Love, International Style

January 29th, 2007 by Larry Smith

Elizabeth_eating_at_Gonpachi.JPGWe are so thrilled to present Elizabeth Koch’s The World Tour Compatibility Test, a 10-part series in which the writer travels the world with her boyfriend, visiting exotic places while trying to figure out whether to break up or move in together. TWTCT is presented by Memoirville and overflows with more than a few of our favorite things: travel, food and sex. Elizabeth finds a way to take us to that often uncomfortable place between knowing what you want and not knowing at all, getting there with humor and honesty and all the warts that come with the most personal of writing. And the sex is good, too.

Her most recent entry finds her and Todd in Nara, Japan. The series begins here in Shanghai.

Although she’s now living in San Francisco, Elizabeth pops into this week’s New York Press with a super smart and very funny essay on the new census report revealing that married couples are now in the minority. She weaves in personal history, hard data, current trends, and her hysterical mother. (So there’s a lot we can all relate to.) Here’s a little piece.

We seem to be stuck at a crossroads. Folks are entering life-long contracts, but aren’t committed to the sacrifice. Mom was right. You can’t drive down both streets. What will it be, the comforts of loyalty and commitment, or electric, rip-roaring mystery? Marriage seems to be losing its allure, and the breeziness with which couples shuck their marriage vows like an itchy wool sweater proves it.

There’s a simple, rational explanation for this development: Excessive Stimulation. Between Facebook dating, MySpace gawking, X-box when we’re giddy, YouTube when we’re bored, hormones to make us younger, shots to numb our pain, skin-tightening collagens to make us smooth and plucky as a teen - titillation is a given. The options are too good, too plentiful and too boisterous to ignore. Forget about security and contentment: We want euphoria. We want to be stars, and we’ll do anything to achieve it - lie (, cheat (Ashlee Simpson), plagiarize (Kaavya Viswanathan), whatever. The possibilities are endless, and they’re in our face, blinking and snapping and pressed up against our eyeballs, telling us how to get exactly what we want. Right. Now.

SMITH Magazine

SMITH Magazine is a home for storytelling.
We believe everyone has a story, and everyone
should have a place to tell it.
We're the creators and home of the
Six-Word Memoir® project.