Dispensing With Social Niceties

Dating can be a hot mess and not the so-bad-she’s good Tara Reid kind, either. As I wrote last week, with the new technology, lack of family cohesion, and cessation of social rules governing all sorts of behavior, people are doing some crazy things (face licking) and thinking it’s normal.

Exhibit A:

If you’ve watched the news at all (I don’t, but I saw the cover of the National Enquirer and other weeklies at the grocery check-out on Sunday), you know that the pop singer Rihanna (featured on this blog in the song Life Your Life) got tuned up by her boyfriend Chris Brown. And by tuned up, I mean her face was severely beaten and she was choked and had to go to the hospital for chronic and persistent head aches (I’m guessing a concussion.)

Now, the reaction by the guys at the counter at H.E.B., one black two white, was this: Rihanna must have done something horrible like give Chris an STD or something because a dude just doesn’t hit the face of a woman because he’s angry.

Exhibit B:

A friend of a friend got tuned up by her husband (who is, by the way, a worthless slug, but that’s another story) because she cheated on him. The person who relayed the story to me defended the husband’s behavior and said that it was understandable that he would beat her like that because of how she disrespected him.

There used to be rules governing this sort of thing. Women stayed virginal and prized that virginity because it gave them great power. Men knew that in order to get nooky from a respectable woman, he’d have to make a commitment and then, once the commitment was made, he received, in return a woman who would more likely be faithful to him and who would be a good mother to his children, etc. She knew that he had self control and respect for her.

Another rule: A man simply would not hit a woman. Period. Ever. These days, though, women are portrayed in movies, on TV, in books, etc. as equal to men in physical strength which is simply not true. So you have guys beating on women and women winning, when, in real life the likelihood of that happening is slim and none. In addition, people possess less conflict-resolution skills and resort to unhelpful behaviors like yelling, screaming, name-calling, physical aggression and sometimes ending in physical violence. This used to be unacceptable. These days, three guys in a grocery store and an acquaintance can spend time arguing to me that it’s acceptable for a guy to beat the heck out of his woman when he’s “disrespected”.

This is what happens when there is no honor and there is no shame and there are no rules for engagement.

So that’s social norms. And the new norms breed babies, STDs, beatings, and misery.

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