Chick Literal

Dysfunction Is Not Adorable

It won’t shock you to learn that I’ve spent a lot of my free time forming theories about relationships.  This hobby started in high school, because it turns out when you don’t date, you have a lot of time to form theories about why you’re not dating.

My friend K had the most farfetched theory of them all – she believed that she needed to have a terminal illness in order for a really hot guy to like her.  This theory was based entirely on Mandy Moore in A Walk To Remember, but is also exemplified by Winona Ryder and Charlize Theron in Autumn in New York and Sweet November, respectively.

Obviously, this theory is batsh*t insane for a lot of reasons, and I frequently reminded K of this.  However, recently, I’ve found myself subscribing to a slightly lighter version of that theory – one must be deeply dysfunctional in order to get a really hot guy to like you.

My personal role model for this theory is the one and only Meredith Grey.  (Caveat:  I stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy after season 4ish.  There were too many actors coming and going and I couldn’t keep track anymore.)  But seriously (seriously!), while most of us would spend the night before we start a new job laying out an outfit, making sure we had everything we needed, having a wholesome dinner and getting a good night’s sleep, Meredith spends it doing shots at a bar and hooking up with a stranger.  This isn’t even an isolated incident due to nerves; after said stranger turns out to be her married boss, they break up and Meredith spends a lot more time at the same bar, doing more shots and bringing home more strangers.  For a normal person, this might lead to several STDs and perhaps a visit to AA.  For Meredith, it just means that Derek eventually comes back to her.  My take away from all this was that if you go around being aggressively miserable and coping with said misery in the unhealthiest ways possible, eventually, a hot doctor will love you.

The key thing that both K and I are missing in our interpretation of these movies and shows is that hot guys didn’t happen to Mandy or Meredith because of their other misfortunes, they happened in spite of them.  Correlation does not equal causation, and all that.  Too many watchings of Bridesmaids convinced me that not only was KristenWiig’s mother right – hitting bottom can be a good thing – but that hitting bottom was perhaps a thing one should do, in order to rebound.  However, it turns out that hurling yourself toward rock bottom doesn’t mean you’ll bounce back all the higher.  It’s always darkest before the dawn and what doesn’t kill you does make you stronger, but you don’t necessarily have to seek out life’s darkest and twistiest bits in order to become a better person.  Being scary and damaged is not a prerequisite to happiness.  Having trauma in your past might give one a certain depth of character, but it’s certainly not the only path to being an interesting person.

TV shows require drama in order to get people to watch.  No one would tune into watch 30 minutes of someone being happy and wholesome every week.  But I’ve found that in real life, it’s the people with a positive attitude about whatever life throws their way, the people who have healthier coping mechanisms than a bottle of tequila, those are the people who the hot guys are going after.

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  • Sam Salonen

    Umh, i’m not trying to be mean, but i guess you have no idea what rock bottom is… “hitting rock bottom can be a good thing”? I’ve hit rock bottom many times cause of my depression and even if my childhood traumas has given me “certain depth of character” i wish i had never gone through that. I’ve had so many traumas, you have no idea. I do have an amazing boyfriend, but according to your theory every cute guy should be running after me… but no, it doesn’t work like that. Having a borderline personality disorder isn’t a really a thing that attracts guys. If you have some small problem, which isn’t really a problem at all, something that isn’t serious, maybe that’s what you’re looking after, so that you can feel “oh i’ve had such a hard life, please understand me when i’m difficult”…
    And i tune in to watch New Girl every week for 30 minutes, because i love how Jess is so happy and wholesome, a bit weird yes, but always optimistic. I wish life was all kittens and cupcakes, i would be so much more energetic and more fun to be around, now what guy doesn’t like that?

    • Bonnie Joy Sludikoff

      when using the phrase “i’m not trying to be mean” – you’re always going to come off as mean…at least a little bit.

      I get your disapproval of the term in lieu of your own experiences, but this isn’t an opportunity to one-up the writers experiences– rock bottom is a relative term, and it’s being used in a light way here in this (seemingly) more facetious/light article than it might be in a piece about how to drag yourself out of a legit rock-bottom call-my-sponsor, find-out-my-copay-for-therapy, deal. just because it’s not your personal experience doesn’t make it less valid…

  • Sam Salonen

    And now that i started thinking about your writing more, this is about “what kind of people (read: women) we should be like, so that hot guys would go after us”… Isn’t there already enough of this in the media? Women should be this, women should be that… It’s good to be smart and have “depth of character”, but we shouldn’t pursue those things just so that guys would like us.

  • Emily Embler

    This is a great article! Your personal rock bottom might not be as terrible as somebody else’s but having been there, i feel like it made me stronger and it REALLY isn’t cute.

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