I want a long-term relationship but instead I keep going after these crazy, nutso, wild girls. What should I do?—Martin
This shouldn’t be a problem for me to answer because it is the most common problem of every thirtyish man, ever, and in a slightly different way, for every thirtyish woman, ever. Read Sex at Dawn if you actually care about the science of it, but in short: Bad girls are unpredictable, unknowable, and unhinged, and that means “sex.” Good girls are something different. (It’s not like there actually exists a binary, of “bad girls” and “good girls,” but when it comes down to the women who will set your car on fire and the women who will not, there sort of does.)
Davy Rothbart is the founder of FOUND magazine, a contributor to This American Life, and, most recently, the author of My Heart Is an Idiot, a collection of essays about falling in love with basically every girl he meets. Rothbart says, “You and I are not the only ones to heed the siren call of the crazy, nutso, wild girls. I think Jack Kerouac put it well in On the Road when he said, ‘The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing.’” (Usually I would deny the presence of boring sexist Jack Kerouac here, but this time I’ll allow it.) Rothbart says, Kerouac-ishly, “We want to capture a wild butterfly in our net, even as a thousand gorgeous ladybugs scoot within reach.”
So, anyway, you need to make some decisions, or rules. This also goes for girls who are, like, “I want a serious boyfreeeen!” and then get drunk and make out with the same stupid dummy every weekend instead of going on dates. The thing about behaving almost exactly in opposition to what you say you want is that maybe you don’t really want it.
Rothbart says, “My guess is that when you really want a long-term relationship, you’ll have no trouble finding it.”
I have recently turned 30 and have always harboured ambitions to be a filmmaker, ambitions that are being slowly but surely realized. Between my full-time job, which
I can’t afford to leave, filming, and various other non-paying projects that I’m in love with, I have no time for dating/socializing/reading. The majority of my friends are moving in together and settling down. So now there are children at parties and conversations about them that I can’t follow, and a lot of times I don’t get asked what I’m up to. Am I doomed to this sense of exclusion?—Zoe
Doy, hallo. You’re not doomed, you’re just…30, which usually means being sort of established and sort of not; having to make serious decisions but also…not really, yet; knowing what you want, yeah, but still sort of blindly approaching it.
Anyway, keep your chin/head/spirits up. If you can’t follow the house-car-kids conversation, you’re not into their kids and their life enough. “How’s work?” is the worst question, but real friends should still ask you what you’re doing, how you feel about it, how you are. If they’re not, remind them. As for your ambition anxieties, get brutal about your time and focus: The projects you’re in love with should be your own. Don’t volunteer your brains or heart for someone else’s vision. That you can’t afford to leave your day job is probably only half-true, because even very successful creative people aren’t often swanning around with piles of cash, especially in this economy, and especially in Canada. But, come on: Any artist or creative needs to be of the world. Having sex and reading books and watching movies are nothing less than an obligation.
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