I have a Manic Pixie Dream Friend
Many a chick flick features the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. (I realize you can argue that movies like Garden State are watched by guys, too, but please don’t try and tell me Elizabethtown was supposed to appeal to anyone but women; it had Orlando Bloom in it. End of discussion.) They are supposed to be magical, unicorn-esque creatures that exist only in movies and are much maligned by movie critics. The MPDG is described by Nathan Rubin as someone that that “Audiences either want to marry instantly (despite The Manic Pixie Dream Girl being, you know, a fictional character) or they want to commit grievous bodily harm against them and their immediate family.” I’m here to prove that wrong, because I have a Manic Pixie Dream Friend and not only is she real, she is awesome (though I do not wish to marry her).
N* is, without a doubt, the happiest person I’ve ever met. She’s always smiling, always laughing and everything is always “AMAZING!” Sometimes I feel like she really shouldn’t exist, because she does seem to be the embodiment of a male fantasy – the pretty, socially functional computer programmer. As someone who went to an engineering school, I can tell you that cute girls who code are a rarity, and cute girls who code and like sunlight and have a consistently positive attitude about life? N’s the only one I’ve ever met.
N is also the perfect addition to the movie that is your life. She’s always up for anything, whether it’s a trip to Vegas or an Oktoberfest in the middle of the desert (and I’m sure she’d be down for visiting an abyss, too). On the days you have nothing planned, she’s got something to invite you along to, be it a concert of some band you’ve never heard of, or a party where you’ll accidentally run into your archnemesis. When you need real life help, whether it’s packing for a move or having someone punch you repeatedly while reminding you not to go back to your ex-boyfriend, she’s there (and you will have bruises the next day, because she may be petite, but she is also scrappy). She’s the only person I’ve ever met who actually looks stunning in her driver’s license photo – most people look like ex-cons, she looks like Morena Baccarin circa Firefly. If you get pulled over for speeding at 2am in central Florida and N is in the car, you will not be getting a ticket. My favorite thing about N, however, is her ability to be 5’4”, weigh about 100 pounds soaking wet and still be able to put away a monster burrito without breaking a sweat (I realize this technically has nothing to do with her being an MPDG, I just think it’s awesome).
N is the girl who has all the things happen to her that feel like they shouldn’t happen in real life. The first time she went to a concert by her favorite singer, the night ended with him singing her favorite song to her at the afterparty. The next time he was in town, he got her tickets to his sold out show, she got up on the stage and danced and he invited her back to his hotel, but she didn’t go, because not only is she cool, she is classy. She’s the kind of person that not only takes the bus (in southern California, no one uses public transportation!) but will meet a guy on the bus and manage to find and friend him on Facebook without ever talking to him, and when she finally does talk to him, he’ll ask her out and they’ll date for six months. She once met a guy from Craigslist to sell him a ticket to an event, realized after he had walked away that he was really cute and actually sprinted down the street after him to ask him out.
I know I may sound like I’m creepily obsessed with this girl, but she’s someone worth being creepily obsessed with. (Side note, if you’re a single guy who’s interested in being non-creepily obsessed with N, you can go ahead and send a photo, your resume and the results of a recent background check to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will consider giving her your phone number. Please be awesome. She deserves someone really awesome.) Seriously, though, N is a force of positivity and excitement in a world where people tend towards cynicism far too often. I’ve seen N in a bad mood exactly once, and her “bad mood” means she’s sarcastic and hilarious (aka me, in the best mood I’ve ever been in). Her belief that everything is “the best ever!” can be interpreted by some as superficial, but her enthusiasm for everything is something I need more of in my life.
People seem to really want to hate on the MPDG stereotype in movies, and I’m not entirely sure why. What’s so horribly wrong with having a childlike zest for life and using that to bust someone else out of a rut? If you want to object to a movie having a female character who only exists to advance the male protagonist’s storyline, so be it, but that’s true for a lot of female personalities in a lot of movies. Don’t tear down the manic pixie personality. The world’s a dark enough place enough of the time, let’s celebrate the people who try and bring a little more lightness to it.
*Name abbreviated, Gossip Girl style, to protect the amazing.