At the urging of one of my best friends, who I met in my mid-20s in New York, I finally sat down to start this series last Friday night. I loved three episodes in a row, and left my girlfriend a message thanking her for getting me to watch it. Then I started avoiding it.
When I went to bed that night, I dreamed I got fired from my job (uh, as a stay-at-home mom?) and was trying to figure out if I could afford to move to New York. Oddly, my bank account balance reflected its real amount, so I figured I could do it. But I'd have to find a job once I got there. And who knew how long that would take...
On Saturday evening, my husband suggested we watch another episode. We only had time for one, and I resisted. We should clean our house instead. (Huh?) That night I dreamed I was having an affair with a badly-chosen boyfriend from my 20s. Only this time, my 4-year-old son was in the next room, and I was going home to my husband. I was so stressed out. How was I going to hide it? Would he ever forgive me if he found out? When I awoke at 4:15am, I actually thought to myself, "It's not real. Oh, what a relief."
Now it's Sunday night. And instead of watching it again, I feel the need to explore this feeling of discomfort.
The only difference between this show and my time in New York as a twenty-something is that back then, we actually had jobs. No, they didn't pay well - I made $25,000 working for a small music marketing company, and my soul sister made $27,000 working for a music booking agent. We paid more than 50% of our take-home pay in rent, and a coffee and pumpkin muffin from Dean & Deluca was an epic treat (but $2.50 Jack & Coke's at Rudy's were in the budget, because they came with free hot dogs). Only one of the four girls on the show actually has a regular job, which is probably reflective of today's graduate population (which apparently has it far worse than we did 15 years ago).
But everything else in the show is painfully familiar. The too-sweet cloying suitors. The horrible booty call boyfriends (though none of ours were quite as vile as Adam Sackler). The shoddy apartments. The reckless risks with substances (and the ever-present cigarettes). The irrational fears that accompanied the horrible booty call boyfriends. The daily girlfriend therapy given and taken. The concern from our parents that our lives were borderline crazy/unsafe/excessive.
But we, like the girls, had the confidence we had that we would grow into the people we wanted to be. And did we? Yes. Although now that I think about it, neither of us is as accomplished as Lena Durham is, writing, directing and producing the Emmy-award-winning series at the tender age of 27.
Huh. So maybe it's not that familiar. I'll guess I'll give it another shot.