Real Life Girls: Lena Dunham Talks to Her Best Friend, Audrey Gelman 

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Audrey Asks Lena

1. If you could switch lives with one person, who would it be?
This is a great question I think about a lot. I like being a twenty-something woman, but it would be really interesting to try another approach to that. So probably some girl in either San Francisco or Boston who has a not-super-serious boyfriend and a business as a seamstress for circus performers and an apartment with a window seat. I invented her but I trust that she’s real and enjoying herself. She smokes and drinks a fair amount but she also rides a bike and is vegetarian, so it all evens out healthwise. I’d also be interested in being a yoga teacher in Boulder or one of Woody Allen’s daughters with Soon-Yi.

2. Name your top eight favorite foods… guilty pleasures or nutritious!
1) Rice pudding 2) Pastrami on rye from 2nd Avenue Deli 3) Cabbage salad at Souen 4) Guacamole 5) Turkey-leg sandwich at Henry Public in Cobble Hill 5) Spicy tuna roll 6) Kombucha 7) Creamed spinach 8) Gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies.

3. What period would you consider the happiest time in your life so far?
I am very much enjoying the current moment. That being said, our first year at Oberlin was amazing. We did so many activities and had bikes from the 80s and the cafeteria was always serving interesting takes on ethnic dishes. We hung out with seniors and it felt like a real accomplishment, and remember the party where someone burned a huge hole in my tote bag? People were not always kind, but we were shockingly resilient. Remember how I got mono and you moved a mini-fridge into my room full of Amish cheese? I didn’t appreciate it enough at the time (but so it goes).

4. What’s the hardest thing about best friendship?
I would say it’s realizing we are separate people. What I want from my life and what you want from yours are very close but not identical, and the job is to support your vision, not my vision of your vision, you know? Loving without judgment or fear or abandonment is, like, the toughest activity known to mankind and I think with best friends that can be even more pronounced because you aren’t my mom, we don’t have kids together—but we do have matching tattoos.

5. What is your favorite adventure that we’ve been on together?
We’ve had some good ones. Our trip to LA last New Year’s Eve was comically ill-fated. From the moment we landed, when we proclaimed we were “winning” at life, things got wonky. Our hotel room made noises, our dates never showed, and we rung in midnight with a shared kiss on the lips. But I also really enjoyed the time you had a root canal so I had to push you through the Cleveland airport in a wheelchair. We were actually treated with so much respect.

6. What is your favorite pair of shoes that you own and why?
My Belgian shoes (a sort of old-fashioned house slipper/loafer with a bow). The Belgian shoe store on 55th Street is timeless and odd and full of one kind of shoe in one thousand candy color combos. It’s a New York fashion institution. Isaac Mizrahi wears almost only this shoe. It looks great walking the dog or watching ABC Family or attending an adult dinner engagement. Mine are turquoise with lime green trim, but you can get more classic or even funkier.

7. Magic power of choice, if given endless options?
Flying, for SURE. Invisibility is too existentially symbolic and confusing. Flying is like taking cabs but better (but windy, you’d need a scarf).

8. Marry, smooch, kill (and why?): Skeet Ulrich, Norman Reedus, Balthazar Getty
Firstly, it says something about our shared aesthetic and frame of reference that you are able to zero in on these specific men for this game. Hunks of the 90s are definitely a genre that is interesting to me, mayhaps because that’s the decade in which I first became aware of lovemaking. This is really hard, but I just need to start by killing Balthazar Getty. It’s not that he isn’t great looking but the other two are just such a big deal to me. Also, all the images of him on yachts with Sienna Miller while still married weren’t big selling points. I know I don’t have the full story, but… Norman Reedus is the one to smooch. What a broody mofo. I saw him outside my therapist’s office once in a slouchy winter cap. Which leaves Skeet, who I marry. He’s a little older now. His heartthrob status has declined, but he still takes care of himself. I hear he’s a country living type. Done and done. You can visit.

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