14This distinction between public and reader plays a crucial role in the category romance’s materiality. As a book that circulates in a large number of widely varying cultural and commercial spaces – from the grocery store to the independent book store, from the gas station to the airport newsstand – its materiality is encountered and interpreted by a huge audience that entails both (potential) readers and (a majority of) non-readers. In order to communicate with these two types of consumers the category romance novel’s materiality adopts a double semiotic code : one targeted at the public and one aimed at the (romance) reader. As the analyses in this paper illustrate, these two codes contain two different messages about the book’s identity and its desired interpretation. The public code consistently suggests a uniformly generic interpretation of the text as a popular romance novel. This interpretative suggestion is created by the repeated invocation of a number of stereotypical images of and associations with the genre, which in turn perpetuate the public image of the romance genre as homogeneous, formulaic and clichéd. The reader code, by contrast, advocates a more specific and even idiosyncratic interpretation of the text that aims to distinguish the individual text from the generic group in which it is situated.
In her waning years, Mrs. Webster was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. For almost a decade, this once-powerful woman wasted away in a manner that was agonizing to watch for everyone in the community. Her husband—that pragmatic old Yankee farmer—took care of his wife at home the entire time she was dying. He bathed her, fed her, gave up freedoms in order to keep watch over her, and learned to endure the dreadful consequences of her decay. He tended to this woman long after she knew who he was anymore—even long after she knew who she herself was anymore. Every Sunday, Mr. Webster dressed his wife in nice clothing, put her in a wheelchair, and brought her to services at the same church where they had been married almost sixty years earlier. He did this because Lillian had always loved that church, and he knew she would’ve appreciated the gesture if only she had been conscious of it. Arthur would sit there in the pew beside his wife, Sunday after Sunday, holding her hand while she slowly ebbed away from him into oblivion.
Jungian psychoanalysts take this idea further, and see romantic love as a “projection” of a key part of one’s inner world onto someone else. Basically when we meet someone new who “sparkles” for us, we use them as a canvas for us to place all kinds of wonderful things from our imagination onto them. This basically inflates the reality of that person into god or goddess-like status. The “perfect” person.
Filkins wants to wed online dating to open source software to create the first dating service with a peer-to-peer type of architecture. The idea is a little like Vuong's SocialGrid, but far more sophisticated. And, Filkins hastens to add, a lot more private. "If I'm married and want to screw around on the side, I wouldn't want to post that on Google," he says. "I've perused all the dating sites, and what people want most is privacy."
People seem to have a pretty good understanding of what love feels like, and we do a good job respecting love as an important feeling. But our culture sends a pretty contradictory message about what commitment is. We say marriage requires love and commitment, and yet somehow “love is all you need” prevails as a logical sentiment. Our collective divorce rate speaks for our confusion.
First off, you’re not alone. Take Tony. He came up with the concepts behind 5 to Thrive after he’d been kicked out of his house by his angry mother on Christmas Eve. He was still in high school, had no money and going home was no longer an option. An action plan was born, one that Tony has used in his own life – a plan that you, too, can use to achieve a happier life.
How does this apply to dating and mating? Anything that constrains your options, or your partner’s, limits the information contained in the choices you make. That means that some people may routinely misinterpret the behavior of their partners and think that something may signal commitment when it does not. That also means that some couples that have been together a while, with an unclear future, and that also have the constraints that come from living together, may have difficulty reading clearly in each other what they want for the future.
The best answer she could come up with was this: Her husband was neither a good husband nor a bad husband. He was just a husband. He was the way that husbands are. As she spoke about him, it was as though the word “husband” connoted a job description, or even a species, far more than it represented any particularly cherished or frustrating individual. The role of “husband” was simple enough, involving as it did a set of tasks that her man had obviously fulfilled to a satisfactory degree throughout their life together—as did most other women’s husbands, she suggested, unless you were unlucky and got yourself a realdud. The grandmother even went so far as to say that it is not so important, in the end, which man a woman marries. With rare exceptions, one man is pretty much the same as another.