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Sage & Blunt: High and Dry

Henry Loomis

Dear Sage & Blunt,

My partner and I have been in a relationship for almost two years, and we’ve been struggling to figure out how to keep things exciting. It seems like lately all we do is sit around, watch TV, do homework and talk about our days. And since we’ve already done practically everything you can do in Grinnell — all two restaurants and movie theater! — we’re running out of ways to have new experiences or fun with each other. Any tips?


High and Dry


Dear High and Dry,

I love TV. One of my favorite shows of all time is HBO’s “Girls,” which seems to be having a mild cultural resurgence at the moment, and I have never been in a two-year relationship, so I think I’ll talk about TV.

“Girls” was modeled after HBO’s smash hit “Sex and the City,” which, if you’re not familiar, follows 4 white women in their 30s, best friends living in Manhattan, working high-power jobs and looking for sex and love. “Girls” aims to tackle an earlier stage of life, following 4 white women in their 20s — girls, really — just a few years out of college, living in Brooklyn, not quite having figured out anything work- or sex-and-love-related.

 The four protagonists of “Girls” are easy to hate, which is why I love them so much. They’re privileged, spoiled, ignorant and self-centered — you spend most of the series watching them flail, perhaps trying their best, but often sabotaging the relationships and opportunities in their lives. They are bad friends. With few exceptions, their parents pay their rent. They have no sense of the world around them — this is famously true of the show’s creator and stars as well, and this has been written about in excess, so I won’t waste space here. Feel free to look up Lena Dunham on your own time.

 My favorite part of the show is its central love story, which occurs between the Carrie Bradshaw of “Girls,” Hannah Horvath — played by Dunham — and her struggling actor boyfriend Adam — played by Adam Driver, my beloved. When the series opens, Hannah and Adam are just getting to know each other, and we follow them through ups and downs and bear witness to the eventual demise of their relationship.

 Towards the end, Adam gets a big job in a Broadway play. Hannah is used to Adam having very little going on in his life aside from her, which originally worked well for them both, and his newfound dedication to his work proves difficult for her to come to terms with. He no longer has time to blow off his responsibilities with her, no longer has the desire to have the wild, fucked up, truly uncomfortable to watch sex that he and Hannah used to have when they were first seeing each other.

 So in an attempt to keep things exciting, Hannah asks Adam to meet her at a bar after his rehearsal one night. Roleplaying as a bored housewife in a platinum blonde, Halloween-y wig, she seduces him in her painfully awkward way. In alternating waves, Adam is taken aback by it, reluctantly compelled by it, game for it, turned on by it. Hannah takes him back to a friend’s apartment — novelty! — and gets him into bed. Everything seems to be on track until Hannah starts to concoct a new narrative in the moment. It takes Adam out of it, and suddenly they’re having this serious conversation about their relationship.

 Disheveled, wig cast aside, feeling rejected, Hannah says she was just trying to “have sex the way we used to,” to which Adam replies, “You have an old idea of who I am.” Adam used to roleplay and say weird stuff in bed with Hannah because he used to have weird sex with women as a thrill, to numb his psychic pain, “but then,” he says, “we fell in love, and then, I just wanted to have sex with just you, as us. Just fuck and be sweet, or whatever.”

 Okay, here’s the part where we finally talk about you. Based on my understanding, long-term relationships are many wonderful things, but they are not new, and therefore, they are probably not exciting — certainly, they are not as exciting as they were when they started. When they’re good, they are safe, sweet, comfortable and comforting. Maybe you just have to accept that whatever good things your relationship is, exciting is not always one of them. If you want excitement, I’d recommend skydiving!

While it may be difficult to let go of a former version of your partnership that was fresh, mysterious and thrilling, it will allow you to discover the joys of knowing someone intimately for years and watching them evolve.

 One thing I learned from Hannah and Adam is not to hold onto an old idea of who someone is, or an old idea of what a relationship is. While it may be difficult to let go of a former version of your partnership that was fresh, mysterious and thrilling, it will allow you to discover the joys of knowing someone intimately for years and watching them evolve.

 My most practical suggestion is to spend a good amount of time apart. After a while, sleeping in the same bed as someone else every night is an excitement killer. Give yourself and your partner space to miss each other. Hang out with other people, do things alone. Also, to nod at the “dry” in your name, I’d recommend maintaining a sex life that does not involve your partner, whether that’s alone or with other people — ethically, High and Dry.

 Maybe you should put on a wig, make up a fake name and meet your partner somewhere. Although I’ll warn you, it didn’t work out for Hannah and Adam.


 Sage & Blunt

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About the Contributor
Henry Loomis
Henry Loomis, Graphic Designer
Henry Loomis is a second-year studio art major from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  He loves books, trees, the artist Ellen Gallagher, movies, but especially queer films involving the ocean, and grows more obsessed with Joanna Newsom every day (the songs seem long, but he promises they’re engaging).
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