~I just stared at a succulent and got horny~
and it seems like everyone’s starting to pick up some new hobbies. Knowing myself, and that I tend to commit to things for approximately the length of my period, or an episode of Love is Blind (whichever comes first), I knew I had to choose wisely.
I wanted an instrument that allowed me to *express myself, but not one that took years to master. And what better instrument to say I’m a non-committal, not on speaking terms with my dad kind of girl, than a ukulele from Amazon.
*get attention from boys
Ah, the ukulele. The damaged white girl’s guitar. It has four strings and takes less than a few hours to master. It’s like when you go to med school to become an anesthesiologist. Or get drafted into the NFL as a kicker. You want all of the clout, but none of the hard work—similarly, I want to play Banana Pancakes and get laid in a hostel, without having to learn a bar chord.
So I started playing, and watched in real time as I, not dissimilar to Mark Ruffalo ripping through his clothes to transform into the Incredible Hulk, became more and more of an adorably quirky, fucking annoying manic pixie dream girl with each G Flat; I bought pink hair dye. I started a lady bug farm. I ran to the airport and tried to ~take the first flight out of here~…
...only to find out that hasn’t been a thing since 9/11.
All this to say that playing the ukulele got me thinking about manic pixie dream girls (MPDGs)—Hollywood’s most controversial trope and the ukulele’s biggest champion. Do we love them? Do we hate them? Is it safe to assume that because they're women, we, as a society, probably hate them?
Oh wait, no I'm not. 😂
But to be honest, I’m tired of reading think pieces about MPDGs—debating whether or not the term itself is sexist, if it's a way to hold male writers accountable for underdeveloped female characters, or just a way to further minimize them. As a supporter of both equality and humiliating men every chance I get, I can't help but wonder about the MPDG’s oft-forgotten counterpart:
The Manic Penis Dream Boy (MPDB)
But who is he!?
Obviously, I have some thoughts...
Like the MPDG, he must be soft—emotionally, and in matters of the penis. His job is to be one-dimensional, free-spirited and have a certain glimmer in his eyes, one that suggests a longing sadness or an undiagnosed astigmatism. Perhaps he owns a successful artisanal soap shop in upstate New York, but more likely, his dad holds a high level position at JP Morgan.
His existence is defined by his ability to help overworked, high strung career women remove the twigs and sticks from their asses. He thinks “saying grace” is reciting a passage from Animal Farm and of course, he thinks you're prettier without makeup on. His hobbies include traveling and telling you about traveling. His ethos is that he’ll never succumb to the following:
Bezos, bed frames, and beer without hops.
He’s James Marsden in 27 Dresses, Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal, and even Shrek in hit titular movies Shrek, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Shrek Forever After, Shrek 5, and of course, the 2001 computer-animated musical short film, Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party. If you watch the original, you'll realize that the poor dude exists as this hideous, unloveable smelly beast, solely to teach Fiona a lesson about superficiality. He’s the ~not like other ogres~ of ogres. We see you, King.
Noah Centineo also comes to mind as a more recent example of a MPDB. He’s what happens when an 80s rom com and an eyebrow have a baby. When he talks, girl’s melt—though if you ask me (no one has), his voice is overpowered by the perpetual *plop* of his balls dropping.
And yes, Noah often plays the hot, popular jock (attributes that might otherwise negate his pixieness), but his characters are usually written as poets, romantics, into weird things—like reading. And unlike the MPDG, he isn’t alienated by society because of it. In fact, I got a zip file of his dick pics last year and he’s still Netflix’s biggest star. The world loves him more than they make fun of him—which I’m not sure can be said about someone like Zoey Deschanel—the poster child for MPDGs—who regularly gets skewered for her doughy-eyed, ~not like other girls~ characters.
And look, I’m not trying to make some comprehensive point about how MPDGs have it worse than their male foil—I haven’t looked into it enough (at all). I’m just trying to give you something to think about today that doesn’t involve a spiraling global pandemic, but does involve frustrating, decades long, double standards...you know, fun stuff. 😌
Ok elephant in the room, Shrek and I totally hooked up in the summer of 2016....but can you really blame me?