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This Week on Girls: Can You Love Me If You Hate My Art?
If somebody's already fucking us, should they have to masturbate our ego, too?
by Kate Hakala
This week on Girls, Hannah gives the guy she just started seeing, Sandy (played by god’s literal gift to man, Donald Glover), an essay of hers to read. When Sandy boils his criticism down to, “It wasn’t for me,” Hannah hears, “You’re not for me." The problem is, Hannah doesn't separate herself from her writing. With this episode ("I Get Ideas") Lena Dunham essentially asks whether it’s ever okay, or even possible, to date our critics. If somebody’s already fucking us, should they be obligated to masturbate us, too?
Dunham airs her argument, and the one Hannah ultimately sides with, through Jessa: “If he’s not reading your essays, he’s not reading you.” What Hannah fails to see is that Sandy did claim that her essay was well-written, it just didn’t speak to him personally, a concession people often make to Girls itself. And in a large way, Sandy’s thoughts on the essay echo the grievances of most of Girls’ critics; "Ultimately, it just felt like waiting in line and all the nonsense that goes through your brain when you're just trying to kill time.” But when it comes to our relationships, do we want to actually be with people who don’t dote over the nonsense in our brain? Hannah it seems, thinks you can't actually be in love with someone who doesn't adore every morsel, be it garbage or gold, that you spout.
The art projects of Girls' characters have always been the barometers for their relationships. When Hannah and Adam were in the haze of their romance, Hannah went to see his play, confessing that for the first time, she wasn’t judging someone for doing what they loved to do. And in kind, Adam fully supported her outlandish searches for inspiration, like her attempt to hump her boss in his office for a story. It pans out the same way with the other girls: Jessa says her marriage works because Thomas-John immediately looks at a painting when she shows it to him, and even poses shirtless for some. Marnie, and her suffocating first season counterpart, Charlie, were doomed from the beginning because she never took the time to a) enter his apartment and b) discover that he was a skilled woodworker who’d made his own furniture. When Marnie first sees Charlie’s masterful carpentry, we wonder just how could she not know (or appreciate) something so integral to Charlie's personality?