10 Things I Still Don’t Understand… (Part 2)

Continuing with the final 5 in my list 10…

6. Cougarism/Dirty Old Men – I do not mean negatively. What I don’t understand is why we spend time labelling either of these types of people.

Because what we are talking about are “types” of people: women who prefer to date younger people AND men who prefer to date younger people.

This is vastly different from people who struggle with pedophilia or pederasty.

Yet still, we spend time reducing women to animals “cougars,” because they are 1) able to and potentially 2) prefer to date younger men. Also we do the same to men.   We make them into perverts, that somehow they are doing something “wrong,” something “dirty” by dating someone younger.  Jealousy gets you nowhere, folks. 😉

I live in Rome. I don’t know about other cities in Italy or around Europe. Here, however, it seems to me to be quite normal for “May-December” relationships to occur. Younger men often date older women. Older men often date younger women. It doesn’t seem to bother the Italians who live in Rome much. So, why is there such fuss and such hype… enough so that there is apparently a television show called “Cougar Town?”

Granted, there are some people who are just simply predatory and seek underaged sexual/intimate partners… And that’s when I would point possibly to words like pedophilia and pederasty… Of course, this is just my opinion.

Also, there is seemingly a gender bias here that disturbs me. In researching online about the topic of “cougars,” both women and term seem to enjoy a positive relationship with the media. There are dating sites devoted to “cougars” and it presents as a point of fascination and something at/about which one ought to smile. Whereas the “dirty old men” don’t seem to enjoy the same luxury… Are they not of the same ilk, however?

If the agenda is that one is strictly worried about the welfare of the young, then it shouldn’t really matter if the older person is male or female.

7. Reality T.V. – As some of you know, I am back in college for the second time around. Life as an undergrad affords one many pleasures. One of these pleasures is hearing about the latest in reality television. Apparently, the Real World is still on! Who knew! Considering the fact the first Real World premiered prior to my attending college the first time around (1995), I was a bit surprised, especially as after season 3 the structure of the program shifted dramatically.

I still miss Pedro Zamora (3/1/72-11/11/94), at whose funeral President Clinton spoke… and who, in my opinion, represented the very best of what the Real World hoped to show the youth of the world… That is that we can do so very much in our lives and touch the lives of many in real ways… even if we are given limited time…

My point is that my fellow students are quite absorbed in these made-up realities, these worlds of opulence, in which a group of young people are tossed and expected to humiliate themselves through intoxication, fornication (yes, I wrote that!) and by divulging way too much information, and making general spectacles of themselves… But why is this entertaining? Does anyone else remember the original 3 seasons of the Real World??? How awesome were they in comparison to what’s going on now? Oi… 😉

8. Relationship Construct – Perhaps as therapist I shouldn’t write this type of thing.  And on a professional level, my opinion is quite different from what I am about to write… because I do get it.  On a personal level, however, I don’t get traditional romantic relationships.  More specifically, I do not understand why we engage in the process of “demanding” or “asking” of someone else or ourselves to commit to being together “forever.”  No…. really, I don’t get it.

In my mind, at this point and for some time now, it would make more sense to simply allow for people to flow into and out of our lives, rather than say “No, you must stay” or “Don’t leave me.”

Yes, I understand that it is important to feel secure, to feel loved, to feel respected, to feel beautiful, to believe that you can trust in someone, etc.  Shouldn’t you first provide yourself with those things, so that it should not be so important to ask that someone else provide them for you?

And yes, I am single… and happily so  😉 (And apparently, eHow.com can tell you the way to achieve this too in 10 easy steps!)

9. Pejorative Reclamation – Okay, at first glance this may not make much sense.  What I am talking about is in reference to certain movements, such Third-wave feminism in the 90s. Pejorative reclamation is the action of marginalized groups taking ownership of terms/words that were used against them and “reclaiming” them in order to infuse and empower these words with new and positive meaning.  So, for example the term “bitch” was one of the first to be reclaimed.  Some examples of reclamation are Meredith Brook’s song “Bitch” (1997) and “Reclaiming Cunt” Eve Ensler’s episodic play The Vagina Monologues (1996).  So, what don’t I understand?

I don’t understand what happened…  Again this is simply my experience.  I, however, watched as women went from in the 90s taking power over the words that were for so long used against us… to then slowly but surely using them against ourselves as the decade ended and the new millennium began.  I could say as much for the “N” word.  Also the LGBQQT community has watched as the word “gay” has been taken back and has now become synonymous with the meaning of “stupid” or “ineffective” even as the community gains wider acceptance.

10. After 2000 – To end on a lighter note.  I am not sure about anyone else in their 30s or older.  What I have recently noticed is that I somehow stopped.  I am reminding myself of the “little old ladies” I used to see as a child, who seemed to be stuck in a period at least two decades earlier… from their manner of dress to their manner of speech.

What I mean is that my frame of reference drags me right back to the 90s.  I feel much more comfortable listening to alternative rock and am comforted by thoughts, songs, movies, etc. from the time period of my adolescence and my young adulthood.  It’s not that I am against the new millennium or that I refuse progress, etc.  Just somehow I feel a bit out of sync.  I don’t know… Perhaps I should start watching television.  It perhaps doesn’t help that the only things I watch on YouTube are between the years 1969 and 2002. 😉

Until next time!



In memory…

3 thoughts on “10 Things I Still Don’t Understand… (Part 2)

  1. BOB says:

    Ah, labelling… where would us mere mortals be without them? 😉

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on the age gap issue. Although culture is a prime influence (as you mentioned, with regards to Italy), I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Jealousy, insecurities and resentment appear to be the reasons for most people’s distain. But, as long as the couple are content, what’s the problem?

    It also reminds me of the hypocrisy from the gender camps, when it comes to being judgemental on such issues. For example, if a male celebrity left his wife for someone younger, the reaction from the female population would be scathing. But if a female celebrity left her husband for a good-looking hunk, you’d hear many of the women saying, “Yummy! Well done, sis!” Such double-standards bewilder me sometimes but, yes, it usually boils down to jealousy.

    Reality TV… I can’t stand the media phenomenon but, then again, I stopped watching TV almost a decade ago (I knew where things were heading, in terms of the quality of programmes and the increasing length of commercial breaks).

    Do not understand relationship constructs or simply in favour of an alternative lifestyle? Granted, with a higher standard of living we should (in theory) live longer than our ancestors. However, this brings into question whether or not relationships can truly be ‘forever’, as most relationships never had the chance to be put to the test, say 150 years ago.

    (Un)fortunately, society has conditioned most of us in this way (now, the powers that be wouldn’t want us all running around having wild orgies every night! Law and order, please!). Furthermore, undergoing a period of re-conditioning would be very difficult (if not impossible) for most – there will always be traces of our old values intertwined with personal cherished memories.

    But in this age of instant gratification, and not placing too much value on things as they can be easily upgraded at will, it has become more and more difficult to attain such long-term bliss with someone else (hence so much disillusionment and an increasing trail of broken hearts). The world has changed, unisons are no longer necessary for survival or continuing the family name, and the media has lavished us with a deluge of sentimental crap (Hollywood… get away from me, Satan!).

  2. BOB says:

    As much as I see your point, I think the main flaw with your ‘argument’ lies in the fact that there are (at least) two individuals involved at any one time, and it’s impossible for such ease in flowing in and out of each other’s lives. One way or another, one party will somehow fall prey to expecting more than the other (whether out of fondness, familiarity, possessiveness, nostalgia, etc.) and problems will ensue until one either willingly conforms or walks away.

    Whether it’s infatuation, a conventional relationship or an open interactive flow, this will always be an issue until the ‘right person’ is encountered (regardless of the potential context of the relationship). There could be more than one candidate or none at all but, either way, embracing whatever your interpretation of non-platonic relationships amount to will never be easy. Just out of curiosity, would you say that your belief is based on intellectual reasoning, or personal disappointment or trauma? And, regardless of your answer, would you be 100% certain?

    Pejorative Reclamation – sub-conscious neutralisation, methinks. It’s no longer the term itself that’s taboo but becomes so, depending on the type of person who employs it and the context in which it is used, IMHO.

    I’ve always believed that being stuck in a time period is due to a combination of lack of exposure, stubbornness and the weariness most of us feel once we get beyond the age of 30. It’s a perfectly normal occurrence, I’m afraid! I love music from all the decades that I’ve been alive (especially the ‘70s) but have felt that the last decade or so has been less exciting and influential. While we could conclude that it’s the sign of the times, there are still lots of interesting stuff out there to discover – it’s just that more effort is required than previously. The internet is a godsend and we now have no excuse! 😉

    Still, I believe there’s no need to be with the times or in synch – what’s the point in keeping up with the Joneses? The most important thing is to be true to yourself and continuously explore for things that both move and stimulate you. Why should it have to be a current commodity or creation, in order to prove to yourself that you are actually evolving as a person?

    An old man talking shite… 😛

    • Diedré Blake says:

      😉 Haven’t we all been traumatized in one way or another? I suppose my personal belief stems from my belief in non-attachment, which is a fundamental aspect of Buddhism. I wonder why you believe that “One way or another, one party will somehow fall prey to expecting more than the other (whether out of fondness, familiarity, possessiveness, nostalgia, etc.) and problems will ensue until one either willingly conforms or walks away.” Why do we develop expectations about others? Why should we expect more than others are able to and willing to give to us?

      Yes, perhaps my notions may seem a bit on the extreme because I believe in personal freedom (as long as it does not impinge upon the freedom of others). Yes, I do believe that we can move beyond needing to impose our expectations on others… Why? Because other people are not objects for us to mold and shape and force to conform… At least, not in personal relationships, especially romantic ones, in my opinion. When we begin to say things like, “You must stay with me…” when we begin to look at someone and fear them leaving, we are ultimately beginning a process of objectifying the person, whom we claim to love. This is my belief.

      The process of engaging possessing or attempting to control the actions/feelings of another seems to me quite contrary to the notion of expressing love selflessly. It seems to me that this would be more loving selfishly, without regard for the wants/desires/hopes/self-expectations of the other person. Of course, I am writing in general terms here.

      I suppose it comes down to this, I am a fan of the quote,

      “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.” – Richard Bach

      I haven’t touched on all the points you addressed in your postings and I shall. I will, however, pause here for the evening. 😉
      Thanks so much again for writing!


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