tbh something that makes me hesitate when shipping Marinette and Adrien is, on top of that they don’t know each other well right now like they’re just barely friends, is that I don’t even know really who Adrien is
and its not just because of his civilian and superhero personas strikingly contrasting each other, though that plays a part. I know who Marinette is. As Marinette and Ladybug her personality remains fairly the same: bold, intelligent, bossy, impatient, competitive, clever, kind, friendly, driven, dramatic, a dork, etc. The only time those qualities waver slightly (well, not the dork part) is when she gets flustered around her crushes like Adrien. Other than that, she’s pretty solid with her integrity. Adrien, on the other hand, jumps from shy and kind to a reckless, punny flirt.
and I don’t think Chat is “who he actually is” or whatever… You can’t just take the Adrien part of Adrien out of the equation. I remember reading a while ago someone’s take on reconciling Adrien’s two personalities, saying how he’s charming but very shy and unsure of himself, how the over-the-top persona he adopts as Chat is positively received by Ladybug so he rolls with it but if she were to ever stop flirting and being silly with him back he’d sober up real quick, back on unsteady ground. An idea I personally agree with, but I’m not here to speculate on that now.
the fact is Adrien is hard to know because he’s wearing a mask all the time, as the model, the son, the schoolfriend, and the superhero. and it’s hard to know who Adrien is beneath the mask because I’m not sure if Adrien even really knows who he is beneath the mask.
He’s kind and brave and smart and punny, but beyond that?? I don’t know. I don’t know, and it makes it hard for me to imagine what his dynamic with Marinette would be like when the masks are off. it makes it hard for me to ship him with anyone. and it breaks my heart to think Adrien isn’t really sure who he is either, growing up without friends and with a dad who decides who Adrien is going to be.
Does Adrien even have any hobbies that weren’t decided by his dad? Video games, I guess? What does Adrien like to do for fun? Does Adrien even know what he likes to do for fun?? Is Adrien passionate about anything that wasn’t decided for him besides video games???
How can Adrien know who he is when he’s never given the chance to find out, when he’s pretty much been groomed to be something his entire life, when the control’s never been his?? Even as Chat, with that bit of freedom in that over-the-top persona, it’s not like he can go strike up honest conversations with strangers or kick a soccer ball around just to see what its like or even maintain Chat for long cause the transformation will run out eventually. And then he’ll just be Adrien again. Trapped. Unsure. Alone.
Adrien isn’t your run-of-the-mill superhero with an alter ego. That’s Marinette. and like the run-of-the-mill superheroes her alter ego blends well with her ego; they’re really not that different. Adrien’s alter ego and his ego are both facades. His identity is almost….empty. So much of it is fabricated by someone who isn’t him. What’s left when the fabrication is pulled away?