The Girl of My Dreams Trope Sets the Record Straight

Trying to figure out if I’m more Manic Pixie Dream Girl or Uptown Girl? I mean I definitely come from more money than you, not that I cared, but you did, so maybe I’m the Uptown Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Two for one. The one who could take your Elliott Smith-loving ass and save you from your tragic backstory as an Emo Teen. Though, let’s be honest, you’re just an Insecure Love Interest. And You Couldn’t Believe a Girl Like Me Would Notice You. All those Longing Looks. All that Imagined Innuendo. I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On. We had all this Unresolved Sexual Tension from Finishing Each Other’s Sentences. You were a Prince Charming Wannabe desperate to belong to someone, desperate to be the Property of Love. It was a classic Will They or Won’t They? I know you thought it was all Red String of Fate, but you can’t just Care-Bear Stare your way into a relationship. You have to actually say or do something that you can’t take back. Otherwise it’s just Unrequited Love. But you wanted One Last Fling before your Happily Ever After. You wanted A Bet over bedding me like we were in a fucking ‘90s romcom. I was Devoted to You, but you wanted to Test the Love Interest. What you forgot is that the hero always gets caught in those stories. Then they apologize. But you couldn’t do that. You couldn’t push through to the Anguished Declaration of Love and The Big Damn Kiss. While your head was in the tropes, I evolved beyond needing to fit into some category invented by horny white guys writing the women they wished existed. No Emotion Bomb was going to save this. I mean, you think you made me up. That I disappear when I’m out of your sightline and reappear whenever you want to feel Star-Crossed. It’s beyond your comprehension that I could have a feeling inspired by anything other than you. You’re in Love with a Shadow. So, yeah, let that Lost Love Montage roll. You deserve it.

Chelsea Stickle lives in Annapolis, MD with her black rabbit George and an army of houseplants. Her flash fiction appears in Monkeybicycle, The Molotov Cocktail, matchbook, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and others. Breaking Points, her debut chapbook, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press (fall 2021). Read more at and find her on Twitter @Chelsea_Stickle.

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