Two 20-somethings, dressed in a carefully curated mix of thrift shop and intentionally distressed Urban Outfitters, find themselves at their local record store. The man behind the register is wearing an ironic pornstache, and it isn’t even November yet. He’s engaging in a discussion with a girl who’s convinced Taylor Swift is the Joni Mitchell of this generation. “She speaks to the hearts of young, impressionable girls all over the world.” The camera pans back to the two 20-somethings. As they browse through the Old Skool aisle, their hands touch, and sparks fly (or it could’ve been a pinched nerve). They look up and exchange that ‘I-just-met-you-but-I-think-I-want-to-breed-with-you-on-top-of-The-Sugarhill-Gang’ kind of look. She giggles and blinks like she’s trying to speak morse code. He awkwardly scratches the back of his head, suddenly mortified by the flakes of dried scalp floating between them.
“So you into old school hip hop?” asks the guy barely old enough to remember a time when MTV played music videos. She nods her head and giggles some more. At this point, he’s in love. They walk out of the record store, because neither one actually owns a record player. The two 20-somethings walk down the street and bond over duck confit tacos and truffle poutine. They realize they have a lot more in common than not being in possession of a record player, or a fondness for anything more nostalgic than what’s currently trending on Buzzfeed. Except the patriarchy; no one’s nostalgic for the patriarchy.
This common thread that coils around their lives and squeezes tight around their throats is this sense of being adrift in a really terrifying episode of Deadliest Catch. Only the reality show is actually reality and the Catch is an identity. Two 20-somethings in the post-2008-recession age without a map, a financial plan, or even an idea of what’s for dinner. He’s got a can of beans in the cupboard and a microwave his roommate refuses to clean; so he obviously won’t clean it either. She can’t check her online banking because she’s forgotten the password. The security question is asking for her first pet’s name, but she can’t remember if her first pet was the goldfish she flushed down the toilet, or the neighbour’s cat that she kidnapped for a week.
It’s the job market. Those baby boomers screwed up the economy and now they’re calling us lazy. It’s those supposedly entry-level jobs that require at least two years experience. Can you believe HR said ‘marching in Occupy Wall Street’ didn’t count under significant achievements? Back then, you didn’t even need a degree to answer the phone. Life is hard. Yeah, it blows. I want bubble tea. Do you want bubble tea? I know a place that does authentic bubble tea and you can ask them to remove those weird bubbles. So you want a sugar smoothie?
Wandering down a road of uncertainty, these two 20-somethings embark on a journey as fleeting as swiping your approval through a dating app on your phone. With promises of future Snapchats, our couple parts ways and resume their extraordinarily ordinary lives. The camera zooms away to an image of the Brooklyn Bridge lit in the evening.
Across the bridge, Detective Olivia Benson is kicking ass. The two 20-somethings would fit perfectly into the world of Hannah Horvath. But even if they were played by Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, I would still side eye them so hard I’d fix my lazy eye.
I suppose life isn’t so bad once I realize I’m not in Girls. I hate that show. I watched the first episode of season four a few days ago because we have HBO. You pay for cable and suddenly you feel obligated to watch it. Can you sue HBO for entrapment? Anyway, I couldn’t stand Girls. People say it’s brilliant because anyone can totes identify with the characters. If you’re a sadist and you gain pleasure from secondhand embarrassment through the TV, then by all means go for it. But I think that’s what’s so terrifying about this show. I hate the characters so much because they’re entitled and insufferable and they knowingly put themselves in situations where these qualities shine. But in a big-picture kind of way, like me, they’re also adrift.
Watching her characters and cringing at the characters I’ve just written – it’s like staring at the mirror the morning after I’ve slept in my makeup. I’m facing my bad decisions and now I have to deal with my face breaking out. The world is mocking the 20-something Hannah Horvath trope that I’ve assumed. And somewhere in the world, Lena Dunham and Taylor Swift are laughing maniacally over macarons and mimosas. Girls is not a comedy. If anything, it should be renamed White Girl American Horror Story. I’ve cowered more times watching Girls than I ever have watching Japanese children crawl out of household electronics.
It’s not just the secondhand embarrassment; it’s watching the worst things about myself play out on screen without the Brooklyn apartment or the e-book publishing deal. It’s not wanting to be that oblivious 20-something so unprepared for the adult world, she hides her anxiety in giggles and identity pretension (wow, that sounded really pretentious); but being that girl anyway. I suppose the first step to surmounting the identity crisis of realizing I am one of those 20-somethings is acknowledging my faults. Face that mirror and accept that those dark circles are remaining under my eyes forever because a. genetics and b. Netflix instant queue. I need to recognize the things I want to change and make a serious effort towards becoming a totes together adult. It’s a work in progress, and I’ll try to record this pilgrimage to adulthood in this blog. The operative word being ‘try’. I don’t have a good track record with blogs.
If I don’t update, you’ll know that I’ve basically given into the spiel of how life is hard, and it blows, and other sexual innuendo. Then I would heave a sigh of sorrow and say, “Let’s just get bubble tea.”