TO GIVE A F*CK IS HUMAN.
TO NOT GIVE A F*CK IS DIVINE.
This post has a lot of F*CKS.
(But that’s something I don’t give many f*cks about.)
Q: What do Comedy, Parenting, Social Media, and Politics have in common?
A: They’re all F*ck it arenas. You can’t give a f*ck, but you also gotta give a f*ck. So you’re f*cked.
Lately I’ve been contemplating this give-up-the-f*ck conundrum. The f*ck-none-drum.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the world is obsessed with giving up the f*cks. There are books and podcasts about it. And f*cking blog posts!
I used to give WAY TOO MANY F*CKS. Perhaps having a psychoanalyst dad made me think other people were thinking about me when they weren’t, but I was bananas. I’d over-edit or sensor everything I wrote, worried way too much about who I might be offending, and took way too long to get dressed because I didn’t like the way my jeans covered my boots. I was an over-f*ck-giver.
I resolved to give up some f*cks.
I’ve been pretty successful at it, mainly because I remind myself that nobody else gives a f*ck. But it’s still hard to give up giving a f*ck all together.
I don’t know if it’s possible or even desirable to give up ALL the f*cks.
We’re wired to give a f*ck.
If you wanna be f*ckable (which is a human need or else we wouldn’t be here), you give a f*ck. (This is especially true for women, which I’ll get more into in a mo’.) If you wanna maintain relationships, you give a f*ck.
And when other people seem like they don’t give ANY f*cks, we either admire them or detest them, depending on what they’re saying and whether we relate. Also, they’re probably giving more f*cks than we think.
The best comics seem to not give a f*ck what others think, but that could be a f*ck-it facade. A fu-cade. They’ve honed their f*ck-it material. Their f*ck-iterial. (I’ll stop.) And if they’ve chosen this needy-for-laughs career in the first place, they must give a f*ck.
I’ve done over 100 open mics in the past year. The more I do, the less I give a f*ck about the outcome of any one of them. Not giving f*cks takes practice.
The more you do, the more you realize
a) you’re not gonna die if you bomb and
b) no matter how good your set is, nobody else gives a f*ck.
I’m proud to say I give fewer f*cks than I gave a year ago, but I can’t give up all the f*cks.
When an audience doesn’t know you, you can’t get up there and be all not-give-a-f*cky because
a) It’s not real. We all give a f*ck if the audience responds to us, especially when we’re starting out.
b) If they don’t know you yet, there’s an element of who-the-f*ck-do-you-think-you-are-not-giving-a-f*ck?
My friend who’s a comedy poo-bah and has been dealing in funnies a lot longer than I have, says you’re only comfortable on stage when you give up giving a f*ck. BUT it takes years to get there.
I don’t give a f*ck what anybody else thinks… With the exception of you, fine people.
We love people who don’t give a f*ck, as LONG AS they give a fuck about us.
When someone seems to not give a f*ck what others think, we’re either like “you go, gurl!” or “f*ck you!” depending on whether they’re on our side.
But if you as a performer are basing your material on what the audience thinks, you’re pandering. You give a f*ck.
And you want the laughs. So even though you don’t want to give a f*ck if they like you, if they don’t like you, you’re f*cked.
The goal for me has become: to give no f*cks when I’m writing material, and then give some f*cks when choosing material, based on who’s listening and what mood they’re in.
If it’s a booked show that people pay money to see, comics should give a fuck if people like it. But, obviously, you can’t base your self-image on it.
You CANNOT let your kids think you give a f*ck if they like you. They will use it to get ice cream.
It takes a lot of discipline to care for kids without giving a f*ck if they like you.
We all give some f*cks about what our kids think of us. And we need them to respect us, yet wanting them to like us or respect us earns zero respect. I’m working on the boundary-setting, foot-put-downing, no-f*ck-mommishness, but as you may have seen from my Instagram and FB pages, my kids eat a lot of ice cream.
As for other parents, you REALLY can’t give a f*ck what they think. You’d be miserable. I gave some f*cks in the beginning and I ended up throwing my kids under the bus (NOT LITERALLY!) for the sake of making other parents more comfortable.
I’d be all,
Oh, no, really! It’s MY kid that needs to apologize for being in the way when your little cutie was trying to throw sand in his direction.
I had no idea how to parent and I figured other parents were judging me for my negligence. I fared much better when I gave up f*ck-giving and found the un-judgiest parents to hang out with (which, it turns out, is most of the parents I know).
We all care what our friends think of us. But the besties are the ones who don’t give a fuck how f*cked up we are. And vice-versa.
Your posts will be more interesting if you don’t give a f*ck. But come on. Who’s on social media who really doesn’t give a f*ck, for one reason or another?
Often posts are necessary to process the crisis-du-jour.
Or to get people to come to your shows.
Or to buy your product.
Or to have an “online presence” which affects work opportunities.
Or just to feel a little less isolated.
These reasons are worth giving some f*cks.
Also, if you post something and don’t get ANY Likes, nobody sees it. (That’s how FB works) And then why the f*ck did you go through all that and post in the first place? Props to “writing for writing’s sake,” but you don’t need to post it on social media if you don’t want anyone to see it.
And those people who are not on any social media? I believe they’re hiding something. Think about it. Who do you know that’s not on ANY social media platforms? It’s the dudes who cheated on their girlfriends in high school. They don’t want anyone comparing notes. They woulda been so f*cked (as in not fucked) if there’d been social media when they were in HS and college.
They give a f*ck. They give too many f*cks. Maybe they’re on Ashley Madison.
Or they really don’t give a fuck who they’ve hurt, so f*ck them. (It may sound like I’m talking about someone I dated but actually it’s people who f*cked over my friends.)
But really, if they didn’t give a f*ck, would they be hiding?
Hiding means you give a fuck. And if you’re not hiding anything and you don’t need social media for work and don’t care to interact with anyone from high school, college, sleepaway camp, or the last show you did on the Baltic booze cruise, enjoy your solitude in the woods. I sincerely give you props for your not-giving-a-f*ckery.
Then again, you’re probably not reading this so f*ck it.
Oy. I’d go bonkers in politics. How can you not give a f*ck what people think of you, when you need them to like you to vote for you? And how can you not give a f*ck if they vote for you, when the fate of the world depends on you winning?
The candidates who seemed to give less of a f*ck were the ones who had less to lose. If nobody expects you to win (like Bernie or Trump) you can act as no-f*ck-giving as you want.
Ironically, DJT is probably the most f*ck-giving when it comes to giving a f*ck what others think of him. But since he didn’t want the job in the first place, he could do and say whatever the f*ck he wanted. His brand was F*ck it. ( Fake brand.)
Also, he’s cray. When you’re cray, you appear to not give a f*ck but really you have no idea WTF you’re saying.
It’s a lot easier to not give a f*ck when you have nothing to lose. It’s harder when the future of women, democracy, and the earth hangs on whether you use the word “deplorables” (and btw, if she’d really been free to not give a f*ck, she would’ve used a more fitting word, as I postulated here).
I must also add that the ones who got away with not giving a f*ck were men. Women have a harder time giving up the f*cks about what others think of us. Women are EXPECTED TO GIVE A F*CK. We’re expected to want others to like us, to choose us, to make babies with us and drink nice milk from our boobies. And when we choose not to give a f*ck, we alienate people whose opinion we’re expected to give a fuck about. For f*ck’s sake, we’re so f*cked.
Holly Mandel, a teacher at The Groundlings theater in L.A., breaks this all down impeccably and encourages women (in comedy but also beyond) to say F*ck it. She does a talk that was a key part of my no-f*ckspedition last year. I’d had plenty of womyn’s studies courses in high school and college, but this one gave me extra motivation to give up the fucks. Check it out. I have no stake in her talk, I just want more women to give up more f*cks.
And of course there’s DATING, which hasn’t been my milieu since I got married but I have friends who are single and it sounds suckier than ever.
As always, you can’t give too much of a f*ck what others think, cuz then they smell the f*cks. Yet, meeting people requires giving a f*ck. Tinder takes time. And most people don’t have time to give a f*ck, but if you give no f*cks you get no f*cks.
Not giving a f*ck makes you more likable.
But it’s a f*ckin’ privilege. You need people to like you in order to make a living, raise kids, buy your products, hire you, cast you, vote for you, or f*ck you.
Most people don’t have the luxury of not giving a f*ck, especially if they have real jobs with bosses or constituents.
For artists or creatives, you need to not give too many f*cks when you’re trying to express yourself. But you gotta give a tiny f*ck how it’s received, or whether it’s received at all.
Beware the people who try to convince you to give a f*ck about what they give a f*ck about. That will make you koo-koo (f*ck off that’s how I spell it) and you’ll give more than your share of f*cks.
I hate to say it, but I guess it comes down to f*ckin’ BALANCE.
We all need to find that balance between no f*cks and yes f*cks.
Giving a f*ck is a human condition, so if we shoot for giving no f*cks, perhaps we’ll end up giving fewer f*cks.
Or maybe we just need to give less of a f*ck how many f*cks we give.