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What does #MPDB mean?

Here's what Pete Davidson and Harry Styles have in common

What does #MPDB mean? Here's what Pete Davidson and Harry Styles have in common

Now that the eras of digital culture change according to Kim Kardashian's boyfriends, we can say that it's finally time to get the Manic Dream Pixie Boyfriend out of the screens and paparazz him in the flesh on the streets of LA. Kim Kardashian, 41, and Pete Davidson, 28, American actor and comedian, cast member of the historic TV show Saturday Night Live, are officially a couple. After days of rumors, the confirmation came from the most informed American tabloids, right after the couple's debut on Instagram in a group photo taken on the occasion of the influencer's 41st birthday in Palm Springs, which was attended, among others, by Kris Jenner and rapper Flavor Flav. Young, nice and tattooed, the man who broke the Hollywood jet set's hearts while living in his mother's basement, seems to have replaced the vacant seat of ex-spouse Kanye West. But what does Manic Pixie Dream Boyfriend mean and why does Pete fully represent him?

The original cinematic stereotype, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, was coined in 2007 by critic Nathan Rabin to describe Kirsten Dunst's character as Claire in Elizabethtown, but the stereotype became iconic with Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer, the girl who candidly hums The Smiths in the elevator leaving Gordon-Levitt astonished (and seduced). Carefree (white) heroines, who giggle in the lives of discouraged kids (also white) to save them from the boredom of their conventional existence. In the female version the trope is in fact a one-dimensional declination of the erotic dream of that slice of men who would like women to be foolish pseudo-intellectuals, disengaged and disengaged, in its masculine declination it is instead a dialectical alternative to the macho stereotype of the cis man, white and straight who 'never has to ask'. Anna Breslaw coined the neologism (MPDB) to give a name to that "self-mythologizing, free-spirited dude who is determined to make the female lead's life magical, whether she wants it or not", but if that definition doesn't appeal to you. says nothing, just think of Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Titanic.

We find the fitting declination of the masculine trope in two mainstream icons at the apex of millenary fandom: Chalamet and Styles, in skirts with flounces or brightly colored suits, have brought a new form of masculinity, fluid, eccentric, soft to the mainstream audience and more malleable. TikTok is awash with #softboyaesthetic videos, guys in collared shirts, diamond-patterned sweaters, baggy pants, sensitive hipster looks as they read books on the subway while sipping their long Starbucks coffee. In the era of deconstructing the tracks of masculine and feminine, strength and weakness, the masculine subject who must constantly worry about the image he gives of himself, his social and public role, which must show himself to be perpetually dominant and winning, finds an alternative in these modern, dreamy and trendy figures. Pete Davidson is definitely an MPDB, even if, with his 'deliberately slouchy' look, oversized jeans, broken sandals, raised hood and platinum blonde hair, oversized tee, jumpsuit and sneaker, he contrasts with the extreme aesthetic of the stereotype, Harry Styles launching a nail polish line or Timothée Chalamet showing up at the premieres in shocking fuchsia tuxedos, yet something in the way we perceive masculinity has changed forever, regardless of the look.

Because if in 2007 the sexiest man in the world was Brad Pitt, with his sculpted abs and the air of a damned, in 2021 to hear People the title belongs to Paul Rudd, a shy, awkward and funny dad, who would be of the all out of place as Tom Cruise saving the world in Mission Impossible or Johnny Depp randomly licking stained glass in Cry Baby, and - perhaps - better that way.