Last week, Jennifer Weiner asked me how I’d tell the story of “Grace,” the twenty-two-year-old who went on the date from Hell with Aziz Ansari. I really did try, but the more I tried, the more confused I got.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense. We tell each other stories about something that happened so that we can impose order on the event. That’s why the same event told by two different people can become two entirely different stories: the event was shaped by two different points of view. I should make it clear that I believe “Grace” was telling the truth in the way she related the events, and I believe Ansari’s apology and his explanation that he saw the events differently. I understand that real life comes at us fast and it’s hard to think straight under pressure; there have been any number of times when I’ve looked back at something and thought, Why didn’t I do something about that? Even so, I can’t take the events as listed and make them into a coherent narrative. Continue reading