Love, actually?

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Is age difference a problem in romance?

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. November 25, 2015

It’s not surprising to see an older, wealthier man fall for a younger woman, yet such an occurrence often still reflects a sleaziness that causes our society cringe. The situation is cruder when the man divorces his wife of 26 years to be with this much younger woman. There are many cases to draw examples from, but I’ll point at the most recent one involving my childhood hero and actor, Rowan Atkinson.

Atkinson, famous for Mr. Bean, Blackadder, and his scene-stealer in Christmas classic Love, Actually, was involved in a swift 65-second divorce proceeding, separating on the grounds of “unreasonable behaviour.” I always wonder about the complexity of marriage: the leash wives have on their husbands and the secret lives husbands have away from home. It makes me wonder what “unreasonable behaviour” within a marriage even means. Because how can we truly know how two people behave when they are alone? This type of classification makes me look down on people who can’t keep a marriage together. It makes me judge them poorly. How can I trust someone who breaks promises and behaves unreasonably? How can I trust someone who is so easily tempted by what we can only define as lust?

It’s so easy for people at the perimeter to point their fingers at someone like Atkinson, even in 2015, saying that he is just swapping old for new. Who doesn’t want something new? However, when it comes to being in a committed relationship, that type of behaviour is most certainly unreasonable. Then again, what if we look at it from the view of happiness. Over half of all marriages end in divorces today… how unreasonable is that? Should we really be criticizing anyone for the complicated choices they make regarding love? I say no.

It is both an act of courage and cowardice to pursue a romantic endeavour and to leave a committed relationship. It digs deeper into the person. You are not a student, you are not a doctor, you are not a writer, or whatever occupation you have—deep down, you are those you love. I do agree that people make mistakes in the realm of marriages, but I don’t believe people should be judged poorly for them. They took a chance at love and that should be admired.

My problem is the pedestal people put the status of marriage on, as if it’s some kind of achievement. I think it’s that type of perspective that makes it hard for so many people to “love.” Love shouldn’t be like tightrope walking across a skyscraper. Any slip up will be met with death. It should be a journey with many encounters. It should be a journey made with a partner. And should the partnership change, it’s just the way it is. It’s a part of it.

So should age ever be a problem in romance? I don’t think so. When it comes to consenting adults, they should just enjoy each other while they have time. While age is just a number, our time on this world is running out. So share it with the people who matter and leave the ones that don’t. You, just like Mr. Bean, will have to make that decision yourself, no matter how ridiculous and unreasonable it may seem.

The art of ghosting

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How to disappear from a long night of partying

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in the Other Press. November 11, 2015

Sometimes known as the Irish goodbye or the French exit, ghosting is the act of leaving a party without announcing it or saying farewell to the host or the rest of the guests. It can be humourous for some and insulting to others. Some will be happy that you’ve been able to make it there at all, while others would demand some sort of appreciation for their efforts. As we approach the festive season, where our free time begins to fill up with parties and get-togethers, I figure it’s a good idea to touch on the idea of ghosting.

Before we go any further, I want to say that I am a proud supporter of ghosting. After a long night of drinking or whatever the party entails, you are tired. Just get yourself home and rest. Friends don’t need friends to go through all the bullshit formalities required to leave. Simply leave and forget about it.

We are so connected these days through our phones and social media that if a goodbye was not exchanged, a simple text can fix everything. There is no shame to ghosting and there shouldn’t be any guilt either.

Making it out to a party is hard enough without having to feel rather shitty for leaving early. You might have been having fun; you might not have. Either way, it is not work. You are not being paid to be there. Therefore, you don’t need to punch in and out—in addition to punishing yourself.

You don’t need to ghost completely. Say goodbye to those in your vicinity when you leave. Let them relay any parting messages you may have for other people in the venue that you have missed. Note: they probably won’t relay any messages for you, but they will act as witnesses to your departure. On your way out, you’ll likely say goodbye to a handful of people smoking.

There are many social gatherings that hold attendees to a higher standard than other engagements. Weddings, for example, are a big pain in the ass if you want to leave early. Sometimes people even expect you to help clean up—say what? A dinner party, one where there is a place reserved for you specifically, is different from a night of binge drinking with friends. However, you don’t need to make your exit a big scene. Say goodbye to the host, if nobody else. Thank them quickly. Excuses aren’t really necessary, unless they force it out of you. Pay for your portion (if that is expected), and just leave. It’s ghosting, but that doesn’t make you a monster.