Y’know now that I’m older and I’ve consumed a lot more (and debatably weirder) porn the phrase “stuck in a rut” seems kind of weird to me. On the surface level it’s pretty easy to explain since modern English is practically built on a series of innuendos (thanks in no small part to the reification of sex and sexuality) and shortenings that’ve lost any relation to their original meaning. On a semantic level you’re still equating a repetitive pattern of behaviors with an animalistic mating scheme. I have a love/hate relationship with statements that society is built around sex or the procurement thereof. It’s a universal formed out of limited observations and an uncharitable interpretation of events so I am almost politically opposed to the idea. Still in this society and in this context the interpretation works fairly well in a broader sense. Thing is, it’s still about as provable as a connection between the metric fuckton of violence and misogyny we consume and the violence and misogyny that’s perpetrated in real life. That’s only one interpretation of rut, even, which also has a secondary (or really in polite society primary) meaning of a sort of track created by wagons and other wheeled things in the mud and dirt back when Europe used to be covered in mud and dirt. Totally innocent meaning, your wheel is just stuck on one path. Bam, the word has been rendered profane. Brofist.
But I’m getting away from the point. Being stuck in a rut is also a loaded statement, filled with interesting assumptions about ruts or being stuck or the person it’s applied to. Being stuck implies that leaving the rut is impossible, or at least very hard or maybe not hard at all but anyway there’s some resistance to it. The equation here means that a pattern of behavior cannot change without some resistance. Is it true? Maybe, but it’s still an assumption. Rut, if we take the more innocent and polite meaning, is a track laid out by previous wheeled vehicles. There’s an assumption here that if a rut was created it was created by other people who also followed the same rut. “Rut” itself is a bastardization of “route,” which means more or less the same thing. So if we take these two meanings when we say we’re stuck in a rut we have a phrase that means “(the object) is following a previously formed path and there is some sort of resistance to (the object) leaving it.”
Ironically this describes almost every living human. The path is our culture; the resistance is also our culture. We’re rarely doing anything that no one else has done, and most of us do those things up until the day we die.
What about the other meaning, though? A rut only lasts for a certain period of time, specifically the period where births occurring from pregnancies during the rut would survive the weather. There’s a lot of activity and competition over mates and all of those things that white male internet nerds would gladly tell you is basal human nature, but then it ends and those behaviors stop. So being stuck in a rut would mean that you’re in a period of excessive activity esp. regarding mates and there’s some resistance for that rut to end. It’s a bit different than being stuck in a path and a lot closer to simple mania.
Just some things to think about.