at the same time Kipnis is so pat-herself-on-the-back about it that it’s a little irritating. After 200-or-so pages about how marriage is irrelevant (or is it?) and out-dated (or is it?), she concludes with a trite little paragraph about how “against” can mean either “opposed to” or “supporting.” So….what? At no point could I determine her position regarding love, marriage, relationships, commitment, etc – except that she really likes to talk. There were many valid points – but I wonder about the long-term influence of this book considering it is/will be so dated in about five minutes. I agree that marriage as an institution deserves SERIOUS investigation and criticism – we commit ourselves far too easily to a Judeo-Christian ideal of what a relationship should be like – and whoever said that marriage is/should be the culmination of love? One of her points seems to be that we are clinging to a dead (or dying) institution because we’re not brave enough to change it or to even realize that it’s fatally flawed. Yes? Maybe? If over 50% of (American at least) marriages end in divorce, then yes, the form (or the expectations for the form) is flawed – but that doesn’t mean that doing away with marriage-as-social-contract is the way to deal with it.
I guess in the end I don’t know how I feel. I’m one of those that left to pursue happiness – I think that’s one of the few “groups” that Kipnis supports(?) – and I don’t think I’ll ever marry again – but I don’t think that marriage is hopelessly outdated. I think we just have expectations and settle for less than them. It’s unrealistic to expect one person to meet all your needs – but it’s unfair to settle for much less than that – unfair to you and to the person you settle with/for. I think reading this book at this particular juncture in my life was good – and painful and strange – but my opinions are strong enough to be shaped and challenged by this strange beast of a polemic. If you’ve read Against Love, drop me a line and let me know what you think.
Other than that, a wonderful weekend. Really wonderful. Friends and food and laughter and sunshine. I feel like too too many entries are lists of adjectives – but that’s how I’m thinking these days. Once my phone lines are restored from the imaginary address I’m sure I’ll have more coherent thoughts – yesterday I tried to blog with a small child standing directly behind me and GOD was it irritating. I’m looking forward to the Interweb in the privacy of my own home.
Oh, a somewhat related note and a call for help – send me postcards! I have about 100 already but am papering my walls with them and would like more with interesting photos or from interesting locales. If you can spare a postcard and 23c, please email me and I’ll send you my address. I will also send you real mail in return – and that’s always a good thing. 🙂
Cheers, darlings. It’s been quite a month already.

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