I spent the weekend in glorious, lesbian-friendly Minneapolis with my two best friends, Em and Gabe. It was really good and great and wonderful.
Despite the fact that Gabe warned us repeatedly about the bike rack strapped to the back of her trunk, Emily and I each took a hit. Em took hers on Saturday. I didn’t get mine until I was tucking my suitcase into the trunk for the trip to the airport: always a weird event that puts me in a strange head space (at least, that’s what I’ll be blaming it on). So I smacked the bike rack down on my head, which then smashed my sunglasses onto my nose and cheeks.
By the time we got to the airport, I had a sizeable, red circle/gash on my nose. Yikes.
Once I was in the airport, I’d forgotten all about it and couldn’t figure out why people kept staring at me. I thought maybe I was looking super beautiful. But my clumsiness escalated.
Have you ever heard of that character, “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl?” It’s a stock character derived from the portrayal of Claire by Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown. Nathan Rabin, a film critic, came up with the term and describes it as this: “That bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” You know, like Kate Hudson in Almost Famous and Zooey Deschanel in almost anything. It’s that girl who’s always spilling stuff and running into men with her clumsy yet pilates-toned butt and encouraging would-be boyfriends to roll down a hill with her and live in the now and smell the roses and never go to the doctor or to the bank or to work.
|She's so UNIQUE! (500 Days of Summer (Marc Webb, 2009). Photo.|
I’m so not that girl. But I really don’t think anyone is.
I smacked into four or five people trying to get my carry-on to my seat and then had to take up two carry-on spots in the overhead bin because I was “doing it wrong” and the flight attendant told me to just stop worrying about it. My poor arms were tired and no one had offered to help me, and I just wanted to sit the fuck down. The flight attendant asked if my bag had been cleared for “carry-on status.” She actually asked if I’d gone shopping in Minneapolis (I hadn’t). I did not hit any handsome men with my hind end, and even if I had, I don’t think they would’ve been so enamored of my expert clumsiness that they would've asked to fall in love with me.
|She's wicked QUIRKY! (Almost Famous. Cameron Crowe, 2000). Photo.|
Once I sat down, I immediately fell asleep and ended up with my head on the shoulder of the woman sitting next to me. She was really nice about it. But she didn't ask me out.
I jerked awake and got a bag of crackers during the food service and tried to bend down to get my book while holding the crackers and spilled half of them on the floor. The really nice flight attendant gave me a cup for the floor crackers. Then I repeatedly bumped my head and elbow into the nice lady next to me while I was picking them up. No dreamy looking men happened upon me during this time, entranced by my inability to connect food from my hand to my mouth. Weird!
|She wants a PIGGY BACK RIDE! (Elizabethtown. Cameron Crowe--strike two--2005). Photo.|
After I got off the plane, I got stuck in several doorways with my bag and left a bathroom stall door unlocked enough for it to swing open mid-pee. No men there to be swept off their feet, unfortunately.
I got caught in the elevator door in my building and then slammed my knee on my apartment door. Then I forgot that I had no towels in my bathroom and had to drip water all over the hallway after my shower.
I’m not normally so clumsy. But I should’ve known things were going wrong earlier that morning when my shoe strap caught on Gabe’s porch table and yanked the whole table so hard that half of its contents fell on the floor.
I’m pretty sure that if the Manic Pixie Dream Girl were a real person, she’d just be pissing people off all over the place. If I were on a first date with someone and they spilled coffee all over me, I’d think the date was going sort of poorly. If someone showed up with a huge bruise over the bridge of her nose, I’d wonder if maybe she were a psychopath or the victim of domestic abuse, not assume that she was delightfully prone to running into doors and bike racks.
|The original? Audrey Hepburn has Breakfast at Tiffany's, (Blake Edwards, 1961). Photo.|
If these women were real, everyone would hate them, despite their "loveable" neuroses. We’d hate them for being late, for not having a real job, for not bothering to wear a bra or do laundry, for smelling bad and for generally being flaky and disrupting everyone else’s lives.
I definitely got a sense of that when I repeatedly spilled on, knocked into, and upset other folks on the airplane. It’s not appealing, least of all to the person that’s right next to you. And I’m sure it would be slightly better if I looked like Kirsten Dunst or Audrey Hepburn or Kate Winslet. Because I’m sure that being exceedingly beautiful and charming or toothy and booby and having really clever, hippie-dippie things to say makes spilling hot coffee on someone’s crotch ALMOST tolerable. But I gotta tell you, it doesn’t feel plausible. It only makes sense if every word out of your mouth is scripted.
*From Breakfast at Tiffany's (Blake Edwards, 1961). Holly Golightly might be the original Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and I love Audrey Hepburn, but isn't it annoying how quirky and different she thinks she is? She's just an irresponsible bitch like the rest of them. Yeah, your freedom is super adorable and all, but you're really cramping everyone else's style, Holly. Just name the damn cat and shut up about it.