Madelyn Deutch Made a Movie About How Dating Straight Dudes Will Always Suck
If you’re in college, you probably complain about dating all the time. No guys seem to want a relationship, and even the guys you just want as fuck buddies can’t seem to stay consistent or keep their dick game on point. In general, there are really no eligible bachelors that you would even want to date, ‘cuz half of them can’t even do their own laundry.
But, as graduation draws nearer, you’re excited at the prospect of moving off campus, getting a real job, and meeting a guy who knows the different between “you’re” and “your.”
Well, don’t hold your breath.
Madelyn Deutch is debuting her film, “A Year of Spectacular Men,” at the LA Film Festival next week, and it’s all about the tragedies of post-grad dating. She wrote the film and will be starring as the main character: a girl who graduates, has no clue what to do with her life, and dates five guys in a year searching for Mr. Right.
We talked with Madelyn – who based the film on her life experiences – about why dating in college is actually easier than dating in the “real world,” why post-grad life is never what you expect, and how guys never truly grow up.
So I think a lot of people think once college is over you find a job, find a significant other, and everything goes according to plan. Do you think that was ever a reality?
I think maybe that was an American reality kind of post-World War II when all the men were coming back from overseas and the women had jobs and were living life as these boss ladies. This whole idea that they had to run a perfect home, the men were getting back into the work force, and the economy was kind of good. Yeah, I think you could have a job and buy 800 dishwashers. I think everyone wanted to settle down and have kids and procreate.
I think that kind of American structure existed at one time, like 60 years ago. I think since then it’s been deteriorating. I’m not an economist, but I do think it has to do with the [fact that] as millennial human beings you’re not going to work as a cashier at the supermarket and be able to buy a house. That’s just not the way the world is.
I think it’s a social pressure. I don’t think it’s real and I think college is actually one the biggest lies we’ve been told as Americans.
I mean, I know that’s a strong opinion, but I have so many friends who are in such debt wondering why they went. So yeah, I don’t think it’s realistic any more at all. I think the rug gets pulled out from under you if you go to college in this country.
Yeah, definitely. And people have all this debt and they don’t even end up working in the field they studied.
It’s just wild. I even went to a conservatory for music, but I don’t make my living as a musician. I write and recorded a lot of music, but I just think there’s something about the pressure of having studied something and you’re then assumed to be a specialist in the field and the truth is, is that college or a university doesn’t mimic real life.
Real life, you’re learning on the job, you’re hustling, and you’re guessing, you’re faking it until you make it. But in college they’re like, “This is how things are done, you do things by the book, and you do steps ABC…” and it’s just not real life!
So college guys are notoriously the worst. But do you think guys really change once they graduate college?
Do I think men get their shit together after college? I’m not sure they ever get their shit together! You know, as a young person I always hated those clichés that older people sort of bestow on you. Like those examples of relationships where you see like a younger woman with an older man, I always hated that! I was always like “Man, the patriarchy is alive! Why can’t it be an older woman dating a younger guy?”
But the truth is, men, they evolve so much slower. And so all those old clichés, they’re often applicable. I honestly don’t think that men don’t start to lock into really getting their shit together until 30 at the earliest… unless they’re very special.
Me and my coworkers always talk about how when guys finally do hit that switch, once they hit a certain age where they decide they want to settle down, they do it right away.
Oh my God, I know! It’s like, all of a sudden they just wake up one day like, “DING!” I don’t know what it is, but it’s crazy! They flip so fast!
I would love to see a study on what causes that transition overnight.
I mean, maybe they just start losing their hair and they’re like, “Oh, I can’t act like a jerk anymore”
That could be it honestly, I could see it.
Yeah, it’s all about the hair loss.
So what do you think is the biggest difference between dating in college and your early 20s post grad?
Okay, I actually think it could easier to date in college within your own school because you have so much to relate on. Maybe you have the same professors to bitch about, maybe you have the same group of friend who go to the same parties. You’re kind of dealing with the same politics maybe, and you’re in the same bubble.
I think what’s tough is dating in the outside world or the real world, outside of an institution or university. It’s finding somebody who understands your day-to-day. I feel like maybe why you see people get into relationships that work in the same office or worked together at one point is because you have that nugget to really share and commiserate about.
I think people have a hard time relating and understanding where each other are coming from. I mean, I’m honestly shocked that anyone’s in a relationship ever because timing is so key. The world is falling apart and I’m like, “Oh my God, you’re dating?” It’s honestly a miracle. I think timing is so crazy that with dating in college there’s an element that’s actually easier. Because you’re going to the same classes, meeting in the hallway, all that stuff. But when you get out into the real world, real life starts to inject itself and it can be really tough to make your schedules work or find someone who understands why you have to answer that email at 9:30.
Yeah, that’s such a good point. In college everyone is on the same schedule, but as an adult if you work an office job – are you going to be comfortable dating someone who works in a nightclub who works late nights and sleeping all day? Probably not.
Literally. And everyone’s schedule is so different. Like, I dated a whole array of different people. I dated a photographer and he was gone all the time because he had to travel in order to work. He’d be in the mountains, overseas, on a motorcycle, in the desert. I’ve dated people who worked in night life and they’re not going to bed at 6am. And if you date musicians they’re not doing anything at all. No, I’m just kidding! A lot of people say being in your twenties is figuring out what you can and cannot put up with. I feel like that a huge part of it is, learning what you can tolerate and what the deal breaker is for you.
Yeah I feel like it’s your time to date a million Mr. Wrongs so that you actually figure out what you want in Mr. Right.
So what are some of the most ridiculous mishaps that happened in the movie?
So my movie, “Year of Spectacular Men,” is about this girl named Izzy who gets out of college and doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. And it’s about five guys she dates over the course of a year. It was mostly based on experiences I’ve had. Obviously, when you write a movie based on your own life it ends up taking on a shape of its own. Often, a lot of those experiences don’t mimic what really happened in your life. It becomes its own animal.
I included a lot of stuff I went through. I think the general tone, I really tried to have compassion for the male characters and why they did what they did. But a lot of those dating mishaps are about finding yourself in a situation where either A: you have just misread the whole thing. Like you shouldn’t be there. You shouldn’t be dating this person. Or B: most heartbreakingly, which I find a lot of people in their twenties, is where you actually really do connect with the person and you really do have something that you’ll share and they – or you – just can’t do it. It’s like the availability, the space they have for another person, it’s just not vacant. They can’t let you in. I think that’s the most heartbreaking thing about dating in your twenties. You really can meet someone great and they just can’t do it.
I’ve definitely been there and I definitely agree with that statement. So what are some of the biggest red flags when you meet a new guy?
For me personally, I have some deal breakers. I think my biggest deal breaker in dating, the first thing I look at, is whether he’s an alcoholic or a drug addict. I just cannot deal with it. Addiction is a whole other world that I try to stay out of. That’s a big one. Another big one is guys who obsessively talk about their exes. Like, you’re clearly not over that person and I’m going to exit stage left now. Another deal breaker is people who are dispassionate. Life is short and I think when guys don’t have a trade, craft, or job that they’re passionate about, they do other weird/dumb stuff.
Like, they sabotage their dating life or they wreck their relationships with their family, or they’ll go out and get messed up. I think guys need to channel their energy in a way that they’re passionate about. So, if I meet a guy and he doesn’t have something that he really cares about in his work, it’s going down the tube.
You’re 26 now, correct?
So do you think it gets better, or do you still think there is time to go with dating? Like, do you feel like you learned things from the experiences you loosely based the movie on?
Oh my God, I love the phrase you used. Like, “does it get better, tell me?” Wait, how old are you?
Oh geez, so you’re like in it, huh? It’s so brutal. Do I think that dating gets better as you get older? Not necessarily! Because the other problem that happens is that people learn more about themselves and so they start to – again, another old cliché that people are always telling you – people get more set in their ways as they get older. Like, I did not want to believe that was true when I was younger, but I really think it is. So you start to date people, and you’re thinking, “Wow this person is really great, but they’re a little older. Awesome! They gotta be more mature.” And then they have really weird stuff that they just determined is how things need to be and they’ve been single long enough that they haven’t had anyone to challenge them on it.
Yeah, especially with men. I can see that.
Completely. I mean, I think personally it can get better because you learn to go like, “ding, ding, ding” and know to not go there. That happens as you get older because you have experience and you go “Oh boy! I did that with so and so. It didn’t work out. I’m not going to do that with Joe Shmo right now.” You know? You learn and you know better. In that sense, dating does get better as you get older.