As I've posted before, a few months ago I diagnosed myself as a dating hysteric. Hardly a charming thing to be, it basically boils down to my having difficulty interpretting attraction to me and impossible to communicate attraction to someone else.
But in my process of discussing and writing about this, I've definitely understood better Lacan's concept of "surplus enjoyment." When articulating a loss or a failing a surplus of enjoyment is often created around the articulation of the loss. Zizek describes this by using a familiar example. When someone is dumped by their partner they often query their friends about why they were dumped, why did this person leave them, stop loving them, etc, etc. What happens is that this action of dealing with the loss soon becomes fetishized as its own end, its own form of enjoyment. Thus usually people are horrified when you actually answer their questions and give them concrete reasons as to why their partner left, not because of the trauma of knowing why they were dumped, but because of the way this tampers with their new form of enjoyment or pleasure.
Writing about my dating difficulties has taken on its own life and become its own form of enjoyment as well. After posting several times on these issues I get comments or emails which offer me dating or love advice. I always react badly to these because dating advice isn't what I really want. What I want is either the impossible fulfillment of my desire or to be left alone or support in this new form of enjoyment. And we wonder why human beings are alien to themselves?
So in my latest installment of Miget's Plus de Jour, I'd like to share with everyone another anecdote which proves how much of a danger I am to society when I'm dating.
I won't besmirch the name of the poor girl in this story. To give her some background she is attending UCSD and I met her on campus and we made plans to meet off campus for dinner.
I have a tendency to intellectualize things except when I'm around a very select few people, so during our meeting that's exactly what I did. After finding out that I enjoyed Bollywood movies, the girl immediately when into how much she likes the costumes the dancing the energy. I responded that those things were nice but what was really interesting to me was the psychology of Bollywood movies (but I can say this for all movies really). I then proceeded to name about a dozen different movies and the important psychological critiques you can drawn from them (for example freedom in Kyon...Ho Gaya Na, or the sublime object of ideology in Deewar, or the fantasy connections between Ram Gopal Varma's Mast and Ridley Scott's Hannibal.)
Whatever topic we discussed I always had something abstract and theoretical to say, usually psychoanalytical in nature but occassionally postcolonial (although some might argue that my hope is that everything I say is postcolonial). She tried to discuss art to find something less intellectually intense, yet had no idea that I am an artist and studied art history for years, so unless a Jackson Polluck is right before my eyes and I'm lost in its mometary draught of the sublime, its just another potential site for an intellectual discussion.
If reading those last two paragraphs was annoying, then imagine how this girl felt. She was annoyed as hell and ended the evening by telling me how annoyed she was. She chastised me for over thinking everything. She had really hoped alot for this date. That we would relax, get to know each other better. But how could I ruin everything by just talking theory non-stop? Couldn't I just live life sometimes without thinking it? Why was I afraid to see a rose might just be a rose, that sort of talk.
My first instinct was to quote something that Hegel said about roses, but I decided against that.
Then like a true dating hysteric my response was, "We're on a date?"