Sunday, September 26, 2010

Exogamy and dating ideals

This, on the Islamic scarf controversy in France. In the US we have more libertarian impulses than they do in France, including the impulse to give people the liberty to follow their minority communitarian values. So, from the American perspective, a European sense of shared, national community values winds up working against the community values of Muslims. But that's a bit of a tangent.

Jess and I were talking about mainstream dating culture last night and we made the connection to exogamy. There's an ideal of finding people to date outside our social circles, of finding a woman, nabbing a man, fitting this person into our picture of our future lives. As we no longer live in the time of the crusades, we find people out on the town. Whenever we're out alone it's like a performance — You never know when you'll meet the man you'll marry.

We both find mainstream dating ideals pretty weird, and our story doesn't follow them at all. We met in the Allen Hall cafeteria through mutual friends and built a close friendship for almost a year before considering ourselves an “item”. As we grew closer our friends giggled behind our backs (and sometimes in front of our faces), gave us advice we ignored. When we broke up we didn't hate eachother, didn't lose our friends. Our story is more in the endogamous mold than the standard ideal, although it sprung from a circle of friends we built while out at college, a place we'd all necessarily leave.

Not everyone is like us, to be sure. But how much of who we are is the result of how we've shaped each other? How the circumstances of our lives, the communities we've been in, the people we've known, have made us who we are? The self is not so unitary. There's no shame in changing your self around your friends, and less so around lovers, and the idea that there is seems so ingrained in our dating ideals.

So I guess this post is in support of the endogamous model. To whatever degree possible in our conquistador world.

No comments: