Sunday, July 20, 2008

Watching myself watch Absolute Boyfriend

So I've watched the first two episodes of Absolute Boyfriend, and aside from the cloying overblown 'cuteness' of the heroine, my immediate first reaction was to think her heartless for failing to appreciate Night--I mean, I teared up, embarrassingly enough, over his selflessly working to earn money he knew she wanted (when in fact she wanted it so she could settle the bill and send him back to the factory to be dismembered). Such pathos. I felt all sorry for him and angry at her (just as the show quite obviously intended).

And then, of course, close on the heels of that reaction I felt a surge of annoyance with myself, for being so easily jerked around by pop culture--and for being so pathetically nice that I'm disliking a character for failing to be kind enough to a robot. I mean really. Honestly, self: that chronic case of Nice Girl Syndrome may need treatment. They probably make a pill for this, or a cream.

But why do I react that way? Either it's a basic part of my nature, or possibly of human nature, to be kind to and take pity on the creatures like Night: selfless Nice Guy, doomed to be in love and also to be a giant clueless nuisance. Or perhaps that isn't nature at all, it's insidious indoctrination, and what I need is to reject it or recover from it or something, while achieving a thicker skin and a little more self-protective Ability To Not Care.

And I have friend-sets on both sides of that argument, willing to step up and praise me for kindness or else tell me I'm too kind, as they see fit.

Although now that I've blithered about it at length, I think there's a third interpretation: both the 'be kind to Nice Guys' and 'stomp on Nice Guys and be kind to yourself' messages are culturally conditioned exaggerations of natural impulses. Which explains why I (and I cannot be alone here) have such a bad case of Nice Girl Syndrome--I got that message earliest, I think, and most often--but which doesn't, really, help with finding a balance between the two.

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