“What do you want to be when you grow up, Sarah?” The teacher asks her young pupil.
“A Manic Pixie Dream girl, that’s what I want to be”. The girl replies, longing in her deep blue eyes.
The Teacher looks away, pain written on her face. Etches of longing trace her angular face. “If only we could all be such… If only”.
Urban Dictionary defines Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG) as : “A pretty, outgoing, whacky female romantic lead whose sole purpose is to help broody male characters lighten up and enjoy their lives.” Oh but she is so much more! A MPDG is a holy creature, and truly unlike any woman you have, or every will, meet.
She smokes too many cigarettes, but it only makes her raspy voice HOTTER. When she sees you, she sees who you really are; the Vonnegut, the Hemingway, the Woody Allen, and every other DEEP/ DARK/ DAMAGED artist you see yourself in. Your MPDG doesn’t shower everyday and that only brings out the oaky scent of her skin. When you are with her, she is never fully there for herself, but she is there for you. She is lost, but only because she has raced down every alley way in your small town. And, yeah, she’s amazing in bed- just gives and gives and gives.
Sounds like a dream. Yeah, no. Fuck y’all and your Pixies, give me real women.
When I was an underclassmen in high school, I had no idea what a MPGD was. I read books full of them, but finished the stories unaware of what I was reading. Characters like Alaska Young, Summer (500 Days of Summer), and the chick in “Garden State” are all brilliant examples of MPDG’s. They are brought into being purely to help some guy get his shit together. I remember loving Alaska in “Looking for Alaska”. She was so COOL. Alaska was smart, brazen, read a lot of books, and had a habit of making everyone love her. That sounded amazing to me at this time in my life. I wanted to smoke cigarettes for the looks of it, spur on adventures, and make boys cry cause of how much they wanted me- but couldn’t have me.
Now I see a different Alaska. I see a different sculpture than I used to. I see something created for the image, not the reality of the thing. It’s like with ancient sculptures where the women are all um… shaved down there, and it’s just accepted as such. When in reality I pretty sure razors weren’t a thing yet, much less bikini waxes. But still, the statues are made that way to be pretty and inspiring, seeing as they are works of art in themselves. MPDG’s are works of art, much like the statues. That is the lovely part about them. Seeing as they are art, all they really have to do is be beautiful, and make you think. Make you discover. But they don’t think. They smoke, whisper, and break down by the end of the story.
The problem with the MPDG is not the lung cancer she is bound to get or her infidelities, but the lack of body to her. She is nothing more than smoke and dust in the end. A few great lines and a few steps behind you. A character brought to life, to make someone else find their life. What a horrible way to live.
As appealing as these characters can be, we can’t wish for them to appear in our own lives. Sometime, I wish a guy would show up (yes MPDG’s can be men, just not as common) and fix me. He would guide me on the path to salvation, and at the end there would be no need to thank him, because that was his purpose after all. In real life, no ones purpose is to fix you. Alaska isn’t going to come and die for you to realize how to live, Summer isn’t going to like the same Smiths album as you, and Keira Knightly isn’t going to turn Zach Braff into a fun guy. It’s all fiction, designed to ignite the flame in you. To make you crave this mystical woman who would satisfy every part of you. Don’t, save yourself, don’t let the girl with the ukulele do it for you.
MPDG’s exist for others, and that is no way a character or a human should every live.