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July 02, 2011

Dan Savage on the virtues of infidelity

Dan Savage on the Virtues of Infidelity - NYTimes.com
Savage believes monogamy is right for many couples. But he believes that our discourse about it, and about sexuality more generally, is dishonest. Some people need more than one partner, he writes, just as some people need flirting, others need to be whipped, others need lovers of both sexes. We can’t help our urges, and we should not lie to our partners about them. In some marriages, talking honestly about our needs will forestall or obviate affairs; in other marriages, the conversation may lead to an affair, but with permission. In both cases, honesty is the best policy. “I acknowledge the advantages of monogamy,” Savage told me, “when it comes to sexual safety, infections, emotional safety, paternity assurances. But people in monogamous relationships have to be willing to meet me a quarter of the way and acknowledge the drawbacks of monogamy around boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted.” The view that we need a little less fidelity in marriages is dangerous for a gay-marriage advocate to hold. It feeds into the stereotype of gay men as compulsively promiscuous, and it gives ammunition to all the forces, religious and otherwise, who say that gay families will never be real families and that we had better stop them before they ruin what is left of marriage. But Savage says a more flexible attitude within marriage may be just what the straight community needs. Treating monogamy, rather than honesty or joy or humor, as the main indicator of a successful marriage gives people unrealistic expectations of themselves and their partners. And that, Savage says, destroys more families than it saves. . . . Rather, he says that a more realistic sexual ethic would prize honesty, a little flexibility and, when necessary, forgiveness over absolute monogamy. And he believes nostalgically, like any good conservative, that we might look to the past for some clues. “The mistake that straight people made,” Savage told me, “was imposing the monogamous expectation on men. Men were never expected to be monogamous. Men had concubines, mistresses and access to prostitutes, until everybody decided marriage had to be egalitar­ian and fairsey.” In the feminist revolution, rather than extending to women “the same latitude and license and pressure-release valve that men had always enjoyed,” we extended to men the confines women had always endured. “And it’s been a disaster for marriage.”
*Thanks Alan and Cory*

Greed and narcissism are killing Fine Dining

A top chef comes clean and dishes about his industry. Is Fine Dining Dying? | Food Republic
. . . “What they don’t understand is that most people who become the [big-name chef] cooked for 10 to 20 years,” says Lee, not faking frustration. The “they” in question are today’s young cooks. They, as we summarize, are leading to the death of fine dining—a subject the chef is not shy to talk about. Also leading to the death of fine dining? Critics, bloggers, casual restaurants and other acts of nature. You were pretty burned out with the business of fine dining when you left Aureole. Correct? Pretty much. A dedication to the work is just not there anymore. The work ethic of the young chefs has diminished. The younger chef doesn’t understand what it means to work a full day. They go into it for all the wrong reasons. And those reasons? To make $100,000 a year. They don’t go into it for the love. Fine dining requires so much effort, which eats at you. It drove me out of it. So let’s be clear. The young chefs of today are not in it for the long haul. They are there with false intensions. They see all the chefs on TV and want to be that. What they don’t understand is that most people who become the guy cooked for 10-20 years — to become the guy. It doesn’t happen overnight. If you go to the classic writings of Escoffier, he says that every part of the meal means something. . . .