Entertainment is a means of escaping our own reality, whether we hide away in a dark theater or behind a good book. In that, however, it’s natural that we’d come across a character or two whose life we would trade our own for in a heartbeat, a character who speaks to us on a level of artist and muse. These characters embody everything we only dream about, yet they tread a dangerous line. Should fiction remain just that, or are we allowed to ask ourselves W-W-J-D at every turn? Better yet, can we ask W-W-C-B-D instead? Here, a list of six pop culture icons we might as well give up ever trying to become.
1. Carrie Bradshaw
Carrie is the archetype for the “come on already!” crowd to rally against copying because her situation is just improbable. New York City writers — or most nearly any writer for that matter — would not be able to afford all those shoes and that apartment, regardless as to whether she signed a fixed rent lease a trillion years ago. The building would have tried to buy her out to a tune much larger than her column. But even if it’s not the shoes and the Dior baguettes and the nameplate necklace girls are molding their lives after, it’s the endless yearning for Love and The One in New York, and let me tell you, that doesn’t happen. Call me cynical and bitter and jaded, but love is really hard to find in Manhattan, and it especially doesn’t happen if you’re a writer who’s famous for blasting her trysts in, let’s say, a popular weekly column. Hell, it barely happens if you’re known as the type to blast your business all over Facebook or at brunch the next morning.
2. Clementine Kruczynski
I should start this one by stating that I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind when I was fourteen years old, and any 14-year-old who claims she understood a Gondry film is probably lying to you. But in the movie, Clementine, a self-professed “f-cked up individual,” does what we all have wished we could do at one point or another: entirely forget the people whom we used to love. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that she’s insecure in her own skin. “I don’t know! I DON’T KNOW! I’m lost! I’m scared! I feel like I’m disappearing! MY SKIN’S COMING OFF! I’M GETTING OLD! Nothing makes any sense to me! NOTHING MAKES ANY SENSE!” she screams at the next guy she’s dating after Joel, and Mama always told you to love yourself before you let anyone else love you, don’t you know? Just because you know you’re a little touched doesn’t suddenly validate all of your actions. You still have to live life just like the rest of us, and yes, that includes going through painful breakups.
3. Holly Golightly
Holly is an escort, and one with a lot of baggage, but then Audrey Hepburn came along and made her the darling of the silver screen. Fun fact: Truman Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe to play Holly, and at the time of filming the movie, Marilyn was a complete wreck. Think Lindsay Lohan circa nine months ago. In the novel, everyone’s favorite runaway Okie is a much more tragic figure, and she seems a hell of a lot less resilient. She and the narrator don’t end up together, either. You know, just in case you were hoping that you, your cat, and your hunky downstairs neighbor would all live happily ever after.
4. Bella Swan
If you ever meet a guy who calls you his own personal brand of heroin, that’s called a codependent relationship. That’s not healthy.
5. Juliet Capulet
Juliet is a 13-year-old kid whose parents are trying to marry her off to some dude Paris Hilton dated, but she goes and becomes infatuated with a kid with a mask and Bieber hair (if you watch the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli movie). The thing is, Romeo’s a flake: he goes from thinking about some girl named Rosaline in the opening scenes, to suddenly thinking about Juliet all the time. In short: he’s thinking with his penis. And, not to get all Literary Lucy on you, but Romeo was modeled as a farce of this guy named Petrarch, who wrote sonnets to a married woman he’d only ever seen in public. That’s right, he was a stalker. So if you’re looking to make it with some guy like that, Taylor Swift, be my guest.
6. Hannah Horvath
This one’s preemptive, but I can see it happening. Forget the girls crying, “That’s my life right now!” Pretty soon, there will be girls who model their lives after Hannah & Co. Everyone will move to Greenpoint — and not be ironic about it — and eat cupcakes naked in the tub while their BFF shaves next to them. You know, on that note, I’m just going to take a cupcake to the gym locker room and see if somebody will have a conversation with me while I chow down by the steam room.