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I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl (And Never Will Be)
By Danielle Arze
Many men have romanticized me as being the manic pixie dream girl they’ve been waiting for their whole lives. I call it Scott Pilgrim Syndrome. I don’t care what most people think, I love adventure, and I stubbornly continue to express myself through my clothes and hair choices even into adulthood. Sprinkle in a few odd interests and this recipe adds up to a person who struggles to date.
If I had a dollar for every time a guy told me they liked me because I was ‘different’ or ‘not like other girls’ I’d be able to afford the therapy I’d need after those sentences. The blatant misogyny in thinking girls don’t have passions and interests is exhausting. I never sought out to hold this specific title and frequently establish that I am like most other people. I hold all the same thoughts and worries that most people do and like most people, I get tired and grumpy. It’s these last few things that truly rub these romanticizing men the wrong way. In their inaccurate view of me as a fairy girl who reads books and listens to underground bands, they forget that I am also a person. I have pet peeves, I get stressed and frustrated, sometimes I even shout.
These not so pretty parts of me are parts that past romantic partners have never wanted to see, and frequently get impatient with. They want to marvel at how weird my love of bugs is, or show off how quirky it is that I can have both a loud booming laugh and a tiny high pitched giggle. Truly, the duality of woman.
It’s my love for adventure that I’ve found that calls to men who are dissatisfied with their current lives. A bored man latches himself to me as soon as I’ve finished telling a funny, exciting story at a kickback. When they eventually realize I spend most days holed up in the library getting my work done and most evenings watching movies with my friends, they’re sorely put out and moody. They’re confused about why I invited them to hang out with me at the library instead of taking them on a spontaneous exciting adventure — forgetting that I have responsibilities and deadlines to meet.
I’ve often found myself leaning into this perception of me, it’s easy to fit a mold that someone has already carved out for you. Over time I realized they were looking for someone that doesn’t exist. They want a TV character that is conveniently sad only when they can fix things and don’t have any real human emotions. Has this been born out of the inability for women characters to be written as multidimensional human beings in most media? Probably --
has it negatively affected my mental health, constantly worrying if I’m quirky (god, I hate that word) enough for the man I’m currently with? Absolutely. The irritation it has instilled in me, quick to lash out at the slightest feeling of being molded has become a part of me that I hate. I shouldn’t have to defend myself for being a person.
Recently I have decided that even though I still continue to look like a manic pixie dream girl and to some extent, act like one, it is purely out of my need to be my authentic self. Not because a man decided he wanted to mold me into his dream girl. If I can be my most authentic self, whoever that may be, then a man’s opinion on which boxes I fit is irrelevant.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.