An Open Letter To Lena Dunham

Flickr / David Shankbone
Flickr / David Shankbone

Dear Ms. Dunham,

Can I call you Lena? We are part of the same brigade, after all. Champions of similar causes, you may say. What cause, you ask? An obsessed-over lack of supposed femininity, a deep-rooted belief in fairytales, and, of course, a commendable respect for the written word. But also: an appreciation for a comfy couch, a pint of ice cream (cookie dough is my favorite flavor, what is yours?), and a flat screen TV turned to E! (or Bravo?) when we really just can’t think.

So, that’s settled. Lena it is.

I’m writing you a note about the next season of Girls. Specifically, there are a few very particular scenarios that I really think you should tackle now that you’re four seasons in have earned the right to pretty much decide what’s worthy of our culture’s collective attention.

This stuff, Lena, is worthy of our attention:

Can you please find a way to portray that feeling you, well, feel when walking down the streets of Manhattan at dusk and everything sort of just clicks? You look up and the heart does this very weird thing. It doesn’t skip a beat (I never understood that description, by the way). In those moments, your body amplifies the potency of your heartbeat so that every fiber of your being feels it THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. Because, hey, this thing in front of you, this city, it fucking does something to you, man.

Some scene-related details: when the feeling manifests itself, you’re most likely listening to a song that makes you want to dance and cry in equal measure at the exact same time and you’re really just inspired. Other things to note: in these moments, the weather is right (72 degrees, no humidity, a light breeze that hits every few minutes), your outfit is impeccable by both your own standards and society’s, and your bag doesn’t weigh too much.

Let’s move forward. During these New York episodes, you might find yourself in the midst of a grand eye-fucking dance. You look up, he (or she) looks up, and, just like that, another human is acknowledging your humanity. Can you make sure to dedicate a few scenes to the concept of eye fucking, please? If I may… Can Shoshanna be a part of this dance? You did sort of tackle the spontaneity of sexuality in “Another Man’s Trash,” the episode in which Hannah spends a day with Patrick Wilson’s character playing naked ping pong in his wonderful brownstone, but I’d love to see something even more visceral. It doesn’t necessarily need to lead to sex… but can we at least explore the surrealism of feeling a connection to someone through a mere stare? Now that I think about it, this could lead to a very interesting story line about the Missed Connections section on Craigslist… You might really want to consider this.

Speaking of sex, I think it’s time to talk about virgins. Virgins by choice or lack of possibility, it doesn’t really matter. Religious beliefs should play a big role in this. You could write a character who abstains from the activity based on religious beliefs but then finds himself (or herself) stuck in a situation that he never that consciously signed up for. What happens when he finds someone and really has to hold back physically, and not just conceptually?

This leads me to another big issue of our generation, a generation that is in constant need of stimuli and attention: what happens when you go out with someone and s/he has no sexual drive? Can we survive with such a person by our side? Does asexuality actually exist?

Also: unreciprocated love. Adam went back to Hannah, so that heartbreak hardly counts (I hear that when you find the one, you forget about all the other ones you thought were yours. What do you think?). I want real, raw heartbreak. The feeling goes like this: someone is basically sticking a hand inside of your chest and literally squeezing your heart all day, every day and you really just can’t breathe but it has become the norm… so you start thinking that a breathless life is a normal life.

And since we’re speaking of love… do you mind also talking about the time you kept on going out with different people but were still so in love with someone else and just wanted to scream, Can everyone just HOLD ON? Is one allowed to date multiple people at once? What are the rules to dating? Do dating rules even exist in the era of Tinder, JSwipe, OkCupid and the like?

Please, don’t forget to discuss friendship. I know that’s the essence of the show, supposedly. But I think we can try and do a better job at that. I don’t think Hannah and Marnie’s relationship truly portrays the most elemental aspects of friendship. How about the friends that make you laugh from deep in your heart and whom you find the need to chat with all day long just to tell them about the color of the backpack you just purchased, and why you purchased a backpack to begin with, and, if they walk into a public bathroom, which stall do they choose? Left, right, or middle?

Jobs. Let’s not forget about jobs, Lena. Corporate America, to be specific. The kind of work that sucks. your. soul. That’s really all I have to say about it… Any additional thoughts?

Most importantly: let’s talk about race and guns and policy. And, please, let’s not be all partisan about this one. I’m not sure how partisanism suddenly became comparable to being biased. Or, really, how it came to mean “having an opinion” (and, for that matter, how having an opinion became something unforgivable). Right and wrong don’t have opinions. Guns are not a partisan issue. Guns are wrong. Please make sure to tell everyone that there’s not always “my side, your side, and the truth.” Sometimes, my side is the truth. Guns are bad–that’s the truth.

And, if you have time, let’s also talk about lists and how practicing journalism is now equivalent to being able to aptly divide things into categories. For example, I have a funny feeling that if I wrote this as a list, I might be considered a tad bit more journalistically inclined in the eyes of many (and, don’t forget, online-friendly). But I have faith in you. Let’s move away from the “20 Things I Want to Tell Lena Dunham Before the New Season of Girls” and stick to an old-fashioned “Letter to Lena Dunham.” What do you think? TC mark

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