Wow, cheers, Polly/Heather. Sad to see you leave The Awl, of course, but I've so loved reading you here, and will continue to love reading you at The Cut. All the best.
@Real-ism, (But that doesn't mean *you're* silly! Just the tiny bit of your otherwise thoughtful position that I didn't happen to agree with. :) In case that wasn't clear.)
@paddlepickle, (Re: "You can't completely dissociate physical and emotional attraction.")
I dunno... Personally speaking, that statement is absolutely true of me, but I believe I've stumbled across people for whom it is not? (!) I've had conversations with men who had very strong convictions about the invalidity of that position! It's an interesting premise, and kind of blew my mind to consider it may not be true for everyone, but who knows? Would be interesting to see if any other Awl readers also held the counter-perspective (and would admit to it.)
@Real-ism, I don't disagree with a lot of what you said, but it is not THAT beautiful a thing to "see past physical flaws and *still* love someone with all our hearts"... No high-fives for that; it's actually a relatively unexceptional thing, frankly. It's an odd premise that suggests physical "flaws" preclude people from just naturally being whole-heartedly loved. Ugly people get married with sappy, heartfelt, sentimental love vows every single day. To suggest that overcoming some "challenge" of loving someone with physical flaws is a noteworthy thing to have done or to do, is just silly.
I'll stand as a testament to Polly's assertion in the last paragraph; I feel real love for this guy, and am genuinely rooting for him to move into a life that feels abundantly more fulfilling for him.
Letter-writer: we need more people like you to show up as yourself - you make our world more beautiful. The unfortunate thing about hiding is that, athough it conceals you from those who would reject you, it also conceals you from those who would actively *seek* you out as part of their lives. You are robbing us by robbing yourself.
I also love how great this column has been/become, and I love Ms. Havrilesky for continuing to write it so well and so compassionately. Cheers.
Feeling compelled to mend the wounds (even the subconscious ones) in our history is fundamental to human nature, I think, and since we can't return to the past, I think it's common to try to "revisit" them in our present by seeking analogous situations... as if that will allow us to re-write the painful outcomes we've already survived from our past. I think that’s usually what’s at play when we continue to seek the approval of those we otherwise do not care for, and when we choose to stay in environments we know are toxic to our wellbeing. Polly is right, LW; you're already creative and clever and insightful and diligent and good enough... and trying to get people in your present life to recognize/acknowledge that who don't have the proper motivation to, isn't going to verify that the person/people from your past that also failed to acknowledge it, was/were wrong. They WERE wrong, of course, but you don't need cold-hearted, self-centered, auto-pioleted mediocrity junkies to validate that for you. Somewhere deep inside is the part of you that already knows that, you just have to find a way to give her voice the most weight. As usual, Polly hammers it right on the head. IMO, this column has just been nailing it out of the park lately.
Funny, when I gathered this article was about an over-generous interpretation of the phrase “support the girls,” I figured it was going to be a commentary about how bad Victoria’s Secret bras suck.
The habitually early people are just as insufferable as the habitually late. As are the habitually self-righteous clock-watchers who obsess over other people's arrival times beyond circumstances where timing even makes a reasonable difference. Actually, everyone sucks.
2009 was the year I heard about the launch of a new project by a couple editors whose promise I regarded with a sort of warm excitement and curiosity, the years since unequivocally confirming that, to my delight, adding their venture to my regular online reading/media consumption regimen would ultimately pan out to be an un-regrettable investment of my time. (It's clear that the 'project' referred to is this very site, of course, yeah?)
(2009 was also a year of crippling indecision, whereby the fear of/failure of commitment to a registered screen name would, in the years following, ultimately pan out to a resulting regrettable commenter number, but in cases like this, one is inevitably confronted with the question, is the price of shame and embarrassment resulting from the display of ones regrettable commenter number worth the benefit of being able to share ones earnest appreciation for something that has added genuine value to boundaries of the internet and routine delight to the course of ones day? Of course with the answer you already see coming, I speak for thousands, but nevertheless, let's have it said: Sure, why the hell not. :) Cheers, and happy anniversary, Awl.)
@BoHan - Haha... I considered the contradiction, too, but not so sure AVRH fits most of those parameters, given (from what I understand) its "people" aren't exactly "made up" and its "universe" is only nominally "pretend." (Also, he didn't make connections in "the literary world" via an expensive college or workshop, AFAIK.) I think it gets a pass!