Thoughts on Nathaniel P. – I’ll try to be a little more timely with post discussion posts in the future.
I know this guy. The kind of guy who needs to grab their thick head of hair to be reassured that a female’s insult doesn’t have the ability to mark him publicly. A thirty something man, ripe and in his prime, who reserves the word “mature” for women that will have sex with him. A polymath of sorts that will break dinner etiquette and light hearted banter to remind you that half of what you pay for at an organic grocery store is the feeling of being ethically pure. He’s the kind of guy who will only date a woman that not only meets the approval of his friends, but are just flat out better, smarter, and hotter- this makes him feel like a better person and thus, essentially is beating everyone at life. He is a champion of human rights, one who despises inherited wealth and status, yet is fixated on whoever is the next in line to land a book deal with the most zeros attached to it. When it comes to the commitment of a relationship, he never really gets involved, and gradually loses interests which becomes sort of trap that will frustrate their partner until, out of complete frustration, the significant other is left being the one that has to do all of the “heartbreaking”. He’ll break plans to spite you. He’ll fantasize about cheating on you because things have been “tough”. He’ll denounce a romantic dinner as a “thing”, a certain “thing” that he cannot fathom being confined to night after night at some gentrified faux dive bar, ad infinitum. For this urban, hip, literary type, being alone in a dirty apartment provides immense satisfaction. It is a place where he is safe, productive, shielded from his friends, and these so called love affairs.
Yes, it seems that many of you know people that cast similar shadows to the characters in this novel. Maybe we have had a friend that desperately searches for reasons to stay in or save a relationship.Perhaps you’ve cringed during the telling of your superficial friends’ latest and greatest conquer or hook-up, whose expectations of dating is doing both blow and super models, and all the while they don’t even like cocaine. Well maybe not so much the last one, but I get it, and you got it as well. The characters in this novel were too real, too flawed, too familiar to the everyday characters in our lives, that for some of us, it was irritably painful to finger through a book devoted to the normal conversational drama and almost non-eventual lives that played out in this book.
I thank you all for delving into the psyche of Nathaniel Piven. In close, this one’s for him- a little anthem for his uncompromising battle of trying to simultaneously exist as good person, a sexual person and successful person: