Welcome back to Boys Who Talk About Girls, where we interview men who don't write for the Internet but do watch HBO half-hour dramedies you may relate to, wish you wrote, hate (or hate because you relate to it and wish you wrote it), and are brave enough to speak about the cross-section of both activities on this site. The mission: To get them to speak without reserve or remorse about sex and relationships in a manner most men won't, which is to say, in a way that will lead to greater revelations about the foundation of humanity than the crew of the Prometheus will ever be able to assemble.
This week's interviewee is a man who we'll call Devin. He's 28, lives in Seattle, and works at a large tech company in business development.
So, Devin. You wrote in your email that you're a "mild sociopath," then going on to ask: "Do sociopaths know they are sociopaths, or do their actions always seem perfectly reasonable within their own minds?" You seem perfect for this. But why do you identify as a mild sociopath? Aren't we all, in some way, sociopaths?
Well, I never thought of myself as a sociopath, but if I look at the way people reacted to some of the things I do in relationships, I could.
I can only assume you're talking about some reaction to you, in relationships with women?
Well, let's figure out just how much of a sociopath you are. This week, Marnie and Jessa get some alone time, as Hannah is preoccupied with the newly-boyfriended Adam. Together, they are hit on by a venture capitalist at a bar, who takes them back to his Williamsburg high-rise, plays them his mashup of Len's "Steal My Sunshine," and unsuccessfully attempts to engage the ladies in a threesome, but not before Marnie and Jessa make out, and spill wine on his nice rug. What'd you make of all this?
That whole thing was a little strange to me. I thought the character of the venture capitalist was either overacted or overdrawn. If you're dumb, you don't do well as a venture capitalist. It fell a little flat for me.
Did any of it resonate for you?
Yes: Threesomes are pretty awkward. It's rare that it works out like it does in pornography movies.
Have you ever been in a threesome?
Just once, or multiple times?
Multiple times, a couple of times with myself and two other women and once with two dudes.
Damn, son. So, what's the first thing you think when considering what went wrong here for the venture capitalist with the Len mashups?
The mood was all wrong. You know what was missing from that? Coke.
Does coke normally make threesomes happen?
Coke is a catalyst for a lot of things. Threesomes, self-loathing, all that good stuff.
From your mouth to god's nostrils. And did any of these go well?
Yeah, actually: I had a threesome when I first started hooking up with my girlfriend of four years. That actually worked out great, the first time. The second time, not so much...Because there was no coke involved (laughs). That's actually true. I never thought about it, but...it's actually true.
A threesome with a new girlfriend you picked up from a threesome? How could that ever not be great?
I think we knew each other too well, the second time around. There were some jealousy issues. Anonymity is probably pretty key to a good threesome. You just want it to be primal. That's tough to do when you actually get to know somebody.
Do you think every guy fantasizes about threesomes?
Sure, I think, just because of the prevelance of pronography. Pornography shapes the way we look at gratifying sexual experiences. I think the prevalence of threesomes in porn doesn't help.
When you've had a girlfriend, mid-relationship, did you ever want a threesome?
No, actually, just when we started dating. And this is where I identify with Adam as a character: I compartmentalize my relationships and my sexual life. Those fantasies are in a different area of my brain. Once you're in in the relationship zone, you don't want to have kinky sex. That's the love-zone, not the fucking-zone.
That seemed to be, to some degree, Charlie's dilemma: He couldn't perceive his girlfriend as a character who wanted not to be made love to, but to be fucked.
It's a delicate balance, but I think, really, that had to do more with Marnie's desire to break out. This threesome scene is indicative of that part of her world. She's never even dabbled in that, the id part of her personality, until now.
I think, though, that a lot of guys have trouble negotiating the idea of their girlfriend as a partner in their life and this intensely sexual, primal object, though.
Totally. It's like: Do you want come all over the face of the mother of your children? (Laughs) Like, every once in a while, maybe...
But I think the fact that we can't always see girlfriends as both, though, speaks to our larger failings and narrow ideas about women.
But isn't that pro-feminist?
I mean, Jesus, I have no idea. But how so?
You hold the woman that you're dating in high esteem (too high an esteem to want to come on her face).
Or you're relegating her to a very specific, puritanical role?
Yeah, I suppose. It goes both ways.
Or you're being, um, respectful?
Right! Yes. Unless she's into it.
Somehow, I don't think we're about to be honored by Gloria Steinem. But can't men in relationships find ways to grow sexually with someone with whom they've found a life partner?
No, I think they cheat. Not all of them. But: You go out and get some strange. That's how you solve that problem. And that's the reality of it. Or you sit down and make it administrative. And have a conversation about it. And buy some toys.
That seems so odd to me, this administrative take on sex, where you schedule it. I know it's commonplace advice, but it's never made sense to me. I don't want sex to be like work.
Conventional wisdom says that's for couples who are married, but sexually, couples are accelerated. There's only so far you can go with sex. And I'm not even flexible enough to do half the positions people end up trying as "adventurous." With couplesex, you can get bored quick. Of course, it's a personality thing, too. Marnie, for example, maybe would like to believe that she's passionate and in touch with her sexuality, but in reality, she may not be. And maybe Charlie would find some girl where what he has to give-his tender love, for example, without the throttling sex-is enough.
Recently Charlie was called a sociopath for showing up at a party with a new girlfriend, two weeks after breaking up with Marnie. She called him a sociopath. Is he?
No! She's the sociopath. She's the one who has no consciousness in terms of the damage or the consequence of her actions. And then when things become uncomfortable to her, it's everyone else's fault (to her). You don't get to have it both ways. For either party. That's it. When you cut the cord, you cut the cord. With any relationship there's always that sense of adventure. At first it's novel, and there's that element of freedom and fun, that usually fades as you get to know the person.
Have you ever been in a relationship where it ended, and you started dating someone else not too long after, and the ex-girlfriend flipped their shit at you for doing so?
Yeah. I had a stalker. Somebody started to stalk me. This happened a few months ago. She started calling and texting. She'd text me fifty times a day. She sent me emails, she sent me emails at work, she showed up at my apartment ringing my buzzer over and over again. Eventually, I had to get a stop-contact order from the Seattle Police Department.
Did that work?
Yeah. Occasionally I get a late-night text every now and then, but I'm not going to report those.
That's on some Basic Instinct shit, man.
I like to laugh about it, but it was fucking disturbing. It really got to me. It stressed me out, and made me kind of miserable.
Have you ever been on the other side of the exchange, as Marnie is now? Endlessly clicking on someone's Facebook page, that kind of thing?
Actually, I haven't. It's strange. Sure, I've been upset, and devastated, but I've never gotten to the obsessive state. I think it kind of stems back to that mild sociopath stuff. I feel like I'm just too self-involved to become obsessed with someone else like that.
You sound more well-equipped to deal with love and romance in your 20s than so many people who aren't. I'd hate to see what your version of a strong sociopath is.
Thanks. It's definitely been an evolution over the past eight years. You're catching me at a good time, Foster.
I try. Adam had an interesting episode this week. We got to see his terrible one-man show!
To me, we learned this week that he's actually, in the story, just a representation of Hannah's id.
In what way?
She fancies herself as a writer, but Hannah doesn't strike you as being a particularly artistic person. Whereas Adam is just expressive and volatile and raw. His character represents what she wants to be.
Except for-as we saw this week-when he pees on her in the shower. And finds it funny.
Yeah, that. It was the moment that we saw that world of Hannah's ideal-artist-as-boyfriend start to collapse. In this moment, no longer is he this ideal, but suddenly, just a weird fucking dude.
Ever pee on a girl, in good humor or otherwise?
Can't say I have. Nope. No way. I'm not into the Water Sports, man. If someone wanted it, and really got off on it, I'd be like, Yeah, I'm down, but... It doesn't do anything for me on a base level. I'm not into the degregation stuff.
Last thing: You see this James Franco writeup of Girls?
Uh oh. I didn't.
[Reads excerpts of Franco on Girls to Devin.] He does not like ‘Girls'!
I'm not sure whether Franco's schtick is intentional or not, but he's done a good job of creating a brand for himself. He's writing about Girls, as James Franco. Kudos to him for making us pay attention.
I think James Franco might not like the show because James Franco is Adam.
Even though Adam's weird and disturbed, there's something kind of warm and fuzzy about Adam, because he's oblivious. It's endearing. It makes it acceptable. Whereas James Franco is cynical. Cynicism is off-putting. He capitalizes on his stardom with these calculated characterizations that are...fuckin' annoying. I wouldn't want to live like that. I have enough trouble as it is.
Nobody knows me. I can't even imagine the self-doubt that he must live in.