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.

(Feature Image via ABC.)

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