Needs Help: Heterosexual Life Partners

Deadlock Clock: 17th Oct 2012 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [63]
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26 Tyoria13th Sep 2012 07:39:54 AM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
Platonic Life-Partners is fairly robust in size. Heterosexual Life-Partners is gargantuan. We'd be introducing an additional soft split to a trope so huge it already required a hard split of sub-pages by media category.
Can it really be that big without serious misuse?
Exclude Zero Context Examples, and it'd drop to a fraction of its size.
29 AnotherDuck13th Sep 2012 09:55:23 AM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
What would help with the Zero Context Examples?
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@Tyoria - I'm not accusing TV Tropes of prejudice, I'm saying that in the case of both of these tropes, a real example (not a misuse and not zero content) would have to indicate why/how/"in what ways" the pair was both not "just friends" and also not quite lovers. My thoughts are that since the same information would have to be included in both and the relationships discussed by both occupy the same limbo between friends and lovers they are the same trope. I don't think either trope is presently charting any bias-related differences between them either in their definition or in their examples. If the intent is for them to do that, then maybe they shouldn't be merged but they would have to be rewritten to indicate that that was part of what the trope is supposed to be getting at.

edited 13th Sep '12 12:48:48 PM by StarValkyrie

31 AnotherDuck13th Sep 2012 12:51:57 PM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
You know, regarding the "Unfortunate Implications", I believe it's really getting more even if you compare a differently-gendered pair to a same-gendered pair. A male and female pair is almost always seen as "probably romantic" one way or another. A pair of two males has most of the time been seen as default to non-romantical. However, in recent years, that's tipping the other way, and is seen much more similar to the male and female pair. That's speaking about the Audience Reaction, not the intent of the author, though.
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32 Tyoria13th Sep 2012 01:53:20 PM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
[up][up] Ah, I see. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

Well, honestly, sometimes there are differences between how same-sex not-couples are handled compared to opposite-sex not-couples and sometimes there aren't. For the times that they are different, and handle that differing subtext, it seemed to make sense to have two subtropes under a larger supertrope of "Platonic Life-Partners". Because of the size of both tropes, a merge doesn't seem ideal.

[up]A bit, yeah. Though the implications still tend to be a little different and sometimes slightly unfortunate. Like, if there's an assumption made about the romance factor in either kind of relationship, often different things will be implied about the person making the assumption. Thinking the opposite-sex Platonic Life-Partners are an item is more likely to be seen as backwards and stereotypical. While wondering about the same-sex Heterosexual Life-Partners has gotten to be more in the territory of lampshading or playing for laughs.

You can kind of see that in the way the pages are structured right now, actually. Look at the mildly hectoring tone taken up against the shippers in Platonic Life-Partners compared to the way Heterosexual Life-Partners mentions blatant ship teasing and it's apparently all well and good. Why is it different?

edited 13th Sep '12 2:09:35 PM by Tyoria

The difference is the PLP shippers are genuine but the HLP shippers joke. We have no sympathy for genuine shippers but comic shipping is hilarious.

To clarify the difference between the two tropes further, one (currently called PLP) should be for sexually compatible couples. Straight man and woman, two gay women, whatever. But the compatibility is the key. One of the redirects is therefore "The Straight Will And Grace". Will and Grace themselves should not be an example, nor should any other gay-man/straight-woman pair.

The other (currently called HLP) should be for sexually incompatible couples. If they are two gay men, then they are not this trope, even if they are men who act as close as a couple without being one.

These tropes aren't really about heteronormalcy. It's about the expectation (reinforced through years of TV) that if two close characters can get together romantically, they will. If two people are sexually compatible, do not connect romantically but still bond as closely as a couple, this is notable. If two people are sexually incompatible but bond as closely as a couple, that too is notable, but for the opposite reason.
[up][up]Hmm. I guess I can see that distinction in the descriptions, but I'm not convinced that difference pans out in the examples so I'm not sure that this distinction is split along gender lines in any significant way. I'm also not sure it's wise to define them based on a narrow set of reactions and assumptions unique to now. Take the original Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson as an example (since it's one of the classics of this type of relationship) - the Victorians wouldn't have assumed a sexual relationship so its absence isn't a significant factor to the appearance of this trope. Whereas in the BBC's modernization, Sherlock, people do assume they are dating and Watson treats the assumption in much the same way Platonic Life-Partners describes. A future interpretation might be completely different, but the unique type of relationship itself is still present in all of them.

[up]The compatibility issue and the indoctrinated assumption that a sexual relationship would naturally follow could work. It will take redefining and a name change and losts of example migration (which is not going to be easy with so many zero contents), but I do see it being more useful to understanding the way these relationships appear in fiction.

edited 13th Sep '12 3:41:11 PM by StarValkyrie

I'd say we're totally justified in labeling a Victorian short story series and a modern BBC TV serial as using different tropes.
[up]Erm, yes, I agree with that statement. I can't tell if you're agreeing with my point about cultural/historical bias or saying something else. At the moment, both examples are clearly HLP because both partners in each case are male. Personally, I think that's a bit silly because we lose the differences in the many treatments of these relationships by making it all about gender.

edited 13th Sep '12 3:58:31 PM by StarValkyrie

Yes, and note that the actual Will and Grace, one of the most famous examples, fall into neither category. Playing on expectations are part of the trope I guess, but as soon as works get a little older or fall into niches like queer lit or works centered around girls (who are expected to have these deep friendships), making distinct tropes of only two sets of expectations seems like a bad idea. And we still have that mildly offensive name which is implying that sexual orientation somehow plays a major role in what is and isn't a life partner.
There's nothing wrong with making distinct pages for two tropes. That doesn't stop others from writing new pages for other tropes.
39 Tyoria14th Sep 2012 06:31:05 AM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
"Genuine" v "comedic" shipping: The idea that there are no fans of Platonic Life-Partners who could possibly "get" the joke, or that there are no fans of Heterosexual Life-Partners who wouldn't take it seriously, does not convince me — I definitely have seen many yaoi fans jump onto things that were plainly meant in jest. I think you can crack jokes about one but not the other because there is still some perceived holdover "naughtiness" in implied homosexuality. That's what allows it to be humorous.

I don't know about "compatibility". The entire trope is structured around a relationship defined by a lack of romantic attraction. The characters aren't "compatible" because they aren't attracted to each other. Whether they are straight, gay, bi, or asexual is something that has to be inferred from their behavior outside of the relationship the trope is actually about, and sometimes isn't knowable at all. Making the tropes be based on the character's sexuality would encourage or even require people to make assumptions about a sexuality that isn't necessarily knowable — dragging the conversation into a contentious area it doesn't really need to be in.

I worry that the "compatible" (or "unknown") orientation trope might become the "it's not entirely out of the question" trope. And a lot of edits to the tune of, "Just because he dated one girl doesn't mean he can't be bi or in the closet!"

edited 14th Sep '12 6:59:05 AM by Tyoria

40 AnotherDuck14th Sep 2012 07:41:32 AM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
I think compatibility is a fair point as far as differentiation goes. The most common way to interpret two close male characters isn't a romantical relationship. They'd be considered Brothers In Arms, or some equivalent. That's not what most people would think if they were gay. I mean, even if there are two gay men in a larger group, they "should obviously hook up", let alone two men already in a close non-romantical relationship.
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Well, the most obvious problem is that the vast majority of all characters don't have an explicit sexuality. Some or maybe even most might be thought of as straight, but it's still a presumptuous gamble with the increasingly common Word of Gay and characters meant to be ambiguous. There is also the issue of what to do when both characters aren't straight or gay. On the face of it, it may seem as incompatible, but there is still a wide spread pejudice about people defying their preferences for the "the right person" (think of all the lesbians hooking up with men in fiction), and bisexual and pansexual characters are compatible with anyone.

And whatever happens, we still need a name change.
42 Tyoria14th Sep 2012 10:36:05 AM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
[up] Yeah, I agree on both counts. Whatever else we do we should definitely change the name. If we keep the tropes more or less as they are, I think we should change Platonic Life-Partners's name too. Not because Platonic Life-Partners isn't a good name, it's just a too-broad name for a trope that's being more specific than the name actually implies.

I can't really think of a good one, though. Platonic Same Sex Life Partners versus Platonic Opposite Sex Life Partners seems clunky.
43 AnotherDuck14th Sep 2012 01:39:55 PM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
For the view that we can't know a character's sexuality unless stated, it doesn't really hold water unless the general assumption is that the character could be any sexuality, rather than defaulting to straight. Since this is a trope that's at least partially based on preconception (how we view it, or are supposed to view it), I don't see a problem with going with the general fandom assumption about the character. Ambiguously Gay would only come into play if it applied to both characters, or if the other was stated to be gay. There's a difference between how reality should be, and how reality is.
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You're probably right about not being able to sort by compatibility but that again leaves me with no noticeable (and usable) distinction between uses of this trope so that just brings me right back to saying we should merge the tropes under Platonic Life-Partners.

[up]I think building a trope description based on "general fandom assumption" of character sexuality is asking for monumental trouble.

[up][up]I don't think the name of PLP is the problem though if you do a wick check and find name-related misunderstandings I could be convinced otherwise. However, a name change isn't magically going to change the unavoidable tendency of fans to wear shipping goggles and want to gush about their OTP.

edited 14th Sep '12 1:52:34 PM by StarValkyrie

I'm not sure why we're so worried about people gushing about OT Ps. Once we clarify and rename these pages, these are tropes about non-romantic couples. If people wrongly interpret couples as romantic, they won't add the example here. So at worst, we get underuse.
46 AnotherDuck14th Sep 2012 02:32:44 PM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
[up][up]That only goes for the cases where it really is unknown, and not implied at all. There are usually some hints about it, if not explicitly stated.
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[up] building assumptions on hints is still speculation (and especially sticky with works written before sexualities other than straight were unmentionable or with disagreement between creators), not to mention that we still don't have a solution for pairs where one might be gay/straight/bi and not the other.

Non Romantic Couple could be a good name actually. Or maybe Non Romantic Soulmates?
48 Tyoria14th Sep 2012 03:02:43 PM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
It's true that Platonic Life-Partners isn't really being misused, despite its overly-broad name. But Heterosexual Life-Partners basically is Platonic Life-Partners Only Same Sex, and it does need a rename. PLP as it is now is really Opposite Sex Platonic Life Partners.

I would make the name Platonic Life-Partners a supertrope to both of the tropes we have now, meaning they'd both need a rename.

edited 14th Sep '12 6:04:11 PM by Tyoria

So, um, what's going on with this? Should I make a crowner?
50 Spark922nd Sep 2012 01:01:55 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
[up] Yes, please do.
Special trousers. Very heroic.

Page Action: Heterosexual Life Partners
22nd Sep '12 6:04:38 AM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
At issue:
The title carries the Unfortunate Implications that homosexuals cannot form platonic relationships. Furthermore, the trope is extremely similar to Platonic Life Partners.

Total posts: 63
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