it boggles my mind because dan really does seem to think she’s cute and has fun bantering and laughing with her. and then…. that conversation about his upcoming f*** session… i don’t get it? does he think amy is his dudebro?? a friend he never had sex with?? (on a different note, do you think his switches between “amy” and “ames” mean anything?)
It’s worth backing up here, I think, because while that scene is infuriating, there is a method to Dan’s madness, strange though it may seem.
His absolute worst trait is his fundamental – instinctive – selfishness. He puts himself first in every single decision he makes – which is a dangerous combination with his tendency towards short-termism (enlightened long-term self-interest might not be such a bad thing). So, right now, when Amy really, really needs him to be a fucking man for once in his life, his focus is entirely on himself and what he wants and doesn’t want.
Which, I think can be summed up as two different things.
1. He does not, does not, does not want to be a father. (Which, I would say fair enough, but…mate, if you have unprotected sex, babies are kind of part of the deal. He could have just gone down on Amy that night if he really wanted to avoid parenthood). He wants to continue to be a free agent, able, apparently, to sleep with anyone he chooses. (Even If his way of hitting on the buzzfeed reporter was weirdly creepy).
2. He doesn’t want to lose Amy again.
I know it might not seem that way, but…this is Dan. Dan is more than capable of making his lack of interest in a woman so brutally and horribly clear that she wouldn’t have a moment’s doubt in her mind about where he stood.
Fortunately – because I was really worried that we were going to get this – we’re not seeing Dan make calculated efforts to bully Amy into an abortion. What we’re seeing is more akin to denial.
Because probably the happiest time in Dan’s life was that stretch from 3.08-5.02 – he had Amy, all the time, he had professional success, and he had complete freedom to sleep around. And he wants that back – why else would he try to get Amy to work with him again? In fact, he probably wanted something better than that – because now they’ve had sex once, who’s to say he couldn’t talk her into it again?
Now, all of this is an astonishingly immature thought process, because the things he wants cannot exist simultaneously – he cannot have Amy all to himself and be a free agent at the same time, it doesn’t matter how many creative manoeuvres he comes up with, it’s not going to happen. (I could make so many Brexit jokes here, but I won’t).
But those contradictory aims are what I think is guiding his behaviour in this episode. Hence, he doesn’t try to bully Amy or actually talk to her about options, instead he acts like the decision has already been made. He’s basically hoping that if he just avoids the conversation for long enough, Amy will handle things without his ever having to get involved and explicitly make the choice he doesn’t ever want to have to make.
Because he does care about her, and he does find her charming, and he does not want to sit her down and say “I am not going to be involved in this, you can have the kid if you want, but you’re on your own, I won’t help or support you in any way.”
He knows that the second he says those words (or, being Dan, much, much worse ones) Amy is gone, probably permanently.
What I think he probably doesn’t realise is that the way he’s acting virtually guarantees he’ll lose her anyway. Because in many ways, telling her straight-out that he wasn’t going to be involved would be…well appalling and a real scumbag move, but in some ways…kinder than keeping her dangling the way he has been. She’s been trying to talk to him about all of this for weeks, remember.
And she’s scared and unsure and being dumped on by Selina on a daily basis, and the one thing, the one thing she needs, more than anything, is security. She needs to know where he stands – in a concrete, undeniable way – which of course is the one thing Dan doesn’t want to give her – so she can make her decisions with some degree of certainty. And the chief cause of her stress is Dan not having the balls to make a choice.
His thought process is so self-involved that I’m sure he hasn’t even considered how he’s appearing to Amy – but I think he’s in for a rude awakening. Because it’s honestly cruel to treat her this way, even if, for once, he doesn’t intends to be.
But if he really didn’t care about Amy, and was sure in his own mind that he wanted her and the kid to fuck off, I don’t think we’d be getting this weird combo of disengagement and callousness and affection. I think he’d tell her so – as nastily as he felt was required to get her to leave.
As for the names thing, I think it’s a safe assumption that the switching means something – but I can’t remember enough occasions where he’s used ‘Ames’ to give a good answer. I have this feeling it’s often something he uses to kind of…perform intimacy – for Amy, for Buddy, for Sidney Purcell – without necessarily feeling it himself. But I’d have to look at the scripts on more detail to be sure.