bad romance


“What is love?”

The 1993 global dance-pop mega-hit never answered the question, substituting instead a weak plea:

Baby, don't hurt me
don't hurt me
no more.

Christina Nehring also fails to define the emotional phenomenon she's charged herself with vindicating, but she certainly doesn't beg not to be hurt. Quite the opposite: for Nehring, truly loving means embracing pain. She disdains Valentine's roses, cozy snuggling, even vibrators—all the sappy rituals and pathetic artifacts our culture has produced to compensate for an epidemic lack of passion. By contrast, Nehring's old-style “love” is “a religion, a high-risk adventure, an act of heroism … ecstasy and injury, transcendence and danger, altruism and excess.” Today's “love” is commodified and ordinary and perpetually available. It can no longer ennoble our souls. Two apparently contradictory forces—the anti-feminist “cult of safe love” and the “man-hating clichés of old-style feminism”—have rendered us timid where we should be fearless. To re-inspire (or, as she might put it, “re-ensoul”) us, Nehring has written a polemic in the form of a parade of exemplary lovers from history and literature.

more from Emily Gould at n+1 here.