I know you all watched Girls last night and have some seriously complicated feelings about it. I know I do! Most people have been talking structure, since this strange little episode was such a diversion from the show’s loosey-goosey multi-character narrative flow. But, when Lena Dunham spends so much time naked, we know we can’t just talk cinematic decision-making, we have to talk about the body politic.
Jezebel headlined their recap (which I thought was mostly on target) with “What Kind of Guy Does a Girl Who Looks Like Lena Dunham ‘Deserve’?” and I think they’re asking the right question. To sum up, she spends the weekend banging an older, blindingly handsome, chiseled Patrick Wilson. He looks like he just stepped off a yacht in the Vinyard while filming a Land’s End spot, and she looks like a very average, very pear-shaped girl who probably sat next to you in the library and tried to surreptitiously eat a donut while reading Foucault. Mismatch made in heaven? Apparently not, according to many a commenter, who go as far as to say this pairing is so farfetched it must be a dream sequence.
But is it that farfetched? Let’s grant that if you polled Americans, Patrick Wilson is about a 9.7 and Lena Dunham is, say, a 5.5. I am making up these numbers, but the point is that they are more than a standard deviation or two apart. Does that kind of perceived aesthetic mismatch ever work out?
Wait, weren’t you saying it’s ludicrous to even think that a vaguely unkempt, less sophisticated schlub might land a smoking hot partner? Oh I seeee, it’s only ludicrous because she’s a lady and ladies are supposed to be the smooth, shiny ones. I get it now, this is just your basic old-fashioned double standard. Got it, glad we’re all on the same page.
But Seth Rogan is so scruffy and adorable! But Adam Sandler is so hilarious! But Kevin James is so cute and cuddly! Women have other reasons for falling for these dudes in the movies, so it all makes sense. Actually, doesn’t that seem about right? We all want to end up with someone we find physically pleasing, but most adults acknowledge that there will inevitably be a thousand other things we love about a person too. Even though not everyone can look like insert-your-dream-hunk-here, we will “compromise” because they are delightful and lovely in all of the ways that really count. You know, kindness, smarts, humor, that kind of lame “personality” stuff.
Why is this such a shocking concept when the genders are reversed? I find it both offensive to the ladies (you are nothing if not decoration!) and insulting to the dudes (you are shallow and only want decoration!) Why is it hard to imagine, in theory, that Patrick Wilson might have found this overly earnest quirky hipster girl on his doorstep sweet, cute, funny, or interesting? Or also hot? Which brings me to my second point…
I would like to brag about something now. It will seem like just straight-up patting myself on the back, but it is in service to a point, so stick with me. I have slept with some good looking gentlemen, some if-you-polled-America-they-would-tell-you-that-he-is-fiiiiiine kind of men. Here’s the kicker: back in the day (young, naive, blah blah blah), I used to be surprised that they wanted to sleep with me. Not like, “oh poor little old me, I’m not a supermodel” surprised, but just kind of curious, the kind of curious you are when you’re a plus size girl who is most definitely in the Lena Dunham camp, the she-of-the-thunder-thighs camp, not the Salma Hayek/Amber Valletta/Katherine Heigl camp.
So here’s what I know. People like all kinds of things. They like all kinds of bodies. They like all kinds of people. This is in spite of the Esquire Hot 100 list, or the Maxim Ladies We Love, or the Bro Mag Chicks We Dig column. There is certainly a segment of men who would only go for the willowy model-types (just as there are women who won’t date men under 5’9″). But there are also men (more than you think), that have a wide ranging palate. We are deluding ourselves if we let the beauty mags tell us what men like, because men will tell you that, yeah, that 36-24-36 is nice, but so is this, and this, and that, and sometimes this, and when I’m in the mood, that too. Human sexuality is a complicated thing, yo, and it’s pretty freaking arrogant to think your taste is the only one that makes any sense.
So I guess what I’m saying is no, I don’t think it’s impossible that Patrick Wilson went for Lena Dunham, and yes, I do think y’all are seriously narrow-minded if you can’t see that.
Related Post: My kind of porn tumblr (NSFW).