Varieties of Petulant Boyhood

Memo to the Rilo Kiley dude (as symbol, of course): why’re you still hanging out in an intimate relationship with your ex? Why are so many ‘of us’ so accepting of the idea that messy relationships are a fact of life and ‘very damaged’ people are everywhere, particularly in desirably hip circles? Why so resigned to the lowering of standards that involves falling for people who we know don’t have it together? Why this recurrent theme of helping each other cope with our brokenness? Is this just Christianity cashing out with a whisper? Are we really that needy? And if so why?

One possibility is that we continue to cultivate the contradictions and incoherent gray areas of romantic/sexual/emotional life because there are tangible side benefits, like getting on the cover of SPIN. But I don’t think this is the answer. Another is possibly that we all really do need each other, body and soul, on an ad hoc basis and regardless of the consequences, and that once people are part of the stories of our lives, they are forever, and that just because two people who loved each other turned out not to be right for each other doesn’t mean they still can’t indulge in a weird semiplatonic White Stripes fraught-with-undertones codependency chic thing. Doesn’t mean they can’t still be, y’know, kinda messed up over each other.

But to me that sounds like a very cool and honed lie, an act of denial clad as Postmodern Romanticism. A pose. An attitude practiced in front of the mirror contrived to hide a hurt. That we have somehow taken as our fate. And compensated for by going public with the wreckage of intimacy in all its ‘authentic’ fecundity. So why this inability to get over ourselves and get over people we’ve been emotionally intimate with? Human nature or immature mega-wank? Or a misplaced guilt fix? Or…?