Life Is Short — Pick the Hot Guy

I’m tired of the old Hollywood adage that the “nice guy” always wins.

Why Do We Have to Dumb Down Our Standards to Fit the Dorky Nice Guy/Life is Short — Go For the Hot Douchebag
Photo: Alamy/ Netflix/ Amanda Lauro

Never Have I Ever Season 3 Spoilers Ahead

Once upon a time, in pretty much every Hollywood love story, girl meets boy — and then girl also meets super hot guy. In a totally predictable series of events, our lead heroine rides off into the sunset with the nerdy "nice" guy, leaving the eye candy in the dust. We've seen it in the big blockbuster hits of the '90s and early aughts like Legally Blonde, Something's Gotta Give (hello, Keanu Reeves), Bridget Jones's Diary, and The Holiday, and even more recently with shows like Never Have I Ever.

Yeah, we get it: Sometimes the attractive guy sucks. And sure, the dorky guy truly is the correct choice every once in a while. But why is that always the storyline? Why can't the typical Hollywood hunk be the nice guy? As viewers, we're so rarely served a supremely sexy man who isn't, at least at one point, categorized as a womanizer, jerk, or rake (Hey, Duke of Hastings and Viscount Bridgerton).

Who created this narrative that the hot guy is always a bonafide asshole while the lesser good-looking one is always magically "the one?" Perhaps, it was dreamt up by one of the (many) male players in the industry. A ploy to make these insecure men feel better about their own shortcomings. Why should we women have to lower our expectations and dumb down our standards to fit the fantasy of nerdy male showrunners? Who said that's what we want to see during the hour (give or take) escape we get from our own measly love lives?

In the Netflix hit Never Have I Ever, Paxton Hall-Yoshida (played by the swelteringly hot Darren Barnet) has more layers than your average TV and film hottie (in large part due to Mindy Kaling's brilliant writing). In the show's third installment, we see Paxton come into his own and mature into a promising and bright student, brother, and friend. And yet, at the end of season 3, Devi Vishwakumar still chooses to lose her virginity to her long-time frenemy, arch-nemesis, and try-hard classmate Ben Gross. The storyline follows that classic Hollywood trope of girl does the "right" thing and settles for the underwhelming boy, the one who's been there all along. But what if the "nice" guy isn't always that, well, nice? It's no secret that Ben kind of has a condescending, holier-than-thou, know-it-all attitude — it's even addressed by his on-screen counterparts.

Ben has some redeeming qualities, and some of his arrogance isn't necessarily his fault — he's clearly a troubled individual under entirely too much pressure thanks to his uber-successful talent agent father. Plus, he and Devi do share a love of overachieving, making them seem like the more logical pairing. But it's just hard to believe that Devi would pass up the opportunity to sleep with kind, emotionally intelligent Paxton and his washboard abs for the snobby, patronizing Ben, who thinks insults are a form of flirtation.

It sounds like Kaling has her reasons for not giving Devi — and all of us — the happy ending we so deserve. She previously told Entertainment Weekly that she likes to keep it interesting. "I've watched enough romantic comedies that it's not interesting unless it's constantly shifting and changing," she said. "Having the lead character be happy in love is not super interesting to me. It's more suspenseful when we don't know."

No shade to Never Have I Ever or the show's co-creator Kaling, who can't really be blamed for the tired storyline that's been years in the making (basically since the advent of motion pictures). In fact, the show is technically a step in the right direction with its diverse cast, chock-full of smokin' hot POC leads.

I know what you're thinking: it's not all about looks. And you're right, it's not. But sometimes, just sometimes, it's about having your cake and eating it too. Sometimes, it's landing a stud who's also a sweetie. It's possible — just ask author Jenny Hahn who gave us Peter Kavinsky and Lara Jean Covey or Belly Conklin and Conrad Fisher.

At the end of the day, you can't judge a book by its cover. Sometimes, behind a super sexy book cover is a thoughtful novel with many complex chapters full of depth and wisdom. As we've seen proven over the last several years in the midst of a pandemic and our country's plummeting political status, life is short. Why waste it on partners who don't meet your standards, even if just for a night or a summer fling? Skipping out on the hot guy is — dare I say it — anti-feminist. So, for the love of God, please consider picking the hot guy.

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