What I Learned Watching Cable

For all of the negative effects of watching a lot of television–wretched lack of productivity, indoctrination with evil, unattanable ideals of skinniness and wealth, the inability to move for hours on end because you must find out how Eva wins Season Three of America’s Next Top Model even though you Wikipedia’d the outcome three episodes ago–I have come up with at least one positive.

You see, it’s hard for me not to feel somewhat sheepish when I tell people what my blog is about. (“I’m getting an MFA in Creative Writing.” “Oh, what do you write?” “Well, these days, mostly a blog.” “Oh, what kind of blog?” “Well, um, it’s about dating…relationships…but not really. You know, it’s like, my thoughts on those things.” Befuddled facial expressions and awkward conversational transitions ensue.)

I feel sheepish about making this admission for a few reasons. But basically, I fear that I will come across as someone who a) is not a serious, literary writer and b) is obsessed with relationships. Both of which, of course, are more or less true.

But back to the cable: these hours of bingeing on mainstream television have, if nothing else, served to remind me that I’m not alone. All of us–all of you!–are obsessed with dating, romance, finding love…the whole thing. I don’t care if you want to get married or wear white when you do or you’re still finding yourself, whatever. You’re obsessed. You just don’t write a blog about it.

I was contemplating this Extremely Obvious Realization while I exercised this morning–and caught up on some NPR music stories.

Over the weekend Audie Cornish interviewed Bethany Cosentino, the singer of the California indie pop band Best Coast–who I’d first heard about on an All Songs Considered podcast earlier in the summer. That first song I heard was called “Boyfriend” and, like the rest of the band’s lyrics, is full of lines like “I wish he was my boyfriend, I’d love him til the very end…” It’s awesome.

Anyway, Audie asked Bethany why all her lyrics are so preoccuppied with romantic love. Like me, Bethany got a tad defensive. “I have lots of other things to say…” she said, before explaining that she’s always written songs about love–unrequited love, tortured love, blissful love–because it’s the subject on which everyone can relate.

She said she always uses the example of the Beatles “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” because it’s so straightforward, and yet so completely, endearingly relatable.

Okay so it’s not the best analogy: a pop song is a very different “genre”–as my beloved colleagues in Rhetoric and Writing would say–from a blog.

But still: she’s got a point.

Lately, as I’ve registered uncertainty about my interest in pursuing an actual love life, several well-meaning, concerned friends and readers have suggested that it’s okay to take a break from blogging–or at least, to change topics.

I’ve absorbed their counsel with sincere appreciation, and genuine befuddlement. Like Bethany, it’s not that I don’t have anything else to say. But I can’t think of another subject–at least one that I have any interest or ability to weigh in on–that I know everyone thinks about.

Which may or may not be problematic because, on Monday–about two hours after filling out two screens worth of an OkCupid profile, before panicking at the “public username” stage–I announced to my present cuddlemates, Bonita and Fido (okay, Bonito and Fido’s giant, drool-dripping head) that I am absolutely, definitely going to take a break from men.

I’ve been going back and forth between the two dramatic moves for the past several days. And somehow, hours of television watching hasn’t helped.

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1 Comment

Filed under Love Life

One response to “What I Learned Watching Cable

  1. I just read most of your posts and comments. I relate with several. I have considered trying this but not sure. I don’t want what to deteriorate instead of better. My doctor says my health condition will last until 80’s. Wow, don’t want that! Do loss of hormones cause all of the above? Does product produce more hormones?

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