I am not a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
I could play along if I really wanted to. I could sit on your bed wearing some Calvin Klein whitey-tighties and one of your oversized button-down shirts, reading Infinite Jest and sipping adorably on a juice box through a pair of perfect pink lips, but I will not. Why, you ask, John Green? Because that sounds like the worst, that’s why.
Instead, you will find me on the couch in my favorite elastic waistband pants. I will have taken off my bra the minute I got through the door and thrown it triumphantly in my room. I will be trying to watch a free movie from On-Demand while also browsing through funny Instagram accounts, but I won’t really be paying full attention to either one because sometimes I suck and have problems focusing. I will skip yoga class today, mostly because I do not technically belong to any yoga studios. My exercise comes from the climbing stairs in my walk-up apartment and from all of the times I’ve had to chase after the bus in a fluffy, unsexy, oversized Chicago winter coat.
I’d like to say Dove is for casual Friday nights in. Pantene is for before work. Aveda is for a big night out. But in reality, it got this way because I bought a new bottle at Target when my old one was running out, and then instead of finishing up the old one I just started right away with the exciting new one. And now my shower just looks like a convenience store and I’ll throw two-thirds of it all out in six months because sometimes I’m wasteful.
I would like to say that I love watching funky documentaries and cool, new television shows that are still under the radar. But after a long day, I just want to come home and turn on an episode of Parks and Recreation or 30 Rock (even though I’ve watched each series at least five times) because I feel close to the characters and I find the familiarity comforting. Right now I don’t want to have stimulating debates with you after watching a documentary on the meat industry. I just want to hang out with Leslie and Ron (and you) and unwind for a while. I might fall asleep with my head on your shoulder, and it will be almost cute, but then I’ll start twitching in my sleep or I’ll snore a little.
I often go to bed without taking off my makeup, because as soon as I’m in my pajamas, the idea of spending two minutes washing my face seems somehow more exhausting than an entire day at work. So I’ll sleep through the night and wake up looking the matchmaker from Mulan after she gets tea dumped all over her face and her mascara starts to run. I just don’t wake up in the morning looking fresh and clean, the way I’m apparently supposed to.
I’m not a Manic Pixie Dream Girl because I don’t have the time or the power to fulfill everything on the list of requirements. Be bubbly but also be a total mystery. Know every single obscure band on the planet. Be rail-thin but also, you know, be able to fill out a dress with a decent set and an ass that won’t quit. Wear dresses from the 1950’s but get around everywhere on a skateboard with a Vance Joy sticker on it. Spend all free time browsing dreamily through albums at a record store, because what’s a job, lol.
Manic Pixie Dream girls are not real. They are one-dimensional, they don’t have any of their own wants, they exist solely to advance the development of the brooding male character – all while being adorably quirky.
I want to support you, but I don’t want to be the supporting actor in your movie. I want to encourage you, and make you laugh, and make you feel loved, but I will do it while having my own separate story, filled with dreams and goals and flaws and rejections and triumphs and challenges and choices that make up who I am.
I will help you advance your story, but not as a bubbly, starry-eyed, and girlish ray of light that serves as a foil for your tortured soul. I will help you advance your story as your partner, your best friend, the warm comfort you turn to at the end of a long day, and someone who makes you feel like you are not alone – because I am equally complex, because we all are.