This is my attempt to flip around this drivel: 9 Reasons Why Dating Actors is a Bad Idea. Apologies to my civilian friends - I love you; I just don't want to date you. And let's face it, you don't want to date me either. And that's all OK. For the record, I love actors and sometimes, I date them, too.
One of the most common romantic fantasies that men and women in this country tend to have is to date and marry and live the American Dream. The men all want June Cleaver, and all the women want Mike Brady?
And why not (besides the mildly inconvenient fact of those two being fictional)? Conforming to social norms can find you loved, financially stable, and the subject of envy. And your friends will be happy you settled down just like them. Right?
Now I've been living in Los Angeles as a struggling director-type for some years, and for better or for worse have gone out with enough civilians to know what it's really like. So if you're an entertainment industry type seeking a fulfilling relationship, here I present to you why dating a "civilian" is a Bad Idea. My experience is with males, but the generalizations below being of the vast variety, they apply regardless of gender. (I'm honestly not quite sure how that works, but my musings are vast, VAST I TELL YOU.)
1. Civilians are financially stable.
They are often frugal and they tend to want to spend money on houses, kids, and cars. They plan for retirement, and they aren't going to want to spend their vacation money shooting a film short.
"Maslow's hierarchy of needs says that base-level needs like shelter, security, employment and resources supersede higher ones." True that, but further, when these are the most important things to you, you don't rise to the higher ones involving story, film, and artistic expression. So someone who's focused on making a traditional life doesn't just lack time for artistic expression but may not be in a position to offer (or receive) creativity at all.
2. Civilians are in a state of perpetual emergency.
Normal life is so stressful! You didn't RSVP for my party! Are you coming?! How can I PLAN?! OMG you FLAKED??? ENTERTAINMENT TYPES ARE SO UNRELIABLE!!! Every little life thing is an emergency requiring excessive amounts of planning and commitment. Funerals and weddings, people. You have to commit and be on time for funerals and weddings. And set, of course.
If you're dating him, you try to be accomodating the first few times. But after another big deal because you had to cancel for a last minute meeting, you start wondering whether all the pressure about things that really seem like they should be more casual is your idea of fun. Which contributes to the next problem...
3. Civilians have normal schedules.
Where they work half as much as you and yet somehow seem really tired, really stressed out, and sometimes incapable of handling a life that seems pretty damn cush.
Civilians are going to care that you work on weekends. They're going to care that you're on a film shoot instead of regularly and constantly available to go out to dinner and to friends' birthday parties. If you're on a shoot for 3 months, they might actually perceive that as a negative.
If pursuing dreams and creative work is an essential part of your fulfillment in a relationship, then you're not going to be fulfilled. But hey, you'll make that birthday party. Whoopee.
4. They aren't constantly exposed to rejection, so they don't understand the entertainment psyche.
I bet you've got a mantra. I bet you've got good days and bad days. I bet you're a master of the pick yourself up and dust yourself off. You might even go to a therapist to help you manage your self-esteem issues.
I bet you've dated someone who judges you for all of that. The fact is, they couldn't take it for even a day, so why would you want to date them?
5. They are rarely criticized publicly and therefore feel insecure.
Hey, I know the bad things people think about me. My good friends tell me to my face, and my critics hop on my online spaces and tell me I suck and that I'm doing everything wrong. You know what that does? It makes you stronger. It makes you question, decide, and move forward with your own ways, your own art, your own plans.
Poor civilians don't want even one round of that fight. But secretly, deep down inside, they worry about what people think of them.
6. Their lack of self-absorption in an artistic passion leaves little room in their lives for yours.
Entertainment work takes self focus. Sometimes you've got people cheering you on, other times it's just you in your court. You've got to think about your stuff all the time. You've got to work on your stuff all the time. In my group of good entertainment friends, our self-absorption feeds into our interest and support of each other and each others' projects. We take turns in a sense. We each have a passion, so we understand the prioritization of passion. We find ways to fit our passions together.
However, civilians often don't have anything similar in their lives nor the time and energy to be understanding and patient about your 16-hour day. They may feel that you're not there to support them in their times of need. You may feel like *sometimes* their times of need are rather silly.
Also, you will probably push yourself to be there for them even when it's crazy difficult, and they will not remotely appreciate that you turned your 16-hour day into a 20-hour day. After all, they took their 10-hour day and... Well, your priorities are all screwed up anyway.
7. They find sustained, deep happiness in a totally different way from you.
Insert pseudoscience drivel here, but seriously, for this point please see my favorite film of 2010: Get Him To The Greek. There's a moment at the end where (spoiler alert) Aldrous Snow goes on stage and Aaron Green decides the music industry isn't for him. In that moment we see Aldrous Snow's bliss, and we see a civilian walk away from it. Entertainment is like that, it's about the bliss, and it doesn't have to be the immediate gratification of a concert. Every other day of my life is worth every day I'm directing. Knowing I'm working towards those days and practicing my craft is where my sustained, deep happiness comes from. Applause or good reviews is just bonus happy.
Civilians feel that way about other things, I'm sure, and no one should ever say that any group of people isn't capable of sustained, deep happiness. That's just silly.
8.Their satisfaction is externally detemined.
"If you were to summarize all the thinking of the ages about happiness and living the good life, it may come down to this: if you can generate your own good feelings from within, you win. If you depend on the outside world to generate good feelings for you, you lose."
If you live and work in entertainment, you become an expert at generating your own good feelings from within. Of course, you're helped out by the inherent meaning and motivation to be found in exercising craft and pursuing an artistic journey.
Poor civilians be keeping up with the Jones. So sad. (And, of course, not sweepingly true of any group of anyones. See point 7.)
9. They inhabit a state of permanent decline.
The number one reason it's difficult for me to find suitable civilian dates is that so many of them eat like crap and don't exercise. They talk about how they're getting old, but if you eat poorly and never exercise... Dude, I don't think it's your age. At least, how can you even tell?
So he's the one thinking he's a piece of heavenly perfection, but it sure looks like he's turning into Quasimodo. (Or maybe Carl, Sr.?) Eventually, you'll get tired of being with someone who doesn't care about their health and fitness, and he will think you don't have your priorities in order (see #6) and things unravel from there. Lucky you though, you're still smokin'.
Of course, my dear reader, you will still be attracted to civilians in spite of all of this, and you may still date one of them someday. If so, perhaps by knowing what you're getting yourself into, you'll be the one who bucks the trend. But just knowing it's raining outside won't keep you from getting soaked, so proceed with caution still.