The secret to a long-lasting relationship is perpetually imagining the worst. It's a world view tracing back to my Eastern European ancestry and one I draw upon regularly. For example, if you're certain the mosquito bite is a tumor, you will go to your doctor and he will tell you it's a mosquito bite. On the other hand, if you feel confident the mosquito bite is merely a bite from a mosquito, you'll never go to the doctor, and you'll most likely die.
It's like all those idiots who get tattoos of their partner's name after a few months of dating. That sort of confidence only leads to an assortment of even uglier tattoos to cover up the first one. Or laser removal, which is incredibly painful. Just ask Angelina Jolie.
One might say it takes confidence to make movies with the person you also do sex with. To my Spanish-speaking friends, I say, "Verdad." But think about how much uglier the directors I would have to sleep with to get parts would be, were I not part of a romantically inclined filmmaking team.
Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne. They wrote about junkies in parks and transvestites in Miami. But my boyfriend and I write what we know: the marvelous misery of coupledom. And the joy. And the confusion. And what it means to carve out an identity for yourself when you are too often largely defined by the person you love.
It is a new era for the "rom-com." Women poop in sinks and talk like sailors. But in comedy there has to be truth and authenticity. We have set out as filmmakers to investigate modern relationships with both humor and heart. Kind of like "To Catch a Predator," but in long form.
We co-wrote our first movie about breakups, aptly titled "Breaking Upwards," because we were, in truth, breaking up. And in that time span I learned the horrors of being a single woman in New York. While my boyfriend, director-writer Daryl Wein, had his choice of semi-vapid, semi-models, I was being played by men all too aware of the plethora of options at their fingertips. Myself being the most vertically challenged of the bunch. (Are there Jewish supermodels? Please advise ... ) Our latest film, "Lola Versus," is about being single. And the sh*t storm that is inevitably endured in this city full of beautiful women just looking to be loved.
In my view, relationship movies never get old because humanity will never not be confounded by their relationships. Especially with the advent of sexting. I have been in a relationship with Daryl for eight years. And there is a consistent dialogue about where we're at, what we need, and when we might want to do it with a stranger. So monogamy is a subject we are drawn to as artists. Because it is a struggle, whether openly discussed or not, that plagues couples everywhere. Except for some people in Utah. And Africa. And Asia.
It is a fascinating tap dance that couples play, as interpreted by Woody Allen, Paul Mazursky, and J.Lo and Marc Antony. But this film is not about a couple. It is about a woman. Trying to understand how to not be in a couple, and not to seek coupledom obsessively, as so many of us do.
So go see my movie. June 8. And get that mosquito bite checked out.
Zoe Lister-Jones is a Brooklyn-born actor, writer, and producer. She was most recently seen in Theresa Rebeck's "Seminar" on Broadway, on NBC's "Whitney," and in Fox Searchlight's "Lola Versus." She was the co-star/writer/producer of the 2010 indie film, "Breaking Upwards."