I found out that somebody close to me is probably sleeping with two girls at the same time.
When is this ever ok?* I dunno. He doesn't seem to be conflicted about it. At all! I also found out that two other guys that I know, and had thought were relatively stable, respectable individuals (the quiet, reclusive creative types) had opted into flings with one or more undergrad (or recently undergrad) art major girls (in half of these cases, the girls in question were between 5 and 12 years their junior). And no, we're not talking not the genuinely quirky art girl undergrad, who wears dreadlocks, funky outfits and has "deep conversations" over a joint, but the kind whose very being is enclosed in at least 14 sets of quotation marks, the kind who has pre-calculated every pose, gesture, and silly little comment.
Well, it goes without saying that I'm pretty disappointed in these guys ~ why are they doing this? They each seemed so great to me initially, like, they stood on their own and had cool thoughts 'n' stuff. But then I find out about their absurd, superficial and somewhat extravagant relationships with a girl (or girls) who make me seriously question the judgment of the guy in question. (I'm also sure that if I knew any of the girls in these situations, I'd be equally perplexed ~ why are they dating these guys who so obviously seem to be using them...)
A friend and I recently reflected on this trend, in light of the aforementioned discoveries. It was unanimously determined that this sort of thing is in many ways a major part of the 20-something arts/arts university community dynamic. I guess I'd never noticed it before, as I was an English major at an all-women's college, and the worst thing I had to deal with was the Mary Gordon devotees, or, perhaps even worse, the PoMo Possee. Anyway, my friend and I came up with a term for this phenomenon: we call it schlooping.
A schlooper is most often a guy, in his 20's, (30's, 40's etc,etc), who is just conscious enough of his shortcomings to feel at a loss. He wishes to be whole, or at least to appear as such. His books of theory, complete 4th season of The Office DVD, and vinyl collection fails to keep him warm at night; they can't adore him the way he needs to be adored.
So the schlooper seeks out and sleeps with a younger, artsy-girl type, often the powdery pastiche of self-conscious, utterly deliberate effervescence. Such types are commonly known as schloopettes. Schloopettes are often younger girls. They are the spritely, free-thinking, politically apathetic dippy dabblers of mankind, in all their artful, calculated effortlessness: sentinels of sarcasm, monitors of the monotone, harbingers of hip, who are prepared to spread their "perspectives" at any moment. And, perhaps even more importantly, they are more likely than the average joe to dish out praise to that older, mysterious, aloof guy who seems to know so much.
Schloopers and schloopettes engage in a symbiotic relationship that is wholly self-referential, masturbatory, self-perpetuating, and theoretically self-contained. Theoretically because the schlooping few think of themselves as isolated, but in reality, sometimes a non-schlooping individual gets involved, and they get hurt, or their heart gets broken, or they find out that the guy they like is sleeping with two girls at once. Or they are just disappointed in individuals for whom they'd had higher expectations. In this sense, I'm think it's also fair to say that schlooping, generally, is highly (self) destructive behavior.
Why** do the schloopers seek the schloopettes (and vice versa)?***
Because they are insecure. Could it be this simple? I think so. There's a fine line between knowing one's shortcomings and hating them utterly. Schloopers think for some reason that they need something to make them better, brighter, to give them the air of being more mature, more mysterious, more in control. And then they hop on the stationary bike of doing cute underfed art student after cute underfed art student for that quick burst of satisfaction, instant grat, and a nice stroke of the ole ego.
They build up a shabby armor of alternative music downloads, obscure film references and VICE blog material, and pad their lives with Achievements, and, even worse, Experience. The more they build, the better the compliments they get as their superficial relationships splay out. The result? Frequent, empty, amaurotic (am-erotic) schlooping.
At the end of the day, our schloopers and schloopettes are using people, each other. And they are inevitably disappointing to people like me, who are so ready to accept their kinder and relatively uninteresting, real selves. Because, in my book, real is almost always more interesting. Give up the gauze, folks!
When will our poor schloopers and schloopettes learn? They should just accept their imperfections and move on, curtail the incessant witticisms, shrug the showism and try to direct their affections and energies in a more genuine direction.
Glug, can't we all just be friends?!
* Crumb's different.
** Echoes of Olympia Dukakis in Moonstruck, "Why do men chase women?" I'd like to think that the case in question is a slight variation on this epic question, as it is particularly rampant in the arts university community.
***Or what, more specifically, do schloopers seek in schloopettes (as they so vigorously dig to the core of each one)?