Dear Breakup Girl,
I know you’re going to think this is totally crazy. But it’s true! I live in Chicago with my boyfriend. He is a filmmaker and I am a waitress. I’ve been in school for a few years, but I’m not sure what I want to do. He, on the other hand is quite confident and recently had an opportunity to go to Austin, TX and work on an independent film. He was to be gone for six weeks. I thought that was ok and that our relationship could handle it. Anyway, here’s where it gets crazy. The star of the movie was Parker Posey. We both really admire her work, although now, he admires it much more…if you get my drift. Anyway, he justified it as she is someone we both admire and if I had the day to hang out and do “girl stuff” with her I would (which is true). So he just hung out and did “guy stuff.” I really don’t feel like it’s an equal comparison, but he’s so persuasive. He said it doesn’t mean anything, but if I look at it his way, if I went shopping with her all afternoon, even that would mean something to me. Should I break up with him?
Finally, a celebrity romance story that is my business!
But you know what, I actually don’t get your drift. What do you mean, “guy stuff?” What actually happened? Did they bond over WD-40 and play rotisserie baseball, or did they … hook up? Either way, I hesitate to say this, but I think you need to take your concern down a notch.
Let’s take the worst case scenario (call it “House of Yes”). I AM NOT SAYING THAT “CHEATING IS OKAY AS LONG AS IT’S WITH A CELEBRITY.” (And it’s NEVER okay if it’s with that new stoner MTV veejay, or Dr. Laura.) But I am saying that if there’s any case where a dumbass I-couldn’t-resist hookup that has nothing to do with the quality or appeal of the cheated-on relationship could happen, this is it. Let’s face it, human frailty does include this unfortunate little phenomenon known, in vulgar terms, as as star-f*ckng (figuratively or literally, as the case may be). A dalliance in this department is more of a stupid human trick than a red alert about a particular character or relationship, I think. Put another way, it’s heinous, deserving of censure, but not automatically impeachable on its own.
And if they did — as I think you meant to say — just hang out, play a little but mostly work (call it “Clockwatchers”)? Well, you should still go ahead and be dramatically jealous. Are you kidding me? How could you not be? Parker’s a babe, Parker’s a star; your guy was actually in her presence. How, you may allow yourself to think, could you ever compete? BG used to get jealous whenever a particularly discerning ex raved rapturously about Benazir Bhutto, and it’s not even like the two of them were stepping out to hear Poi Dog Pondering. Your feelings are all legit.
But you should take action on them ONLY if this Parker thing starts to seep from Austin into reality. When he comes back (if he hasn’t already), is he — and everything — the same? Does he treat you fine? If he seems to be stuck on some kind of residual Posey fantasy, then you may have a problem — one for a straight, honest conversation, not an auto-dump. But otherwise, let me point one thing out: even though anyone in her right mind would be out-of-her-mind jealous in this case, it certainly doesn’t help that you, basically, are the Clockwatcher at the House of Pancakes. Get my meaning? He is a filmmaker; you are a waitress. He is “sure” about his direction; you are not. Boy does fancy Posey look even more intimidating and threatening in this light! Am I right?
So try to see this for what it is (or, at least, for what Breakup Girl thinks it is). Think of your own deal this way: “He worked behind the camera — she worked behind the counter…” You may be at the “boy almost loses girl” part of the plot, but there may not be any reason why yours can’t be a Hollywood — or indie — love story.
This advice was originally published on November 16, 1998.