There are diverse camps within the LGBT community that promote different types of relationships, from the LGBT political branch fighting for marriage equality (predicated upon the traditional notion of marriage as a monogamous union between two persons) to the “Savage” branch of the “monogamish” (an open marriage/relationship), to those prescribing to a more non-normative branch that disavows marriage and its traditional, misogynistic chains in favor of idealized (grandiosly idealized, I’d not be reluctant to argue) polyamourous relations where everyone is care-free and detached and carries on multiple affairs without emotional attachments (we Spinozists know the body and the force of affective connections better than to presume such a thing...).
I had originally envisioned this piece as one that championed monogamy—that “queer” type of relationship where two people promise fidelity to one other; granted, the fidelity of that contract is uniquely determined by those two people. So, fidelity to one couple may be defined differently from that of another couple; some (those, I believe, of a more paranoid inclination) may consider “flirting” to be cheating, for example. Monogamy is something I admittedly romanticize; it is something that also appears to be an impossible feat in today’s culture, as one divorce after another is broadcasted on national television. In the entertainment industry, whether film or television (“reality” or otherwise), its disavowal and disintegration is necessary for dramatic development (see Pop Theory 4 in regard to the necessary slippage for dramatic action to occur). RILLLY, how often do we watch a show with anticipation for our favorite couple to hook-up and, once they do, how anxious do we become conjecturing about how their “dramz” will unfold, how they’ll betray one another, who will cheat on whom, who will break the promise. (See seasons 1-6 of The L Word for more information.)
But then I realized that the fundamental condition of that relationship, and, actually, every type of (intimate) relationship, is not love, is not lust, is not the imagined reciprocity of those emotions that drive a relationship (which is impossible, for how can emotions be weighed and/or balanced?). No. The fundamental condition is the promise.
Regardless of the type of relationship, the underlying ethic of any relationship (that has a desired future; that is considered to be long-term) is the promise, the philosophical centerpiece of today’s column.
The promise, I agree with Nietzsche, is