The following journal entry is an excerpt from Laurie Penny’s forthcoming memoir, Confessions of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Penny recently divulged her status as an MPDG in an article for The New Statesmen. Since then, she’s decided to come clean to The Gabbler about her Type-A tendencies that lie hidden beneath her thick bangs, bangle bracelets, and spontaneous outbursts of song.
Dear Blank Moleskine Journal That I Decorated With Blue Feathers, Silver Sequins, And Hello Kitty Stickers,
I can’t take this anymore. I get it, people. I get that I have wide and vacant blue eyes but my skin is kind of pasty and I’ll never have big, amazing boobs so perky that you can balance a tray of cookies on them.
So I made a choice, and for a while, this Manic Pixie Dream girl persona worked – I mean, it really worked for me. Truly, men were falling down over me all the time, all while I was able to show off (and then continuously invent) my personality quirks – in a cute and girly way, of course.
But this “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman,” who also hates Britney Spears act is exhausting. The truth is, I’ve been living a lie, and I need to confess my true self, Karmic Kitty-Buddha.
You see, I spend my days actively trying to be this dreamy, waif-like creature to seem mysterious and exciting to men, but it’s a lot harder to be whimsical and quirky 24-7 than it looks. Sometimes, I just want to wear yoga pants, cook a bunch of healthy dinners that I can freeze for the week, iron my clothes, and discuss my 5-year-plan. Is that so much to ask? But instead, I’ve somehow convinced everyone that all I want to do is binge drink cheap red wine and go on picnics in the rain. The following are my confessions that must never be revealed – or else my Manic Pixie Dream Girl status will be forever revoked…
CONFESSION: Last week, Rob asked me to make him another mixed tape. I couldn’t think of any more whimsical indie songs, so I just copied the “indie summer + love” playlist from 8tracks.com.
CONFESSION: My eyes actually aren’t “so blue that it hurts.” I’ve been wearing color contacts since I was 15. I’ve got to say, the technology has improved significantly. I can’t see a lot of the time, however, because whenever I meet up a guy for a coffee, we always have to go to the public library or a obscure thrift book shop, and I made a rule that I can’t be found without big-rim glasses between the stacks. If I want my baby blues to shine through, I have to go double prescription. Needless to say, I get headaches quite frequently.
CONFESSION: I keep only white chocolate chips, mustard, and red wine in my fridge when guests come over, but secretly I move all the kale and spinach to the cabinet. I need to keep this “waify” look going, so I’m on Atkins. The only reason I’m ever weird and loopy unintentionally is a biologically simple one – I’m fucking starving.
CONFESSION: I always tell men that the only thing I know how to cook is grilled cheese (then I burn it – cutely!), but I’m actually a really talented cook. I know how to make sweet potato gnocchi! From scratch!
CONFESSION: I hate The New Girl. I think it’s trite and poorly written. And yet I own every season on DVD, and depending on whether I think my guest likes Zooey, I say I bought the DVDs myself or my roommate from Zimbabwe bought them for me. “Malik is just obsessed with American pop culture and says my hair reminded her of Jenny or Jessie, whatever the main girl’s name is…”
CONFESSION: The pink moped sitting outside my front door isn’t mine. It’s my neighbor’s. I pay her $50 a month to park it there.
CONFESSION: I tell everyone that I majored in philosophy, but I secretly was a triple major in economics and finance. I just work at Poppie’s Popcorn stand for a little extra cash. I have zero intention of selling caramel popcorn with rainbow-colored sprinkles the rest of my life.
CONFESSION: I pretend to steal things from CVS so that my boyfriends think I’m damaged and bizarre, but I always buy them ahead of time. I believe in good karma, and look what happened to Winona!
CONFESSION: I have a 401-K. I set it up when I was 18.
CONFESSION: I buy Gap jeans on sale and then rip them up and distress them so they look “vintage.” Then I tell people I found them on the street and decided to “save” them. I do that with my J.Crew scarves, too.
CONFESSION: Sometimes I can’t sleep because I’m worried or upset. I tell my boyfriends that it’s just a bit of melancholia because I’m still mourning the death of Sylvia Plath, but really, I’m just worried about my credit score and how it might affect the purchase of the condo I’m saving up for.
CONFESSION: I’ve tried to practice making those weird “unique” noises that Natalie Portman keeps making in Garden State, but I always feel like I sound like a donkey having sex.
CONFESSION: I have a great relationship with my father. I still let my boyfriends try to psychoanalyze me, though. I just tell them evasively that “a lot has happened in the past,” and that “conceptually, the past is something that can’t be discussed or it would become the present and it’s not right to try to be controlling like that.”
CONFESSION: I may be star ukulele player and founder of the Naked Noodle band, but deep down, I know we suck.
CONFESSION: Inspired by Holly Golightly’s rescued cat named “Cat,” I found a cat in the dumpster, brought it home, and named it “Pussy” (I still wanted to be original). When my grandma asked its name, I realized I might have taken things too far. That, and the fact that he turned out to be a male. Pussy is a really good boy though. He’s never complained about having to hide my identity and his for the sake of keeping me a dream girl. He’s giving me a weird look now. Oh shit, I’m doing it again. Okay, he’s actually not even in the room with me right now.