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Has ‘Girls’ Won Me Over? Me Thinks So.

It’s obvious that someone like me — a brown journalist from California living in New York City without any financial aid from my family with ambition and determination to spare — would abhor HBO’s “Girls” lead character Hannah Horvath — who has no real ambition, or job, apart from the one where she’s routinely (comically?) molested, and was coasting on her parents retirement plan up until two episodes ago. But during Sunday’s episode, when Hannah finally got up the courage to tell off her psycho “boyfriend” Adam at his doorstep, only to fall into his arms again, I began to relate to this colorless “poor little trust fund baby” show. I’m embarrassed to type, but I’ve been there.

In New York City, like other metropolises, people are ridiculously busy and sometimes they don’t even know why or how they became that hurried. From grad school to building careers and ‘trying to become the person you were meant to be,’ most young ambitious people in large cities are literally hustling. As a music journalist for a major magazine at 26 years old, I was always between a lunch meeting, a listening session, a deadline, cursing out a label executive, or calling one of them so he or she could curse me out because they were upset about some truth I’d written. Between all of my career building, I didn’t have much time to date. And my social pool of rappers, R&B singers, rappers’ managers, R&B singers’ managers, music industry executives and marketing people weren’t really the choicest of candidates for a woman who doesn’t like to share her man or want everyone to know who I was dating. So, I ended up seeing a guy I knew was not good for me because he was familiar and off my social circle’s radar. In fact, only one person ever saw the guy because I never brought him out in public, and he never brought me in public. In short, fuck buddies with no real future. Fine, right? This is New York, we’re busy. But then, I fell in love with him like an idiot, which led me to give him numerous Hannah-like speeches only to return to the sheets with him.

Foolywang.

I’m not proud of these moments as a young 20something in New York City but dammit if they didn’t happen anyway. There are reasons why I call some men “crack,” and it’s not a term of endearment. But I’m putting my skeletons out for all to see because while I’m definitely tired of well-off women without color writing about their precious lives like I should care despite not seeing myself reflected in their art, “Girls” is clearly on to something because there are moments that 20something women experience that cross color lines unfortunately, and those bits are full of embarrassment, bad judgement, great sex and, I guess HPV these days — official stats to come, shout to Parlour columnist and Grand Cayman traveller Nakia D. Hansen. So should Lena Dunham be held accountable for her colorless show “Girls” being heralded as a hilarious mirror for my generation when the only non-white folks with speaking parts were an Asian woman and a homeless man in the debut episode? Yes. But can Dunham possibly craft an honest depiction of what life is to be an insecure 20something finding her way in love in New York City? Me thinks so.

Last 5 posts by Hillary Crosley

  • Ariachiodo

    Thanks for this! I’ve admired Dunham since I saw her film Tiny Furniture, and she is obviously very talented. And, as a white 20-something in NYC, I certainly related to “Girls,” but was very aware of how white it is. I think it is problematic to make a show about NYC without any people of color represented, but, on the other hand, she is representing what she knows, and what she experiences. An experience which is, as I think you agree, universally true for any 20-something, city-dwelling woman. Thanks again!