The act of meeting a romantic partner at a flesh-and-blood gathering rather than online is disparaged by some dating coaches as “dating in the wild.” … A love coach encourages clients to think of dating as “work,” and to be mindful of their R.O.I. — return on investment, of emotional energy, time and money.
This is an important Arlie Russell Hochschild essay about the incursion of the market on emotional duties, and the professionalization of emotional labor that would once have been handled by commnunities/family/friends. While I’m suspicious of her lumping therapists in with wedding planners (sometimes you do need the outside perspective) and think that the “google this phrase” trope of journalism should always be edited out (especially since I’m going to guess that a good chunk of those 25 million entries for “wedding planner” are related to that Jennifer Lopez movie—she’s part of the Idolverse and there are approximately 1.5 million spam sites just devoted to that topic (I might be underestimating that number)), I appreciated the argument put forth here, particularly when she noted, “Confining our sense of achievement to results, to the moment of purchase, so to speak, we unwittingly lose the pleasure of accomplishment, the joy of connecting to others and possibly, in the process, our faith in ourselves.” Which is something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the past few years; there’s a premium being placed on the sort of results-oriented existence where any notion of appreciating the journey is irrelevant—even moreso if it’s too slow, or if it has a stumbling block or two, or if you can’t see any sort of results now now now. (It’s like pageview culture gone wild. And I am totally guilty of this at times! Which is why I am thinking about it so much!)
But these two particular quotes made me see fire, probably for obvious reasons, and so burnitdown.mov seemed appropriate.
Hochschild apparently has a book on the topic coming out this week, and I am going to read the shit out of it because she writes very well on big seemingly invisible topics. But first I’m going to reread The Managed Heart.