Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The three of them and that pack of wolves and that shrub

Surveying these dynamics, one might wonder if women can opt out of the couple, perhaps through an exploration of promiscuous affairs. This option may not go far enough. Do not mistake polyamory for a post-couple paradigm. Polyamory is a multiplication of the logic of the couple, not its destruction. Casual sex, primary partners, physical and emotional availability, and other such distinctions contain amorous relations within the negotiation of the couple. Polyamory opens up couple-like formations without the formal commitment of the couple, expanding its territoriality and octopus-like tentacles that suck desire into the logic of the couple. Polyamorous or promiscuous relationships function as strategies for women to navigate patriarchal social relations rather than break with or negate them.

The logic of the couple penetrates queer relationships as well as straight ones. Homonormativity and gay assimilation have fashioned queer relationships in the shape of straight coupledom. Rather than a subversion of heterosexual social relations, assimilationist, liberal homosexuals have fought for the right to fit into the logic of the couple — to get married, to wear a wedding dress, to create familial nuclei able to protect property relations. Homosexuals perpetuate heterosexual norms and phallocracy through categorizations and role-play, which further codify desires and constitute sex within the logic of phallic centrality and authority. Same sex couples do not escape either the territoriality imposed on desire or the couple’s re-inforcement and faithfulness to repressive social relations.

Dismantling the logic of the couple does not indicate distaste for love, but rather a critique of directing love towards a specific object. One must contextualize the couple-form within patriarchy, as so-called “love” arrives to us through the apparatus of gender. Denouncing the couple does not mean shunning giddiness, love letters written in tiny cursive with quill pens, or the feeling of the sidewalk being a trampoline. Rather, critiquing the couple involves an analysis of the way that patriarchy has recuperated women’s desire for solidarity, for intimacy, for excitement, for negation, for the event into a consolidation of phallic power and the accumulation of capital.
Sick in bed reading LIES volume one (will there ever be a volume two?) for the first time since it came out and thinking about it and Shulamith Firestone and Silvia Federici and my own relationship. I rarely ever talk about it - relationships are fucking boring and talking about relationships is fucking boring - but I have been privately wondering about the alternatives within the (zzzzz) two people-opposite sex relationship structure that do not end up stepping into, however brief, that dark, historical alleyway of oppression and a centering and mirroring of capitalist production or whatever. Is there a way? I try to make a way, but it's not perfect. Clémence X. Clementine's essay, "Against Couple-Form" proposes something else: the abolition of the couple altogether.
Blast open the contents of the lover: I didn’t want to kiss you per se. I wanted everything that you were an entrance into: the smell of cigars, the doors of the city opening to me, samosas, your aunt’s house in the countryside, the sense that I could walk around with my eyes closed and nothing would injure me.
Buy/download LIES here.

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Maira Gall