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Girl next door

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Dik Trom and the blind girl next door (by Johan Braakensiek)

The girl next door is a young female stock character who is often used in romantic stories. She is so named because she often lives next door to the protagonist or is a childhood friend. They start out with a mutual friendship that later often develops into romantic attraction.

A similar expression is "boy next door".


A "girl next door" character is often seen as natural and unpretentious. A trope that evokes nostalgia, it is associated with small towns and more local or even rural ways of life.[1] The girl next door is often portrayed as an innocent virgin who lacks the promiscuity or sexual sophistication that is associated with the big city.[1]

Doris Day of the 1950s is described as a pioneering embodiment of the "girl next door" image in film,[1] the "Hollywood's girl next door".[2]

A common cliche is when a male protagonist is caught in a love triangle between two women, he will usually choose the "sweet, ordinary, and caring girl next door" he grew up with rather than a more well-off or beautiful woman with fewer morals.[3] Other times, this character ignores the hero for another male character, despite being the object of his affections.[4][better source needed]

The character Mary Ann Summers from the TV show Gilligan's Island (portrayed by Dawn Wells) had the girl next door allure, in a contrast with the more glamorous character Ginger Grant (portrayed by Tina Louise).[5] Due to the popularity of the show and the two lead female characters, the question "Ginger or Mary Ann?" became shorthand for asking someone whether they preferred a girl next door type or a more glamorous type.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c McDonald, Tamar Jeffers (2013-09-27). Doris Day Confidential: Hollywood, Sex and Stardom. London. pp. 77-86. ISBN 978-0857722799. OCLC 862101452.
  2. ^ "Actress And Singer Doris Day, Hollywood's Girl Next Door, Dies At 97"
  3. ^ Ebert's bigger little movie glossary : a greatly expanded and much improved compendium of movie clichés, stereotypes, obligatory scenes, hackneyed formulas, shopworn conventions, and outdated archetypes. Ebert, Roger. Kansas City, Mo.: Andrews McMeel. 1999. ISBN 0740792466. OCLC 829154479.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. ^ Romancing the zombie : essays on the undead as significant "other". Szanter, Ashley,, Richards, Jessica K.,, Bishop, Kyle William, 1973-. Jefferson, North Carolina. 2017-08-14. p. 45. ISBN 978-1476667423. OCLC 987796701.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ Erskine, Chris (August 22, 2019). "I invited Mary Ann to a Gilligan-themed tiki party — and she showed up". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  6. ^ Fashingbauer Cooper, Gael (September 17, 2014). "Ginger or Mary Ann? 'Gilligan' fans still ponder question". Today. Retrieved November 24, 2020.

Further reading[edit]