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Keeping Relationships Beige

My Friends,
   Since first I heard it, I have had trouble with the word “partner” when used to refer to a significant other.

However, my apprehensions about the word kinda just stayed in the back of my mind because not many people I knew used it.  Yet for whatever reason (likely the crowd I have immersed myself in as of late), I am hearing it more and more often.  So let’s explore it.
   Now first off, I get why someone would use it.  At the most superficial level, it adds a veneer of maturity to a relationship:

       Fig.1: A “girlfriend” and “boyfriend”

Fig. 2: Two “partners” doing exciting partner stuff

While young love may typically be more exciting, mature love bespeaks steadiness; a kind of slow burn which endures.  And if there’s one thing people in our society generally prefer, its security over excitement, hence the desire for a reliable, steady mate (even if in name only).
   But like I said, this is just a superficial aspect of the word.  On a more substantial level, I think the term partner gained traction sometime in the last twenty years as same-sex relationships became more normalized.  During that transition, loaded words like girlfriend and boyfriend which presuppose a significant other of the opposite sex, naturally became problematic.  I don’t even need to go into the complications implied by same-sex marriage (“I now pronounce you man and husband”).  God forbid! 😛  In a show of solidarity with their gay/lesBros, straight people have adopted the term to be a more politically correct, gender-neutral way of saying who they’re boning.  Kind of like women calling themselves Ms.
*As an aside, a gay male friend of mine matter-of-factly referred to his “boyfriend” the other night which was refreshing, although admittedly it caught me off guard.  
   Unless there is some egregious oversight on my part (wouldn’t be the first time) I think I have covered all two (2) reasons why someone would refer to their romantic relationship as a partnership.*
   So how do I feel about it?  Not too bad I suppose.  Certainly I am no fan of labels,
so “partner,” being a little less specific than bf or gf works a little better for me, although it is a label nonetheless.  And that is really the problem; if you’re going to label someone with a term based on their relationship to you, why half-ass it?  In my eyes its better to go all the way.  For me personally, I enjoy calling my partner “woman” (If used as a formal address, it’s “Woman” with a capital W).  I never thought too much of this until I sat down to write this sentence you are reading right now, but in its own way, the term “Woman,” when used as an address, is an indictment of labels in general by taking our obsession with categorization to its absurd extreme.  Its certainly a greater statement against gender categorization than a contrived term like “partner.”
   So for all you people out there who use “partner” (a word completely devoid of any emotive or descriptive power) when referring to that special someone in your life, ask yourself why you use it.  If its to escape the tyranny of loaded words and labels like “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” consider using more crude terms like “my man/woman” (or if those are a little too plain for you, try funstick or ovary-box) to illustrate just how absurd defining people based on relationships actually is.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo
*Going back to my first image pulled from the movie film, American Beauty, I do take issue with commercial connotations of the word “partner.”  One of my problems with marriage for example, as alluded to in an earlier post, is that as well as being a religious union, it is also a legal/financial one.  I don’t think people bear this in mind when they use the word partner, especially when they are simply dating and not married, but I feel we must be very particular about the words we use.  For example:,
From “The Law Dictionary” app

I don’t think people are aware of just what they mean on a legal level when they use the word partner.  It is a legal/commercial term and all statutes/regulations/codes are applicable only to commercial/legal entities such as persons. corporations, and partnerships.  Heads up, nigga!

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You Gotta Swim Before You Can Crawl

My Friends,

   In attempting to re-integrate back into N. American life and ultimately get back to where I was at (or beyond) prior to leaving, I am paying especial attention to my fitness.  It started with wanting to get back down to the weight I was at before I left, but my intention is now to incorporate exercises I typically do not do and see where it takes me on the scale instead.  And not just any exercises; where possible, I want to perform exclusively exercises which mimic natural movements.  I have alluded to this desire previously (“Tenderfooting,” 30 August 2011) when I started training barefoot, but I really want to run with it now.  Call it the primal lifestyle if you will, although that implies a change in diet as well, and I am not looking to completely overhaul what I eat.  For the time being, its all about the exercise.
   Now when it comes to strength-training and muscle-building, doing it like a caveman seems easy enough; lift rocks, climb shit, bash your woman over the head with a weighted club, etc.  Cardio training, for me at least, is a little more problematic.  
   “Why don’t you ride your bike,” you ask?  Well, come winter I only really use my bike for commuting as you never know what condition the trails (where I do my bike cardio) will be in.  And while a muddy, slurry of dirt and melted snow might make for awesome and challenging terrain, I must weigh this potential benefit against the reality of being stranded out in the cold, kilometres away from help if I have any bike breakdown or malfunction.
Or if, ya know, a rock falls on me

   “Why don’t you go for a run,” you ask?  Well, this is what kind of got me into primal exercise mode in the first place; all the running I was doing over the last year with conventional trainers was giving me chronic ankle & foot pain and I was looking to do a conversion to barefoot running.  The problem for me now is that its January and fucking cold.  
   “Why don’t you use the Vibram 5-Finger shoes you’ve been dick-riding hard for the past few months to run ‘barefoot’ in the winter,” you ask?  A good question, and I will have to look into a new pair (the pair I used for going around the world may still be athletes foot infected and they are also a trekking model more than a running model) of those once I start wage-slavery again and have money to spend on shoes.  
   For the time being however I decided that if I wanted a lean “swimmer’s physique,” why not swim (cavemen swam, right?).  I have heard only good things about swimming as exercise but I have always been too lazy to actually bring trunks to the gym and then carry my wet gear back with me.  On top of that, I always just viewed swimming as leisure; I go to the beach or a friend’s pool, float around some, get hammered and that’s it, and its been that way since I was a kid.  But now, with my desire to adopt primal exercises more completely into my lifestyle, I was forced to take another look at swimming as the only viable way to get cardio-training for the time being (it was either swimming or intercourse).
   Today was my first day at the pool and not long after entering the pool I realized with some alarm that I don’t really know how to swim.  Sure I can fake it for a length, but when I start to get winded, any technique I might be aping falls apart, my speed in the water (such as it is) tapers off, and I am sort of left kicking haphazardly in the water trying to stay afloat.  The problem I realized was fundamentals; essentially, I have none.  I don’t know how to stroke, I don’t know how to breathe, I didn’t even know the direction of traffic flow in the pool.
   Still, I toughed it out for half an hour (it might have only been 20 minutes, but it felt long) and I think I completed only 8 full lengths of the pool, with breaks at every end and more than one break mid-length.  While changing, I asked this dude who had been out there and was obviously more experienced than me (goggles, no boardshorts) how to breathe during freestyle stroke.  He said exhale while your face is in the water instead of trying to both exhale and inhale during the brief moment my face comes out of the water every third stroke.  That may seem like a small thing but the implications are mind-boggling; I now await my next trip to the pool eagerly, wanting to employ my new secret weapon: breathing.
   Now I’d be a fool to think that my breathing is the only area I can improve.  ‘Til my rematch with the water I plan on seeing if there are any vids on basic swimming on youtube kind of like I did when I was taking up parkour.  Armed with the experience and wisdom of others plus my own stubbornness I figure it’ll be like a week before I’m Michael Phelpsing out there.
“HYAH! And monkeys might fly out my butt!”
Stay Thirsty,
Andre Guantanamo

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