It turns out there are WAY worse things than being alone. Here are five types of women Hollywood keeps putting in movies that make dying alone seem preferable.
Just The Facts
- These are about movie tropes, not real women.
- All generalizations and broad categorizations are about those tropes, not about actual women, either individually or as a group.
- I fully expect some nasty comments anyway.
How Hollywood Sees Women:
So there are real women, and there are women in romantic movies, and the Venn diagrams in which these two separate categories meet is so negligible that you might as well draw two separate circles. Considering that such movies are ostensibly made for women, the women in them are at least as implausible and as dissimilar as the average Schwarzenegger character is (or was, or will be now that he's mkaing movies again) to the average Schwarzenegger fan. For the female viewer who is asked to connect with, identify with, or even picture herself in the circumstances she witnesses on screen, there doesn't seem to be any similar points of connection. And if there is, then no wonder she's seeking vicarious romance through cinema: her dating life must be a mess!
I suspect the reason guys hate "chick flicks" is not the lack of explosions or high-speed car chases (although that would certainly add flair to the story), but because in they wind up connecting with the one male character who has any development in such movies, and thus wind up visualizing a relationship with the nutjob on screen. Nutjobs such as:
5. The Gorgeous Klutz
As seen in: Bridesmaids, New In Town, Devil Wears Prada, Good Luck Chuck, No Strings Attached, Something About Mary, Just My Luck.
Usually the women in modern romantic movies are absolute messes, but some of them have their acts together. They have decent jobs, a complete personality, and of course the BMI count of a dry twig if you don't factor in the perfect perky curves.
Real women have a name for this sort of person: bitch.
Since the only way to make her less than perfect is to either make a script with a modicum of originality or make her wear glasses - and the actress refuses to wear glasses - the producers go this route. At least once in a movie, usually more, she'll trip putting on her pantyhose in a rush or spill a drink over her attractive love-interest or knock over a display or walk into a post. Anytime she meets someone new and/or important she's going to get tongue-tied and say something deeply embarrassing. It's an attempt to humanize an otherwise impossibly perfect person, as brought to you by the Acme corporation.
And it must work. I spent more than a half hour before I found THAT picture above on Google of a beautiful woman falling over (and without safesearch on its highest setting, search phrases like "slip" and "accident" bring up a whole different genre of photos). The actresses and models of Hollywood have either sued or seduced Google - possibly both - into taking down all the images of them embarrassing themselves to script. What I did find was dozens of pages of bios in which impossibly gorgeous women like Jessica Alba, Terry Hatcher, Neve Campbell and Miley Cyrus call themselves "accident prone" in a blatant attempt to make normal women stop crossing the street to spit on them.
Why would this woman be horrible to date? Because, as her date, you are collateral damage. Her swinging purse is going to hit you in the face. When she breaks a heal off her shoes, you are going to get the torn radiator cuff after gallantly offering to carry her. And if the movie is a romantic comedy instead of a straight-up romance, I guarantee your junk is going to take a pounding at least once.
"No, no. I'm fine. And you're beautiful. And the taser in your purse only went off for like five seconds, tops."
4. The Girl Who Gives It All Up for Love
"I should go to him now...That diploma will be waiting."
As seen in: Only You, Knocked Up, Jerry Maguire, Leap Year, Serendipity
She has it all. A great job, gorgeous hair, and she's not even that much of a klutz! Usually, she'll be too into her career to really be dating anyone, but she's not the arctic ice queen that didn't make this list because if you're dating that one you deserve what you get.
But then she finds the right guy. They have some dates, they get close, and though he's moving at sane-person speeds, it's still way too fast for her so she gets scared and runs away. Later, after some eye-opening advice or blatantly metaphorical life-event, she'll realize what a mistake she made and in one big romantic gesture she'll drop everything and run to him.
It's easy to see why this trope exists; even easier when you realize that men have been winning women's hearts in romantic movies for fifty years doing the exact same thing.
Some working harder than others at it.
It may seem like it would be flattering for a woman to drop her life to be with you, but just like every other story, a happy ending depends a lot on where you stop. What happens later on after their first argument? Their fifth? Their fiftieth? How often is the "I quit my high-paing fashion magazine editor job and left my friends and apartment in New York City to come be with you" card going to get pulled? Well, if the argument goes on long enough....every single time.
This woman has basically pulled away from her whole life and made you the central pillar of her whole existence. Do you want that kind of pressure? Can you live up to it? And, holy shit, what happens in seven or eight months when you reach that point that sometimes just plain happens where you realize that, despite all the time you've been together and how objectively great she is, you can't see yourself spending the rest of your life with this person? That whole question of "do I even want to be with anyone, let alone her?" is a natural part of dating, and the realization that you do makes that relationship stronger, or forces you to get off the pot and be better prepared next time. That isn't an option with this girlfriend; guilt alone is going to make you stay with her. That's a relationship that leaves you feeling trapped and her regretful for her decision and both of you bitterly redefining your ideas of happiness so you don't stick your head in the oven.
3. The Inexperienced Virgin
As seen in: Never Been Kissed, First Kiss, Timer.
In the movie above, Drew Berrymore reveals that she has never even been kissed. (At least, that's my guess from the cover; I never watched it. I also assume it is neither funny nor big-hearted, but that's a logical guess rather than personal experience. Since the premise involves Drew Barrymore being mistaken for a high school student at age of 25, I think at the time I went ot go see Devon Sawa get his hands possessed by the devil because it seemed more plausible. But I digress.)
Now, most women in romantic movies at least have some dating experience. They just mostly have the bad kind. Not the kind that gets John Cheese writing articles, just emotionally unsatisfying, usually because of their own hang-ups. But in this type of movie their hang-ups are their own repression. The conclusion of course involves her finding the one man she can open up to and feel comfortable enough with to cross that hurdle. Be it first ksis, first date, or first time she becomes a woman (with the sex, that is, not, y'know, her first period), it is always a magical moment of fanfare and fireworks or, depending on context, soft candlelight.
At the end of the movie, that is. For the ninety minutes before that, she's crazy as coconuts.
I get that every woman wants the milestones of her relationship to be perfect, and to an extent the importance this character places on it is barely even an exaggeration of the actual anxiety real women feel. The problem is being the guy who has to deal with being first with this particular virgin. There's good reason sailors crossing the Atlantic these days don't get the props we give to Columbus: being the first one into uncharted territory is dangerous work! Because chances are that the only reason this is an issue in a romantic movie is that this girl/woman perceives herself as being less experienced than those around her. She winds up obsessing over her first whatever because she wants it to live up to the overly-romanticized image she has in her head (and, in a meta sort of way, is now propegating to those watching in the theaters). And it makes her crazy.
"Well I never....Adjust yourself, my dear, your sexual repression is showing!"
Without proper experience, or level-headed friends she'll listen to to guide her, she has no frame of reference for what is acceptible behavior. She makes the gorgeous klutz trope look downright attractive, because she gets so nervous she winds up acting like an utter maniac. Later in the movie she'll calm down and be adorable again, and of course the love interest will hang around until then. That's due to a little thing called "suspending disbelief;" real men in this situation would either be wondering if she's on medication or else date rapists who don't care.
Women, imagine every first date where you're not sure if you're splitting the bill, where you're not sure if the guy is nervous or just a jerk, where there's that awkward pause at the end where both parties gamble in either direction on a parting-kiss. Take all that nervous anxiety, distill it, and pour it into this character. And then imagine being the focus for it all by dating her.
And you can't be forthright about it, either; women rarely like it when your main motivation for dating them is to shout "first!"
2. The Advice-Taker
Every issue containing tips guaranteed to make him flee in terror!
As Seen In: How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days, Failure to Launch, The Ugly Truth, Two Can Play That Game, What's Your Number?, Extreme Dating
Some people - men and women - are simply mistified by the opposite sex and seek advice wherever they can get it. This source may be friends, family, mentors, or for a truly hackneyed film, magazine columnists.
Cracked has already done an absolutely brilliant shtick about how insane someone who followed Cosmo's advice would come off as if she actually followed it, (it's way funnier than this article, go read it). In fact, the Cracked format is a very good example of why you SHOULDN'T follow magazine advice at all: writers are at least as concerned with hitting a certain number of points as they are with actually dispensing useful advice.
Sure, there are certain cultural conventions like the first-date kiss and no sex before the third date, but those don't count. The women in these movies take a list of rules from an arbitrary source and follow them to the letter, no matter how outrageous or insane they may be. And since those tips works absolutely perfectly without any setbacks or negative consequences when you tried it with dieting, with exercising, with de-cluttering and organizing your office, with planning for a holiday party, and with picking the perfect hairstyle, of COURSE this will work with the infinitely simpler world of dating!*
(*ed. note: those selections listed above aren't intentionally sexist on the part of the writer. Each and every one has been the topic of at least two women's magazines in the last six months. O Magazine doesn't do much about investing stocks and trademark branding; Oprah doesn't share those secrets.)
The Advice-Taker treats men as machines, believing that by following a pre-programmed set of instructions they can get a desired result. It's not only dehumanizing to the man who has made the mistake of asking her number, it anti-feminist as well. It's really no different than those websites where "players" teach their "bros" about negging women, except in this case it is women themselves who are setting back the gender. Ladies, how much do you like it when men play games? That's exactly as much as we like it, too.
1. Manic Pixie Dream Girls
As seen in: Garden State, Juno, Benny and Joon, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sweet November, The Medicine Show, Elizabethtown, every single movie starring Zooey Deschanel.
Again, Cracked has already covered why dating the Manic Pixie Dream Girl woudl suck way better than I ever could, but here's the gist: she is a completley unencumbered free-spirit who helps a quiet, introverted man come out of his shell. She is muse and mother, inspiration and caregiver, helping to fix broken men via her child-like glee at the world to a soundtrack of the Shins.
She'd be horrible to date.
You could never have a bad day. Never wallow in self-pity. The MPDG won't let you forget the beauty in every moment, no matter how bad life gets.
Plus, she'll do it even if you leave.
See, in a good relationship, one that lasts and is rewarding for both parties, you both kinda need each other. Not in the clingy, I'm-no-one-without-you way, but in the simple synergistic way that you walk better with shoes than barefoot or you see better with glasses. You're less perfect without them. Your partner is literally that: a partner, one who makes you a more complete and better functioning human being. You can be yourself even when you're not around them, because that self is exactly who you are when you ARE around them; acting differently makes you feel like you're playing a role.
The men who date MPDG grow, but she doesn't. She stays the same unchanging embodiment of ebullience. When I say MPDG are muses or mothers, that's exactly the role they serve: roles that are dependent upon having another person, with no character beyond that role. MPDGs are very rarely sexualized; their evocative nature is more ethereal, because if they start acting humen they might have flaws that make them peopel instead of an idolized concept, the missing piece that completes you When the broken boy stops being broken, when he grows up, he will be that changed, better person. She will remain the MPDG. You might as well have fallen in love with a fence post for all the impact your affection has on her; she's exactly as pleased at the chance to bury her head in a kitty's tummy fur as she is by you bringing her flowers. So even if you can get past the inanity of it all when she insists on walking barefoot through the park in the rain, if you can put up with the banal optimism she radiates and the joy she exudes giving balloons to children, at the end of the day there is the simple fact that there is this wonderfully amazing person in your life whom you care about, and the only thing you are doing for her is holding her back. As bad as it is to know you're dating someone who'd be happier dating someone else, you have not had a true existential crisis until you date someone who is completely unaffected one way or the other.
Or check out his web comic here.