Games of Love

A friend mentioned, in a somewhat provoked and inebriated moment the other day, that most men don't really seem to like the women they are with - they are somewhat carrying along, hmm-ing and hawww-ing. I protested saying I felt loved and cherished. After a while, with the influence of intoxicants having worn off, i thought of the marketplace of sexual and emotional production and consumption. And felt, maybe Jim Scott and E. P. Thompson's 'moral economy' is being nicely practiced in the cliches of 'girls who are finding partners very quickly to seal the deal'. The market offers a range of possibility for those who enter the market historically equipped with stranger-sociability, cosmopolitanism and sex drive. Women complaining about men staring at them on crossroads, making cheesy conversations and wearing tight sweaters betraying their considerable bellies - are all talking about a market. Where they control natural resources, mass communication mechanisms, bureaucracies. The level-playing field is, hence, level on their side. And then they get eyebags and love-handles and the economic recession comes around and they want 'security'. The 'moral economy' is here evoked. Resource base to be protected for survival, and older indulgences of flourish to be abandoned. Much like the farmer's risk-hedging techniques. Profit-motive substituted for survival-motive. A pot belly with a secure credit card, and regularly rationed affection is traded for an eyepatch and a canoe and a talking parrot. Self-interest governing both scenarios. Sombre morality chanted in the latter ritual, guffawing drunkenness of power in the former. And the talking parrot dies, and along with him the ironic testimony to games of love.

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