When I was thirteen years old, I saw 500 Days of Summer in theaters. Any kind of meta-narrative or social commentary flew right over my young head, and my sole takeaway from the film was that there were a few key components to winning every man’s heart. These tickets to love and admiration included blunt bangs, vintage dresses, ability to karaoke obscure Americana music, and, most notably, a cute mole. (You may not remember the cute mole scene in the movie, because why would you, but I can assure you there was one.) Bangs made me look like Lord Farquaad; vintage dresses were expensive; and the opportunity to karaoke never presented itself in high school. But, I did have a cute mole.
I realize this may be hard for you to understand, as moles seem like a fundamentally un-cute feature of a person’s body, but trust me on this one. On the nape of my neck, I had a small, dark brown, heart-shaped mole. I felt that this mole was my ticket to manic-pixie-dream-girldom. Someday, someone would look at the back of my neck and think “I have to have her!”
Throughout high school, my mole felt like a quirky little ace in the hole. “Oh, I love The Smiths,” I imagined myself saying as the neck of my shirt slipped down to reveal my heart-shaped skin deformity. Tantalizing, I’m sure. But it all came crashing down last summer when I was home for a couple of weeks. As often happens when one is a college student whose mother still makes doctors appointments for them, I saw every relevant medical practitioner available in the span of two weeks. And it was all going very well (I floss every day thank you very much) until I went to the dermatologist.
This wasn’t the first time I’d been to the dermatologist – my family has a lovely history of skin cancer, and I swam for ten hours a week in sunny outdoor pools for years. Each time I go they like to cut little bits off me and freak me out a lot re: sunscreen. This past time, like usual, I lay in my humiliating paper gown on the metal examination table while the doctor rattled off which new bits of me were slated to be cut off. When she got to the nape of my neck, she tapped me with the point of her pen and said “hm, I don’t like the look of the borders on this guy, let’s take that off.” Dread (or just the freezing cold surface of the table) filled my stomach.
“Is that one the heart-shaped one?” I asked in despair.
“Hm. I guess you could call it heart-shaped,” she confirmed. “Why? Are you attached to it? Could be precancerous.”
I feigned nonchalance. “Nah, it’s just a mole. Cut it off. Whatever.”
A few minutes later, the heart-shaped mole lived on a glass slide instead of my neck. As my mom and I drove home, I fingered the gauze bandage where my manic pixie dream mole used to be. It was gone before I could even start work as a copy girl at the greeting card company where Joseph Gordon Levitt also works. Gone before I could run around IKEA in my 1940s shirtwaist. I feared my life as a living movie trope was over before it began. What a disaster! How was I going to attract any men without an unrealistic, one-dimensional persona to base myself off of?
Luckily, I recently found out about the “one of the boys” archetype. It doesn’t require any quirky moles, just a natural love of sports, an effortlessly sexy aura and a distaste for all the “drama” that comes with having female friends.
So… how about those Patriots, huh? Anyone want a beer?
Image by Annie Warner.