The Afterlife Of A Manic Pixie Dream Girl

8647054660_dea68a2106_o

Laurie Penny describes her former life as a MPDG:

I had the raw materials: I’m five feet nothing, petite and small-featured with skin the color of something left on the bottom of a pond for too long and messy hair that’s sometimes dyed a shocking shade of red or pink. At least, it was before I washed all the dye out last year, partly to stop soulful Zach-Braff-a-likes following me to the shops, and partly to stop myself getting smeary technicolor splotches all over the bathroom, as if a muppet had been horribly murdered.

And yes, I’m a bit strange and sensitive and daydreamy, and retain a somewhat embarrassing belief in the ultimate decency of humanity and the transformative brilliance of music, although I’m ambivalent on the Shins. I love to dance, I play the guitar badly, and I also–since we’re in confession mode, dear reader, please hear and forgive – I also play the fucking ukelele. Truly.

Penny dropped the identity “about the time I got rid of the last vestiges of my eating disorder and knuckled down to a career”:

I became successful, or at least modestly so–and that changed how I was perceived, entirely and all at once. I was no longer That Girl. I didn’t have time to save boys anymore. I manifestly had other priorities, and those priorities included writing. You cannot be a writer and have writing be anything other than the central romance of your life, which is one thing they don’t tell you about being a woman writer: it’s its own flavor of lonely. Men can get away with loving writing a little bit more than anything else. Women can’t: our partners and, eventually, our children are expected to take priority. Even worse, I wasn’t writing poems or children’s stories; I was writing reports, political columns. …

[I]n the real world, the very worst thing about being a real-life MPDG is the look of disappointment on the face of someone you really care about when they find out you’re not their fantasy at all–you’re a real human who breaks wind and has a job.

(Photo: Manic Pixie Dream Girl LARP character sheet by Colin Fahrion)