'You's Joe Is Toxic And Crazy—But He's Also What I'd Want In A Man

In case you missed it, the internet is flipping tf out over Netflix’s newest binge watch You, starring none other than Dan Humphrey himself. You technically premiered last fall on Lifetime but was just recently released on Netflix, and since nothing good ever happens in January (aside from my day of birth, duh) I guess people are just now tuning in and they are, ahem, spirited about the show. We had some initial thoughts about the show but now that I’ve personally had a chance to spend 10 hours in a dark room with my Netflix account watch it I’m about to unload on you even more. SORRY NOT SORRY.

If you’re not familiar with the premise, here’s the deal: Joe (aka Penn Badgley aka Dan Humphrey) is a hipster bookstore owner by day, unhinged (but somehow loveable??) stalker by night. He’s set his sights on the human incarnation of the reason people think white girls are insufferable: Guinevere Beck aka “Beck.” Beck is a struggling MFA student just trying to make it big as a poet (lol) and also still party with her rich girlfriends and be able to afford her massive, one bedroom apartment in “the village” (LOL). I’m halfway through the show and I can’t decide what I find more problematic: that Beck thinks she will make enough money as a poet to cover her student loan debt or that I’m actually attracted to someone who looks like he hangs out exclusively in Bushwick.

I guess I’m not the only one who’s wet for a psychopath (tbh I’ve been attracted to worse), because last week people took to Twitter to work our their childhood traumas  kindly ask Penn Badgley to kidnap them. I wish I was joking. See the evidence here:

Lonely Boy responded to fans by pointing out that Joe is actually a murderer and why would you fantasize about someone like that, to which I’d just like to say you clearly don’t understand me or my love language. Look, I get it. Joe’s character is a controlling stalker, he’s a murderer, and his relationship with Beck is less healthy than my Seamless history. But I think we have to acknowledge that there’s also something weirdly attractive about his character. And since I’ve spent the last 27 years of my life dating sociopaths (it’s a gift!) I thought I’d break down for you why everyone is so obsessed with Joe The Stalker.

1. He’s Committed

Say what you like about his psychotic tendencies, but the boy is committed. From the moment he sees Beck and strikes up a conversation with her (one that didn’t start with “ur hot” or “let’s bang”, I might add!!) he immediately knows what he wants and would even go so far as to kill for it. I can’t even get a guy to commit to a happy hour, much less KILL for me. My relationships usually go something like this: boy meets girl, boy takes girl to get drinks, boy sleeps with girl, boy immediately says he’s not ready for anything serious three seconds after pulling out, girl says “nah I’ll pass”, boy blows up girl’s texts, voicemail, and Instagram DMs for the next two years because he wants to “hang out” again. TELL ME HOW THAT IS ANY LESS SOCIOPATHIC. In a time when men are so wishy-washy, when they can’t even begin to vocalize what they want, there’s something that’s insanely sexy about Joe’s intense commitment to Beck. 

2. He’s Engaged

Not only is he 100 percent committed to Beck, but he’s actually engaged in the relationship. He listens to her when she speaks, he takes an interest in what she’s interested in. He supports her interests and career goals and doesn’t even laugh out loud when she reads from her sad hand written book poetry collection!! I’ve literally been on a date with a guy who, when he found out I wrote for Betches, said “that’s cool but have you ever thought about really getting published?” Betches only has an audience of over five million people and casually made Forbes “30 Under 30” list, but I guess because it’s targeted towards women it doesn’t count? Lol I love the patriarchy! It’s this display of unconditional support that might be why women like myself find Joe, a murderous stalker but who actually takes a woman seriously, so damn sexy. Idk.

3. He Looks Out For Beck’s Best Interests

Throughout the majority of the show, Joe is constantly saving Beck from herself. Before she meets him she’s the booty call of an artisan soda maker, she’s broke, barely writing, and about to get kicked out of her MFA program (again, LOL that she was ever accepted in the first place). In short, Beck is me sucks. After she starts dating Joe she’s writing regularly, acting more fiscally responsible, and she even stopped masturbating in front of open windows, which feels like the biggest win here tbh.

Now, would Joe’s controlling behavior be more frightening if he focused that energy on how she dressed and who she spoke to, instead of trying to advance her career and feed her avocado toast? Absolutely. But the things he wants for her don’t seem that bad, which might be why the internet is willing to overlook some of these scary traits.

So there you have it. I rest my case. To the trolls who I CHALLENGE to @ me in the comments, I’d just like to reiterate that I understand Joe is toxic and trash but, like, so is every other man on the planet. I’m not advocating this as a healthy relationship. But I do get why women are attracted to him. The fact that every woman with a pulse on Twitter is setting the bar for the male species at “crazy stalker who is interested but might kill people” should say something about our current dating climate. Instead of pretending like you have NO IDEA why women would stoop so low, maybe think about why we would want to in the first place. This concludes my TED Talk. 

Images: Twitter (2); Giphy (3)

Ryanne Probst
Ryanne Probst
Ryanne wants you to know that her name is pronounced “Ryan” and that this is her childhood trauma. Formerly published as “It’s Britney, Betch” she’s the resident recapper for all things ‘Bachelor.' When she’s not talking sh*t, she’s drinking $8 wine and contemplating ways to burn ABC studios down to the ground. Catch her on Instagram (@ryprobst) where she’s either posting pictures of her dog or sliding into the DMs of former reality TV dating stars (you know who you are).