chapter  4
36 Pages

A brief social history of marriage, love, and intimacy in Trinidad

ByDaniel Nehring, Dylan Kerrigan

The field of love and intimate relations in Trinidad has idiosyncratic patterns, cultures, and realities. The insider might not think twice about the origins of such patterns of behaviour, but they will have been shaped by them and mostly know how to operate around them. The outsider, on the other hand, might feel out of sorts when confronted by distinctions in what they believed was universal about male and female intimate relations. Take, for example, how today in Trinidadian local popular culture, music, and everyday language, monogamy and fidelity are a theme constantly mobilised and ridiculed by soca and calypso artistes who regularly ask audiences if “dey hornin?” (cuckolding their partners). What would the local do and understand if asked by a soca artiste at a Carnival fete to “raise dey hand if dey hornin”? What would the outsider understand by such a phrase? Both might possibly raise their hand, the former because they are on the inside of the cultural joke, the outsider perhaps because they think blowing horns at a party is something all people do. Yet what of the more implicit sociocultural suggestion raised by the soca artistes that “hornin” and infidelity are to be seen in the popular culture as normative behaviour?