Made in Chelsea ~ Chivalry or Contorted Love?

I confess to watching my fair share and perhaps then some of that exquisite fried carbohydrate for the mind ~ trash TV. I love it!

Clangers on occasion casts a spurious eye across mine form rendered supine, hiding under the blanky on the couch feigning interest in something educational like National Geographic or at least – Anthony Bourdain whilst in truth being deeply engrossed to the point of being entranced by the general disgrace that is reality TV.

I cannot get enough of the whole Housewives extravaganza. I love it – the self righteousness, hand on hip, in your face, no holds barred, finger pointing with a manicured ascerbic hypocrisy combined with everyone talking at once and making no sense – at all. First it was Orange County, followed by New York, then Beverly Hills, finally I came around to New Jersey, I’m learning to love Miami – and the grooming, don’t get me started. Those heels they all wear and the bling! Obscene!

I disapprove strongly – of my own behaviour – but at the same time – I cannot get enough. Smacks slightly of an ‘addiction’ – ah well, will deal with it later – need to finish that blog entry on procrastination first – moving on.

Disapproval seems to incite desire – so Freudian, probably some temporary regression due to harboring unresolved adolescent angst, wanting what cannot be had. Biggest double signal coming from myself – recently discovered and is so far without resolution – however you may benefit from my quandary and confession – for I have some advice to offer – the younger once fairer, gentler sex, curious?

So does the name Spencer – mean anything to anyone? Like possibly TROUBLE?

By far my favourite reality TV currently – the show I cannot get enough of at the moment, I would almost British Airways it to the UK to find out what happens – thankfully due to YouTube and some anonymous upstanding delinquents this was unnecessary. I digress – hands up – who likes ‘Made in Chelsea’?

The story line that caught my eye this season – 5 and last season – 4 is the olde Spencer, Louise, Andy, Lucy debarcle. Hmmmm – where to begin, the games. What troubles me deeply and then like the rest of the audience I casually ‘move on’- is the complete lack of chivalry, wait for it, on the part of Spencer – who claims, erroneously – to be all about chivalry, just quietly.

Do you remember ‘the dance’? Those crazy days. Maybe you are in the dance – now, that delirious rush of hormones and meeting of the minds? Trying to find ‘the one’ who gets you and understands you and you alone – perfectly? Yes I know, all about it. It is called – ‘falling in love’ – but it is also a lure of the part ‘nature’ to trick us in to having babies to keep the whole show going. Maybe?

Falling in love and the pursuit of love is one way to figure out which genetic combination that defines the individuality of each of us will survive and which of us – will not. Today I am a Freudian. Today I find instinct to be the most complete explanation of the sometimes comic sometimes tragic condition of being human. If something ‘crazy’ is going on, like it is Monday, and it is not so clear why what is happening, is happening – look to the instinct or ‘follow the money’ and everything becomes clear.

Freud was a slightly younger contemporary of Darwin. In addition to publishing ‘The Origin of Species’ which outlined an idea now commonly referred to today as Evolutionary Theory, Darwin also published a second blasphemous, at the time, work called ‘The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals’ in which he attempted to locate the source of ‘genetically’ or predetermined behaviour. He applied evolutionary theory to explain why we do the things we do – Freud pounced on this when he was a bit stuck trying to understand the link between human neurology – the brain – and human behaviour – what we do.

Freud decided the link was instinct or emotion and spun this in manner of Rumplestilskin into a golden thread that pointed to instinct as being THE biological determinant of everything we ever do. He even went so far as to explain culture, religion, philosophy all springs from our best attempt individually and collectively to satisfy instinct or desire, meaning to achieve an internal equilibrium or feeling of peace by getting what you want.

How about that? Trouble begins when someone else wants what you want – and there is only one available. Hmmmmm.

Contemporary Evolutionary Psych argues the entire structure of our social world is built on the experience of ‘sexual jealousy’ – a quintessential experience of pure instinct if ever there was one. The unconscious part of us, our unconscious mind – is largely instinct and for the most part it operates outside our awareness. Sexual jealousy in its myriad and kaleidoscopic expression drives the all the drama and the interest in ‘Made in Chelsea’ and keeps all of us glued, because – we get it, we remember – and we are glad it is ‘them’ and not ‘us’.

So the Spencer, Andy, Louise, Lucy quadrangle – bring on the ‘sexual jealousy’. Although we no longer live in ‘the jungle’ – did we ever? Instinctive life among human beings is intricate and complex because we exist in a complex interdependent web of relationships between each other. The emotional life or instincts of men and women differs slightly but is easily explained oddly by free market principles – it all boils down to a crazy ratio between – sperm and eggs. It is a simple idea. There are many more sperm to eggs. This creates a supply-demand dynamic which drives the entire human drama and all the ensuing conflict in the pursuit of love. Keep reading – I am prepared to give a winning hand to the worthy.

The task of finding a ‘mate’ or partner is formidable – the challenge is to find the best genetic match whilst at the same time not causing the balance or social structure within the ‘pack’ to become chaotic. If this happens no one will survive. Our emotions are the glue which binds us to one another but rarely in ‘Made in Chelsea’ are emotions calm or peaceful. Individuals in the game of ‘lerve’ must compete with same sex rivals whilst at the same time maintain connections and relationship with those same sex rivals. Not so easy – all this sifting and sorting plays out in exquisitely compelling detail on ‘Made in Chelsea’.

I noticed the girls spend a lot of time talking to each other, extracting information from each other – or trying to, whilst not saying very much at all. The girls play their cards very close to their chests but ‘may’ confide in a close friend, able to be close or safe – because ‘she’ is not considered competition. Equally a girl can only show open aggression if she believes there will be limited reprisals towards her directly as in she will not be completely rejected, cast out by the group [pack – we really are pack animals underneath all the Valentino] and she feels her partner is secure and unlikely to ‘leave’ her for another.

On the surface and possibly to a male audience, female to female interactions are very calm, polite, discreet – however to the trained eye, intense, strategic and intricate war is being waged in such a way that none of the ‘boys’ see or understand. The girls are very careful to appear softer and demure in the company of the boys, unless you are Millie and loaded – don’t need to worry so much about securing a ‘male protector’. You have enough resources – to pay one – but, can you buy loyalty? Maybe she has not quite landed on Mayfair or Parklane. Sometimes the girls will work together, in a pack, and try to sideline one of the girls – like Lucy, strong competitor playing a dangerous game, out there on her own.

The boys on the other hand spend a lot of time negotiating with each other about who can or should go out with who and under what conditions – as in, who has the ‘right’ or permission of the group to ‘sleep’ with who. They gossip more than the girls about relationships. Themes of honesty and sorting out conflict come up a lot. And they are beginning to wend their way around to Chivalry – but not before Louise has essentially found herself passed around is it three boys last count? After they have done their due diligence on what is acceptable or not contact for each to have with Louise. Instinct – fickle mistress.

Lucy and Louise – drive the story line for Season 5. So if we compare their ‘play’ or the games they are running – Lucy is the self confessed ‘player’ and appears to have adopted a martial stance bordering on vengeful. Lucy appears on the surface to be immune to ‘falling’ in love, she seems to have morphed herself in to a conscious avenging predator. There are some clues behind he decision to approach love from this stance and I suspect she worked out, as many women are doing in this tech driven modern world – softer feelings, vulnerability, care are an impediment and only cause suffering. Between porn and betrayal – what would be the point trusting men? Only get hurt.

Louise – comes across initially as being slightly softer but this is revealed later to be more self destructive or as Andy describes his reaction to her as being “attracted to danger”. Spencer betrays Louise – the usual trouble of keeping it in his pants. Her instinct twigs, she confronts, he lies, she’s confused because instinct – unconscious mind, is in conflict with what he is saying, that is, his words – conscious mind, the part of him he can control. He does not want to deal with consequences – so – he lies. The old trouble.

Louise experiences the emotional turmoil of being completely out of control in her dealings with men. She suffers constant distress, fears of being abandoned that eventually render her neurotic and strange but the cause of her ‘derangement’ is being in conflict with what her instinct is telling her. She feels sexual jealousy. She knows Spencer has acted on his wandering eye – actually pulls this off in Louise’s bed – no less, classy and clear case of rage against his Mother. But he has told Louise – “No, I swear to you, I didn’t!” however to Jamie he says, “Nothing screams guilty like a random present”. Gas lighting! To stay with him, she must conquer what her instinct is telling her – she must ‘believe’ him or at least act as if she did. But her instinct – won’t stop jumping.

Hot Tip Boys – Wandering eyes – women have peripheral vision, meaning, they actually see more behind them than you can – they see your wandering eye, and it does not ‘help’ them ‘trust’ you. No trust – no bond – no bonking – no peace. And so, wandering eyes are easily spotted. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scored” and she, listen up boys, NEVER FORGETS.

Last season – Louise enjoyed the attention from one male, Jamie. She felt loved, wanted and secure from his attention towards her – but then that male – Jamie – checks his agenda with the ‘team’, the ‘team’ makes a ruling, he gets cold feet because he does not want to be rejected by the ‘team’ – and then she experiences a slight or pronounced withdrawal from him but does not know why. The withdrawal makes her feel unsafe, insecure – distress – wondering ‘what has happened?’ and ‘is there someone else?’- trying to rid herself of sexual jealousy inspires all sorts of crazy behaviour, like stalking, obsessive texting or calling – which we do not see Louise doing, instead she is probably living in a constant state of intense confusion.

Louise begins by trying to correct the situation using intensity and sex, tries to get ‘close’ – this is a common play among women to ‘claim’ a partner or cement a ‘bond’. This strategy stresses both Louise and Spencer enormously. They both adopt a kind of puritanical attitude to alcohol and possibly dealing with emotion in general. But if you squeeze instinct too much it all comes out in a massive blow up. They break up. They hook up. They break up. And on and on until … Andy pounces.

But after she hooks up with Andy – the stability, consistency – tenderness even probably seems weird. She might even think he does not ‘love’ her because it is not as intense – it all gets too much and she heads out all night to a ‘friend’s’ place, doesn’t come home, Andy texting her – no reply – this sort of confused revenge seeking does little to fix the situation and Louise wends closer and closer to self destruction.

Lucy has Spencer in her scope – God knows why, he’s got swagger but no discipline or character. he’s funny. I guess he needs something to lure in victims so they will let him fire his mother rage at them. He’s competitive but not really in any functional or understable way. Sexual feelings can be impressive in their intensity and promise a lot in the beginning. Lucy from the beginning, is a woman on a mission – she has a ‘plan’ and I suspect her plan is in line with what a woman scorned cooks up – there is no rage comparable and it burns quietly through generations.

So Lucy has a few lures, she does a lot of advertising, explicit and she is very clear about her policy on ‘the prize’. She says, “If he’s going to be going out and getting with girls – two can play at that game.”

True, getting dangerous though. Lucy’s instinct is very sharp. She often asks a question of a would be partner and if his reply conflicts with her instinct – she calls him out. This kind of interaction creates an intense connection which is particularly compelling for Spencer because in Lucy, he finally believes he has found that Divine Other, who will make up for his Mother’s failures to love him unconditionally – he believes “She knows me!”, “I must have her so I feel whole! Then, I will be OK”. The unconscious mind is all about survival. If your Mother loves your brother – more, she might abandon you – then – Death!

Andy on the other hand initially notices Louise from afar – but is he drawn to her because of herself alone or because pursuing her places him on a collision course with Spencer? And therefore provides Andy with a way to topple the ‘dominant male’? A role Spencer has pursued ever since he first suspected his Mother loved one or all of his brothers – more. Spencer wants to have his proverbial cake, as Binky says, and eat it too. And there will never be enough cake for Spencer – each bite will promise and but sadly will never deliver until he resolves that unconscious driver.

Spencer is troubled by Andy but cannot put his finger on why. His unconscious mind knows and we can intuit it from the snipes he delivers behind Andy’s back. He’s bothered by Andy’s nostrils and went so far as to consult David Attenborough – an Evolutionary Scientist of the biological kind. He concluded – girls like bigger nostrils and is clearly trouble by his limited prowess in his anatomy. This troubles him – a lot. He describes Andy as a “Guitar playing twat!” – what is Spencer getting at? Lucy attempts to use sarcasm that borders on sardonic self destruction to test Andy’s feelings and loyalty towards Louise – Andy simply says, something like, “Unlike you, I am not afraid of emotion.”

Spencer gets riled about Andy, in manner of cat facing friendly but unaware dog, in several ‘team’ meetings or gatherings with the boys. Interestingly Andy always stands his ground and does not retaliate or show open aggression, although the boys gathered are aware of the potential for open, violent conflict and are ready to spring. If Andy is afraid or angry – despite all my experience, I could not see it. I propose Andy – as a champion of Chivalry. But does Andy ‘love’ her for herself alone or does he pursue her because winning her unseats Spencer. Is Andy as Spencer says, “A guitar playing twat!” or does he know something more about the wooing of women?

What do we know of Spencer – background check – so Spencer has grown up in a family of boys. Isn’t he second youngest or middle or somewhere just under the top? But not the top and therefore destined to always come second in the eyes of his mother. Not good. This is very a difficult wound, narcissistic blow for the ego – not good enough for mother to love. Early experience shape instinct in to habits. Early survival needs as yet unfulfilled drive the pursuit of a partner and the discarding of the partner, unable to fulfill that early need to be loved, cherished, approved of – absolutely, no human adult woman can provide that kind of love and be available. Good call Lucy – your strategy might catch him but why would you want to keep him?

Instinct aside – I am pleased to observe Chivalry begins to emerge in ‘Made in Chelsea’, championed by Andy and Francis – for whom I am grateful, not the least of which because the future of the human race may depend on it. Let me explain …

Does anyone remember what Chivalry – is? It is all about protecting and caring for women so they can be women – feminine, gentle, vulnerable, nurturing, without Chivalrous Men – women become – well different, look around. A woman scorned – never forgets and never completely trusts again. She will learn to plot and scheme rather than to love and care. An uncared for woman – is a very dangerous thing because – she remembers! She will plot, fight and claw at competition rather than build relationships and nurture community.

Feminism is all well and good in theory. I too was fed a strict Feminist Diet in childhood by militant physical education teachers. I have found it to be largely futile and a failed attempt at creating a Utopian Vision. Now if anyone spouts Feminist Doctrine at me – I yawn politely and change the channel. My lived experience is that Feminism has not made me or women I work with feel safe or loved or cared for – if you don’t feel that, you will begin to express the dark side of womanhood.

There is more to say on these things, but for now – I promised a winning hand and here it is. If you want to win, you must understand the game and the way in which emotions are wired and work in men and women. If you could combine Lucy and Louise’s hand – you would be closer to winning.

Louise projects vulnerability and intimacy but she gives it away, way to easily – where as Lucy projects strength and indomitability and gives away nothing. Most women – in my experience want to be loved and cared for by their partner. If they do not have this – they experience all manner of psychological maladies and woes. It is possible but the first step towards achieving this is to learn how to love and care for yourself. If you cannot do this, you will not know when ‘he’ truly loves and cares for you.

Lucy has every appearance of valuing herself but has lost her vulnerability to a past experience of betrayal. This is what happens to us when we have been injured. We grieve. Eventually – she will need to forgive in order to move on or she will simply live in a nightmare of revenge fantasies – playing these out do not make you feel better. Louise can still feel but does not know how to care for her own feelings, her own self. She behaves in a way that allows her to be abused. And if you too are doing this … stop. If you cannot stop – talk to one of us, a Psychologist. But don’t keep trying and hurting yourself more. OK?

And so, my winning hand is coded in a song – wisdom is not something recently discovered by google, love is something the collective of humanity has been wrestling with for a very long time. You might say, as a collective, we are experts. Trouble is most of us don’t access expertise until crisis hits. Another human foible. Ballads are love songs and they tell many stories of love gone wrong.

My winning hand or at least the first card is one such Ballad. It is called … ‘Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies’. And the essence of Chivalry ~ she must choose, choose freely and choose well, otherwise all kinds of chaos ensues. Don’t give it away on the first date … wait.

Enjoy. Remember Mighty Lucy and Tender Louise.

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