ISN’T IT BROMANTIC? : What is up with all these guy crushes and man-love?
Audrey’s resident bro expert tells all.
ISSUE: Spring 2012
DEPT: The Awful Truth
STORY: Paul Nakayama
I recently returned from a trip to Vancouver where my writing partner and I celebrated New Year’s Eve. To quote our generation, it was epic. Now, judging from the photo (opposite page), you might assume that we went there as lovers, or perhaps even newlyweds. But, no, dear readers, it is, in fact, a “bromance” of the highest caliber. For those of you who’ve never heard of a bromance, it’s defined as a very close, or homosocial, friendship between two straight men. You’ve all seen examples of a bromance through television shows like Scrubs and Friends or movies like I Love You, Man. There are even real world examples like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon or George Clooney and Brad Pitt. It’s a strong bond formed from common interests and long periods of time spent together. Hearing this, my editor was unsatisfied, or rather, still suspicious, and she demanded a better explanation. I took a look at the photo again, and I thought maybe it is in my best interest to provide a few insights
into this new definition of brotherhood.
The concept of guy-love is lost on those who have never experienced it (so, men from older generations or women). It’s not weird or strange anymore to see men display their affections for their buds physically. I’ve seen grown, bearded men shove aside a fist bump request and instead firmly place their chest against another man’s chest. It’s strange and perhaps unnerving to them to see men platonically bond while throwing in the occasional hugs, butt-slaps and friendly wrestling. Whatever happened to the good ol’ days of stoic machismo, they wonder? Well, these days it’s cooler to be cool with man-love.
I remember one time in high school I spent the night at my best friend’s house once. His dad, an old fashioned type, raised an eyebrow when we went into the hot tub to relax. When it was time to turn in, his dad seemed nervous about something, as if the fate of his son’s future rested on the events of this particular evening. He kept hanging around the room, which was a drag because we wanted to close the door and talk about girls. Finally, after long periods of pacing and internal debating, he looked at us and pointed at the bed. He stuttered, “You know, I don’t think the bed is big enough to hold both of you.”
What do you do when your dad, like many others, mistakes guy-love for gay love? It’s not like we were planning to share the bed, but we did what anyone would do when faced with an awkward opportunity to teach someone about tolerance. We went with it and antagonized the poor man. Arms around each other and a big grin on our faces, we said, “We’ll make it work.”
I thought some more on why bromances are so common these days. When did it all start? I wondered if it was somehow a natural progression from the emergence of the metrosexual man. I thought that the heavy use of high-end conditioner and facial moisturizer made our hearts as soft as our hair and skin. In all seriousness, though, single men these days are simply less concerned with the notion of being identified as gay than their fathers and grandfathers. If anything, I’ve seen bromances take pride in their ability to ride the razor’s edge of platonic and sexual. Take me, for instance. Whenever I get drunk, I tend to lift my brothers into the air a la Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing. I’m not trying to cop a feel (usually); there’s just no better way to show a brother you love him than by doing a ballet lift together.
Bromances aren’t just an American thing. I’ve witnessed and experienced it on many of my travels, like Anthony Bourdain, but instead of food, I sampled male bonding. In Brazil, I befriended a group of the tallest, largest men I’ve ever met, and when I had trouble wading through the packed crowds, one of them actually lifted me up above the people and placed me in front of the bathroom. I said to him, “Obrigado, my gentle giant. Obrigado.” (True story.) In Hong Kong, I spent several nights drinking with guys that simply liked me because I could hold my liquor. Imagine that — bonding with strangers over such a superficial reason, and yet we were inseparable for days. In Singapore, I saw a club full of guys perform a synchronized interpretative dance to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” Actually, wait, that might’ve been a gay club; it was kind of confusing. Finally, in Korea, I saw men holding hands and kissing each other’s faces. Well, I wasn’t ready for the master class bromance, but you know, I just wanted to give you another example.
While most women comment that it’s “cute” to see men bond so closely, I’ve also had plenty of girls poke fun (with a hint of “what-the-eff” in their voices) at my bromances. When that happens, my buddies and I shrug it off because we know that it’s just jealousy. Now before I get angry letters from you (which I wouldn’t mind actually since it’s at least some evidence that someone is reading this), I’ll explain the source of the jealousy. It’s not uncommon for men these days to be more emotionally available to their man-mates than their actual girlfriends. There’s less emotional risk and you still get the satisfaction of catharsis. There’s no regard for what comes in the future; there’s only the enjoyment of the now. In other words, men can enjoy the intimacy of a long-lasting relationship without the dreaded “so-where-are-we-headed” talk. You combine that level of hassle-free friendship with man-dates that involve common interests in video games, sports, music and entertainment, and it’s not ironic that even the most commitment phobic guys have at some point in their lives said to another guy: “Dude, if you were a girl, I’d marry you.”
Now, with the context I’ve given, does the above photo of me leaping into another man’s arms make more sense? Still weird, you say? Yes, there was alcohol involved at the time this was taken, but that’s not an excuse. There’s no need to make excuses for something as beautiful as the friendship of two men. If anything, I will fight like a Black Friday shopper to defend my right to be cradled in the arms of my best friends. It’s a great thing that the taboos of the past are being cast off to create a world where men are OK with showing feelings, affection and love. Why not have a world where men can accept and hug instead of front and fight? I think it’s awesome. Well, except for those really aggressive huggers that linger. That’s just awkward.
More stories from Audrey’s spring issue here.
ISSUE: Spring 2012
STORY: Janice Jann
The next big name in post-apocalyptic teenage angst coming to a bookstore (and a big screen) near you? Look no further than Marie Lu.
Yes, Marie Lu’s debut novel Legend is set in a bleak, distant future where, yes, there are warring factions and, yes, precocious teenagers must face obstacles where lives are at stake, but don’t think Lu is just another writer jumping on the Hunger Games bandwagon.
The 27-year-old Chinese American author was actually in the middle of shopping around another book — a novel centered on Mozart’s sister —when she decided to write Legend, a post-apocalyptic, Les Miserables-inspired saga. Though Lu never intended to write a young adult novel, she says, “ever since I was in high school, my protagonists have always been teens. It’s a very interesting time in life where you have more responsibilities, and mixing it up with hormones makes for fun ways to explore characters.”
The book’s film rights were scooped up within weeks and Legend has been receiving rave reviews for its well-blended combination of substance and suspense. Lu is grateful for all the positive response. “[The feedback] has been really good,” she says. “I love hearing most from teens. They’re so direct with their answers. ‘I like this character, and I don’t like that one.’”
Lu may seem young to already have found such literary success, but the payoff resulted from years of hard work. Since the age of 14, Lu would begin writing around 4:30 each morning. She wrote during her undergrad years at USC, wrote throughout her stint as a video game art director, and continues to keep her early-bird writing patterns even though now she can actually afford to spend all day behind her desk. “I got into a rhythm,” says Lu. “Now I can’t write past noon.”
Lu is currently working on the second and third book of the Legend series while juggling a writer’s tour, but she’s handling the pressure in stride. She considers her success icing on top of analready scrumptious cake. “This is something I would have done regardless if I got anywhere with it or not,” she says, “so I just think of that when I write.”
ISSUE: Spring 2012
STORY: Courtney Hong
Get ready, America. Japanese superstar Jin Akanishi is set to take over with his U.S. debut album, Japonicana.
Singer, songwriter, producer and actor Jin Akanishi is remarkably focused. The 27-year-old groundbreaking artist has been working hard (often with no time to eat) on his highly anticipated U.S. debut album, Japonica (a reference to the great influence that Japan, the U.S. and Spain have had on the singer), which drops March 6. Akanishi describes the album as one that “has no boundaries … a collection of music and sounds that I love,” including club, dance and pop. It’s a project that “really allows me to be creative and true to myself.”
Akanishi, who grew up in Japan, is used to crossing boundaries. He was the lead vocalist for the Japanese boy band KAT-TUN, which had multiple number one hits on the Japanese national charts and became the first group to ever perform 10 consecutive days at one of Japan’s most notable venues. But Akanishi stepped into unknown territory when he left KAT- TUN to pursue a solo career, without a record company’s support, in order to fully utilize his creativity.
So far, Akanishi’s risk-taking has paid off, with the release of his number one iTunes single, “Test Drive” featuring Jason Derulo, and a deal with Warner Music Group. After a number of solo shows in Japan, he toured the U.S. in 2010, performing at sold-out, 2,000-plus seat venues. “It was an amazing experience,” says Akanishi. “It was the first time I did anything like that in the U.S.”
Akanishi returns to the U.S. with a five-city tour starting March 9, and will be making his big screen debut as a wandering samurai alongside Keanu Reeves in the period film, 47 Ronin, opening on February 8, 2013. Though he’s newly married, expect to see a lot more of the superstar. “L.A. has become a home away from home,” he says. Lucky us!
THE COSMOPOLITAN OF LAS VEGAS
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
STORY: Anna Park
The stylish terrace studio offers plenty of eye candy inside, right, and out (yup, that’s the terrace view overlooking the Bellagio water fountains).
For someone who isn’t into gambling or tanning, Vegas never held much allure. That is, until The Cosmopolitan came along. Over-loaded with style in every velvet-tufted niche, The Cosmopolitan is just a year old and already one of the hottest properties on a strip of hot properties. Everything is geared towards a more chic experience, from stiletto sculptures and fashion wall art, to the mismatched chair lounges complete with vintage pool table. Even their take on the obligatory all-you-can-eat buffet, Wicked Spoon, is done with panache: an abundance of vegetarian options, delicate small plates and portion-controlled servings. (What other buffet offers roasted bone marrow on brioche toast, duck meatballs, or a made-to-order mac and cheese station?)
The hotel’s pièce de résistance, however, is The Chandelier, a three-story bar dripping in curtains of dazzling crystals. Sipping a toasted marshmallow cocktail ensconced within its twinkling walls is enough to bring out the girly girl in anyone. Details CosmopolitanLasVegas.com.
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
DEPT: Plugged In
STORY: Melody Lee
When she’s not portraying the smart, witty Alice Valko in ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Amy Rider is producing, directing and starring in her own web series, The Monogamy Experiment. Rider, whose mother is Japanese, gives us the inside scoop behind her not-so-secret life.
Audrey Magazine: Tell us about The Monogamy Experiment.
Amy Rider: It’s a film first and foremost, but we released part of it as a web series. It’s about a couple who’s too young to marry and decide to investigate whether people are biologically monogamous, so they try having an open relationship for 30 days.
AM: What was your inspiration for it?
AR: A lot of my friends have tried the whole open relationship thing and I just couldn’t wrap my head around how it would work out.
AM: What have you gained from the experience so far?
AR: I’m happy that I learned so much about what it’s like behind-the-scenes. I really, really like it. It’s very fulfilling in ways that I don’t get to experience through acting. I was challenged in a manner that I was never exposed to, but it was satisfying in other creative ways.
— Melody Lee
As the runner-up on The Voice, Dia Frampton, who just dropped her solo album debut, loves songwriting and recording. Performing? Not so much.
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
STORY: Y. Peter Kang
Singer Dia Frampton has a major case of stage fright.
The producers of NBC’s The Voice, a reality TV singing contest which Frampton narrowly lost last summer, definitely played up the Utah native’s shy personality, portraying her as a shrinking violet.
In many cases, reality TV is far from reality, but for Frampton it wasn’t that far from the truth.
“I probably went pee like every five minutes before I went on because I was so nervous,” says Frampton in a telephone interview. “I think it’s just recently come to the point where I don’t enjoy performing very much. It feels wrong to say that — I love songwriting, I love recording, but when it comes to performing I get so nervous it’s not fun for me sometimes.”
But the 24-year-old, whose father is Dutch and mother is Korean, says she is working on it. She’s started to take acting classes to help conquer her stage fright. “It’s getting me to take myself out of myself and it’s been really helpful,” she says.
She doesn’t have much time to conquer her fears since she’s set to go on a 26-date tour in January opening for country star Blake Shelton, who served as her mentor on The Voice. Frampton, once part of indie rock sister act Meg & Dia, will play songs off her solo debut album Red, released by Universal Republic in early December.
The doe-eyed singer collaborated with a number of notable names in the music industry for the album, including Mark Foster and Isom Innis of indie pop band Foster the People, and Isabella Summers of Florence and the Machine. On top of that, the first track off the album, “Don’t Kick the Chair,” features rapper Kid Cudi.
Frampton describes the music as pop, but with her signature. “It was kind of weird at first because I think pop is associated with bad things in a way,” she says. “When I think of pop I think of auto tune and people dancing around in their underwear, but I’m excited and proud. It’s pop done well and we tried really hard to keep what’s special to me.”
— Y. Peter Kang
Executive producer and star of the hit NBC series The Office, Mindy Kaling is taking over pop culture with a new blog, a new screenplay, a new TV deal, and her new book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?.
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
DEPT: Cover Feature
Photos Diana King
Hair Alex Polillo
Makeup Mylah Morales
Wardrobe stylist Karla Welch
Photo assistant Kevin Kozicki
Location WaterMarke Tower, Los Angeles Calif.
Editor Janice Jann
It’s hard not to be charmed by Mindy Kaling. For starters, the woman is hilarious. Ninety-nine percent of the things she writes, says, directs, and tweets makes you laugh. (Sample tweet: “I will never cheat on you but I may gain 100 pounds which is a different kind of betrayal. #unusual- weddingvows.”)
She’s also whip-smart. In her debut book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), the Ivy League graduate, in her own words, “kind of killed it in college. You know that saying ‘big fish in a small pond?’ At Dartmouth College, I was freakin’ Jaws in a community swimming pool.” (Did we already mention she was hilarious?)
She’s thoughtful. She apologized profusely for constantly rescheduling our interview and called five minutes early so we would be able to chat longer. B.J. Novak, Mindy’s The Office co-exec producer, writer, star and friend, has said this about her: “Mindy has long been considered the best writer on The Office, and every actor on the show thinks she writes for them best. There is the extra little ‘smile’ that infuses her scripts, which is hard to quantify. As a person, she’s incredibly sentimental, more than anyone I’ve ever met, but she’s also incredibly sharp. She’s unabashedly both.”
These admirable traits have propelled Mindy into a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. At only 32, Mindy has been nominated for an Emmy, published her first book, and sold a screenplay. She is developing a TV show, boasts more than 1.5 million Twitter followers, and relaunched her popular blog, TheConcernsofMindyKaling.com. About her packed schedule, Mindy simply says, “You make time for what you love.”
We chatted with the Indian American entertainer about everything from the audacity of having had a happy childhood to not getting stuck in a box.
Audrey Magazine: So Mindy, since I just finished your book last night and I pretty much know all about you, I guess we’re done with the interview.
Mindy Kaling: [Laughs] I’m glad you walked away feeling that way.
AM: Was it hard for you to crank this book out?
MK: At the beginning, it was very hard. I’m used to [writing scripts]. The book is very dialogue-heavy cause that’s my forte, but it was very daunting ‘cause I was thinking about all the great essayists. But no one has this expectation that I’m going to write this Joan Didion work of art — they want a book with fresh observations that’s funny and personal. That made it easier.
AM: Was it difficult for you to share so much about your personal life in the book?
MK: I’m a pretty open person in general, so I have the privilege of being open because my life isn’t full of tawdry details and wild stories. I can be very opinionated because I don’t have anything to hide. When I talk about my childhood, I had a very fun one. You get this weird problem where it’s like, nobody wants to read about someone with an idyllic childhood with great, responsible, fun parents. But that’s actually not true — people love to hear about that.
AM: That does seem to be going against the trend of what the current hot memoirs are about nowadays.
MK: There are a lot of female writers coming out [where] what’s intrinsic to them is a level of raunchy details, which I’m not all that interested in reading or writing. Hopefully, this book will appeal to people who don’t need that.
AM: You talked about a great childhood with your parents. What’s your relationship with them like now?
MK: When I first moved back to L.A., I was so homesick I would visit my parents once a month. Then I became not so homesick and I would still visit them once a month. My parents are all-stars. I get so much out of our relationship, I’m just taking it for granted.
AM: Would you say you had a fairly untraditional Indian upbringing?
MK: One of the things that made it an untraditional Indian upbringing was that my parents didn’t meet in India — they didn’t have an arranged marriage. Another thing is they don’t speak any common Indian language so the only language they speak with us is English.
What was so great was when my parents were both younger, they had parents who kind of already decided what they were going to be and steered them that way. With my brother and myself, there was none of that. They saw that, at a very young age, I loved acting and writing and they kind of let me do that — not only let me do that but encouraged it a lot. Especially my dad. He was very encouraging of me following that path.
AM: In your book, you talked about a period in your life where you pretty much lived like a starving artist in New York City. How did your parents feel about that?
MK: They were slightly anxious. But in college I had done so much theater that they had seen and loved, and I would show confidence. I don’t know where that came from. I was so confident and I expressed that to my parents. They were like, “Great, she’s so confident about it, why wouldn’t we be?”
AM: Did you always feel like you were destined to become a writer-performer?
MK: As confident as I feel, it takes an almost comically confident person to be able to say that they were destined to be in movies and television. I don’t think I was destined, but I think I am of the personality type where the rejection or odds of something doesn’t scare me. Maybe it was because my mom moved to Africa at 20 by herself, but there’s a certain fearlessness that runs in my family for things where there’s absolutely no reason to believe that it should work out. I get that from my parents.
AM: You got your big break when you wrote the critically acclaimed play, Matt & Ben, spoofing Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Have you ever met either actor?
MK: I’ve never met Matt nor Ben. They seem like pretty smart, cool guys. We did no research on them when we wrote that play so I have no idea what their personalities are like at all. Our portrayals of them were not based on anything real. It was definitely an absurdist play.
I bet they don’t even really know or remembered that this play existed. They’re both movie directors and famous actors. [Laughs] They just seem like nice guys.
AM: From that play, you got a job at age 24 writing for The Office with creator Greg Daniels. In your book, you write about your quarrels with Greg. Does he know you wrote about that?
MK: I was really scared to show that part to him. I don’t think any grown man wants to be seen fighting with his younger female employee, but I think the fact of the matter is that he doesn’t have a fighting personality, so that he would fight with me is kind of my fault. But it’s fine; we’ve come to an understanding about our volatile relationship. I noticed the people that I fight with the most, I have the longest relationships with.
AM: You two obviously have a great working relationship as you’ve just been promoted to executive producer of The Of- fice this season. Congrats! Do you have more responsibilities now?
MK: Now that the cast has gotten so big, I do feel more responsibility. There’s a thing called “running a room” where you’re in charge of everyone in the writer’s room. I used to be one of those people checking my Blackberry and now I’m one of those people annoyed at the people checking their Blackberry. I became management, which was interesting ‘cause that’s not really my personality.
AM: Speaking of management, you’ve also directed a couple episodes of The Office.
MK: The first time I directed, I couldn’t sleep the night before because I was so terrified. When you’re directing, you’re making more decisions. I had to make more decisions in a day than I had in the previous two months. To the point where you’re like, “Stop asking me questions, people.” You have to be very patient as a director and I’m a very impatient person. But I love directing. You have the final say. No one else can get in the way of that. Especially on a show like The Office where the network largely lets us do what we want to do, directing is fantastic. Especially if I’ve written and directed an episode. I don’t even have to run an idea by the writer — I am the writer. That’s a fully realized medium.
I would love to keep directing. I think it’s really fun and I think I’m good. It’ll be great to do other projects. I’m really inspired by my friends who direct their own stuff, like Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture). She’s so talented and inspirational. She was the one who encouraged me to direct my own movie.
AM: You’re outspoken about your love of romantic comedies. Are you OK with the fact that they’re not really reflective of real life?
MK: I’m pretty aware that like any movie, there are people who you see that you’re like, “That’s just like me!” I think Judd Apatow did that with his films. People actually said, “Oh, I’m seeing people like me and my life on film.” But I feel like people don’t care. Who would want to go to the movies to see a perfect reflection of themselves? There are parts of the romantic comedies you do want to see, like, what’s the fashion going to be like?
AM: So what would be the ideal role for you?
MK: That’s a good question. There’s an ideal role, and [there’s] the role I’ll most likely get cast as. Everyone’s dream role is to be a part of an ensemble in a movie by the Coen brothers. A small part in something like that. That would be ideal.
AM: In a drama or a comedy?
MK: Right now, I want to continue in comedy ‘cause that’s in my comfort zone.
AM: There’s a lot of flack women in comedy have to take. If they’re funny, they can’t be too girly. If they’re too girly, they’re not funny. Or if they’re too into pop culture, they’re not smart, and vice versa. You’ve managed to get away with professing your love for Beyoncé and shopping, and still come across as smart, funny and someone people can take seriously. What’s your secret?
MK: I think we’re only putting ourselves in boxes if we think we can only be a certain way. I play a character that’s kind of silly and I’m Mindy Kaling who likes to go shopping, and I resent anyone who makes me feel like I can’t do that. We don’t all have to be Supreme Court justices. We don’t have to all play someone that has their sh—t together ‘cause that somehow makes women look better. I’d rather play someone that looks very real to me and have my fans think for themselves. I do get criticized by women who think that because of who I am, I shouldn’t talk about shopping or be an emotional person, and I think, “Why?” Now you’re just putting women in another box where they can only be a certain way. I think that’s too bad.
AM: With all the pop culture space you’re currently taking up right now, would you say you’re having a moment?
MK: [Laughs] I have been more busy — I don’t know if that’s having a moment. I’d like to be busy and stay relevant for the rest of my life. I feel like I have something to say and this is the first time people are listening, but I hope I always have something to say. Like Tom Hanks. He’s been having a moment for, what, 30 years? That’s pretty great.
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
STORY: Elyse Glickman
The historic resort town of Hua Hin, Thailand (incorporated in the 1920s by King Rama VII), has authenticity in its favor, with local culture and natural beauty winning out over Phuket’s five-star flash and dash. Chiva Som, one of Southeast Asia’s most innovative wellness resorts, lies at the heart of this gorgeously unpretentious oasis, just a three-hour drive from Bangkok. Though it seems a little quiet at first, Chiva Som’s lush, fragrant compound opens like a lotus into a multi-dimensional, calming experience.
Chiva Som’s primary mission is to send guests home with a most lasting souvenir — better health habits, attained in most pleasurable ways. For this reason, personalization takes priority over pretension. Shortly after your first glass of crisp lemongrass iced tea made on-premise, a spa counselor will promptly set your personal wellness plan into motion, even steering you away from treatments you would pick if left to your own devices. Though a body scrub or facial may be tempting, the counselor may insist Reiki, Thai massage or their patented digestion- focused massage are more appropriate for your long-term well-being.
Fitness classes (everything from Thai boxing to Shaolin Wushu to golf), modifiable to every fitness level, are made more enticing with lush jungle greenery and laid-back fitness instructors. Chiva Som’s cuisine is delicious and informatively presented, with calories and specific nutritional benefits outlined in detail. Cooking classes incorporating a trip to Hua Hin’s food markets with Chiva Som’s chef are also available for an extra charge.
Though Chiva Som encourages guests to stay on property as much as possible, they do offer shuttles to Hua Hin’s bustling night market. An upscale alternative is the delightful Cicada Market (cicadamarket.net), staged only on weekends, featuring live jazz performances as well as handcrafted jewelry, clothing, textiles and objets d’art sold by their creators in a tidy maze of open air boutiques. Details ChivaSom.com.
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
STORY: Jimmy Lee
A warning: Cockblocking can be hazardous to your health. Especially if your college fraternity brother is now a writer on the hit TV show you’re starring in, and he thinks you got in his way when it came to getting the ladies. It’s one possible reason why Sendhil Ramamurthy’s chiseled features were on the opposite end of a fist so often on Heroes.
“I’ve never seen anybody get punched in the face as much as Suresh did. I mean, he got manhandled,” said Ramamurthy, referring to his character on the now-defunct NBC series, last July at Comic-Con. “I think he enjoyed just pummeling me, and bloodying me up.
“I was like, dude, I was not your problem,” the 37-year-old remembered telling his frat friend. “As flattering that you think I was the problem, it wasn’t that.”
Now on the hit USA Network series Covert Affairs,” Ramamurthy gets to do some of the pummeling. “Oh, it’s coming, don’t you worry about it. I just did a scene last week where I ….” He paused before continuing. “Yeah, it’s coming.”
Keeping secrets is just a part of what the son of Indian American immigrants does as CIA operative Jai Wilcox, in addition to wooing women and killing bad guys. And there’s one thing his new character has in common with Suresh: an air of mystery. What Jai’s motivations are and who his allegiances are with (maybe the show’s star, Piper Perabo?) have been kept under wraps. But expect some revelations during the second season’s second half, which began in November.
“You can expect Jai to do whatever he needs to do to get what he wants. I look at him as quite Machiavellian,” said Ramamurthy.
Though Ramamurthy is probably done stealing away any more women — he’s now married with a daughter — it sounds like Jai is not done wooing hearts.
— Jimmy Lee
A week off your relationship? A celebrity one-night stand? A mutually agreed upon hall pass may sound like an easy A, but columnist Paul Nakayama reminds us why that’s just cheating.
ISSUE: Winter 2011-12
DEPT: The Awful Truth
STORY: Paul Nakayama
Recently, I chatted with my editor at Audrey’s Fashion Night Out. It was nothing too cerebral, since I can’t speak intelligently about politics, the economy, science, literature or really anything besides video games or comic books. (How is a geek like me the relationship columnist, you ask? A steady delivery of cupcakes to a certain office in Gardena helps.) Nonchalantly, she turned to me and asked, “What do you think about hall passes?”
“Do they still use them in school?” I asked.
“No, you know, where you get a week off from marriage and live the single life,” she said.
My jaw dropped. “Your husband is right there!” I gasped. I mean, flattered, but I still gasped.
“What?! No, not with me! I mean as your next topic for the column!” She exclaimed, wide-eyed and likely offended.
I nodded understandingly. Oh. Right. Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking, too. I took the awkward silence as an agreement on our new topic. And so here I am, the single guy talking about the troubles that married couples face.
In the 2011 movie, Hall Pass, by the Farrelly brothers, Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis are unhappy with their married lives, so their frustrated wives give them a guilt-free week to party like single men. Essentially, they’re authorized to bang anyone if they can pull it off. I don’t know about you, but the premise alone sounds like entrapment. They might as well answer their wives when asked if they look fat. But that’s how the movie goes and, like any predictable comedy, they learn the error of their ways and learn to appreciate their marriages. Of course, in the real world, a story like that can only end in UFC- style beatdowns, dismemberment and the splitting of assets.
But for the sake of adding a few hundred words to the column, let’s explore why a Hall Pass might come to be. I know a lot of married couples and, while they shall remain nameless, the number one complaint I get from the husbands is that sex is all but gone. They say they masturbate more now than when they were single, which means you should never shake hands with a married man. Either you’re too tired, she’s too tired, the kids won’t leave you alone or whatever the reason, sex is rarely as passionate or spontaneous or even available as it used to be. For some men, that’s like being the benchwarmer on a Super Bowl-winning team … they’ll eventually ask themselves, “Why am I wearing this ring?”
That’s not to say that the lack of sex is the biggest issue leading to a Hall Pass-destined marriage – it’s just the most common complaint I’ve heard. I’ve heard it so much that I’m starting to doubt the reasons why married men want man-caves. I’d assumed it was used as a mecca for video games and beer, but the truth might be closer to it being a den of rampant, desperate masturbation.
Part of the draw of the Hall Pass is the fantasy of it all (while the other part is having sex with other people). The grass is greener and all that. Isn’t that why every couple eventually has a what-if talk about their celebrity hall passes? You know, where you each choose five celebrities that you’re allowed to sleep with if the opportunity ever presents itself. But, of course, it’s never supposed to happen. If anything, the celebrity hall pass is a device by which a couple can gauge how much they love each other. For example, let’s just say that Anne Hathaway was all like, “Take me, Paul. I know I’m on your celebrity hall pass list because I read Audrey.” I would have to politely decline and say, “I’m far too happy with my girlfriend to recreate my favorite scenes from Love and Other Drugs with you, Anne.” Because I choose my partner and because I value living.
And vice versa, how would I feel if my girlfriend met Ryan Gosling at a party and he saved a puppy from a burning tent and then asked her, “I need to work on my incredible abs that even men can’t resist. You in?” I mean, at first, yeah, I’d be flattered that Ryan Gosling had the same taste in women as me, but then, I’d be like, “Wait a second ….”
The celebrity hall pass is supposed to be a hypothetical that never comes to be. It’s a game. Otherwise, Hollywood celebs would have celebrity hall passes, too, right? Actually, I just checked TMZ, and I suppose it kind of seems like they do. They call it “dating.” All right, new rule. I’m only talking about us regular folks.
Here’s the thing, though. I know married couples secretly do want a Hall Pass, of some kind anyway. How do I know this? Easy. I’ve been to a little place known as Las Vegas, the Hall Pass Capital of the World. At bachelor and bachelorette parties, do you know the craziest, rowdiest bunch? It ain’t the bride or the groom or the strippers, I’ll tell you that much. It’s the married folks. This is their vacation from marriage. Even if their lives are perfect with a giant home, perfect job, darling little kids, there’s something that becomes pent up inside of every good husband, wife, father and mother. Behind every puking bachelor/ette is a married person that wanted to get their drink on and party like they were single again. I’ve seen it. It’s terrifying.
Now, I’ve given you the reasons why I think Hall Passes could happen, but I should be fair and also give my reasons why, even as a single bachelor trying to live the life, they’re a bad idea. It’s not often that I allow myself to be cheesy in print, but I’m skeptical of Hall Passes because marriage is about building a life together with the things that matter most, and that’s got to be more important than one week of sex with Anne Hathaway. (Maybe … still thinking … no, marriage is more important.) Marriage is one of those promises that take so long to find and so much work to make that breaking it just doesn’t make sense to me. You break the rules once, and you’ll probably break them again. It’s kind of like quitting cigarettes — every now and then you’ll want a stick when drinking. And I want marriage, should I ever find myself in one, to transcend that sort of thing. Unlike comedies, I’m certain that most people can’t recover from a Hall Pass.
I think most married people forget how much it sucks to be single. They’ll say it every now and then, but it’s not a true recollection of the loneliness and desperation. Masturbating a lot as a married man? Please. That’s because you’re keeping count. Being single means always trying to find someone to share things with, and yes, those things include your penis or vagina. Ironically, despite the complaints about the lack of sex in marriages, the strikingly lonesome thing about being single is not the quest for sex; it’s the hunt for companionship. And that hunt can take years, so why ruin it for a week of fun?