In today’s second installment of There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom, I take Henri to task for his blatant character assassination of my beloved fictional boyfriend, Peeta. Now, if there were really a boy in the girl’s bathroom, we all know we would drive him out with that classic strategy from the 7th grade: discussions of our menstrual cycles.
Henri’s made of sterner stuff than that, though, so I had to resort to playing dirty . . . which means talk of cupcakes.
Oh, MAN. Okay, I have to say, you make some good points, Henri. Particularly about how Peeta might get overly concerned with a lady’s enjoyment of certain acts, to the point of putting her off those acts. (Oh, sophomore year of college, I remember you fondly, if not with any actual interest.)
However, your defense of Gale and character assassination of my beloved Peeta is based on a flawed interpretation of the Chase-Krackow-Catalano Venn Diagram of Teenage Angst. It’s not your fault, really; it’s the entire adage that’s wrong. Nice guys don’t finish last; Nice Guys do.
Everyone knows at least one Nice Guy. I don’t know any girl who managed to make it out of college without contending with at least one Nice Guy romantic assault. Nice Guys just want to help out. Nice Guys want you to tell them your problems. Nice Guys think, because they are so nice, you should let them touch you in the girly bits. You owe it to them, cause they are So Nice.
Peeta is not a Nice Guy.
He is, however, a good guy. A guy who tries to help out the people of his district, a guy who tries to use his relative good fortune (as fortunate as anyone is in District 12, which is kind of like saying there are lucky Haitians. Hmm. Too soon?) to help alieve the negative circumstances of others. A boy who’ll take a beating from his crazy-ass mom just to make sure Katniss and her family have some bread to eat.
That’s a good guy. And the great thing about Peeta is that he doesn’t expect a damn thing in return; he does it because he thinks it’s the right thing to do. He protects Kat in the arena because it’s the right thing to do. And he backs off and gives her space when he finds out she isn’t all that into him.
Gale, on the other hand, falls victim to one of the classic Nice Guy blunders: Secretly Pining For A Girl While Being Her Best Friend.
It’s like that Taylor Swift song, but even more obnoxious, if that’s possible. This guy has grown up with Kat. They hang out, in the woods, every day! They’ve got a secret, illegal hobby! If some 20-sided dice were involved, Kat and Gale would be exactly like these two kids who went to my school and refused to go by their actual names and forced everyone to call them things like “Raven’s Breath.” Are you telling me that in all that time, not once did Gale make a move?
Of course he fucking didn’t, because he was absolutely comfortable in keeping Katniss in her little friend place. If Gale’d had his way, he would have Friend Zoned her until such a time as she was feeling vulnerable – for normal girls it’s usually cause they’ve broken up with someone and/or their dog died, but for Kat it’d probably be more like her rebellion lost a key battleground and she just had to kill her mom for being a double-traitor – and then he’d plant one on her. And then poor Kat would have felt the same confusion and ickiness that all girls eventually feel, usually well before their sophomore year in college. (I was a late bloomer.)
But of course, Gale couldn’t operate on his chosen timeline, cause a Terrible, Terrible Thing happened: some other boy got it in his head to like Katniss as well. And oh, suddenly Gale remembered that he didn’t actually own Katniss, and that if he wanted her to be with him, I dunno, maybe he should fucking say something?
Peeta, on the other hand, is upfront. He’s honest. There’s no bullshit, and Peeta doesn’t play games. And it’s not that he can’t play games; we’ve seen that he can. He joined with the Careers to keep his ass alive, and to keep Kat alive as well. (And okay, Kat doesn’t need any help, and Peeta pretty much turned useless for a while there in the cave, but whatevs, he had BLOOD POISONING, and that shizz is crazy.) Actually, that leads me to another point: he realizes Kat is way more kickass than he is. And he likes that.
Do I wish that Peeta would, I dunno, actually talk to Kat about his and Haymitch’s crazy plans instead of announcing them during the Opening Ceremonies? Sure. I’m not saying he’s perfect. But he’s a hell of a lot more perfect than Gale. He’s tough, he’s sweet, he’s sensitive, and he can Get Shit Done. He’s got talents and interests that aren’t Kat’s talents and interests, which means that they’d be more well-rounded and better suited as a couple. And most important of all, and this cannot be overstated –
He bakes. Stop laughing, Henri! Because I know, and you know, that there is nothing better than a delicious baked good in your tummy. In fact, the only thing that might be better than that is the anticipation you feel of eating a delicious baked good, right before you sit down to eat it. Life with Peeta would be like that ALL THE TIME. I, er, I mean, Kat, could wake up every morning to the aroma of fresh hot cross buns or beignets. She could make a lunch of a sandwich with fresh bread just baked earlier. And the sweets. Oh, President Snow, the sweets! Cupcakes, pastries, petit fours, baklava, cookies . . . I know from my learnings of Toddlers and Tiaras and Ace of Cakes that a sweets diet is actually the base of the Food Pyramid.
So, sure, Katniss could side with Team Gale, and find herself stuck doing the same thing every day (after they win the rebellion, of course), trapping, hunting, and watching Gale brood about shit. Or she could choose Team Peeta, and actually have someone who will talk to her about how he feels and what he wants, someone she can turn to in the middle of the night when the nightmares get bad, because he’ll understand exactly how she feels.
In conclusion, croissants.