Why Elijah on Girls Needs to Apologize to Hannah

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Is it too late now to say sorry? Photo: HBO

Every week until the series finale of Girls, Vulture TV columnist Jen Chaney will also serve as an advice columnist for various characters on the HBO series. This week’s advice recipient: Elijah Krantz. As always, spoilers ahead.

Dear Jen,

I recently said something I regret.

You know what? No. Regret is not the right word. I don’t regret telling Hannah that she’s not going to be a very good mom. I was being honest. I truthfully am not quite sure she has what it takes, at this stage in her life, to take care of another human. She couldn’t even keep track of her mother during a trip to the local laundromat. Also, remember that time she jammed a Q-tip all the way in her ear? No, obviously my concerns are legitimate and I don’t feel badly for being upfront about them.

I do feel badly for making Hannah cry, though. When I said what I said, her whole face basically caved in on itself. She looked like she’d just been punched and then, to make matters worse, I actually did sort of punch her on the arm. (Oh, be quiet, it wasn’t that hard.)

Ugh, I don’t know how to handle this. I want to say I’m sorry because I hurt her feelings. But I don’t want to say I’m sorry because that implies that I didn’t really mean what I said, and I did mean it.

What I want is something else … to get me through this … life.

Oh, Jesus, that damn Obertones version of “Semi-Charmed Life” is still stuck in my head.

Fuck. Just tell me what to do about this. I’ve kinda had it.

Signed,

Elijah

Dear Elijah,

You have suggested that you value honesty, so let me be honest with you.

What you said to Hannah was, and I quote: “I’m going to say this to your face because no one else will have the guts to: you’re going to be a terrible mother.” You didn’t merely say she would not be a very good mom. You said she would be actively horrendous at a job that women have been trained by society to think they will instantly master, and if/when they don’t, it means they are total failures. Of course she started crying, Elijah. Come on, dude.

Are there good reasons to wonder whether Hannah can take care of a child given her general self-centeredness and tendency to not just defy social boundaries, but ignore that such boundaries exist? Of course. But I don’t think that’s why you told her she’d be a terrible mother. You told her that because it pissed you off when she said you were the one who wasn’t ready for her to have this baby. That made you mad because you’ve been feeling rudderless and pretty terrible yourself, partly because that guy Ryan with the (allegedly) ugly nieces is replacing the lead in Kinky Boots, and maybe a little because of the residual humiliation caused by pretending to be Shoshanna’s assistant at that WEMUN mixer, but mostly because you’ve reached the age when people are getting focused, yet you are lacking vision. If Hannah Freaking Horvath thinks she’s ready to raise another person and you haven’t figure out how to start adulting yet at all, what does that say about you?

In summary, you thought you’d be leading a charmed life by now. And you’re not. It’s not even semi-charmed. (Sorry for bringing that up again, but admit it: that Obertones version you guys recorded really is kind of cozy.)

Anyway: Here’s what you’re going to do, Elijah. You are going to apologize to Hannah. Because you are sorry for saying that to her, and I could see it on your face the instant those words came out of your mouth. Her face caving in caused yours to cave in, too. It was like a facial expression avalanche.

You are also going to be supportive of Hannah’s decision to become a mother because even though you may be correct to say her decision seems impulsive, it doesn’t matter. If she’s going to try to be a responsible person and parent, as her friend, you should encourage her. That doesn’t mean that you should sugarcoat everything you say about her approach to pregnancy and/or child-rearing. If you see her getting anywhere near her baby with a Q-tip in her hand, for example, that would be an appropriate time to run some interference.

You also have every right to be mad that she didn’t tell you sooner about the pregnancy, especially because her decision directly affects your living situation. She seems to have some expectation that you are going to be this kid’s de facto dad, and that doesn’t seem fair to you. Maybe you want to do that, and if so, that’s cool. But think very hard about this. Hannah has made a decision to sign up for rearing an infant. That doesn’t mean you have to sign up for this, too. You can be a good friend to her and support her decision without surrendering your own plans.

You also should start thinking about what you want those plans to be. You have allowed yourself to be consumed by others — Dill, Hannah, all the randos you’ve hooked up with — without establishing or fully pursuing your own ambitions. Do you still want to be a dancer or a performer? Because I can see you excelling at that, maybe not in Kinky Boots but perhaps in another Broadway production like, oh, I don’t know … The Book of Mormon?

So do this: Tell Hannah you were honestly offended that she didn’t share the pregnancy news right away. Then say you’re so, so sorry for preemptively calling her a terrible mom. Then get busy living your life, Elijah, and stop feeling jealous or resentful when it becomes clear that other people are already busy living theirs.

Why Elijah on Girls Needs to Apologize to Hannah