Tag Archives: nonromantic relationships

Crunching the Umbrella and Spinning the Reinvention Treadmill

[Note: This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

Back on March 8th, the day before I published my Genealogy of Queerplatonic, Siggy published a response of his own to the whole discussion, titling the post as “Death of the coiner” (an allusion to Barthes’ “Death of the Author”). In Cor’s addition onto that post, co wrote:

my main response is that it’s useful and arguably necessary for us to document and continually notify people of the pattern of semantic drift in words having to do with rejecting models and how they are reinscribed within those models to be less threatening

This post is about the same thing and that same dynamic: the pattern of ambiguous gray areas and umbrella words getting crunched into narrower redefinitions, leaving the need for their original ambiguity unmet, and paving the way for others to come along and try to reinvent the wheel.

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On “friendship”

In our conversations about norms, standards, desires, and expectations for relationships, such as in the conversations around queerplatonic and alterous, I’ve seen a lot of comparison against friendship as a familiar point of reference; it’s a term you’re supposed to be already familiar with, as groundwork for the mapping of other terms in relation to it. A lot of the times, when invoking it in this way, people will talk about “friendship” in ways that bother me with their implications. So, because I’ve gotten to thinking about that some more, I’ve returned to asking: what is friendship? We–

Wait– Hold on, wait– No, come back–

Darn. I think I just lost a reader.

Well, for those of you who are still here: in thinking about this, I’ve so far come up with about five (some potentially intersecting, some not) different models for what someone might mean by friendship — and I’m not even sure exactly which one I prefer out of the bunch.

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Strategies of Defining QPPs

I’ve recently seen some posts in defense of queerplatonic and alterous again (sorry, didn’t save the urls), and it’s made me think some more about different strategies people use in queerplatonic apologetics — that is, in making the case for why words like queerplatonic are worthwhile to have.  I think of them as operating under two main modes.

(note that I dislike the choice of components for the word “queerplatonic” for various reasons, but that’s not the point of this post)

One of these modes, as I was saying, describes queerplatonic partnerships in terms of a romance without certain attributes associated with romance.  For example, lacking romantic feeling, or not based on romantic sentiment, or some other absence of something romantic.  In this mode, a qpp is not a friendship.  It may be a semi-romance, or not a romance, but the key element of this mode is that the emphasis on “NOT friendship.”

The other mode describes queerplatonic partnerships in terms of a friendship with certain attributes not associated with friendship.  For example, going on sensual dinner dates, sharing a bed, kissing, planning a day of celebration for the relationship, getting legally married, raising a child together, or the relationship otherwise being accorded more value, commitment, or importance than friendships are typically “allowed.”  A relationship doesn’t have to involve marriage or the like to be qp, but that’s a frequently cited example to demonstrate the depth of divergence from friendship norms.  To me, the concept of “queerplatonic” isn’t (or doesn’t need to be) bound to a specific relationship narrative or set of practices so much as a personal choice on behalf of the partnering individuals to demarcate their relationship as somehow distinct from their other friendships + from what they’ve been told a friendship should be.

The first mode stakes the relevance of “qpp” on the relationships it describes being “NOT friendship,” i.e. not “reducible” to “friends” or “best friends,” for which there are obviously preexisting terms.  In doing so, it typically involves a metric in which qpps, being mutually exclusive with friendship, are also ranked as “more” than friendship, necessitating that an upper limit boundary be placed on the intimacy/importance/commitment of friendship.

The second mode, on the other hand, would suggest that such an upper limit boundary is bullbutter.  If a qpp can be described — incompletely, but accurately — as friendship, then defining that exceptional friendship as queerplatonic proclaims a resistance to that arbitrary cap on what “friendship” can mean.  It says — that cap is fake, and here’s your living proof.  It says friendship is many-splendored and diverse, even in the face of relationship norms that would contest otherwise.

The first mode counters qpp-mockery by defining “friendship” as too inaccurate to contain qpps, which it accomplishes in turn by defining friendship as shallow.

The first mode counters qpp-mockery by highlighting a political/ideological difference between the labeling of “qp partners” and “best friends.”

A post brought to you by my impatience with what queerplatonic apologetics has become.


Communication Dance

In lighter news, here’s another story about me and my friends.

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Friendship doesn’t (and does) mean anything.

A post spurred by this conversation on nonromantic attractions & relationships.

First of all, “platonic” is, etymologically and descriptively, kind of a terrible word, and I still wish it would go away.  A decent replacement would be nice.  But it would also be cool if we could agree on whether that replacement means nonromantic, nonsexual, or nonromantic-nonsexual.  Or we could just… use the words I just listed there.  *shrug*  It would solve a few problems, that’s all I’m saying.

But to get into the meat of the matter: when folks are talking about nonromance, I’ve been seeing a lot of claims, enthymemes, and entire concept models that are wonky, confusing, and clash with my own experience.  I’m going to talk a bit about the latter.  So here we go:

In my experience, friendship doesn’t mean anything.

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more on behavioral direction again

Branching off of this post.

Okay I thought of more things to say.

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I keep thinking

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sappy relationship stuff

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Nonsexual Nonromantic Relationships, Pt. 3

In part one, I talked about why we should be talking about the subject of nonsexual nonromantic relationships.  In part two, I talked about my friend the copilot and what our relationship has been like in the abstract.  In this post, I’m going to continue on that subject while trying to ground the discussion in more of the day-to-day specifics, which may lead to this post being either more illustrative or more boring.  But, here it is, for what it’s worth.

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Nonsexual Nonromantic Relationships, Pt. 2

As a continuation of part one, this post will take up the challenge to start telling more stories about friendship, starting with some thoughts on my relationship with the copilot.  I have no idea where I’m going with this, or what would be of the most use or interest, so expect a mess of reflections and anecdotes as I test out how hard this actually is.

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