So I have this theory. It was inspired by the-movie-that-must-not-be-named, which I and millions of other people all over the world watched this past month.
I know okay, I’m not proud of it either.
Everything in life can be defined in terms of power. School, family, friends, and particularly relationships are all concerned with who has the power, and who’s trying to get it.
The most tumultuous relationships have the greatest expression of this struggle for power, with both people outwardly trying to get the upper hand. For the functional relationships, someone is willing to concede sometimes (or all of the time).
That leaves the dysfunctional relationships. Otherwise known as the ones we always seem to find ourselves in.
The struggle for power still remains, but it’s complicated by a stronger force of contradiction. People want to be powerful and complacent all at the same time. They want to have their way when their convinced that they’re right, but want someone else to take over the minute uncertainty makes an appearance. Which is naturally complicated when both feelings are experienced at the same time. People want to feel influential enough to make an impact in their significant other’s life, but then pull back when they see that their creation isn’t as good as the original was.
We’re afraid of our capacity to cause change, but deeply desire it anyways because it reflects a measure of our control. And I’ll be damned if it isn’t thrilling to know that we can have an effect on someone.
I’ll be the first to admit my contradicting desires. Depending on the day, I could be thinking about cuddling up with a big, bearded man or I’m strutting down the halls with a don’t-mess-with-me attitude. I want to feel warm and safe, but I also want to be cool and edgy. Sometimes I want to take charge and call all of the shots, but other times I just don’t want to have to worry about responsibility.
That’s why the-movie-that-must-not-be-named was such a hit. It’s not about the sex (although that kink was fun), but about the fantasy of the relationship that came with it. We may find ourselves daydreaming about a rich, mysterious man (or woman) willing to provide a glossy and glittering future, keeping us safe from the worries of life; in the same train of thought is the intoxicating idea we’re the only people in this entire world capable of making this person change and open up. We’re willing to give up control because we know, that person is totally wrapped around our fingers.
Women crave a bad boy because he offers adventure with a sense of security. That leather jacket covers muscles that could scoop you up in his arms and carry you to safety, while providing a warm nook to snuggle in. It’s a problematic romanticism because no one could ever fulfill all of those needs and still be a productive member of society. That’s the enticement of guilty pleasures.
Once everyone works out a balance between exercising power and feeling empowered, the dysfunction falls away, leaving healthy compromise. The trick, as always, is trying to figure out how to get the best of both worlds.
So we spend our whole lives trying.
But literally what am I on about? It’s just a glorified fan fiction anyways.