Tag: love

Photo Courtesy of James Xue (SEAS ’17)

And we’re back! Hi folks! I apologize for my recent absence of posts; I was traveling and then what I like to refer to as the “election explosion of chaos” occurred. I know what you’re all thinking… “Great, another article on Trump”. But fear not! I promise to only mention our good ol’ president elect once.

Today I want to talk about a concept I’ve been wrestling with recently: the role of age in relationships. My findings would suggest that things do in fact get better with age, BUT our proclivity for conflict also increases, essentially just making relationships a gigantic pain in the ass. So, “you’re going to suffer… but you’re going to be happy about it.” (Please note that this is definitely a Harry Potter reference, and not some weird/kinky Fifty Shades of Grey bullshit.)

There is a tendency in today’s society to think that younger people are more reckless, ready to throw the first punch or spit the first insult. However, recent Conflict Resolution Researchers have disproved this stereotype. After examining 100,000… I repeat, 100,000 cases, throughout the years, these researchers came to the conclusion that “in general, as the age of leaders increases, they become more likely to both initiate and escalate militarized disputes.” Insert a worried glance towards our post-January, and every so wrinkly, future White House here.

While at first I found these conclusions profound, the more I thought about them in terms of dating, the more obvious they became. As a twenty year old, I can safely say that I have been in maybe one serious relationship conflict. And honestly, that makes complete sense. In comparison to an older dating pool, I simply don’t have as much time or experience, two very potent ammunitions for conflict. Basically, there is a lot more to be pissed off about the longer you’re around.

The researchers also found that “in personalist autocratic regimes… as the leader’s age increases, the relative risk of conflict declines relative to the rising risk of conflict associated with aging leaders in other types of regimes.” I think this conclusion is very suggestive of a certain phenomenon in the age-relationship rhetoric, i.e. the cougar. I must admit, while writing this I couldn’t get a picture of Putin dressed as a Mrs. Jones character, listening to “Forever Young” out of my mind.

After fighting for so many years, I think both the dictator and the cougar are just looking for some sweet simplicity in their lives (obviously using slightly different tactics to achieve this). While dating a younger partner is sometimes frowned upon, I think it provides an understandable reprieve from the war caused by time that inevitably surrounds the elder’s more typical relationships.

All that being said, I personally look forward to getting older. Not because I am looking forward to more conflict in my life, but because I think conflict so often yields growth. I am ready to fight, and consequently grow, my way into a relationship that is right for me. And hell, if that doesn’t work, I’ll start taking notes from Mrs. Jones or Madonna. The following link provides more information on the research I’ve discussed in this article.

“Sex and the City… and Deterrence” runs alternate Fridays. To contact the writer or submit a piece of your own, email submissions@columbialion.com

In order to begin to try and understand the confusing world that is dating, we have to break it down to the basics. Sure, it can be said that some people just ‘stumble’ upon their ‘soul mate’, but being the neurotic single-lady that I am, that answer really just isn’t good enough for me. So using my handy-dandy side kick of statecraft theory, I have decided to really break down and dissect what factors, or personality traits, people posses that eventually lead to their perceived ‘happily ever after’.

 

As I began thinking about this more, and attempted to cut away all of the bullshit and stereotypes that so often hover as a poisonous fog around most relationships, I tried to discern what truly was the single most important factor in building a romantic relationship. My findings can essentially be summed up in the age-old debate… “It’s not all about looks” or perhaps even more demeaning, “but she has a great personality!” That’s right folks, apparently there is not a single solution! Apologies in advance to those who thought I was some sort of relationship guru and had actually figured this shit out.

However, I would like to suggest that maybe looks vs. personality isn’t necessarily a zero-sum game. Maybe one is not more important than the other.According to Robert Art in his piece “Force and Fungibility Reconsidered”, he suggests that identifying a most important factor (i.e. choosing between force and diplomacy) is an absurd task. However, he doesn’t use this statement as a cop-out from answering the question of “what factors make a great state?”. Rather, he transforms the argument, stating that force is the central factor in statecraft. He contends that force gives meaning to diplomacy, however both are crucial to building a strong state.

 

Enough theory, let’s talk about sex. Or rather, sex appeal. Using Art’s theory, I have come to the semi-superficial conclusion that sexual attraction, or even just good looks, is at the center of every well-crafted relationship. The personality can only work its magic after the initial ‘punch’ of the flawless facial features or well-chiseled body.  

Just as David Baldwin criticizes Art in “Force, Fungibility, and Influence”, this argument also leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The main contention being: perhaps a charming personality actually makes a person more attractive, or as Baldwin states, “it is also true that diplomacy, economic statecraft, and propaganda enhance the effectiveness of military force under certain circumstances”.
I unfortunately reached no solid conclusion, or revelation for that matter, in untangling the mess that is the modern relationship. But, perhaps that is what is so beautiful about both security and the modern marvel that is relationships; no one ever really knows “why”, and hell, there may never just be a single solution.

Valentine’s Day, much like your “birthday” and various non life-threatening diseases, was created by Hallmark to sell cards to those who’d rather let a glorified piece of construction paper do their talking for them. It’s just another capitalist enterprise, fostering perfect competition between Hallmark, Papyrus, and American Greetings. Aside from the fact that Valentine’s Day is a corporate Ponzi scheme, there is a fair chance that if you’re seeing someone, he/she is afraid of commitment and the sincerity of Valentine’s Day. This means they would probably therefore rather fake a serious injury involving some combination of the Butler Stacks, a JJ’s burger, and a GS student’s walker, before going on that romantic date you have planned.

We all know the legend of Cupid’s magic arrows that make people fall in love instead of, you know, killing them. But, while we credit a violent Roman myth for love, we fail to recognize the true role that amorous dialogue (Jack Daniels), shared interests (José Cuervo), and that “fateful” meeting at 1020 played.

Whose brilliant idea was it to celebrate holidays based on Greek or Roman myths anyway? For one thing, most of them involved some kind of bestiality, which your pets would definitely not appreciate. Apart from those select LitHum drinking games, I don’t see anyone celebrating Odysseus in the Trojan War (though the Trojan™ war does seem to be a more appropriate inspiration for this sort of holiday), or Perseus beheading a Gorgon – even though Gorgons were famous for making men hard as rock. After all, there are so many other LitHum characters worth celebrating, so why settle on the violent “streaker man-child,” who, when he isn’t stark naked, is often portrayed in a diaper (and we all know nothing inspires love like shitting yourself. Ew.)

 So why do we insist on celebrating love with a violent and sadistic infant? Are we demeaning our own ability to love, implying that we’re as inexperienced as, well, a baby? Because we’re not. We swear.

As far as I’m concerned, Zeus is ten times the myth Cupid is for celebrating love. He’s all over Greek family trees, and in order to sleep with that many women, he must have had a mysterious x-factor, (or maybe just a REALLY large… thunderbolt). To celebrate Greek love without celebrating Zeus is perhaps more pathetic than an illegitimate child of the JJ’s Place salad bar and the Columbia Lion’s football season.

Overall, Valentine’s Day is a lie – complete with sappy love ballads and drunk dials. February 14th is technically “the feast day of Saint Valentine,” marking the day in the year 269 when Valentine was publically beaten with clubs and beheaded for trying to convert Emperor Claudius to Christianity. It is the anniversary of the bloody Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago which left 7 dead. And finally, it is the day that the State of Oregon entered the Union.

None of these occasions necessitate hearts and flowers. So stop trying, and just drink alone in your room like everyone else.

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