Obsessed with the Hot Mess

Why am I so obsessed with the hot mess characters in every show I watch?

Don’t get me started on Villanelle! I read the book then watched the show. Spoilers, I was so angry when Eve popped up out of the Thames at the end. I needed a true ending for the show!

I love Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), although I struggle to convince my friends to watch it. I love Russian Doll. Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) cracks me up. She’s an absolute maniac and the second season has her interacting with her mother, played with Hot Mess Finesse by Chloë Sevigny.

I love the Strong Female Protagonist. I love her when she’s a mad villain, a psychopath, a tough lawyer (Mimi Rogers in Bosch!) I love her when she’s a game designer who does so many drugs she forgets to go to work, shags her best-friends boyfriend, sleeps with a hot priest…

Why?

This is easy to answer… These women live lives I would never live. (Yes, I know they are fake lives but that’s the point of fiction…) I have always been the Good Girl, the hard-worker, the over-achiever, the Teacher’s Pet. Boring!

I used to love getting drunk so I could at least pretend to shed my inhibitions. They were all still there but I could ignore them for a little while. In my twenties I could push the envelope a little with some minor drugs but my heart really wasn’t in it. The Idea of being a Hot Mess is far more appealing that the reality.

The character I am writing at the moment, Hannah, is quite shut down. She’s had a bad car accident and her husband ran off with someone she trusted. The former Olympian is more Ice Queen than Hot Mess. She couldn’t make a bad choice if her life depended on it but everyone around her gives it a go.

On Monday I am interviewing debut author, Clare Fletcher, about her novel Five Bush Weddings, at my local library. Her character Stevie, is a bit of a Wild Child but the fact that she’s in her thirties is a source of distress for her. Shouldn’t she be settling down and having a baby or three? She thought life would go a certain way and when it didn’t she was a bit lost. We’ve all been there, babe.

Five Bush Weddings has a lot of weddings, obviously. It has a lovely ending and some may say it’s not a very feminist ending but I say bah to them. Feminism gives us choices! We now have so many choices our mothers and grandmothers didn’t have. The young women today have choices I didn’t have.

Recently I witnessed an anti-Feminist conversation between three women who I consider to be very intelligent. They were older, one in her 60s, one in her 70s, the other in her 80s. Feminism is man-bashing, they said. Men are confused about how to behave these days. It’s so hard on the male teachers, the males in an office situation…

Oh, won’t somebody think of the males???

I waited politely until they had finished and said, ‘We are in this room because of Feminism. We can vote, have bank accounts, buy property, travel solo, have jobs after we’re married, attend university, because of Feminism. We have a hope of getting our words published because of Feminism.’

I’m now reading The Angry Women’s Choir by Meg Bignell and so far, this is a very Funny, very well written, very moving story filled with Strong Female Characters whose lives didn’t really go the way they thought… and guess what? It’s also a Feminist book. I LOVE IT! But then I loved Five Bush Weddings, too. That’s the beauty of being alive today. Because of Feminism, all kinds of women writers (and yes men writers too!) are being published and we get to choose what we read and watch.

I can’t see a downside.

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