MTV Daria’s Trent (My Dark Valentine)

In 1997, I was fourteen years old, a freshman in high school, and Trent Lane from MTV’s Daria was my dream man. I always seemed to catch the show when it was foggy outside, and my little sister was napping on the couch. One of my cousins told me I sounded dead-on like Daria when I answered the telephone, and I was always trying to understand why. Now I realize that Daria was outspoken, which made her the goddess that she was, but when I was 14, all I could see was the shy girl whose cheeks blushed into tiny roses every time Trent Lane came around. With jet-black hair, Trent looks like a Byronic hero, like Don Juan or maybe Bronte’s Heathcliff. He could have been a creature of another time, a stoic standing on a hillside with twisted trees, his cape flapping in the dark like gargoyle wings.

What got to me about Trent was that he was good for a girl. He was a puzzle of love to me. He treated Daria and his sister, Jane, well. Trent had a messy room and didn’t judge his mother for not being June Cleaver domestic. Trent was the son of a potter. Trent with the raised eyebrow that let you know there was more to him than a guy who slept in past 2 PM. 

Trent wouldn’t have shamed me for my bell-bottomed jeans ripped at the bottom and speckled with mud because I was only five feet two. Maybe Trent was the impetus of my fascination with brooding men who have goatees. He was the antithesis of desire without logic, a dark prince. He was good, engaging, and had real tangible dreams like Mystic Spiral. 

After meeting up for a Daria marathon last year, a few of my girlfriends and I began to fight over Trent. I argued I had dibs on Trent because his only steady girlfriend on the show was a woman named Monique, and I am a woman named Monique. Were we fighting over a cartoon man? The answer is yes, yes we were.

Monique Quintana is a Xicana from Fresno, CA, and the author of Cenote City (Clash Books, 2019) and the chapbook My Favorite Sancho and Other Fairy Tales (Sword and Kettle Press, 2021). Her work has appeared in Pank, Wildness, Winter Tangerine, and other publications. You can find her book reviews and artist interviews at Luna Luna Magazine, where she is a contributing editor. Her writing has been supported by Yaddo, the Sundress Academy of the Arts, the Community of Writers, and the Open Mouth Poetry Retreat. You can find her on Twitter at @quintanadarkling and

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