If you like “surfing with men” and “posting pictures of yourself in a bathing suit” on social media, Jonah Hill “may not be the right partner for you.” This became widespread information last weekend when semi-professional surfer Sarah Brady claimed that the actor was “emotionally abusive” during their roughly year-long relationship.
Hill hasn’t weighed in on the discourse, but the evidence is compelling. Through screenshots of alleged conversations between the two—shared via Brady’s Instagram—Hill, then 37, supposedly instructs Brady, then 25, to delete certain posts and videos from her account for fear the world might behold her “ass in a thong.” Which is rich, I might add, coming from a guy who has spent his career repeatedly and fairly asking the public not to comment on his body. In another, Hill all but threatens to dump Brady if she can’t respect his “boundaries for romantic partnership.”
“Plain and simple: If you need: surfing with men, boundaryless inappropriate friendships with men, to model, to post pictures of yourself in a bathing suit, to post sexual pictures, friendships with women who are in unstable places and from your wild recent past beyond getting lunch or coffee or something respectful, I am not the right partner for you,” Hill writes.
Make no mistake: I’m all for setting boundaries, even and especially those which are painful to enforce. But darling, boundaries these are not. Hill’s terms read more like a list of rules. It’s a move plucked straight from the pseudo-feminist boyfriend playbook. Wrap your demands in garbled therapy platitudes and maybe she won’t notice! (Inevitably, she will.)
“A boundary is something I set for myself—’I will not do this to protect myself,'” sexologist Cyndi Darnell later tells for me. “A rule is, ‘you will not do this to protect me.'”
“If you and I are hanging out and you are constantly late, for example, and I end up waiting for you for an hour each time we arrange to meet. And I say to you, ‘This is not okay with me. It’s important to me that you respect my time. I’m asking you to respect my time. I will not continue to hang out with you and make plans with you if you can’t respect my time.’ That’s a boundary,” Darnell goes on. “Whereas a rule would be, ‘You can’t go to school anymore because when you go to school, you’re always late. So let’s just skip all of that and say you can’t go to school anymore because that makes you late. And that pisses me off.’”
It’s a distinction sex educator and former unicorn Lola Jean often found herself needing to make while negotiating threesomes with couples. Rule-making, she noticed, was sometimes used to pad insecurities, eliminate perceived threats, and guard against unarticulated fears as opposed to protecting the sanity and greater good of relationship.
“A lot of times people confuse boundaries with rules,” Lola Jean explains. “A couple may say, ‘This is our boundary,’ but it’s actually a rule… I’ve had people that are just like, ‘You’re not allowed to do this, this, and this to my partner.’ And it’s like, ‘Cool, great, thanks for considering my fun.’ Those things aren’t boundaries. They’re set from a place of fear—of ‘I don’t know how I’m going to feel about this, so let’s not do it.'”