Does the Passion Cool Down?

I have heard some version of the following more times than I have hairs on my head:

Expecting sexual heat to endure (without any increase in effort) for years is unrealistic.

Since, for me, life without sexual passion is not a life worth living, I had even decided at a certain point that a long-term relationship was not for me.

The approximate duration of the “sexual heat” period that people usually name is between 6 months and 2 years. I’ve heard these stories over and over again. The passion cools down and transforms into something that is good in its own way because it’s calmer and more profound. Or something equally disturbing.

Well, you know what? None of this is true. I have no idea where people are getting this from. Maybe they had no actual passion for each other to begin with.

I, however, know for a fact that sometimes the heat not only endures for years but actually intensifies with every passing day.

Maybe 4 years 9 months and 18 days is not that long but, right now, the passion is rapidly growing. And it has not yet occurred to me what kind of an “effort” I might need to bring to the process.

Of course, I’ll keep you updated on the progress of this passion. N. and I are planning to have wild orgies in the retirement home 50 years from now. Stay tuned.

Fascinating People

One of the reasons I like living in the US is that the people here are really fascinating. Last week, I started talking with this man I always see around my department and who greets me in Russian (which is unusual for this area.)

He told me that he’d been a soldier in the Vietnam War, then came home, and worked hard for the sake of his family.

“At this point in my life,” he said, “money is not an issue to me. Now I want to make a different sort of investment in the future, not a monetary one. I’m doing a PhD in American History and I want to do academic research on the Vietnam War.”

He also believes that it is crucial for a historian to speak different languages, so he is taking language courses and becoming something of a polyglot.

Jonatha Carr: And the Excuses Pour In

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now of the student who had a violent outburst and threatened to kill students and the professor during a class on evolution:

A student at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton was reportedly subdued with a taser after a violent outburst in a class discussing evolution. Jonatha Carr’s apparent meltdown, in which she hit another student, threw punches, and allegedly threatened to kill the professor and other students, was recorded on a cell phone camera and has quickly gone viral. . .

Fellow student Rachel Bustamante wrote that Carr was asking “absurd questions”during a review section about female selection among peacocks, and eventually went on to ask why “evolution kills black people” in an increasingly insistent manner.

What I find very annoying is that, in every discussion of this event, somebody immediately states that the video of this student’s unraveling doesn’t show what was said before the outburst. (Just scroll to the comments in the link I provided, for example.) As if there is anything anybody can say that can possibly excuse such vile behavior. Then, there are also comments about this woman’s alleged stress levels, poverty, and the pressures of the college grading system (scroll to the comments here) that somehow excuse beating other students during class. And there is also the most bizarre suggestion of all, which is that Trayvon Martin’s tragedy makes this sort of behavior acceptable.

No, people. No, no, no. If somebody is old enough to go to college, then they are also old enough to keep their stress, annoyance, outrage, reaction to the news feed, or whatever else, under control.

We all have some traumatic shit going on in our lives and in our societies. Recently, a young woman was gang raped and set on fire by a group of men in Ukraine. None of them will suffer any consequences because they are from rich families. The story is so painful to me on a variety of levels that I haven’t even blogged about it. But another thing I haven’t done is unleash my anger on my students who are obviously not guilty of the situation.

People will continue throwing these vicious tantrums whenever life gets too hard as long as there is somebody willing to offer a list of excuses for how they were driven to behave horribly by forces outside of their control.

I’m also really annoyed by repeated suggestions that this outburst just has to be a sign of mental illness (scroll down to the comments here). Unless you are this person’s physician, it is not your place to diagnose her with mental illness. Besides, this idea that people can’t behave violently and disrespectfully because that is what they choose to do and that there should always be some treatable condition behind such behavior is really silly.

The more excuses we offer for this kind of outrageous behavior instead of simply condemning it as absolutely and completely wrong, the more likely it is that tomorrow somebody will decide to victimize us because they are in a bad mood or can’t get their shit together for whatever reason.

Blog Related Correspondence

I’m getting an increased number of blog-related emails, and while some of them are really great, there are also many that are extremely annoying. So here are the lists of the kinds of emails I like getting and the ones I detest.

Annoying emails:

– The most annoying type of email is the one that says something like the following: “I have done extensive research on a topic (an extremely stupid topic is provided). I’m willing to allow you to publish this post on your blog FREE of charge. In return, I ask that you place the following links on your blog.”

I understand that this is nothing but a clumsy way to place advertisement but it’s annoying nonetheless. One could at least glance at the blog whose author one is pestering with such condescending emails. That would allow one to observe that I hardly struggle to come up with posts and will not really fall over with joy that somebody is offering me a post for free. I guess the suggestion here is that I normally pay people to write my posts. Seriously, the gall is daunting.

– The second most annoying type of email is where people I never even corresponded with before offer me completely unsolicited advice on how I could improve my blog and “attract more allies”, whatever that means. Unsurprisingly, these folks have no blogs of their own, so their advice is not informed by any actual experience on creating great blogs. (I would gladly listen to advice from popular bloggers but, for some reason, they are not writing in.) 🙂

– Another annoying type of email invariably starts with, “Hey Clarissa, what you should do. . .” I always stop writing immediately after that and put the author of such emails on a Spam list. No mentally stable person would start their first communication with a complete stranger by telling them what they should do. And I don’t want to waste my time on weird people.

– And I also hate emails that tell me I’m too aggressive and that supposedly scares readers away. For some reason, people who say that keep coming to the blog like they are glued to it. I guess my aggressiveness does not scare them all that much.

Lovely emails:

– I especially appreciate emails where people send me links to stories they’d like me to comment on. This is extremely helpful, so thank you, folks!

– I also appreciate emails where people ask me for advice. I have had an opportunity to connect with a variety of young people in several countries who are curious about how the American or Canadian system of higher ed works, who are trying to figure out whether they should go to grad school and how to go about applying, who are conflicted about their choice of a career path, who want to know if certain things they’ve heard about the education system in North America are true. Some people write in a moment of sadness or loneliness and just need for somebody to reach out to them in that difficult moment. I feel like I really can help people here, and it makes me feel good to be able to do that.

– Of course, I also love emails where people tell me nice things about the blog and why it matters to them that I keep writing.

– And it’s great to get emails that ask me for interviews because that makes me feel important. I’ve already been interviewed about the blog in writing, by Skype, and by phone. I have also been asked to appear on a radio show but I had to refuse because that was not a good moment for me.

– Another pleasing type of emails is where people want to use my blog for their academic research. I’ve learned about some truly fascinating research in that way.

I have to say that the number of good, kind, positive emails outweighs the annoying ones by far.

Thank you for writing!