Repping Anything But the Ordinary

If you are a regular reader of mainstream publications like The New York Times, something you notice is how they seem to be constantly extolling the virtues of every lifestyle except the ordinary life of monogamous marriage and children. They’ve taken to repping polyamory, for example.

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Another one that recently caught my mind was a piece from last month on “the joys of frivolous sex.” Here’s an excerpt:

Only weeks earlier, I was in New York for an extended visit, recently single and pleasantly crazy with the desire to date far and wide. My romantic and sexual value seemed higher then and there than it had ever been anywhere else. I thought it would suffer by comparison to all the extra special and extra beautiful people, but it turned out that mildly manic exuberance and a complete lack of interest in anything resembling commitment made up for my physical shortcomings, and I imagine my Irish accent didn’t hurt either.

I felt almost nauseated by the overwhelming knowledge of how many attractive people were out there. Even when my dates were with guys I would never see again, I usually found something in them or the evening that I would remember happily, like the one who looked fondly down at me in a hotel room and inexplicably exclaimed, “I love New York!” at the sight of my body.

It’s a free country and I always say that people can choose to live however they want to live.

But these choices are not made in a vacuum. People don’t just wake up one day and decide to be polyamorous or to start having lots of casual sex. The elite culture producing institutions of our society regularly glamorize certain lifestyles, while either putting down or failing to celebrate others.

The author of that piece was born in 1990 and so is 30 or 31 right now. I can’t help but wonder how she will feel about this at 40, 50, or 60. The media is not nearly as interested in showing us a full lifecycle view of decisions, but rather encouraging us to live in the now.

This same exact sort of thing is targeted at men as well, perhaps manifesting in different ways. Playing video games is great - for a while. For a lifetime? Not so much.

We have to be careful not to allow ourselves to get blinded by the media’s selective glamorization of life paths that it prefers. They too often celebrate anything but the traditional, ordinary choice.

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