I don't understand at all how you say Chuck's choice was Blair. I thought it was fairly clear that when he told her he "refused" Jack, that, in actuality, he hadn't. That was an act of manipulation that he knew would appeal to her romantic side (he defended her honor to Jack, when in reality, he didn't). Instead, he set it up so that he could give Jack what he wanted. I also don't buy for a second that Blair did what she did for the Empire. She did it for Chuck. It wasn't "going behind his back," but rather, playing into exactly what he had set up for her to do.
Whatever Chuck said to Jack, it was *Blair* who ultimately decided to take the Empire Deal. I say that not to throw her under the bus, but because I find it demeaning to talk about her as though she had no say in what she did with her body. At least as much as Chuck did, she took the gamble that they could get through the prostitution-to-mortal-enemy thing, and it was just as stupid a bet for her to make. Who would think to herself, everything will be OK if I just lie to my closest friend/lover/constant companion indefinitely about this super obvious and emotionally difficult transaction (Jack makes the deal to Chuck, Blair disappears for the night, comes back kind of messed up, and Chuck gets the hotel back next day? Doesn't take a genius to figure out she took the deal, even if Chuck had said no to the proposal initially and she managed to keep her mouth shut, like she was hoping). And when threatening the only truly close and loving relationship you have/your partner have in your lives don't you think you should discuss the threat with him anyway? And seriously, over a HOTEL--symbolic or not? So even though I think it’s ridiculous that the deal would even still be on the table after Jack offered it to Chuck, the truth is it was Blair who had the ultimate power to take him up on it, machinations or no. And she did basically exactly what Chuck did—she made it seem like the deal wasn’t an option, that the hotel wasn’t as important as their relationship, and then went ahead and took the proposal anyway. Her saving grace is that she was offering herself up, rather than offering up a loved one—but otherwise it seems they were offered the same choice and made the same decision? And the only other big difference is that he knew it was actually some sick relationship test and she truly thought it was about the hotel (or did she—didn’t she think it was about his manhood?)?
The one thing I would point out is that Chuck's issue with Blair post the Gay Kiss/Scavanger Hunt wasn't secrets per se. It was her using him and being duplicitous in that sense. I found it rather weird and interesting that he basically said "Neither of us are trustworthy" and "We should turn our duplicity on others instead of one another." He never made a Dan Humphrey type "No more secrets!" stand with Blair. He was still A-OK with games and manipulation as long as it wasn't to one another's detriment.
Yeah, I actually find that whole episode really interesting when it comes to their whole relationship.
--At the beginning Blair thinks everything is pretty much OK because they're talking again and she's apologized, but meanwhile Chuck tells Nate that while Blair and Chuck aren't fighting, he's engaging in "prolonged generalized distrust" of Blair. Whew--that's actually pretty horrible. How prolonged is that? Was he just never going to tell her he didn't trust her, if he hadn't heard about the Jack thing? Did he ever come to trust her again? What makes it kind of extra crazy is that the next time we go in-depth into his POV/he has his own significant storyline, he's seeing Ghost!Bart. Which, I notice he didn't tell her about either. I dunno, I just have the feeling that we saw their relationship get smashed in that episode, but that Blair didn't realize it.
--When he explodes on her totally inappropriately (post-discovering that she's gone to Jack for help), it's what, the second time (?) he's actually yelled at her? I mean, they never yell at each other--that's why when he yelled at her again in 3.17 it was such a big deal that it convinced her to go to Jack. And he flipped out and yelled at her not from the Scavenger Hunt kiss, but after he learned she'd lied to him about going to Jack to help him open Gimlet. He went on and on about how he shouldn't ever have trusted her and all that, and even said that he wasn't freaking out about the kiss, he was freaking out that she'd do something he'd never ever want (go to Jack) to get him what she thought he needed (get the liquor license). And it was in reply to that freak-out that they had their make up/we won't be duplicious with one another conversation. So when they agreed that though they'd have to keep gaming others because they just weren't evolved enough to stop, they'd never again game within their relationship, I thought the point wasn't just that they shouldn't play games/keep secrets that would be a detriment to the other party, it was a general moratorium on gaming each other.
That Liquor License subterfuge was her trying to help him, as was her deal for the Empire (and he pulled the Columbia subterfuge to help her)--yet he flipped that both the Liquor License and Empire Deal were both betrayals...and I guess Blair's still not getting it, if she's 100% OK with the Columbia App. Because the point isn't whether in the end the beneficiary gets what they wanted, and the point isn't even what had to be paid to get it (since that liquor license request actually had no cost), it's actually a respect (and therefore control/trust) issue...it's a betrayal to play somebody, it's disrespectful to be duplicious, and it's controlling/condescending/disrespectful to manipulate other people's lives...plus, it's a total (frightening) loss of control to realize your life/your decisions have been manipulated. I mean, isn't the whole point of playing games to feel you have control over a situation in which you have no real power? That's why I found it interesting to see a woman and man (and both fabulously wealthy at that) so wrapped up in an essentially disenfranchised way of dealing with the world...
The point is, I saw the Columbia issue as a ret-con for Chuck's anti-inter-relationship-games stance, and a regression for Blair in that she's so OK with it. She didn't used to be! Remember S2, pt. 1, when they were earnestly trying to get together (say ILY) but were too terrified of getting played to do it? That culminated in the gallery rooftop sh*tshow, when they realized it was impossible for them to begin a relationship—they actually couldn’t trust each other enough to do it. So immediately, Chuck went to Blair and begged for them to play games with each other, because that would keep them connected. Games and a real relationship may have been mutually exclusive, but both served to maintain Blair and Chuck’s connection—which (until now) neither could bare to do without. And this season, I think Chuck understood he and Blair had really broken up when she came to him post-Empire—I think his misapprehension was that they could still connect via games. At first, Blair seemed to think that they could, too—after all, she participated, and even let him “win” her (temporarily), in the Wedding Gesture. But by forfeiting the Kissing Fatwa, Blair has pulled a plug on that dynamic. Which means she didn’t just end their relationship, she has broke their connection entirely....until now, when she's trying to both have her cake (emotionally intimacy with Chuck) and eat it, too (being the beneficiary of his manipulation(s) ).
Ok, I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense--I've got to use the library's internet and they're closing (ugh). So, get back to you on this tomorrow? lol
Also, when he took Blair's virginity, it was this beautiful, special thing, because he said, "You sure?" and it was so significant that he was different with her. Now, that moment is forever ruined for me. He has taken JENNY'S virginity, and that will forever make me sick to think about.
But hasn't he probably taken a bunch of girls' virginit(ies)? I thought what was nice/interesting about Blair giving it up to him was that she wanted with all her heart to have her first time with someone she loved, and while she *thought* that meant with Nate, it actually meant Chuck. And it *should* have been unimportant to Chuck whether he had sex with Blair or not, but he fell in love with her at Victrola, so it was secretly really significant for him, too--it was the first time he made love as opposed to just having sex...so he was losing a type of virginity, too. I thought it was significant in that they were both truly making love for the first time, (as opposed to just f*cking for him/as opposed to "saving it" for her).
On the other hand, Jenny losing it to Chuck just shows how she feels so completely lost that she's ready to grasp at straws (like f*cking) in order to feel good/wanted/loved. Which is exactly what Chuck has been doing this whole time he and Blair have been broken up, so he and Jenny are pretty much in the same place, and it makes sense to me that they would find comfort in each other...Blair and Chuck's first time was similar to this hook-up in that they were also in the same place emotionally, I guess--but this Jenny/Chuck place is much lonelier and nihilistic and even if it's the first time Jenny's been there, it's old hat to Chuck...so I think the only similarity (that a girl is losing her virginity in both scenarios) is very superficial, and all the important parts of the encounters are totally different.
I guess I don't see love/sex as a zero sum game generally? A meaningless or sad or stupid hookup doesn't make all that person's hookups meaningless or sad or stupid--sex with one person doesn't cheapen sex with another, does it? What does Chuck having sex with Jenny have to do with Chuck and Blair's love? What does Jenny's first time have to do with Blair's first time, even if it's with the same guy? Neither deflowerings are meaningless, but they mean totally different things. And even if Chuck deflowers both, what does that have to do with his feelings for either? They're two different girls in two different circumstances, and the reason Chuck had/has sex with them is totally different for each, and the emotional ramifications are totally different for each. Blair and Chuck sealing their love with sex v. Jenny and Chuck sealing their new-found nihilism with sex have nothing (emotionally) significant in common, imo.
Also, I don't see what Chuck and Blair's sexual escapades (or lack thereof) post-breakup have anything to do with their relationship generally. Blair kissing someone or not (post-breakup) was her choice to make alone, and she made the choice that she believed would make her feel the best according to where she was emotionally. Just like Chuck hooking up with someone or not (post-breakup) was his choice to make alone, and he made the choice(s) he believed would make him feel the best according to where *he* was emotionally. And both of their approaches are valid, imo, because that's a major point of breaking up, right? That suddenly you can just make those choices solely with your own needs in mind? Of course, I think Blair's choices are more likely to make her feel good in the long term and are more indicative of emotional health, but what do I know?
And yeah, the fatwa was ridiculous and stupid and obnoxious--it was also an obvious attempt by Chuck to get Blair to talk to him again, and it worked (at least for a while). He drew her into a game so that they would have some sort of interaction. I doubt it was actually about the kissing, but rather about bringing Blair back into Chuck's orbit. While that's controlling and inappropriate because she has told him specifically to stay out of her life, it wasn't actually about him judging her for her interactions with men, imo, but rather that he couldn't stand to let their connection fall apart completely (he hoped they could still connect via games, even if they couldn't connect based on love). It's not like he was slut-shaming her for a kiss, he was just trying to call her "bluff" that she'd be cool (emotionally) with kissing other guys. He didn't even slut-shame her for prostituting herself to Jack--even that "betrayal" (his word, not mine) was upsetting to him because it meant she'd chosen to be with Jack (his worst enemy). That was like one day after his mother had chosen Jack over him, too, so of course it would be especially significant that Blair would go to the Empire (of all places!) and sleep (in Chuck's old bed!) with Jack (of all people!)..THAT would make Chuck/Blair's intimacy a mockery since it would be pretty much a re-enactment of Chuck and Blair's love-making. When she let slip that she and Jack hadn't slept together, he was super happy and ready to get back together because it turned out she hadn't just made a total mockery of their love by re-enacting it with his nemesis...NOT because he thought she was a total whore and then realized she wasn't. So I think it's unfair to say that Blair should be able to slut-shame Chuck because he does it to her--he's screwed her over in a lot of ways, but *neither* of them has descended to slut-shaming--which I'm really happy about since that is SO beside the point. And I'd hate to see it start now.
But I guess Blair isn't seeing it my way at all, since she's actually so upset about Jenny/Chuck's hook up. :P I just don't see why she would be--it all seems so simplistic and childish to me...ultimatums, freak-outs over virginity, leaving flowers at the ESB (SO bitchy, right? That just makes it seem like he wanted her to get there late and feel totally sad about what she'd lost--ugh). I feel like these characters were more mature than all that two freaking years ago. Why do we have to have such cheapness now?