Rohit's Realm - Relationships

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July 07, 2004

First Dates and More

After over three years of living the high life (so to speak) using Berkeley public transportation, I finally broke down and decided to bring a car up for my fourth and final year of college. So much for being cheap, right? I went home last weekend for introductions and drove back to Berkeley on Monday. Needless to say, after roughing six odd hours of holiday traffic, my car and I are much more than acquainted.

August 03, 2004

Unveiling the Shroud of Hypocrisy

After receiving several comments (posted and over AIM) regarding my previous post congratulating me on achieving a new level of cynicism or accosting me for being an emotionless zombie, I began to feel guilty and hypocritical. I mean, the whole time I was writing that post, I should have been writing a post that went contrary to all that I ruthlessly bashed. Well, I will no longer be privy to the hypocrisy that has become a cornerstone of my life. Below you will find the post that should have been written, had I not been so adept at suppressing my emotions.

December 16, 2004

Marrying for Money

As regular readers of can attest to, I have in the past often made remarks regarding the purported financial benefits of marriage. However, considering that I will be starting a real job in about six months and I am in the mood to procrastinate, I thought I would spend some time investigating what, if any, financial benefits (obviously, there are no others) I could derive from marrying strictly for monetary reasons.

December 22, 2004

Adopting for Money

As promised in my previous entry, I will discuss the goldmine of tax deductions I discovered while attempting to determine if marrying is worthwhile monetarily (it is not, by the way). While the rumor that marriage could save money turned out to be a big lie, I discovered that you get deductions for each dependent you can claim.

July 09, 2005

Red Rover, Red Rover

I think that it's particularly ironic that my first real rant in months should come at a time when I'm not feeling the least bit eloquent or articulate, but honestly, the topic of this rant has plagued me for far too long and I can stay silent no longer. So articulate or not, here we go.

October 23, 2005

Live Fast, Die Young

Given the significant amount of verbiage I have dedicated to the topics of love and marriage in the past few years, it might surprise many people to hear me maintain with steadfast certainty that I am planning to be married by the age of thirty. I mean, if I have such a negative opinion on the subject, what could possibly compel me to seek out the very misery I routinely denounce? Well, that's simple: when your very existence unequivocally depends on something, regardless of how reprehensible, you do what it takes to make sure you survive. Quintessential Darwin. What? Yeah. Read on.

November 04, 2005

My Romantic Quest: From Cynicism to Nihilism (Part 1)

Halloween 2005 has come and gone, and with it, one of the more momentous occasions in the short, but turbulent history of No, dumbasses, I'm not referring to the photographic evidence of my handiwork as a makeup artist that was recently made available on my gallery, although I am quite proud of my new found skills with eyeliner. Give up? Well, October 31, 2005, marked the fourth anniversary of the founding of the Realm!

April 02, 2006

Digital Prenuptials

The Wall Street Journal last Monday had an interesting article discussing the travails of modern breakups in the light of the pervasive technologies of the 21st century, and moreover, the ends to which people go to delete, both metaphorically and literally, their former significant other (a/k/a exso) from their lives. I don't think it should surprise any of you that I have something to say about this, considering it has to do with two topics near and dear to me: technology and (the failure of) relationships.

September 25, 2006

The Curse of an Overly Analytical Mind

Have you ever engaged in an experience with the full knowledge that it would be the last time you ever experience it? How did that change that experience? Is there a fundamental duality between engaging in an experience—physically, mentally, emotionally—and garnering an understanding of the implications of that experience? Does a Heisenberg-esque Uncertainty Principle exist in social interactions as much as it does in quantum mechanics?

May 02, 2007

An Economic Analysis of Interpersonal Relations

As long time readers will, no doubt, recall, more than three years ago, I presented a now infamous (and copiously referenced) analysis of interpersonal relationships, asserting that all such relations can be defined solely on the basis of convenience, exploitation, and self-aggrandizement. In essence, I was taking a sociological perspective on relationships, which I further expanded on with my manifesto on Facebook friends, or more generally, relationships on social networks, one year later. Today, I would like to take a different, more rigorous approach to the same problem, i.e., how do we taxonomically distribute the various interpersonal relationships in our lives? Considering this is an economic analysis, there can be only one criterion (as I am sure most of you can guess): value.

September 20, 2007

Tying the Noose: Criteria for Marital Bliss

Though I have not yet attained the age where relatives routinely harass me about asinine topics such as settling down or, worse, finding love, it seems that no conversation these days, whether it be with friends or strangers, is complete without a discussion of one's status, e.g., married, single, in an (open) relationship, hooking up, and so on, and so forth. It almost seems as though the older we get—and the more our thoughts and interests diverge—the more we cling desperately onto the rather banal topics of conversation that everyone can relate to (e.g., money, cash, hoes) for fear that without these topics, we might have nothing to say to one another at all. And while I have no qualms about answering the question, whether the answer be single or otherwise, in recent times, I have noticed that the former answer seems to generate rather inexplicable angst amongst the self-avowed (and necessarily self-deluded) hopeless romantics of the world.

To disabuse these misguided readers (and/or friends) of this angst, I will now present my personal criteria for successfully tying the noose—I mean, knot—so that they might finally understand that though my life will likely never be one of happiness or fulfillment, it will certainly be one of legacy and wealth. [...]

October 16, 2007

Et tu, E-$? (Part 1)

As I likely need not remind you, dear readers, it's been a pretty bad week—or month/year/lifetime, depending on your perspective. What with Cal's heartbreaking loss last week, I thought—nay, prayed—that perhaps I had hit rock bottom (for the time being, of course—misery in a lifetime clearly knows no bounds). As per usual, I was wrong: It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black. (If that expression appeals to you, check out this Demotivator®.)

What, curious readers might be wondering, could possibly be worse than a failure that nearly brought me to tears? Betrayal. That's what. [...]

October 24, 2007

Et tu, E-$? (Part 2)

Given the unprecedented number of e-mails I received over the past week, I do not deem it too far fetched to suggest that many readers are likely anxiously awaiting this article to see how the saga with my recently engaged friend E-$ would turn out. Please forgive my most egregious delay in responding—a combination of mind-numbing work, crushing grief (Cal lost again!), and unexpected intoxication rendered me incapable of synthesizing coherent thoughts for the better part of this past weekend (the insinuation being, of course, that had those events not occurred, I might have synthesized said thoughts cogently—a dubious proposition at best). Anyway, I last left you, dear readers, in a state of shock, having just hung up on my friend. The next day, I called her back, finally prepared to challenge her, not with anger, but with reason. [...]

December 09, 2007

Why Emotional Unavailability Does Not Matter

Though my (perceived) emotional unavailability is likely the most often cited reason for the (necessarily catastrophic) end of nearly all my relationships over the years, I must admit that I have never truly understood what that phrase meant, nor, for that matter, been particularly concerned by my ignorance. First, I have noticed that simply using the mention of the phrase as a cue to stop listening is generally a good idea, and why disrupt a system that works, right? Second, and perhaps more importantly, when it is generally brought up, i.e., at the end of one failed entanglement or another, I am generally well passed the point of interest, and any reason the other party raises is accepted with a nod of the head, and a sympathetic look; comprehension is hardly required. Two recent discussions of emotional unavailability (both my own, and that of others), however, encouraged me to publish about it today. In this article, I will argue, first, that emotional availability as it is generally understood, is completely unnecessary for relationships, successful or otherwise; and second, even assuming that it is important for a relationship, that it is certainly not as fundamental a barrier as self-described hopeless romantics (i.e., idiots) make it out to be.

January 12, 2008

Scratch and Sniff Love

As yet another quarter of law school ramps up at an entirely unforeseen velocity, I am often left with the none too consoling thought that perhaps, everything I did as an undergraduate will have absolutely no bearing on my life or career in any way whatsoever. I mean, in between reading about rapists and murders and 19th century contract disputes about bales of hay and gravel, it's hard to see why either biology or computer science are particularly pertinent. In other words, the four years I spent at Berkeley, while immensely enjoyable, just as well might have been spent chaining smoking cigs and pounding shots of the three wise men (Jim®, Jack®, and Johnnie®) while contemplating the meaning(lessness) of life with a loaded revolver to my head (what?). Luckily, just when the feelings of worthlessness were about to consume me entirely, along comes the venerable Economist to rejuvenate hope, if ever so slightly, with a fascinating article that validates (for me, at least) the four years of onerous study of such voodoo as organic chemistry and molecular biology. (All right, who am I kidding? I loved organic chemistry. Don't judge me.) [...]

January 21, 2008

Touch the Magic: Chicago

Me with G-Unit and P-Diddy at the Violet Hour.
January 2008
Chicago, IL

As readers who have (for reasons unknown) been with me since (at least) last summer know, my decision to leave the Bay after six years of, among other things, getting hyphy and ghost ridin' the whip, was by no means easy, due not in the least to the many close friends and natural comfort zone I would be leaving behind. This weekend's much hyped tour, aptly entitled Touch the Magic: Chicago, which reunited the maladjusted boys of 1524 SF for the first time since we bid our tearful goodbyes to The I.S. (i.e., Inner Sunset),1 was a poignant reminder that though distance may separate us from our good friends, it need not obviate those friendships entirely.

August 08, 2008

My Romantic Quest: From Cynicism to Nihilism (Part 2)

Almost three years ago in a seminal entry commemorating the fourth anniversary of the venerable Realm, I set forth this site's (and consequently, my own) life plan for the decade to come. Invoking both Faulkner and Byron, I reasoned that the only way to move beyond the petulant and aimless attacks upon Berkeley bums that dominated this site was to embrace a path of unchecked self-destruction, in turn becoming a better writer. And how exactly was I going to destroy my life? Simple: meet the woman of my dreams, fall madly in love, be overwhelmed by hope and joy, and then have the said woman break my heart beyond repair, leaving me in a state of ever-worsening despair, unable to find love or happiness ever again (emphasis original).

So, why do I bring any of this up on this day of all days? Well, today is August 8, 2008, which means I only have a little over four years in which to get married. Needless to say, shit has gotten real.

August 26, 2008

Second Time's (Still) Not a Charm

Nary three weeks after announcing the continuation of my much-touted romantic quest (to ruin my life), and hardly a year after finding—and losing—a potential soulmate, I once again found myself on a flight, this time from Orange County, Calif., to Chicago, Ill., seated next to an (attractive) woman and engrossed in conversation. As the flight lifted off, and as the brief initial exchange with the passenger in the window seat gave way to a conversation interesting enough such that I was persuaded to put down the (obviously pretentious) book in my hand, my thoughts immediately turned to that fateful trip last year and the opportunity I had let pass me by. Determined not to let the pitch sail by yet again, I steadied myself for the swing. The second time would be the charm, I assured myself.

Alas, if only it were so. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to report to you, dear readers, that my second foray into meeting potential soulmates on airplanes was more successful than my first, I cannot. This is, after all, the Realm, a place of little happiness and less success, a place where there are no happy endings, only soul-crushing disappointments and heart-wrenching failures.

December 21, 2008

Death and Taxes

The deafening silence on this blog over the last month has been most unbearable, and for this reprehensible failure—one of many over the past month, rest assured—I sincerely apologize. Rather than dwell on the past, however, in this entry I look to the (equally dismal) future. In doing so, I hope to move closer to resolving a central paradox that has haunted this blog for much of its six-plus year existence, namely the simultaneous assertions that love is futile and marriage is a value-maximizing transaction. How can this be?

December 25, 2008

In Defense of “Unfriending”: Asset Liquidation on Social Networks

Yesterday's Journal had an interesting page one article (subscription required) on a subject that, I suspect, will hit a little too close to home for far too many otherwise self-assured twenty-somethings: getting unfriended on social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn (or, I suppose, MySpace, if it was frequented by anyone but degenerates and pedophiles). The article, as its title suggests, takes the position that an unfriending1 is (or ought to be) perceived as some sort of personal affront or rejection, perhaps even rising to the level of getting dumped by a significant other. I, however, am not convinced. Though I too have experienced unfriending in the past, certainly not each instance invoked the same level of emotion—nor should it have. Considering the wide variety of individuals, ranging from value-added to deadweight, that compose one's relationship portfolio these days, a reasonably well-connected individual cannot be expected to react equally to her vague acquaintance and her boyfriend of five years dumping her on Facebook on the same day. How, then, might we go about understanding this very real phenomenon and the emotion, great or little, that it evokes? Recent events in the financial world, I believe, provide a nice parallel from which we may derive some lessons.

November 26, 2009

Structuring Personal Transactions: A Case Study in Marriage

Marriage Deal

I like to think of personal interactions as corporate transactions. It's less emotional that way. Bid, negotiate, sign, withstand regulatory scrutiny, and close (or in my case, fail at one or more of the above). Who wouldn't rather talk in terms of intercreditor agreements than feelings, right? But, as much as that should be obvious to all except the most steadfastly stubborn, alas, it is not. For the sake of those for whom silly emotions still rank supreme, I now undertake a brief example of how this brilliant approach to life can reap rewards far greater than delusional obsession with sentiments.

The easiest place to begin is with the most costly personal transactions in which people engage—marriage. Now, as long time readers are well aware, I have often focused on this topic, first in considering ways to (legitimately) avoid taxes; then in discussing criteria for tying the proverbial noose; and finally in categorizing potential partners in terms of tax benefits. Today I take it to the next logical step: having established criteria and categorized partners, how does one structure said entanglement to maximize one's personal utility?

February 14, 2011

On the Merits of Unrequited Love

Of the many storied traditions on this most dreadful site, probably my favorite two are: first, discussing my abject existential failings each October as I mark yet another revolution around the sun filled with unending misery and despair; and second, what has come to be my habit of biennial posts on St Valentine's Day. Today is a time for me to once again fulfill my commitment to the latter—and for people everywhere to succumb to, in the alternative, the false and fleeting sentiment that is often confused for love, or the intense bitterness that comes from being reminded that one is far too noxious and unappealing to even merit anyone else's false sentiments. And that brings me to the topic of my post: unrequited love.

July 04, 2011

On Asset Classes and Relationship Portfolios

As the wretched few who have been with me for far too many years know, there are moments, thankfully few and far in between, when I emerge from a haze of existential angst and school- or work-induced stupor to direct my attention and incoherence upon some subject other than the futility of life. One such phenomenon with which I have occupied myself over the years is social networking, or more specifically, the proper mechanisms by which to sort the disparate groups of individuals—value-added, commodity, and deadweight—that comprise one's relationship portfolio to protect what little semblance of privacy still exists on the web.

And while I have in the past touched upon this topic, first, in analyzing the state of relationships on Facebook back in 2005, and then in advocating for asset liquidation in 2008, I must admit that I have never fully thought through how to best implement what is fundamentally a rather complicated access control problem rife with real world social considerations. The advent of Google Plus last week and this holiday weekend presented an excellent opportunity, however, to sit down and think (alone and in the dark, obviously); what follows are some initial thoughts on the subject.

November 11, 2011

My Romantic Quest: From Cynicism to Nihilism (Part 3)

Part of maintaining a ridiculous blog for nearly a decade, I suppose, is having to confront the ridiculous assertions one has made on said blog in one's (ridiculous) youth. In my case, one such ridiculous assertion in particular might be salient today to those readers who have followed me over the years (and, of course, to those unlucky few who have had the distinct displeasure of having made my acquaintance in person): that I would get married on a triplet date, and more specifically, November 11, 2011 (or 11/11/11). Alas, today is the day of my (Internet) wedding and the bride to be has yet to show—they never do.

Could it be that I was stood up? Could it be that I have only one chance left to marry—12/12/12—until I am old and gray (2/22/22)? Could my storied romantic quest (to ruin my life) have ended in such a failure? Say it ain't so!