Watching the relationship dynamics of a hot-tempered girl with a clumsy, accidentally perverted guy can be entertaining to watch. If she’s the right character, the tsundere can be very pleasant to watch, even to the point of waifu-status. But does anyone really want to be in that kind of relationship, especially in the guy’s case?
Last year at Anime North, I had the pleasure of meeting a very shy, cute, and overall charming girl at the con’s formal function, the moonlight ball. We both attended without dates, and after striking up conversation on the shuttle bus to the event, we ended up spending the entire evening together, and I asked for her number, which she teasingly accepted. We met up for a few dates, and got to know each other a little bit more, possibly to the point where we were very comfortable talking about our mutual interests in anime.
On paper, it seemed like there was potential for a sound relationship based on a shared hobby. But as she started feeling more comfortable around me in general, she showed her true form: an extreme tsundere. The Naru-punching kind.
It as around this same time last year when I was driving the both of us to an amusement park (Canada’s Wonderland for you fellow Canadians) that we had a peculiar conversation.
She asked me why I didn’t bring swimming wear with me, as it was a hot day, and she implied that we would go to the water park. I told her that I had an ear condition that made me prone to infection if I swam without plugs (I’m at the age where I detest wearing them), and that I usually don’t swim. She expressed disappointment that she wouldn’t be able to go swimming with me, to which I replied, “Don’t worry, I’m sure you would have looked very nice in your swimsuit.”
Her face turned red really fast. She seemed short of breath and struggled to hold back her fist. She lost control. She sent that fist flying. Towards my face.
I was driving. She hit me square in the nose.
If there were other cars on the road, I probably would have swerved and hit one, but luckily, I was slowing the car down to a stop sign, which may have affected the motion of my face and her fist, possibly causing the impact in the first place. Either way, what she did was very dangerous, and may very well have gotten us killed.
It was also kinda adorable. Kinda.
The car stopped, and she was still blushing. “What the hell is wrong with you?” I asked. “You don’t punch someone who’s driving!”
“You’re the one who said something really embarrassing!” She replied. “You weirdo.”
The argument went on like that for a small bit, and the two of us went silent. I kept driving, I was a bit shocked. I didn’t know what to feel. The genre-savvy side of me was jumping for joy, having experienced something that you only see in anime. The realistic side of me wanted to turn the car around and bring her back home and never see her again.
She broke the silence, but didn’t look me in the eye. “I…really want to spend time with you today.” Nothing else was said in the car, and we ended up having a great time at the amusement park, even if we didn’t go to the water park.
Let’s step back for a moment and pretend that neither of us are otaku, and that we weren’t aware of the tsundere archetype and all the endearing bitchiness that it entails. From the eyes of a normal, socially healthy individual, that action was wrong. You should never, ever, hit another person if you are in a relationship (still-developing, long-term, or otherwise). It doesn’t matter what gender you are. In this week’s Tiger and Bunny, even the anime fandom is aware of how wrong it was for Legend to abuse his wife. So why is it that we are more likely to turn a blind eye in this week’s Hanasaku Iroha where Takako slaps Enishi? They’re not even dating, yet we are driven to believe that they would make a very compatible couple? Hitting is hitting, even if it’s something seemingly low-impact as a slap to the cheek or even a clean fist to
my the nose. It establishes a bad cycle of abuse and acceptance of abuse that can grow into something much worse, especially between two people who initially thought the gesture was affectionate or cute. Genre-savvy turns into blindness when relationships turn sour.
It doesn’t even have to be physical gestures from a tsundere. Who in their right mind would want to be in a relationship where one person spends the majority of the time calling the other a creep, an idiot, a worthless sack of crap, and so on? Do you really want to live with that for the rest of your life? How can you even be sure that her dere side will be worth it, if she shows one at all? It’s something to think about.
We didn’t last long afterward. We saw each other less frequently, to the point where she suddenly didn’t want to talk to me anymore. Turns out she got tricked into joining a pyramid scheme, and even tried to recruit me into said scheme, which was a huge red flag at that point. I had to break it off.
Maybe a little tsundere would be nice for a girl. But not too much tsundere. Even if she was the cutest girl I’ve ever met, I would ideally like to keep my nose intact. Besides, shy, silent bookworms who wear glasses are the superior archetype anyway.