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Archive for the ‘Re-lay-shun-ships’

Here’s a lucrative new industry: Mistress-dispelling, or as we would call it, Querida-banishing.

June 20, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Money, Re-lay-shun-ships, Sex No Comments →


An escalating divorce rate shows the depth of gender inequality in Chinese society. Illustration by Malika Favre

China’s Mistress-Dispellers
How the economic boom and deep gender inequality have created a new industry by Jiayang Fan

Yu, a gentle-looking man in his early forties, with the placid demeanor of a yoga instructor, works as a mistress dispeller, a job that barely existed a decade ago but is becoming common in major Chinese cities. His clients are women who hope to preserve their marriages by fending off what is known in Chinese as a xiao san, or “Little Third”—a term that encompasses everything from a partner in a casual affair to a long-term “kept woman.” Mistress dispellers use a variety of methods. Some Little Thirds can be paid off or discouraged by hearing unwelcome details of their lovers’ lives—debts, say, or responsibility for an elderly parent—or shamed with notes sent to friends and family. If the dispeller or the client is well connected, a Little Third may suddenly find that her job requires her to move to another city. A female dispeller sometimes seeks to become a confidante, in order to advise the targeted woman that the liaison will inevitably crumble. In certain cases, a male mistress dispeller may even seduce the woman. Like all the mistress dispellers I spoke to, Yu said that he never resorts to this tactic, but he acknowledged that there are those who do.

Read it in The New Yorker.

Reminds me of that Romain Duris movie, Heartbreaker, in which he plays a professional hired by a businessman to break up his daughter’s engagement. So the heartbreaker woos the woman by, among other things, learning the big dance in Dirty Dancing. Mmmmm, Romain Duris.

Courtship and the Market: Sexual freelancing in the gig economy

May 16, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Money, Re-lay-shun-ships No Comments →

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A FRIEND of mine complains about how many of the men she meets on Tinder use corporate language to chat her up. First, they “reach out.” Then, after spending the night together, they “follow up.”

This kind of flirting is banal, but it makes sense. We constantly use economic metaphors to describe romantic and sexual relations. Few people today refer to women as “damaged goods” or wonder why a man would “buy the cow when he can get the milk for free,” but we have “friends with benefits” and “invest in relationships.” An ex may be “on” or “off the market.” Online dating makes “shopping around” explicit. Blog after blog strategizes about how to maximize your “return on investment” on OkCupid.

We use this kind of language because the ways that people date — who contacts whom, where they meet and what happens next — have always been tied to the economy. Dating applies the logic of capitalism to courtship. On the dating market, everyone competes for him or herself.

When parents worry about how their 20-something kids are (or aren’t) pairing off, or the authors of trend pieces lament “the death of courtship,” they seem to forget that the pursuit of sex and romance didn’t remain unchanged from the moment when the first Homo sapiens sidled across the savanna toward his soul mate until Steve Jobs rolled out the iPhone.

Read it in the New York Times.

If you’ve ever cheated or been cheated on, watch this TED talk on infidelity

January 07, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology, Re-lay-shun-ships No Comments →

Thanks to Ricky for the alert.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Overachieving New Yorker abandons the big time to follow Pinoy ex to California

December 11, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Re-lay-shun-ships, Television 3 Comments →

Doctors and aswang are the two things most often associated with Filipinos on prime-time American TV. In the ’80s hospital drama St. Elsewhere, doctors were boggled by a weird sickness called “ba-ngyoo-ngyot”; more recently a doctor in House was supposed to be Filipino-Korean. “Ass-wang” have turned up on CSI, Grimm, and recently on The Strain, where they were described in a book. But another category has sprung up since Tina Fey started fantasizing about one on 30 Rock: the Filipino boyfriend. There’s the computer nerd on How to Get Away With Murder, and now there’s the raison d’etre for a new CW series: a Fil-American guy so desirable that the titular character leaves everything she’s ever worked for in New York to follow him to West Covina, CA.

Read our TV column The Binge at BusinessWorld.

Chris Evans’s directorial debut is That Thing Called Before Sunrise

September 04, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Re-lay-shun-ships No Comments →

The reviews of Chris Evans’s directorial debut Before We Go have been respectful but not enthusiastic. This did not stop us from watching it. Chris Evans also stars in it, so we know that even if it turns out to be terrible, we still have Chris Evans to look at.

The good news is that Before We Go is not terrible, the bad news is that it has no reason to exist (other than the aforementioned excuse to look at its director). Chris Evans has said in the past that he wants to quit playing Captain America: Please don’t. Who else can play the squarest most strait-laced man alive and make him hot? In fact Before We Go, despite its general lack of vavavoom, actually makes Chris Evans even more adorable to us because he looks like that but he wants to be Woody Allen.

Darling, you’re not Woody Allen. We are 200 times more Woody Allen than you are, and we haven’t even married some adopted orphans. We’ll write you a Woody Allen movie and we won’t even charge you, although we know that you are too lovely not to pay for it.

Before We Go is essentially That Thing Called Before Sunrise. It will appeal to people who think they are hopeless romantics and like to talk about themselves a lot. Two super-attractive strangers meet in Grand Central Station and end up spending five or six hours together walking the streets of New York City, but they are such obviously superior beings that no one tries to mug them, flash them or sell them drugs. Fine, someone tries to sell Chris Evans a Prada bag in Chinatown, but it’s—gasp—a real Prada bag. They’re such magical creatures that they even find a working payphone.

Chris Evans plays an aspiring jazz trumpeter who busks in the train station, and you know it’s a movie because people are not running to the nearest ATM and emptying their bank accounts into his instrument case. The movie is so basic it makes us feel like Quentin Tarantino in comparison. Chris Evans, you are so wonderful that you have convinced us that we might have a future in directing, and you didn’t even have to take your shirt off once. We can’t wait to see Captain America: Civil War. You’re a superhero. Accept your destiny.

Before We Go is showing at Ayala Mall Cinemas.

From the Workshop: Almost Forty

August 19, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Re-lay-shun-ships, Workshops 1 Comment →

We give writing workshops at the Ayala Museum. The workshops consist of three two-hour sessions of lectures, exercises, and group discussions held over three weeks. The next workshop, Writing Boot Camp, will start on 3 September 2015. For more information or to make a reservation, email Marj Villaflores, villaflores.md@ayalafoundation.org.

This month we are featuring, with their permission, essays by the participants in July’s Personal Essay workshop. The submissions were half-standup comedy, half-trauma ward. We encouraged everyone to get over their fear of exposure, embarrassment and “What will people think?” Here are some of the results.

* * * * *

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Still from Napoleon Dynamite. When we googled movies about online dating to illustrate this essay, we discovered that there are no great movies about online dating. Because people looking at screens is not exciting. Black Hat almost did it, but only because it starred Chris Hemsworth.

Almost Forty
By Mia V. Estolano

Almost 40. If I were to live until age 70, I would have lived half my life already –no husband, no kids, no house, no boyfriend, no boyfriend…yet. A pasted-on smile is my usual answer to relatives or friends who ask the squirm-inducing question. I love my work. I love to travel. Oftentimes, the person who asks the question lets go. At times, they prod more. I don’t mind answering. It can get annoying, especially when they seem to think there’s something wrong with me, or worse, that I am a sad person.

But I am happy. I love men. And I’ve tried dating, just not the usual route. I tried to get dates online. It’s quicker and cuts the preliminaries of dating. At least that’s what my cousin told me. We are similar, only she lives in the US where online dating is very common. She said that I should try it.

So I did.

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