My schedule for posting for my Strangers class is a bit off, so now here is another post for this class this week. Apparently, there were two possible readings for class this week, one having to do with strippers (!), and another concerning fleeting relationships. Guess which one I read. No, not the one with strippers. I know, a major disappointment. Maybe another time.
The reading I got, “Momentary Pleasures” starts off with a discussion of the increase in the amount of services catered to singles finding each other. They can be for the marriage minded, hook ups, and everything in between. It says that long term relationships can be gleaned out of chance meetings, but that is a rarity, because the nature of the orchestrated singles events later don’t possess an atmosphere that is conducive to forging those kinds of relationships. Imagine seventy-five 40-something-year-olds in a low-lit hotel ballroom with waltz music playing, and not strong enough drinks flowing. Yeah, definitely a den of swindlers and jezebels just looking to hook up….or not. Granted, most of the people who attend these dances probably just want company of some sort, a marriage probably wont be borne out of an encounter like this.
The reading then describes how the people in these dances generally stand around for a while, work up the nerve to dance with someone, and then they part, never to speak again. Womp, womp. Honestly, a single in the 21st century who is half that age would NEVER consider going to an event like that. There is a certain rush to meting someone random, entertaining each other, and having it be fleeting, but the venue for these interactions, if orchestrated can actually detract from the randomness that causes the rush that makes that all worthwhile. Maybe for older people, this is an acceptable, Puritanical way to meet someone else, but if your goal is to have something more than fleeting, I don’t think that this is the manner in which to do it. That, in my opinion, requires a meaningful initial meeting, and an actual series of successful dates or successive interactions. This dance, seems like a mockery of all that.
The encounters described within the reading seem dry at best, but that is because my own random interactions with strangers have been so hilarious, exciting, and otherwise memorable for the most part. I suppose that the exercise of meeting new people is quite different for those with marriage in mind. I don’t think a girl should run around thinking of each boy she dates could be “the one,” and vice versa. That is foolish.
If I meet someone online, in a club, at the bar, I already know wassup from the beginning, and I take that for what it is worth: generally a fleeting sexual fling. Then again, since no one in my target “mate” demographic is looking for marriage, it is a completely different ballpark. Instead, they want what I have, and if I want what they have, then we can make it happen. Lots of the time, it is very cut and dry. These fires are intense, because they are short lived. As Zhang He says from Dynasty Warriors, “A dying flame burns brightest.” He meant that in reference to battle strategy for dealing with cornered opponents, but I have found that it applies to dating, hookups, and these chance encounters. The best fleeting moments are the ones that leave you breathless, and wondering what would have happened had you had more time with that person, more kisses from them, or if you had another chance to have dinner with them.
What is interesting about this dance setting to me is what the author calls sifting. I do it regularly when looking for someone, for whatever my whim of the moment is. If you’ve seen or heard about my exploits before, you know there are many types I like, and many that I do not care for. Looking online, it is simple to produce at least a feasible sexual partner, down to height and weight, however, upon meeting them, you can instantly tell if you want to see each other again. In my own experience, about 70% of the time, they want to see me again, but I take no further interest in them. The remainder is split between times I want to see them again, and they don’t want to see me further, and lastly and most importantly, we both want to see each other again. The latter is the most difficult to find, but it is worthwhile for me, even if we only continue dating irregularly, just to say, “that person is hot, they think I am hot, we can go on dates when we feel like it.” A good stable has many stallions, so I collect suitors in this manner to entertain me when I want or “need” to be entertained, because I have the prerogative to do so, and because I am in the unique situation of not wanting to marry, or produce a child. You could get lost in the amount of phone numbers in my cell phone, and I can be honest and say I don’t know who everyone in there is, but simply having them there makes me happy and assures me that I have options. Friends often laugh at me for not recognizing people who call me. Maybe I should too, lol.
I like how the article mentions Casanovas. Some people that are close to me know the rate at which I go through “suitors,” so they would call me a playboy or something similar, but I just consider myself to be a particularly good sifter. If I chance upon one I like, I will do anything for them, but the ones I come upon that are only moderately entertaining do not get a surplus of my time. The section on stigmas that this Casanova topic falls into mentions “kooks” and “losers” who would attend these singles dances. People shouldn’t be labeled like this, but I do find in my own time out at clubs and bars has many of these “undesirables.” As long as you know what you like and what you don’t like, you can make a sound decision for you, your loins, and your amorous future.
This week, I randomly stumbled into Cohen Park on East 57th and a strange, lonely stranger interaction. When I saw the sign for it I remembered that movie we watched in Strangers that said that was a public space that didn’t work. Since it was empty, that observation was true. Here’s what I scribbled in my red notebook while I was there:
Stone walls surround a row of round, red tables and chairs and is lined with red benches. Its cold out, but the stone is colder. I almost passed this place by. I was drawn into it though, so I sat. A lone, Asian woman finds refuge inside and lights a cigarette in the back corner. She liked hiding here, and didn’t look at me. I wondered about her. A black woman almost stopped in, but looked at us, then continued on. I wonder what she thought. This place is beautiful in its symmetry and black marble, but it is so cold—-even tulips and bamboo along the edges can’t warm it up. Would this be cool in the summer? Must tell Kio I was here.