(Two friends, sitting in a cafe)
Girl 1: How’s the apartment search going?
Girl 2: Not bad. But there’s a surprising number of people who make fake craigslist ads just to send dick pics.
Girl 1: Really? That’s so much effort.
Girl 2: If you can be anonymously perverted from the comfort of your couch it’s really not that much effort. Stupid, yes. But I get it.
Girl 1: Couch time, the ultimate comfort zone. If I didn’t have roommates I would starfish naked on the couch all day. Can’t wait til I’m married with my own house in the suburbs.
Girl 2: You think being married in suburbia would allot that kind of freedom? A husband is just a roommate who sits on the couch all day, pretending to watch sports. And would you actually consider moving to the suburbs?
Girl 1: In the next 5 years, yes, I am. The price of housing in the city is ridiculous.
Girl 2: Suburbia constrains you by biology. Women and men get married-have babies. Cities invented the gays, hipsters, the career woman.
Girl 1: Cities didn’t invent being gay. You’re born gay.
Girl 2: Well it gave them a place to dance. To protest. To have parades. Suburbia just gives you a place to park.
Girl 1: It allows you to own property at an affordable price.
Girl 2: Gridlock 5 days a week is a steep price to pay for abetting status anxiety.
Girl 1: So is paying $25 for a burger because the place plays Radiohead on vinyl
Girl 2: HAVE YOU TRIED THOSE BURGERS??! But that’s why a city is awesome, it makes the visceral experience of eating seem culturally and socially relevant. Not even the vocals of Thom Yorke can intellectually heighten the stagnant cycle of commute, grocery shop, laundry, prime time reality television, make your lunch, repeat.
Girl 1: There can be meaning in mundanity, in routine, if it serves a larger purpose. Eventually you might want something more than a good burger. Like a family.
Girl 2: Since when is having a suburban mortgage the only qualifier to being a loving parent? That’s why were in this economic crisis. Because the middle class industrial complex made everyone think they should and can own a house.
Girl 1 You say things like “middle class industrial complex” like its a thing. Is it a thing? Either way it’s pretentious.
Girl 2: No one with my hair can be pretentious.
Girl 1: Your unkempt hair is a perfect example of how pretentious you are. You think you’re too much of an individual to look presentable.
Girl 2: You calling me fat?
Girl 1: No. I’m saying you could show a modicum of effort towards your appearance.
Girl 2: Listen, I like makeovers and montages as much as the next person, but Im acutely aware of a cute outfits ephemeral nature. How would my life be any different if I was wearing mascara right now? Maybe more guys would find me attractive…what would that entitle me to? Better sex? More money? Nicer apartment? There are plenty of pretty girls with shit lives who are sexually unsatisfied.
Girl 1: What are you talking about? How can you even pretend you secure orgasms with business men and bartenders alike? You dress like a lesbian. Last weekend that guy you were aggressively hitting on said “I have no standards” and you replied “Ill take that to mean you will protect and love me forever.” Were you even joking? I don’t think you were. Maybe if you dressed a little nicer you wouldn’t fall in love every time you sustain a conversation for three minutes.
Girl 2: He did love me. Real romance doesn’t last. That’s why Romeo and Juliet died instead of taking out subprime mortgages with the Montague’s and Capulet’s as co-signers.
Girl 1: Yeah, but Juliet didn’t only interact with Romeo when he was shitfaced. You try to convince yourself intelligence is inversely proportional to prettiness, but it’s simply justification for your laziness. Like instead of putting on lip gloss you’re curing cancer. And you say alienating things like “I could have had two abortions by the time we get into this club”
Girl 2: Sorry I don’t fit the cookie cutter template required to be a successful receptionist filing papers in between mat leaves.
Girl 1: Im not a receptionist. But please, continue to make sweeping generalisations about anyone who works behind a desk. Continue to have contempt for putting food on the table and having a steady paycheque.
Girl 2: Im not saying the necessities of life are stupid. Im just saying there is more to life than getting married and having a family and a two car garage.
Girl 1: Sure there’s more, but it still does not refute the merits of purchasing property.
Anyone over 24 knows disposable income is more important than vague conceptualisations like identities. I don’t give a shit about wearing an outfit suggesting I pop mollies before I deconstruct William S.Burroughs. It’s all surface level shit. None of it matters. Incomes. Marriage. Property. Family. That’s real.Dieing your hair blue, tattoos, thats all bullshit. There’s value in coming home from work to people you love, in a place that’s yours.
Girl 2: Well have fun spending your weekends doing yard work.
Girl 1: Have fun spending the rest of your life with whoever you meet on Craigslist.
Girl 2: Thats snarky. I’m the snarky one.
Girl 1: Actually we both are. It’s because you lack the ability to construct a voice beyond your singular self. This was supposed to be a conversation but quickly derailed into an internal monologue.
Girl 2: Nah, we’ve been convincingly chatting.
Girl 1: Not at all. There’s supposed to be an id and an ego in these things. One representing the status quo, the other being exciting and progressive. This…this has been all id. All cerebral. Like Girl Interrupted without Lisa or Fight Club without Tyler Durden. And the centrality of those characters to the success of those films explains the inevitability of Bradgelina.
Girl 2: Rough segue way. But I’ll let you continue because I have no choice.
Girl 2: This better be convincing.
Girl 1: Both films star protagonists grappling with an existential crisis and the tepidness of their projected future. This is always an alluring premise because it addresses the reason we watch films, which is to escape the mundanity of daily life. That’s why Garden State and Requiem for A Dream and Trainspotting and The Little Mermaid are classics. Their emotive truth stems from the simplicity of the central conflict: it is very difficult to feel/be human. To feel human is often just wanting to feel anything, either by regulating your internal state with drugs, going off drugs, or getting punched in the face
Girl 2: Right. Okay.
Girl 1: So you have Edward Norton and Winona Ryder moping about, seeking solace in professional counselling…cue the attractive compelling alter ego that doesn’t give a fuck about all the societal pressures that make people depressed. Inevitably Lisa and Tyler’s thrill seeking is merely self serving and sociopathic, and both are revealed to be fake and full of shit. Tyler Durden is fake in the most literal sense that he was a figment of the protagonists imagination, and Lisa because her lack of relationships and engagement in society makes her metaphorically dead.
Girl 1: I agree with that part.
Girl 2: And both those films are better than the books they’re based on, which is rare, and those actors performances have as much to do with the cinematic edification as anything else.
Girl 1: This has nothing to do with Bradgelina
Girl 2: Of course it does. Every time you see Brad Pitt you subconsciously espouse him with the raw sexuality of Tyler Durden. Every time you see Angelina Jolie you subconsciously espouse her with the magnetism of Lisa. Jolie and Pitt were perfect for those roles, and those roles ultimately solidified those actors as forever interesting people. Can you imagine Angelina Jolie’s career if she never had that role? Tomb Raider was hot. But it was an awful movie warranting her no acting cred. The entirety of Angelina Jolies alluded emotional depth stems from her performance as Lisa.
Few actors have ever played characters so convincingly the role will forever seep into how we view that actor as a person (television stars are excluded from this. For instance, James Gandolfini will always be Tony Soprano and all of his other acting roles were derivative of the Soprano template. Television is a character medium) The only other actor of comparable magnitude is Matt Damon. He will always be Good Will Hunting. Sure Jason Bourne is his blockbuster bread and butter, but we all subconsciously see him as a genius from working class roots.
And I don’t think Jolie and Pitt are immune to these inherent projections. They will continuously be enraptured by each other because they’re both insanely attractive, AND because their attractiveness can be commoditised to save you from the trappings of a menial vapid life. We’de like to believe Pitt could possibly be burning George Clooneys hand with acid or maniacally beating up strangers in bar room basements, but he’s most likely choosing sofas for one of his villas. Celebrities are intersting because they’re celebrities, but celebrity is an idea, and actors are just people who are more than likely less interesting than the characters they perform. Brad Pitt can get married to Jennifer Anniston, but the actor who played Tyler Durden cannot stay married to the actress who pumps out Paul Rudd vehicles. He needs someone with more emotional range, however constructed, and if this woman happens to be the most beautiful woman on the planet than so be it.
Girl 1: I completely disagree with this. Are you telling me that if Katherine Heigle played Lisa she’d be shacked up with Pitt
Girl 2: Definitely not. That’s exactly my point. Heigel could NEVER play that role. Heigel could never convince you she understands what it means to feel alive. Pitt and Jolie are the only people that could have played those roles, and that is why Jolie ended up with Pitt. Listen we all want someone sexy and interesting to save us…
Girl 1: This has to do with living in suburbia.
Girl 2: Sure it does. Stability is the antithesis of sexiness.
Girl 1: I think we’re through here.
Girl 2: Alright.