A lot has changed for me since seventh grade. I realize now that no one cared about how much my sneakers cost, how much I resembled a beanpole, or how flat my ass was (is?). But one thing — perhaps the only thing that remains the same 15 years later is this: Pacey Witter is still my dream man.
And he had a lot of competition. I mean, my Leonardo DiCaprio obsession spanned several television and film roles. I’m notorious (around my parent’s house) for having penned a five-page letter to the man. And Johnny Depp? Loved him so hard that I even managed to grow a little lady boner for Edward Scissorhands who could like, cut me. These actors gave me more crush-fuel than Joshua Jackson ever could or would — but they both have one fatal flaw: they never played Pacey Witter.
As I rewatch Dawson’s Creek, I’m amazed by how ~in love~ I still am with Pacey. It kind of weirds me out because I’m way older than his character now, but I also haven’t been the first to throw age conventions out the window when it comes to him. I seriously have no trouble believing that he had an affair with his teacher, because Pacey Witter is timeless. He’s charming, he’s loyal, and he always stands up for what he believes in, no matter how unpopular it might make him. Who wouldn’t want a guy like that?
Me, apparently. Because every guy I’ve been serious with has been… not like Pacey. Not that they’re not charming or loyal or whatever, some of them definitely were, but they were ambitious. Some were ruthless about it. “Ambitious” and “ruthless” are not words that spring to mind when we’re talking Witter. Not that he couldn’t be — his relationship with Andie McPhee definitely showed he was capable of applying himself under the right circumstances — but that wasn’t the backbone of his character.
Where most teenagers, men, and people in general fail, Pacey triumphed. He was selfless. He was unafraid of meeting Andie’s crazy mom. He was unafraid of what consequences the school board would throw his way when he denied his affair with Tamara (the teacher, for those of you who aren’t hip to the lingo). He was unafraid to read the rest of Jack McPhee’s very gay poem in front of the class. He was unafraid of spitting in the face of the homophobic (?) monster Mr. Peterson, he was unafraid to join an all-women pageant, he was unafraid of giving Andie her fantasy night with no sexual expectations. Pacey always did what was right for the people he loved — an ambition of its own sort.
Not that he wasn’t without his flaws — his dad would make a total nightmare of an in-law, his self-esteem was pretty much non-existent, and he was way, wayyyy too judgmental when it came to Xanax. (Let’s be real, no boyfriend of mine better be trippin’ over Xanax like that.) But despite these minor infractions, Pacey was someone you could count on. You could count on him to be there for you, to call you on your shit, and to stand by your side when a scandal broke out. He was consistently present, whether you wanted him there or not.
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say — without having finished rewatching the entire series — that this is what makes Pacey such an attractive character. His willingness to be there. It was basically all he asked for in return, too, which makes him all the more appealing. It didn’t matter if you were way too old for him, kinda crazy, or if your dad was a convict. It didn’t matter if you were a megalomaniac who only called to either discuss his embarrassing love life or accuse him of being a bad friend (cue Third Eye Blind). All Pacey asked was that you reciprocate, that you give back what he dished out — which was everything he had, on most days. Sigh. That’s it. I vote we rename the show Pacey’s Creek. Who’s with me?