Monday, January 23, 2012

The Cranky Divorcee Advises Hermione and Holden

The eternal winter of my discontent continues tonight. I was on the verge of throwing up my hands and letting Hermione Granger and Holden Caufield, from Amanda Nelson of BookRiot's list of the Top Ten Made-Up Literary Couples get together without my advice.  They're kids; what does it really matter? But my better nature won out. Youthful ignorance isn't bliss, and it's my duty as an advice columnist to the fictional to pass along my hard-won wisdom.

Hermione, there are a few things you ought to know before you hook up with Holden. There are lots of guys who can be pegged as a "type" that you should date in your teens and twenties.These boys are like illnesses: you need to be exposed to them, suffer, and recover, in order to build an immunity. Let's examine a brief and incomplete list of types:

1. Angst Monsters
2. Musicians/Poets/Artists
3. Bad boys
4. Wounded Birds

Holden is a Type 4, with a healthy dash of Type 1. He's bright, entertaining, rebellious and thoughtful. He's also confined to a psych ward. So let's analyze where this relationship could possibly go.

(Image via The Sexy Little Nerd)

That's right--nowhere! But that's all right. You should be with Holden to cure your savior complex. I'm not a fan of your relationship with Ron, so I may be a bit biased. But let's face it: Ron is not the brightest, funniest, or cutest. He's also not the least whiniest. He's not your equal, but with constant exposure to him, and limited opportunities to meet any another guys, you've come to expect that you should save the guy you're with from whatever trouble he gets into.

Hermione, as the girl who used a magical device to be in two places at the same time so that you could attend more classes, you aren't applying your thirst for knowledge to relationships. Holden is the perfect guy to experiment with. But be careful about ending the relationship. You don't want to get sucked into an endless cycle where:

(How I envision Holden: Kieran Culkin as 
Igby in "Igby Goes Down")

1. You dump him.
2. He says, "I can't live without you. I'll kill myself!"
3. You take him back.
4. You get fed up again and dump him.
5. He plays the suicide card again.
Just as long as you go into the relationship with the realization that you can't "save" Holden, it should be educational and not overly disastrous. He'll get you to drop a little of that goody-two-shoes veneer, and you'll show him that the world is so much more magical than he imagined. Literally.

Holden, I'm not focusing on you because Hermione is too good for you, and you really need to grow up and work out your issues before you inflict yourself on another person. But in the short term, I think you'll learn a lot from Hermione, if you're open to the possibility.
(Image via NYT)

The real question is, which fictional man has long term relationship potential for you, Hermione? I think I've found the perfect guy for you:

 The Young Sherlock Holmes. He's brilliant, eccentric, and full of energy.  You're practically mirror images. This could be a match made in heaven!

Children, I have exhausted my supply of wisdom for the day. I will resume swanning around my boudoir, cigarette holder in hand. Farewell until next week.


  1. An immunity to music, poetry, and art?? But that is the very stuff of life!!!

    1. Absolutely. I'm not saying that the path to happiness is marrying an investment banker. But! But! Artists, musicians, and writers generally are, to varying degrees, selfish, self-centered, and immature. You have to be, to believe that you should continue to create something entirely personal and often routed in the imaginary, in the face of rejection. On the other hand, lots of people who aren't creative are selfish, self-centered, and immature, and I'm not advocating not dating those people. I'm saying that it's healthy to build an immunity to the romanticized perceptions that often attract women in their teens and 20s to artists. Hopefully, an immunity will enable you to view a person holistically, and not just because you're impressed by what they do.

  2. I'm saying that it's healthy to build an immunity to the romanticized perceptions that often attract women in their teens and 20s to artists.

    You should write a story on this theme. Actually, I think this is an idea that would fit nicely into the book you're working on now. I agree with you in that I consider art a selfish pursuit, but, you know, like, selfish as in socially irresponsible, which I guess is immature, but not selfish as in greedy, which is a sin. Or maybe it is a sin to devote your life to art, I don't know. A lot of artists ARE pretty insufferable, but I think that might just be a cultural thing.

  3. Yeah, I find it hard to write about a theme. I generally write about a situation or characters, and try to let the theme happen by itself.

    I'm not articulating it well, but I don't think being selfish as an artist is a bad thing. It's just a thing. Definitely not a sin. I think that somehow it can be a drawback in the personality of an individual, as well as a plus in the creation of the art.