Combining theories gleaned from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and Vulture’s Amanda Dobbins, I’d like to suggest that there are four stages of “The Social Network,”: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake and Armie Hammer.
I was firmly in the clutches of Eisenberg mania after his hilarious turn on “Saturday Night Live,” until news surfaced yesterday that Hammer and Leonardo DiCaprio will be doing some heavy making out in Clint Eastwood‘s new J.Edgar Hoover biopic.
I instantly joined the Armie and experienced some serious gay ja vu. This is exactly how I felt when I found out Sean Penn and James Franco would be getting it on in “Milk.” I was enjoying all of this until the guilt set in and I was reminded of a quote from Tina Fey in Esquire: “The thinking man also wants to fuck Megan Fox.”
Fey, and her alter ego Liz Lemon, represent mirror images — at times accurate and distorted — of the lives and laments of so many of us awkward, nerdy, food- and work-obsessed third-wave feminists (an inevitable outcome outlined in the pilot). As a “thinking woman,” whatever that means, I’m supposed to want a thinking man, right? I’m supposed to be permanently stuck in the Eisenberg phase, hypnotized by his gawky shyness and intellect, or touched by Garfield’s earnestness and unstoppable adorableness.
But Hammer? He’s just so OBVIOUS. Those eyes, that hair, the ridiculous torso; he has enough hotness for two men. I have no idea what he scored on the SAT, I don’t know what kind of music he likes and I don’t even know where he stands politically. What if he’s, gasp, a bro?
Being a token, growing up around girls who fit the traditional ideals of attractiveness, becoming a “thinking woman” — i.e. cultivating a personality, taking pride in your intellect and being the fat funny friend — were kind of my only options. I was never going to be the prom queen, get it? That isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of smart, funny and confident prom queens or beautiful wallflowers, etc. out there. It’s just to say that my world as a token felt pretty, dare I say, black and white.
I quickly realized that the Levi Johnstons of the world, the guys I grew up around and went to school with, were never going to want to date a girl whose beauty was more “Baldwin Hills“ than ”Laguna Beach.” I’m an acquired taste. Likewise, I need a special kind of guy to make me imagine us as a synth-pop duo (a fantasy I stole from Rob Sheffield, who is my hero).
So after years of pining for funny Ivy League-educated nice guys, always gangly and cute, — with the occasional Don Draper thrown in for fun and hipster cred — imagine my surprise when Hammer made me say ”shoop.”
Now I’m all paranoid. Was Fey right? Am I betraying my Lemon brethren because I’m admitting that sometimes looks are enough? Aren’t I supposed to be fantasizing about having long graduate-school level discussions and wearing neutrals (to steal from my pal Shannon) with Franco? While Jon Hamm is totally conventionally attractive — the man looks like he was carved from stone — he’s on a relatively little-seen show and gets a pass for appearing on “30 Rock” (as does Franco). The fact that those two canoodle with Lemon and co. means they’re thinkers. Hammer’s just hot.
This proves my point. In at least one respect, I’m not a token at all. Here’s the thing: Armie Hammer could be a brilliant guy. I have no idea and the fact that I don’t care is what freaks me out. Hence the guilt of the token. Normally my parasocial relationships are based on some sort of intellectual compatibility or shared interest. But with Hammer, I don’t really care. He seems like a nice guy and I haven’t heard him spew any Mel Gibson-style rants, so I’m happy. “The Social Network” cast is really begging to be one giant game of Marry, Boff, Kill, but what do you do when your answers shock you?
The guilt is that I should be holding myself to a higher standard. All the guys who dismissed me because I didn’t look like Blake Lively are jerks, right? And while I know we’re dealing in hypotheticals (especially because Hammer is happily married, and famous, and I’m sitting in my socks blogging somewhere far from Hollywood), my surprise shift from Team Jesse to Team Armie kind of makes me a jerk too. It means I’m capable of being just as shallow and looks-obsessed as the people who rejected me.
Am I being a hypocrite for saying that what’s on the inside counts in life, but in our minds a six-pack, some blue eyes and blonde hair are good enough for this startlingly less-unique token?
Why can’t we let ourselves take joy in mere aesthetics if only in our heads? Do our fantasies have to be politically correct? Haven’t any of us ever been attracted to someone we actively loathed? Just me? Well, nevermind then. Maybe that’s what makes it a FANTASY. I guess I just thought my dreams would veer closer to reality.
Well, I just broke another rule because I think that last paragraph turned toward Carrie Bradshaw territory. But the point, muddled in guilt and insecurity is this: Fey was right. Sometimes the girl who’s smarter than Barbie would still rather end up with Ken. Sometimes a girl just wants to get nailed by a Hammer*.
*Come ON, I had to.