Column: Why I love Ted Mosby: A defense of the nice guy
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 22:02
Like any other “How I Met Your Mother” fan, I’ve been won over by charm and awesome of breakout character Barney Stinson, played by the dear Neil Patrick Harris. However, I’m afraid the spell has been broken, ladies and gentleman. There has been a deep disturbance in the force, and I can’t deny it any longer. I’ve fallen out of love with Barney Stinson, and, yeah, I know it’s about time I’ve gotten over my long-standing adoration of a fictional character (not that I’ll ever give up on Ron Stoppable).
Why you may ask? Because Barney proves a trope true that I find to have no basis. And here begin the SPOILERS, my friends. Barney’s actions on the show suggest nice guys do finish last in television, that all girls just want to fix their bad boy. Robin officially and irrevocably choosing Barney in last December’s shocking (and totally saw-it-coming) episode is the show saying, “Hey, you can totally sleep with hundreds of women, Barney, and who’s going to stop you? And here’s your cake, too!”
Let’s just do some quick math on how many women Barney has slept with. Barney was born around the year 1975, and lost his virginity in 1998 at age 23. In 2009, there is an episode landmarking Barney’s 200th girl he’s had sex with. So in an 11-year period, he has slept with 200 women, or roughly 18 women per year. By the end of Barney’s 14-year reign in 2012, we can estimate he’s slept with 252 different women. While I’m sure that already sounds ridiculous, a study in 2011 found in The Telegraph reported that men had on average only 9 sexual partners in their entire lifetime, only a quarter going beyond 10.
According to our numbers, no one can be Barney Stinson. And we certainly shouldn’t be raising a generation to think you can sleep with 252 women and not contract a sexually transmitted disease or have an unplanned pregnancy. It’s really just odds, people. When one in four people contract an STD, according to testing centers, and half of pregnancies are unplanned in the US; with 5 percent of women experiencing unplanned pregnancies, it’s just not realistic to live Barney’s lifestyle and just celebrate “Not a Father’s Day” every day.
To give a boiled-down interpretation of “How I Met Your Mother” (and I am aware this is a simplification of the show’s plot), the womanizer character gets the girl (or “the prize” in modern television, unfortunately) in favor of the actions of the more committed, honest character, when Barney wins over Robin. This isn’t to say Robin is obligated to end up with Ted, because no girl is required to instantly sleep with a guy just because he’s nice to her. But, you understand Ted’s frustration over the Robin and Barney engagement. We as consumers have to be critical of the messages we see in television, and this is clearly one of them.
I won’t stand for nice guys finishing last anymore in television. I want Ted Mosby to get the girl (and by God, get her so damn soon, since it’s freaking season eight.) I don’t want to hear you complaining about the friend-zone anymore, gentleman. I want you to awkwardly ask someone to watch “Pulp Fiction” with you because you have a “moral obligation.” I want you say you’re not a hook-up guy, that you need an emotional connection with someone. You know what, 17 percent of men will only sleep with one girl in their lifetime, and damn, you guys are cool.
Why are guys in shows mocked for being “the boyfriend”? Why is Eric in “That 70s Show” put down by Kelso and Hyde for his singular dedication to Donna, or Marshall in “HIMYM” teased by Barney for his sexual partners list of one, Lily. Let’s applaud these characters. The condemnation of such a character is tied to masculinity, tied to the idea that only true guys bang lots of chicks. And you know what, no thank you, I’m good.
So I apologize to the men of this world that us females go through that “bad boy” phase. I apologize on behalf of all women, which I’m sure means a great deal. Honestly, it happens, it sucks, you passively aggressively tweet about it and you move on. Girls aren’t perfect, and I’m sorry we’ve so aggressively campaigned the “Draco Malfoy” effect.
However, my friends, I urge you to leave behind the actual Barneys of this world because they are not as charismatic or perfect as Neil Patrick Harris would convey. (I mean, if you don’t want a relationship, that’s cool. Carry on.) But if you want to find your “Lebenslanger Schicksalsschatz,” please, find a Ted Mosby. They’re pretty cool.