All my friends think I'm crazy. For the past six months, I've been seeing this unbelievably beautiful woman. She's also really smart, crazy about me, warm, funny, and kind. And I've decided to stop seeing her because, after quite a bit of struggle as an actor, I've finally landed a series and I'm having some success. I don't think it's a coincidence that she materialized around the same time the success did. She loves it. I've heard her brag to her friends about it, and she's become quite a name-dropper. I can't shake this feeling that if it all disappeared, so would she. Thing is, she's the type of woman who wouldn't even have looked at me a couple of years ago. Do you agree with my friends? Am I nuts to give her the boot?
I confess I'm of two minds about this one.
The high-school nerd in me, the guy who was tortured and teased and treated like a big, friendly teddy bear by the girls, thinks: "Who cares why she's into you? Grab onto this brainy bombshell with both hands and never let her go!"
She sounds like she's got quite a few of The Seven Essestm every bachelor seeks (smart, sexy, sensible, sane, strong, soulful and single).
Such creatures are rare! I remember when I was an on-the-prowl bachelor. You were lucky if you came across a woman "in the field" who had one or two of the Seven Esses.
But three or four or more? Bingo! Full house! Cash in your chips! Can you really be so certain if you put this babe back into circulation someone similar will come along so soon?
As for her being into you for your success, well, it might be a slightly retrograde comment, but these things are hard-wired. It's our hunter-gatherer roots. Deep down in her DNA she wants a man who can return from the hunt with a steaming carcass - or at the very least something furry on a stick - over his shoulder.
And you've shown her that, with your acting chops, you can bring down a big, juicy, meaty role in a series. Attractive!
Of course it's great when a woman finds you when you're down and out - or, let's say, young and on the rise - then you can convince yourself she's interested in you for your personality and soul.
But even then a big part of the attraction is probably based on the man's potential. I met my wife Pam (who had all Seven Esses, gentlemen, in one easy-on-the-eyes package!) when I was nobody and had nothing. Sure, we fell in love; we were "soulmates." But I also think she took stock of my talent and gnawing ambition and thought: "Hmmm, a 'handywoman's special.' With a little TLC and elbow grease, could repay my investment well."
Or, to put it more romantically, she "believed in me."
But now that you're a hotshot actor you can no longer play the "believe in me" card. And here's the Hitchcockian twist: Having said everything I've said above, if you really think she will "disappear" if your character falls down an airshaft - well, then, you're probably doing the right thing.
You do want someone who'll be there for better or worse, through thick and thin, whether you're on top of the world or at the bottom of the ratings.
I'm sorry if it sounds unscrupulous, but you could try a little test: Tell her the producers took you aside and told you your character will be whacked by a hit man, or develop a rare fatal disease by the end of the season, and that you've finally had it with the ups and downs of acting, and you're thinking of going into catering ("Oh well, sic transit gloria mundi, eh baby?" you could say with a heavy actorish sigh) and see how she responds.
If she says: "Oh, honey, whether you're wearing a bow tie and slinging coconut shrimp in someone else's mansion or living in your own mansion in Beverly Hills, I don't care; I'll always be by your side," well, then, there's your Hollywood ending.
But if she says: "Oh. Well, could you hook me up with one of the other guys on the cast who's still going to be around next season?" then, painful as it might be for my inner high-school nerd, you should probably open your bomb-bay doors and drop this bombshell back down upon an unsuspecting population.
Then go out and find a Ms. Right who will stick with you through life's ups and downs, ins and outs, red carpets and series cancellations. The good news is: In your current position, you'll probably have a lot of fun on the search.
David Eddie is a screenwriter and the author of Chump Change and Housebroken: Confessions
of a Stay-at-Home Dad.
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