Paul Feig, as you already know, directed Bridesmaids and The Heat and created Freaks and Geeks. You probably don’t know that he was also Eugene Pool, the biology teacher on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which is neither here nor there, except that Paul wasn’t able to record a video for this month’s Ask a Grown Man, so he wrote out his very wise answers, which you can find below. In the meantime, though, we are of course required by internet law to include a video in every Ask a Grown post. So please enjoy this scene, from 1996, of Mr. Pool basically having a nervous breakdown in front of a student.
Here are Paul’s answers to your questions:
I have a friend-who’s-a-boy whom I’ve known for quite a while. He’s definitely special to me, but I don’t necessarily want him to be my boyfriend. I think he’d be really fun to kiss, but I feel like if we did, it would cause all sorts of complications. Do you think it’s possible to kiss someone and remain just friends? Or do you think that if I kissed him he would assume it meant I LIKE-liked him, and then our friendship would be over? (Also, I haven’t had my first kiss yet.) —Rachel, 14
When I was your age, if a girl indicated that she wanted to kiss me (which none of them ever did, btw), I would have taken it as one step short of a marriage proposal. But there are definitely guys out there who are “cool” who would happily make out with you and never give it a second thought. The question to ask yourself is, do you really want your first kiss to be with that kind of guy? It’s fine if you do—people mature at different rates and want different things out of life and that’s all right for them. No judgment here. But based on the thoughtfulness of your question, I get the feeling that you want to be careful and not have the result of your very first kiss be that a guy you want to stay just-friends with is now following you around the halls all moony-eyed and depressed. He may even end up writing you some poetry of questionable quality, and then you’ll be avoiding the poor sap like the plague. I personally think it’s best to wait until you meet the person you like as a potential significant other who also likes you as a potential girlfriend, go see a movie or have a meal or spend the day together, and see what happens. However, if you know for a fact that you’re an unsentimental sort of person who just wants to get this first-kiss stuff over with, go with your gut. My feeling is you only get one first kiss in life. No matter whom it’s with, it’d be nice if it were one you’d be happy remembering.
Do men like “stupid” girls more? If so, why don’t they like intelligent girls? —M.
Look, here’s a secret: A lot of guys are idiots. There, I said it. This is why they don’t like intelligent girls—because they themselves are stupid. Why would they want to hang out with someone who’s only going to remind them how dumb they are? And why would a smart person want to go out with someone who can’t keep up with them intellectually or conversationally? These kinds of guys are usually more interested in things that have no value beyond the surface, like Photoshopped pictures of swimsuit models in magazines. And they will look for people to date IRL who come close to that kind of boring two-dimensional ideal. All of this is fine, since those people need love too. But if you’re really smart, you probably want to spend your spare time with someone who can keep up with you—and I assure you, if guys are what you’re interested in, there are lots of smart ones out there. I would suggest you go after the smart, funny, maybe a little bit nerdy guys. Odds are, they’ll get what you’re all about and will enjoy talking to you and being challenged by you, and, in the best-case scenario, you’ll also end up learning something from them, since they’ll probably be into some interesting things that you’re not aware of. They might not be easy to spot in public, at school or in town, since they’re often not the flashiest guys around. But they exist, and it’s worth the extra effort to track them down. (And since you’re looking for someone with whom you have a lot in common, look wherever someone like you would go). I bet he’ll appreciate the hell out of you for finding him. I appreciate the hell out of my wife, who went out of her way to find me. ♦
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