This morning I heard from a mildly panicked reader when she realized I had featured her story in my last post on examples of women successfully escalating emotionally with guys they’re dating. In this case, the problem is that she first learned of HUS from her guy – and she’s worried he will immediately recognize the story and perhaps think her calculating rather than earnest in her intentions. I’ve taken down the post, at least for now.
While HUS is far from required reading for young singles, this kind of thing has been happening more and more recently. Increasingly, people writing for advice request that the story not be shared at all, lest the other party read it and recognize it. Obviously, changing names is not sufficient when both halves of a couple or friend groups are reading here. The last thing I want to do is harm a relationship by causing weirdness or misunderstanding between two people!
I guess I’ll have to either seek permission or disguise stories so thoroughly they won’t trigger recognition in a reader. The latter is tricky – I regularly am approached by young people I know in real life who suspect that a post is about them. It never is.
This reminds me of a funny story Lena Dunham shared in an interview with Bill Simmons. Dunham said that the character Adam is based on someone from her past, and that she wondered what he might think of the show. She didn’t hear a word from him until the season was about half over. One day she got a text from him asking her the name of a restaurant they used to like. No mention of Girls whatsoever – she doesn’t even know if he’s aware of it. That sounds exactly like Adam Sackler, doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, there was a guy Dunham “dated” when she first got to Oberlin. She acknowledges in the interview that “date” is a euphemism, considering both the nature of their activities and the short duration of their “relationship.” A couple of months ago he wrote her to say he knew right away that he had been the inspiration for Adam and that their relationship was perfect for Girls, she had his permission to use it. She hadn’t thought of this guy in eight years, had forgotten him completely in fact. What a knucklehead.
I’ll try and pop up another post before the holiday tomorrow.