Love Archetypes: Elon Musk and Grimes

If you saw Elon Musk and Grimes in the news, it was likely about their first child together, but for some of us, it was the first time we had an inkling that Elon Musk did something other than build cars, tweet in poor taste, or play with his toy space rockets in his spare time.

What made the news item fascinating wasn’t that it was about Elon Musk, but that it was about Elon Musk +1. Or Grimes +1 if you prefer, the sentiment is ultimately the same: two people who as individuals are noteworthy in and of themselves, but as a couple are infinitely more interesting. We’ve all seen artsy pop-stars and space obsessed entrepreneurs (Jeff Bezos, anyone?) but seeing two in one place suddenly catapults passe pop culture into something more brilliant: they are archetypes of love partners.

The culture bangs on insisting that lovers should look for people who share common interests, hobbies, ostensibly so they can spend every waking moment together doing the things they enjoy, until they fuse into one person like a flesh based Transformer. However, Elon Musk engineers cars and Grimes writes and directs musical art. She’s on tour, he’s busy tweeting. Where is the common ground?

That’s the attraction: there isn’t one.

Because we see so many examples of people who seem to be indistinguishable from each other in temperment, personality, or even looks — a subject to delve into on another post — we don’t often see upheld the classic “opposites attract” model. But here the differences are more subtle. More than opposites attract, what Elon Musk and Grimes represent is a more nuanced complementary ideal.

Elon Musk is an Architect type. Grimes is the Creative type. She creates art based on aesthetics and entertainment, he creates machines based on utility and science. They are both business people with a bent toward exhibitionism — Elon’s twitter feed offsets the frustrations of his high status and private life (as silly as that may seem to those of us who do not have a high status position), as happens with men in successful positions who require outlets for other parts of their personality. Elon eschews opening up about his private life, but his lock down on that freedom of expression suggests a personality that secretly craves the freedom of exhibition.

In this sense, it is not only twitter that allows him this outlet, but Grimes who validates it herself. She becomes the partner who can complement the need, as she has no problem with expressing herself in a public way. We can see Musk’s attraction to the Creative type with his previous affair with Amber Heard and his marriage to Talulah Riley. It is not only that these women are expressing art through performance — they have a wild edge about them. Their feminine libido is part of their work, and a call to attraction. Elon Musk responds in kind.

For Grimes, the stability of the Architect type — the man who can strategize, and get things done — provides her with a certain type of support and constriction, and his work is mainly focused on objects — and objectification, which is why he appears to arrange each of his love interests so they are always exclusively blonde. But his objectification is not only how he relates to his love interests, it is what his love interests most desire: a captive audience, a worshipful audience. Elon readily agrees to be this audience for Grimes. On one level, this seems to go against the grain of a free relationship, except that the captivity is desired by both.

The danger is not in their types — Architects and Creatives can express love and relate it in different ways then how Elon and Grimes choose to — the danger is the same as it is for every relationship: Can they meet all of their needs? Or will their relationship collapse the strain of too many divergent interests and agendas? That story is still waiting to play out.

When Quarantine Breaks Relationships

There is no immunity to break-ups.

While it is likely that Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green broke up simply because things were cracking apart before the pandemic — Fox had met her new paramour Machine Gun Kelly during filming of “Midnight in the Switchgrass” prior — the same case is less clear regarding fantasy author Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. Apparently, their relationship hit a rough patch in New Zealand as quarantine hit full force, leaving Neil Gaiman to flee the lockdown in New Zealand for a town in Scotland. On his blog, Gaiman and Palmer deny a divorce is imminent, rather, they’ve hurt each other’s feelings and needed some space.

All of which may be true, but for many couples all over the world, the efforts to social distance and shelter in place have hit hard in unexpected ways. ABC News in their report on the issue put one of the reasons that coronavirus is taking a toll on married couples quite elegantly: “Tension bred by forced proximity”.

So what happened before the quarantine? What were these couples doing differently?

It raises questions about how long it takes to truly know another person. Our modern day life has made it easy to fill our every waking moment with distraction, so we are only compelled to meet our significant others for a limited number of hours.

What happens when the tables turn, though, and we are consigned to be in front of each other for days at a time? There is no way now to hide our ugly parts. We are painfully exposed for all our less pleasing habits, forced to jostle up against the uncomfortable nature of our vulnerable, naked selves.

We can pretend to be perfect for a long time before we are caught off guard on the wrong day. But being held captive in one location changes everything, and we are not able to keep up the pretense.

There’s a lot to be said for the art of romance. One of the concepts most of us intrinsically know is that to attract and have a partner, you too must be attractive, and sometimes that requires extra work on our part, work that takes effort to maintain. We wear a personae, to some extent, the personae of that ideal lover that can be all, perform all, and love through all.

Some may scoff at that sentiment, but this serves as the dividing line for lovers who aspire to work hard in their romances and those who want to do a minimal amount of work and call it “honesty.”

Of course, you want some measure of authenticity in your relationship, to be able to have open communication. But making no effort to couch your terms in consideration of someone else, or making no effort to be pleasing to another person isn’t “honesty” — it’s doing what comes easy, and most of the time, what comes easily is also low value. We recognize low value when we see it. And often, that low value is someone who is not trying.

This is why quarantine partners are falling apart. Being forced into close proximity isn’t necessarily the problem — it’s proof that these were people who loved each other greatly, but the work required to demonstrate that value is too great, and exhausted them in the long run. The mask of the personae slipped away, or people simply couldn’t recharge to take on the job of romance. Underneath all the effort, we need love and care, and sometimes that love and care must be administered alone.

Couples need time apart to continue this level of romance. Too many marriages and relationships grow stale over time, but are considered successful because they stayed together. 

That’s just not so. Being in a relationship without satisfaction is a failed relationship, even if you’re still together. A lesson that the pandemic is forcing us to know, whether we like it or not.

The Art of Saying No

How much bad sex has been the result of a fear of making it “awkward”?

It’s not the first time I’ve heard the story, but it’s the first time I’ve heard one this bad.

You know the one? When you best friend starts a date with high hopes and by the end of it, hopes are crushed, but for some reason, she still has sex with the guy anyway?

I’m not talking about a situation where she’s afraid to say “no.” I’m not talking about crazy men who take you away to a secluded area and give you no easy options to leave, or block your modes of entry.

No, I’m talking about a completely different situation — one we make for our selves, and makes absolutely no sense. It’s a situation defined by how we think others view us, and how that influences how we see ourselves.

My favorite version of this story is told by Annie Lederman in her stand up spot on Comedy Central.

In a cringe-driven moment of comedic brilliance, she describes how she meets her childhood crush from camp and has the chance to have sex with him many years later.

Of course, the downside of nostalgia is that the people we knew from one period of our lives is not nearly the same person we meet later. While Annie Lederman is ready to consummate her adolescent mental affair with camp counselor Mark Parker, once she sees him in the flesh as an adult she immediately regrets her decision, but is unable to turn him down.

More than any other sector of society, women are taught and encouraged to see their value and self-image as being likable, nice, and most of all, kind. Saintly, in fact. And telling someone no, especially if you feel like you might owe them something in the first place, can start to get you into murky territory about what qualifies as “nice”.

It doesn’t help that there’s a sector of men who think buying a drink and a plate of food is enough to secure a “yes” — but a beer and bar food has never obligated anyone to let them inside of their body. Can you imagine if a doctor gave a man a burger and then said, “I’m glad you enjoyed it, I’d like to open up a part of you and shove something foreign inside. Will only take a minute.”

And women say yes. Many women say yes. Because it’s more than just about saying no — it’s about how saying no means we have to abandon our Good Girl status. The cost of our honesty is to no longer be kind, to be loving, to be caring, to be a saint. We’re pushed into a space where the choice is a hard one: do what you want to do and be perceived as heartless, or do what you don’t want to do and preserve your ideal version of yourself as perfect.

Not long ago, I went on a date with a guy I liked. We never made it as far as the bedroom, but I could see how easily we could have landed there. By the time we got to the end of the night, I knew already that I wasn’t attracted to him.

How was I going to tell him that?

I knew the terms we left on were going to depend on which reason I chose to give him.

The fact is, most people hate rejection — whether receiving or giving it — and most people are so incapable of dealing with it that “ghosting” has become a cultural norm, the path of invisibility we choose rather than face ourselves.

I knew it would be crueler to end the night as though everything were fine and give him false hopes when he tried to contact me next and instead hear nothing back.

The feeling wasn’t there, I told him. I felt more like a mother than a lover.

Were there other reasons? Certainly. I broke it to him gently. He was hurt but understood, and we parted ways as friends.

It wasn’t easy. I certainly had an ideal image of myself as a Good Girl. But the truth was, I would rather be a Bad Girl and have the sex I wanted with the guy I wanted, then lead someone on because I had too much of an investment in a persona that was never real anyway.

6 Rules For Online Dating

Rules are not always the most exciting part of life, but they make contact sports and fine dining infinitely less messy. This is also true when applied to online dating. If you’ve been out in the wilds of the single safari, you may have your doubts that rules exist, but they do, and we really, really need them.

Here are some basic rules you should take under consideration as you venture into the wide world of singles, and best of all, you can carry them with you beyond the virtual world of swipe apps.

Keep Your Photos Up To Date

Ten years out of college but you’re still displaying the picture that gives you hope and enthusiasm about your future? That spare tire you’ve been honing as a result of too many dinners at the sandwich shop doesn’t need to be front and center, but the fact that you’re molecularly a different person does. Honesty needs to be a part of your first impressions. Enlist your friends, a stranger on the street, make the duck face you’ve been dreading, but whatever you do, make the effort.

However, if Photoshop is required for the end result, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Have A Fetish? Start Off On The Right Foot.

Some people like feet. A lot more than other people. And some people like to visit Furry Conventions. Some people read an E.L. James novel, and others live an E.L. James novel.

In our day to day lives, we generally tend to keep that stuff in the background, because it’s not really appropriate in a workplace or while we’re giving our little brother a purple nurple. The internet has changed how we negotiate our preferences, fetishes, our just the fact that we knock three times on the door before we leave the building because deep down inside, we know calamity will befall us.

You asked, and the internet has provided. This is what profiles were made for. Now, you don’t have to wait until five dates or a pregnancy in to discover that your diaper fetish is a deal breaker.

Not comfortable with putting your vulnerable bits in a profile? It could be a better time to discuss or message your special requests/fantasies/restraining orders in the lead up to the date. Judge each situation accordingly.

Oh, The Honesty, It Burns

Peacocks are gorgeous creatures. Those beautiful feathers when the tail is completely unfurled make the bird itself seem six feet bigger than it is. The peacock is gorgeous, and once the tail feathers deflate you’re left with a slightly more colorful turkey.

And that’s the point. We know on some level, that we could always appear to be more attractive than we actually are. To some extent, embellishment is expected.

However, outright bald-faced lies is venturing into the world of fraud, especially when you consider how deep a lie can affect those involved. No one’s saying that your DUI from ten years ago is necessarily relevant now, but pretending you are the chief financial executive of Secretly Living With My Parents, Inc., is eventually going to end in tears.

Show people who you are by having the conviction to be honest but the charm to know when not to spill your guts about that incident in high school when your tongue got frozen to the street pole in subzero temperatures.

To Ghost, Or Not To Ghost?

Everyone decries ghosting, but here is where definitions are helpful. If you know within the first several messages that the person isn’t right for you, and you get busy talking to someone else, ghosting happens. It makes people angry, it makes people upset. 

The problem is, even if you bluntly tell someone, “this isn’t working for me,” they usually want reasons and some people even get frighteningly aggressive. Ghosting suddenly seems like a much better alternative, and if you’re at a point where you know this isn’t going anywhere, it’s the best way to move on quickly and with less injury to either person.

Ghosting that occurs after a relationship is established is usually universally regarded as cruel and irresponsible, even though we hear more and more anecdotes about the event taking place. If you’re at a physical stage early in, or late term, the other party should at least take the time to text or message and admit it’s not working out. Leaving without a trace certainly sends a different message, and not a good one.

Shut Your Pie Hole

The art of conversation is something some people never discover, and you’ll find this out for yourself when you finally meet them and date them in person. Some people dominate conversations with endless topics about their favorite, but least riveting subject (themselves) and never take a moment to ask the other person a question or inquire about their own lives.

Don’t be that person.

If you struggle with being able to listen to another person, practice with your friends and even make a list of questions you should ask the other person to show that you are engaged and interested. A person who only talks about themselves and can’t have a dialogue is showcasing that there is no room in their lives for another person — they’ve already filled that space up with themselves.

Who Pays?

No one ever wants to have the conversation, and in some cases this is where you’ll see the clear demarcation between one generation and another. Many still hold that the man should pay. Nowadays it is more common to see couples split the bill, or if one pays, the other sends money via app to make up their half.

Set your expectation early. If you expect it to be a shared proposition, bring it up. If you always pay, or never pay, mentioning this is worthwhile. This establishes an important relationship dynamic early on in terms of how capable you are when it comes to negotiating uncomfortable topics. The ability of both parties to communicate what they want will be a key component to actually getting what you want. Start now! Not when you tell the waiter you’re going to the bathroom just so you can crawl out the window to avoid the check on the table.

Featured photo credit: Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels

Don’t Go For The Thirsty Lover

Julian Assange’s Undercover Romance is Exposed, Teaching Us About The Hazards of Love In Captivity

Source: By Cancillería del Ecuador — https://www.flickr.com/photos/dgcomsoc/14953880621/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34813739

We primarily know Australian Julian Assange as the rogue journalist founder of Wikileaks who enjoys upsetting nations everywhere when it comes to airing out their dirty governmental laundry. But this post isn’t a political post. Instead, it’s about love in literal captivity, and reasons you might want to avoid it. Hear me out.

The South African lawyer Stella Morris revealed via the New York Post on April 11 that she had become Assange’s lawyer, then friend, then ultimately, lover, and mother to two of his children (yes, conceived during his isolation in the Ecuadorian Embassy!)

My principal fascination with any person of interest in news or entertainment is the odd twists and turns of their personal lives, and I immediately honed in on this one. Forget Wikileaks and it’s paradigm changing presence in the world of government conspiracy in the age of the internet. Can we talk about the screwed up decisions we make in romance when we have no access to a wide variety of choices?

Stella Morris by all accounts appears to be a wonderful, hard working woman, but you can’t help but wonder why she chose a wanted man with a dubious future as the father of her children. What I didn’t wonder was why a man imprisoned in an embassy would have chosen to begin a romance with her: because no one else was available.

I know it sounds harsh. But we can’t possibly ignore that Assange’s dating choices are bit bleak, considering who he is and his inability to freely move about. This is not a man who will be buying you drinks or opening the car door for you anytime soon.

One of the most overlooked elements of love life in popular culture is environment. That said, many of us understand the challenge environment poses early on. After all, it was not that long ago that dating in a small town for a woman meant you were limited to the men who showed up at the local dive bar. If you didn’t like what you saw, your options were slim.

Fast forward to online dating, to swipe apps, and the equation changes radically in your favor. You have more options. Your pool widens. You don’t have to hope that Icky Mickey or Angry Angelo will strike your fancy and do something to impress you, despite the long list of deal breakers that are already on display. Now you can click a button or swipe on Ravishing Roberto or Well Educated William who are already ticking off your boxes.

Having more options means you’re less likely to visit that dive bar, and you’re less thirsty if you think the desert plain isn’t so empty after all.

Call me crazy, but engaging in a romantic relationship with a guy who can’t leave a building for fear of extradition to a foreign country is an unequal power dynamic for the same reason. Assange is a thirsty man who doesn’t know when the desert will end. That sounds all right for a fling, but doesn’t the create the conditions for a lasting love if one partner was chosen simply because …. they were there. You know. The same way if I crawl out of the desert with my throat on fire, I’m not terribly picky about the first water cooler I come across.

And while the situation between Assange and Morris is surreal and seemingly the stuff of tawdry spy novels, we often see it played out closer to home. I’ve seen countless office romances unfold beneath this guiding principle: because the other partner was there. People rely on what’s easy and convenient, and what’s easy and convenient is usually a matter of geography. And the other person had no desire to seek any further than the local dive bar I mentioned above.

Makes you feel special, right?

The lesson in all this isn’t that love or romance needs to be a struggle, or necessarily that what’s closest and easiest isn’t a good option for those who find love there. Some people are happy at the local bar. They aren’t interested in finding more beyond that. The problem is when someone isn’t actively electing to be in that relationship. Will it breed resentment? Will the situation change, or stay the same? What happens if all the elements that made the relationship easy, geographically accessible, suddenly go away?

We’ve all seen what happens when an office romance is interrupted — either by a breakup, or one leaving for another job. Some survive the changes in this power dynamic, and some don’t, and that’s a part of life.

More importantly, when we know it, we realize that we ourselves don’t have to go into our relationships thirsty, either.

Photo Source: By Cancillería del Ecuador — https://www.flickr.com/photos/dgcomsoc/14953880621/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34813739

In A Pickle

Photo by Vera Arsic / Pexels

Dear Talula

I have the worst time making firm decisions, and now I’m in a pickle! I became close friends with a generous man at my gym, and we talk every day about our lives and challenges. He’s looking for a roommate to share the rent with him, and after months of waffling, I’m ready to take the plunge and leave my parents house. Except now, my boyfriend is upset because he doesn’t think a man and a woman can roommate together without having a relationship, and if I move out with Gym Man, I have to break-up with him. My boyfriend still lives with his parents and won’t move out with me. Gym Man says that my boyfriend has no plan for the future and no motivation to be independent, but if my boyfriend isn’t okay with the situation, Gym Man won’t move out with me either. I love my boyfriend, and cherish my new friend, but don’t know how I can do better in life without upsetting my relationships. I feel hurt and angry by their reactions.

Pickle

Dear Pickle,

Both these men are failing you — but they’re treating you like property. It’s 2019. You’re an independent woman. You need to reframe this situation by realizing that you shouldn’t be afraid of losing a relationship with them — they should be afraid of losing a relationship with you. How dare they overstep their bounds and decide for you what your future should be, as though you were cattle and they’re decided whose farm you should be at!? Leave it up to your boyfriend and Gym Man if they want to continue to interact with you, and move out by finding a different roommate. Prove to them that they have to treat you with respect and if they want a say in your decision making, then they have to prove to you they are valuable. If your boyfriend wants a place beside you, he has to cut the cord with his family and choose independence, or accepting that he can’t measure up to the standard you set – and do you really want to be with someone who can’t accomplish the level of responsibility that you have succeeded at?

If Gym Man wants to be your friend and have a say in your life and wants you as a roommate, he’s going to have to step back and realize your relationship with your boyfriend is none of his business. And do you really want to be roommates with someone who is over concerned with your private business? Treating yourself with respect begins with you, and setting the standard for what you won’t tolerate in others. Make it clear their behavior toward you is unacceptable. You can do this by proving you don’t need their say so to exert your independence. 

Xoxo

Talula

Feeling Abandoned at 40

Photo by Kat Jayne / Pexels

Dear Talula,

I’m a 40 year old mother of 2 young boys and I just broke up with the man of my dreams after 2 years of living together. He left me to be on his own and I still don’t understand why. All his reasons for leaving – that he wants to sow his wild oats and that he wants to start a family with someone else who doesn’t already have kids – just sound like empty excuses. He refuses to seek therapy and I believe he’s really running away from our relationship because of unresolved childhood issues. How can I make him see he’s making the biggest mistake of his life?

Feeling Abandoned

Dear Feeling Abandoned,

Whether it’s 2 years or ten years, whenever we invest time and energy into another person just to have them leave, it can be heart rending. We think of all that we put in, and it went to nothing. The process of a break up is a lot like the stages of grieving. We go through denial, bargaining, acceptance, etc. Right now, it sounds like you’re still in shock and looking for answers that will ease the pain, or make it feel that your investment in this other person wasn’t for nothing. The reality is, regardless of the reasons he chose to leave, we have to respect the choice of the other person. This is what makes love so dangerous and precarious to our hearts – we have no guarantee that it will last, or won’t be taken from us. He may be running from childhood issues, but that’s his choice to make. From your point of view, it looks like he’s making the biggest mistake of his life – but maybe he’s saving you from the biggest mistake of your life. Your needs are important, and by focusing only on his “issues”, you’re sabotaging yourself of the relationship you deserve. If he chose to stay and his heart wasn’t in it, he’d only waste your time and energy. Instead, he’s setting you free to find the person who can love you more fully, and will embrace your family as his own. Look forward to your new beginning with someone who will make you the biggest success of your life.

xoxo

Talula