Dating Docile Bodies

30 Oct

Here’s the long and short of it – I have recently joined an internet dating site and started dating. I am not exactly sure what I was expecting, but it surely wasn’t this. You see, dating to me has always had a nice (read: idealistic) ring to it. I never understood people who were frustrated by it. To me, dating meant choice. And giddiness. A space where expectations and desires could be communicated safely and without the fear of judgement.

I was definitely not prepared for the ritualized three step programme it turned out to be in most cases. It being ritualized meant that people came to it with their own expectations of the space or the interaction which they often felt justified in imposing upon my body-space.

When my body protested, it made them uncomfortable. Even defensive.
Here are some ways in which I might have caught them off-guard:

  • As a woman asking men out often without an adequate amount of coyness.
  • As a woman not being afraid to compliment the men I date when I see something I like.
  • As a woman paying for the first date.
  • As a woman discussing sexuality and sexual preferences and experiences openly.

I have since noticed that a lot of the ways in which I have caught my dates off-guard is by not acting in a way that they expect women in the dating space to act. Some of them have been ‘intrigued’ or have ‘appreciated the novelty’. But they have definitely either ‘other’ed me by telling me that I am ‘different’, because I act in a certain way, or continued to reduce me on the basis of their general fixed worldview regarding what the space, and the interactions, within it should look like.

Now neither of these approaches do me any favours. I am either a figure shrouded in mystery and intrigue, and hence desirable until the daily familiarities, joys and griefs begin to show. Or I am stripped of my individuality and told to conform (perform?) to the rigid forms of being in this space.

At what point does it start colouring my own perception of myself in this space? Instead of being the desiring subject – dating, loving, laughing, experiencing – at what point do I become a ‘docile body‘ internalizing the feelings, anxieties, judgements and expectations (the ‘micro-physics) of the normative dating space?

Or is it just an illusion that I am not currently a ‘docile body’? Perhaps my rebellious body is what strengthens the propagation of the myth of the ‘ideal date’ or the ‘ideal woman’, (or even ‘normal date and ‘normal woman’) etc. In any case, after wining and dining with thirty odd men, all seemingly different from each other, I am left with the feeling of my subjectivity being on the brink of being hijacked in the creation of yet another ‘docile body’.

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One Response to “Dating Docile Bodies”

  1. hooriya13 November 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Reblogged this on Growing Wonder Woman and commented:
    Food for thought – On Dating among other things.

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