Why Can’t Guys Handle Work And A Relationship At Once?

GIRLS / Amazon.com
GIRLS / Amazon.com

Damnit, Adam (Sackler, not Driver…)! For so long he seemed to stray from what constitutes a normal guy with all of their normal douche-bag tendencies. Even in episode 10, the one before last night’s episode, it was hard to blame him for telling Hannah he’s planning to stay at Ray’s place when that confession was preceded by such a sweet avowal of his love for her:

Adam: Sex was the thing that kept me from drinking. That’s why I fucked women I met in bars or whatever.
Hannah: Was it like that with all of them? like the games, and the ideas, and being different?
Adam: Fuck yeah, yes it was, and it was like that with us for awhile too, but then we fell in love, and then I wanted to have sex with just you, as us, and fuck and be sweet…or whatever.”

But the opening scene in last night’s Girls felt like Hannah and Adam’s power struggles and disparities had finally come to a head. They have sex and, after finishing, Adam promptly gets up, gathers his clothes, and leaves.

The clincher (for me at least) was when Adam told Hannah, “I can’t concentrate while you’re here, that’s why I’m [at Ray’s]. I see you and I think ‘play time’ and I need to be thinking ‘work time.'” Why is it that some men can’t have a job and a girlfriend at once? Why, in these situations, does a guy see his girlfriend as a burden rather than a support system; as a distraction rather than a source of comfort or solace? Why is Hannah the one who’s pitted as the enemy and not – I don’t know – Adam’s inability to concentrate in front of her? Why are girlfriends the virus that must be eradicated in order to be able to fully focus on work or what “really matters?” There are countless cases from history of couples working together or alongside one another wonderfully, like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, who worked together for years, every day, and thrived. Or what about Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann? Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera? Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas? President John F. Kennedy and Jackie O? The list is endless.

I felt for Hannah when she told Adam she feels she’s being gradually broken up with. He needs to realize that she won’t always be there, especially if he keeps neglecting her. And I think if he really knew this, he might act differently.

Perhaps it would be going too far to claim that this attitude is almost anti-feminist? But it sure seems so when a man harbors such negative opinions of his girlfriend’s effect on his work. Was it not somewhat anti-feminist when Karl Kraus considered his marriage to be a permanent holiday? Because, according to Clive James, when he finally settled with Sidonie Nádherný von Borutin,

Alas, Kraus looks like a better bet as the culprit. He wanted all the social credentials that an official alliance with an aristocrat would have brought him; and the wish seems understandable, if not particularly edifying. But he didn’t want to modify his exalted stance as the seer who needed no other viewpoint than his own. When he went to her he was on holiday, and by marrying her he wanted only to make the holiday official.

The fact still remains: Adam — like so many other men who force their girlfriends or ex-girlfriends into this type of bind — is using Hannah. He’s using her as a repository for his semen and nothing else. She’s great for releasing sexual tension, but lacking when he’s trying to concentrate. Her fault, in his eyes, is that she’s human and behaves with human tendencies, human flaws. Except girlfriends are human; they aren’t fragments to be used at one’s own will or else discarded. Hannah obviously knows this; sadly, a breakup seems to be in the horizon. TC mark

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