Let me tell you guys a little story: It is about how Sady Doyle at Tiger Beatdown is an awesome feminist blogger/hero/one of my internet girlfriends. I did not discover her writing until it was featured on ye olde venerable blog Shakesville, like, a year ago or something, and I have been eating up Sady's pop culture awesomeness since then (she is also writing at Feministe these days because she has hit the feminist blogosphere big time). Anyway, she is hilarious and sometimes I think maybe it sounds like we have similar thought processes/speech patterns and I would like to establish that though I am not CONSCIOUSLY copying Sady Doyle, it is possible that I have been influenced by her writings and would like to publicly recognize that because I like to be intellectually honest like that. This is a long prelude into what is basically me linking to her recent review/analysis of that one movie, (500) Days of Summer* and talking about how I watched it too a couple of months ago despite my reservations and then telling you anecdotes about my romantic life experiences that I will extrapolate into important life lessons for the kidz who might want to try this "dating" thing.**
So Sady at Tiger Beatdown recently watched that movie and wrote about it at her blogplace. Basically you should read it because it is good and she talks about literature and whatnot but for my own purposes I would like to agree with the part where she says that, basically, even in movies that are ostensibly progressive-ish because they are about hipster boys with rich emotional lives, girls are horrible and everything is their fault. This is how: because this time, Zooey "Giant Blue Eyes and Melodic Voice" Deschanel plays a girl who states firmly and up front to adorable Joseph "no clever nicknames but attractive and almost makes me not hate this movie quite so much" Gordon-Levitt's character, who has a crush on her, that she does not want to be in a relationship. Nonetheless, they become pals and start fucking and basically hanging out constantly, much like a couple, but Zooey/Blue Eyes/Summer continually emphasizes that she doesn't want to make it official or anything. But he's, like, in denial and in love with her anyway. Then she breaks it off. Then he is all heartbroken and whines for the next hour or so about how sad and lonely he is and how she's such a bitch and led him on and boring boring EEEEEEEEEMZ. SRSLY. It's like all eemz all the time. Like fucking Tickle Me Emo up in here. And it pissed me off. And Isaac. We were pissed off. I may or may not have thrown a snack food at the screen during this movie.
But anyway, here's the point: It's not that I didn't think it was okay for JGL's character to feel bad. Of course it's okay to have feelings, even if you're a dude! DUH. And I'm not going to call him stupid for getting involved with her even though they wanted different things because, hey, we all have to make mistakes and she's hot and was willing to get with him for a while.*** But he also had no right to be so damn indignant once she broke it off because her message had been consistently anti-commitment. And though the movie does occasionally call him out for being overdramatic about the whole thing, I think we're supposed to feel sorry for him. But I don't. Let me share a (totally hypothetical) personal experience to illustrate:
Say you are a single person enjoying a rare but exciting streak of promiscuity. Say you meet someone you like, who seems to like you, and you hang out and hook up a few times. Say this other person is fun and really, really good in bed. You would want to keep sleeping with this person, no? But say you made it clear that you don't want a relationship because you're, for example, moving away in a couple of months and can't start anything right now. So perhaps this person you're seeing who genuinely enjoys hanging out with/fucking you on occasion meets someone else around the same time as you that they like, someone who is not moving away. So say eventually it becomes clear to you that the person you've been hooking up with is feeling kind of ambivalent about continuing your non-relationship, but you want to keep fucking, so you pretend otherwise and keep pursuing, even though you know you should just let it die a natural death. Then say it gets to a point where though you're pretty sure you're not going to fuck anymore, the person who you were hooking up with has to tell you that they like this other person and are going to date them, citing your aforementioned disavowal of commitment since you're moving away and whatnot. And you are all cool about it because all's fair and everybody's upfront and adult, etc., but you can't help feeling kind of rejected anyway. Perhaps you've been carrying on with any number of other dudes in the meantime, but still feel weirdly sad, like you've been dumped.
What I'm saying is this: even if you keep it "casual," sometimes you'll get kind of attached. Since I tend to (almost) always fuck dudes who I am or want to be friends with, it can be hard for me to separate the physical from the emotional. And it is messy. I'm not saying don't have casual relationships, flings, one-night stands, or what-have-you, I think they can be valuable learning experiences, or at least good stories. I am saying that in the above example of things that might have happened in my real life, I can empathize with whatever JGL's character's name was in that stupid parentheses movie. The guy I was seeing wasn't TRYING to lead me on, and I could tell he wasn't as into me as I wanted him to be but still liked hanging out and having sex. So when he "ended" it, I was a little bit sad and my self-esteem was a little shaken. Even though it was not a relationship in any way and I was moving soon anyway and blahblahblah casual. Because sometimes these things happens. But guess what? I didn't feel bad about it for that long. I talked it over a bit with some friends, let myself feel a little hurt, and then moved on.**** Like, the next week I went to visit another suitor in another city who I was also not having a relationship with (who I eventually had to "end it" with too, which was sad but necessary and not as casual as it ostensibly should have been). ANYWAY, DATING IS COMPLICATED. So this rambling rant is meant to say that it's okay to get your feelings hurt by people you're seeing even if you agree to keeping it "casual." What this may teach you is that perhaps you should avoid trying to keep it casual, because you will inevitably get emotionally involved. Or maybe it will teach you that you should make sure not to get into situations where the other person is clearly not as enthused about it as you are because you will probably get hurt. Or maybe it teach you that maybe the other person sucked or that you are a sucker. Or maybe it will not teach you anything useful at all, but merely provide another notch on the ol' proverbial bedpost. What I'm saying is, you often have to fuck, fuck up, and be fucked over in order to really figure out what you want or what works for you in a relationship. That is life. Just don't turn into that embittered 500 Days of Summer guy. It's okay to be hurt, but she was honest with him, and he is not justified in staying angry at her for months and months. Is what I'm saying. Also, she gets married, like, immediately, to someone else. WTF?
*Does this title start with a parenthesis so that it may always be alphabetized first? "Well, before A comes numbers, and before numbers comes punctuation marks!"
**Clearly 94% of this blog's readers are right about my same age because they are my real life friends (and not actually kids) and already know my anecdotes, but BEAR WITH ME. Sometimes people from random foreign countries accidentally find my blog through a Google image search or something and is not always a 100% bounce rate, thank you very much, Google Analytics.
***This is totes just like Ted and Robin in the first season of How I Met Your Mother, which I may have just been watching, like, yesterday!
****Weirdly, the "breakup" conversation was the same one in which I found out that when he said he'd been "single" for about a year and was just getting back into dating, it was because he was divorced. Which only happened because his ex-wife was in a photo album he was showing me. Besides pretending not to feel dumped, I had to pretend it wasn't really weird that he never told me in the month or so we'd been hanging out that he used to be married. AWKWARD. I'm going to assume he told the girl he actually ended up dating sooner than that.