Marriage and Joy. Division.


A friend's link posted on Facebook about fidelity, monogamy and marriage reminded me of a famous Joy Division song.

Ian-Curtis-LovePerhaps not surprisingly, the article title reminds me of Joy Division’s famous song, Love Will Tear Us Apart. It starts with the author describing his wife’s reaction to Wiener wiener tweeting:

..I asked which would upset her more: to learn that I was sending racy self-portraits to random women, Weiner-style, or to discover I was having an actual affair. She paused, scrunched up her mouth as if she had just bitten a particularly sour lemon and said: “An affair is at least a normal human thing. But tweeting a picture of your crotch is just weird.

The wife’s answer seems to emphasize two ideas that some of us have:

  1. Women are far less interested in men’s penises than men seem to think. This happens to be the best way to identify men who pose as women wanting to “flirt” online. Men are generally too focused on “penises”, “dicks” etc and “holes” whereas women prefer less striking, more vague descriptions and words. (Except for certain times, would a certain water boatman beg to differ.)
  2. Cheating is seen more as a societal faux-pas than a betrayal; how others perceive it is thus of paramount importance in the eyes of the betrayed party.

The author continues by quoting Dan Savage on unmasking the hypocrisy inherent in monogamy:

Savage believes monogamy is right for many couples. But he believes that our discourse about it, and about sexuality more generally, is dishonest. Some people need more than one partner, he writes, just as some people need flirting, others need to be whipped, others need lovers of both sexes. We can’t help our urges, and we should not lie to our partners about them. In some marriages, talking honestly about our needs will forestall or obviate affairs; in other marriages, the conversation may lead to an affair, but with permission. In both cases, honesty is the best policy.

“I acknowledge the advantages of monogamy,” Savage told me, “when it comes to sexual safety, infections, emotional safety, paternity assurances. But people in monogamous relationships have to be willing to meet me a quarter of the way and acknowledge the drawbacks of monogamy around boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted.”

I concur. So do Ian Curtis, Peter Hook, Bernard Summer, Stephen Morris / Joy Division, apparently. The following are the lyrics for Love Will Tear Us Apart:

When routine bites hard,
And ambitions are low,
And resentment rides high,
But emotions won't grow,
And we're changing our ways,
Taking different roads.

Then love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.

Why is the bedroom so cold?
You've turned away on your side.
Is my timing that flawed?
Our respect runs so dry.
Yet there's still this appeal
That we've kept through our lives.

But love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.

You cry out in your sleep,
All my failings exposed.
And there's a taste in my mouth,
As desperation takes hold.
Just that something so good
Just can't function no more.

But love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.

This famous song has been covered/massacred by The Cure, Radiohead / Yorke, Björk, Swans, U2 + Arcade Fire (also Bono interview), Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Nouvelle Vague, Honeyroot, Moonspell, Nerina Pallot, Evelyn Evelyn, Fall out Boy, Winhara, moneypenny, CentreExcuse, Simple Minds, Paul Young, Calexico, Gavin Rossdale etc. There are some who prefer NIN’s Dead Souls to the original.

In 2007 the movie Control came out, based on a book by Deborah Curtis, his ex-wife: Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy Division:

Curtis was staying at his parents' house at this time and attempted to talk his wife into staying with him on 17 May 1980, to no avail. He told her to leave him alone in the house until he caught his train to Manchester the next morning. In the early hours of 18 May 1980, Curtis hanged himself in the kitchen of his house in Macclesfield. He had just viewed Werner Herzog's film Stroszek and listened to Iggy Pop's The Idiot. At the time of his death, his health was failing as a result of the epilepsy and attempting to balance his musical ambitions with his marriage, which was foundering in the aftermath of his affair with journalist Annik Honoré. His wife found his body the next morning. In a 1987 interview with Option, Stephen Morris commented on how he would describe Curtis to those who asked what he was like: "An ordinary bloke just like you or me, liked a bit of a laugh, a bit of a joke."

At the time of his suicide he was plagued by epilepsy.

Sources / More info: flickr, nyt-infidelity-will-keep-us-together, wiki-curtis, bug penis, control-2007

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