the power of subculture affiliation

Posted on May 19, 2009. Filed under: cross cultural conflict, cuisine, culture, subcultures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

One of my best friends is dating a man who, culturally, is very different from her.  Just from looking at them, you wouldn’t think they are so different. They are both American, white, middle class, middle aged, educated, divorced with kids, and from the Northeast.

They do have some fundamental differences that make my friend think that maybe he’s not “the one.”  She’s Jewish. He’s Christian. She’s a democrat. He’s republican. Still, these were areas she could compromise on. They weren’t necessarily deal breakers. She used these differences to teach her children about tolerance and the importance of looking at the individual, not group affiliation.

But last night, she called me up to tell me she knew this relationship could never really work.  It seems that they were out with his kids, and he gave them Capri Sun juice drinks and white bread. She knew it wouldn’t last between them.

And you know what? I totally understood. We are both part of the culture of healthy, natural living. We don’t eat processed foods and we certainly would never give our children juice “drinks” (which are mostly high fructose corn syrup and water)  or white bread. My children have never–not once–eaten fast food.  And they don’t miss it because they know what homemade, delicious, healthy food tastes like. 

After talking with my friend, I realized that lifestyles can be defined as culture, or subculture if you prefer, in that they include a set of beliefs, knowledge, values and behavioral norms shared by its members and  transmitted to future generations.

For my friend and me, a healthy lifestyle is core to the values and beliefs  that we want to pass on to our children.  And as core values and beliefs,  are more important when looking for a partner than what may normally be viewed as cultural differences, such as religious affiliation, race, or ethnicity.

 

What subcultures do you identify yourself with? How does it affect your daily behavior and relationships?

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2 Responses to “the power of subculture affiliation”

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Meh. It’s sounds like my marriage, and over a decade later, we’ve both moved to the center and complement our differences.

This sounds more like a disconnect of class, and were there not young children involved, the two of them could have healthy dialogues about, well, health.

Frankly, your “friend” sounds a bit snobby, what I call the Hippy Right. If the bloke disses her choices, that’s an entirely different discussion, but as long as we’re talking about class, it’s better to confront it head on with tolerance and sharing rather than labels.

But yeah, he’s probably not the one …

What an insightful articulation of challenges in a relationship that go beyond our typical frameworks we consider for determining compatibility in a life partner. Thank you for sharing!


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