Dude, she’s just so cool, Mr. Possibility’s awkwardly handsome friend recently commented while we shared beers in Brooklyn. I mean, she’s just amazing. She’s like a dude but not. She doesn’t pressure me for anything and she doesn’t care if I call her back or not. It’s so cool. The sex is outta control, dude. Dudeee.
While a girlfriend of one of his other friends jabbered away, talking about high school though she was nearly 30, I found myself more distracted by the conversation Mr. P was having than the one I was attempting to avoid. His friend continued to blush about this girl he had met: she was beautiful but aloof, talented but not pretentious, available but unavailable, sexy but not intimidating. He loved that she wasn’t pushing for a title, though from the sounds of it, he is only sleeping with her. He talked about how well they get along, how she is up for anything and that he has no idea what goes on when they’re not together. She’s mysterious it seems and hard to get, yet he has her? Mr. P nodded along and I felt a sting of fear that he wished I was that way still: emotionally unattached, cool and calm, not wanting the relationship to progress from orgasms and Oreoes in bed to talks about the future and what kind of foundation we were building. I lowered my eyes and thought I’m not just not that girl, why do men want that type of woman?
She’s the staple of all romantic comedies: The Manic Pixie Dream Girl. You know, Natalie Portman from No Strings Attatched and Garden State, Kate Hudson in Almost Famous, Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. She’s independent and feisty, off in her own little world and uninclined to invite any man into the mix. She usually has some sort of turmoil from her past that keeps her from falling in love or even wanting to, and she’s a tough cookie to crack, until of course, she does. She then turns to her manic side, becoming madly, deeply smitten with the dude who had to work so hard to capture her heart – and in an hour and a half, plus credits, she puts those scars behind her and trusts easily again.
It’s all very romantic, right?
I’ve wanted to be that girl the majority of my dating career (and yes, most of the time it feels like a job). I’ve wanted to not really care if a guy calls me back or even asks for my number. I’ve wanted to be so confident single that I’m not distracted by those silly emotions that lead us into wanting to be coupled up, to be wined-and-dined, and actually wake up with our partner the next day. I’ve wanted to be so caught up in my life, so ridiculously entertained with my own existence that men become disposable creatures that come as easily as they go. I’ve wanted to have frivolous sex, never text a guy before he called me and be so brazen that even the world’s most hideous pimple couldn’t sway my swagger.
But there’s this huge, tender, fragile and brilliant thing in my way: my heart. It makes me as much as it breaks me in the un-wonderful world of love.
I thought through this journey I may become the Ms. Pixie and win the love of jugglers, turn them into recovering players who want nothing more than to worship the pavement I frolic on. I thought maybe I’d extinguish that ruthless desire for happiness in love by focusing so intensely on what I want that I forget that what I want, when it comes down to it, is to be satisfied with myself but also have someone who loves that about me. I thought this journey would cure me of love addiction and perhaps it has – or maybe I diagnosed myself with the wrong addiction. Maybe I’m not really addicted to love, I’m just rather normal. I’d like to think I’m pretty remarkable (I’ll toot my horn if I wish), but maybe I’m like any other ordinary woman who longs to be extraordinarily adored.
I’ll never be that pixie chick, no matter how many 12-step programs I go through or how much New York tries to drown me in bitterness. That hope still lives down inside of me, as it does in even the most conceivable cynic. The pixie girl, as much as she’s portrayed as uninterested, always becomes intensely interested before the movie is over, doesn’t she? Perhaps men lust after her because they like a good chase but I think what they’re really lusting after isn’t what it takes to claim her but the fact that she’s so intriguing that they want to claim her, instead of feeling forced into a relationship by another broad.
I think Mr. P’s friend will find sooner than later that she may just want more than what he bargained for. That manic side will rear its womanly head – and he’ll find that Ms. Pixie is beautiful and alluring but if he’s fortunate, she’s got a heart too. She just happens to be one of the savvy ones who knows how to play her cards so well, how to be so distant, that she gets just where she wants to be without seeming like all the rest.
I could take notes from her – but I think I’m pretty good one my own. Even if Mr. Possibility isn’t a fan of my new sense of urgency in our relationship (once your other ducks are in a row – ahem, my dream job – you stop worrying so much about being the dreamgirl and more about having the dream guy). Perhaps he’ll learn that we all want what we can’t have, but if we’re lucky we still want it after we have it. Ms. Pixie may make men wait longer or take more courage to win over, but I’d rather be myself from the beginning, demanding what I deserve from the get-go and trusting my heart, then to play a character that ultimately will end up just as I am already, anyway.