By LINDSEY D.
— And just for good measure, anything written by Nicholas Sparks is bullsh*t, too.
Sometimes, when I’m bored or have a moment to myself, I like to think about all of the romantic things that have been done for me.
I daydream about the time a guy wrote me 365 letters every day for a year and rebuilt an old plantation mansion WITH HIS BARE HANDS to get my attention.
The time a guy flew all the way to Paris to find me and bring me back to New York City was really sweet, but my personal favorite was when an ex-boyfriend bolted through an airport to catch me before my flight to tell me he still loved me.
Oh wait, none of those things actually happened to me because in the words of Sarah Marshall, they are “bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.” These are the kind of scenarios we only see in the movies.
I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy a good romantic comedy from time to time. They are light-hearted, easy to follow, and don’t require a lot of brain activity. They star aesthetically pleasing people and usually include a few well-placed songs that hit you right in the feelings.
However, I usually leave the movie theater with a lot of questions about what is normal in relationships. Am I doing something terribly wrong? I mean, why hasn’t a guy ever showed up outside my window holding a boom box over his head?
Where is my “I’m sorry for screwing you over because I was too afraid of my feelings” flash mob in Grand Central station? Why hasn’t someone violated several federal laws to force their way through airport security to stop me before my flight?
The answer to these questions: because this shit just doesn’t seem to happen in real life.
Romantic comedies have filled our heads with the false hope that people will express their love or apologies in grandiose ways, but in reality, we are lucky to get a text message that reads, “My bad. Come over later?”
I’ve seen instances of girls getting treated like complete crap but if a guy calls them “babe” via text message, all is forgiven. That seems to be the extent of today’s romance.
In these movies, people go to extremes to reconcile with a failed love, yet if we did these things in real life, most of these gestures would not be viewed as acceptable or “normal” behavior.
Sure, there have been many occasions when I think about someone I used to date and wish I could show up at their door to tell them “I’m sorry” or “let’s make this work.” But in this day in age where romance is an endangered concept, that sort of gesture wouldn’t land me a boyfriend. It’d land me a restraining order and the label of “stalker.” A drunken text message just seems like the safer option.
I’m completely aware that these are just movies; invented storylines of what would happen in a perfect world where guys all look like Ashton Kutcher and everyone has a romantic monologue ready to go at a minutes notice. Sometimes, us ladies are lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a romantic speech, however it is a bit different than the movie versions we are used to.
Examples of the dramatic, romantic “I want you back” monologue – the real life version:
- “We have the same connection we did back then, only now we can like drive…and have sex whenever we want. It’d be awesome.” I know, why isn’t this guy writing romance novels?
- “But I love you and only want to be with you for the rest of my life. I want to marry you and have babies with the same beautiful blue eyes as you. Please just give me another chance.” … *said as he is texting the girl he moved in with two weeks after they broke up* so close man, so close
- No words…. just random, unsolicited naked selfies. Call Steven Spielberg, we have discovered the plot for a modern day The Notebook. “I sent you 365 snapchats of my dick! I sexted you every day for a year!!!”
Sadly, those are all real stories. But because we have been watching these movies since the time we were young, we can’t help but daydream about these scenarios taking place in reality.
Every girl wants to find a guy who sweeps her off her feet and if she says that she doesn’t, then she’s lying… or a lesbian in which case replace “guy” with “girl” and the same rules apply.
If we break down these movie plots, and apply them to real life situations, I am left with a few key questions that never seem to be answered in the movies.
1. Why is everyone just randomly showing up at people’s houses and/or workplaces? What about calling them first?
What are the chances that they’re always home? Like what if I’m at Wal-Mart when the one that got away shows up to profess their love for me? Does that work like UPS and they leave a note on my door? What if I haven’t showered yet that day? I don’t want to hear your dramatic, romantic speech about how I’m the one when I’m elbow deep in a bag of Cheetos with eyeliner smudged down my face, and I’m rocking a Taylor Swift “RED tour” t-shirt.
2. Why does it always seem to take some sort of life altering event to propel the protagonist into the epiphany that they love somebody?
Doesn’t anybody just know that they care about someone anymore? Why does it take your grandma dying in an earthquake caused by an alien attack on Earth to bring two people together?
3. What’s with the last minute decision of interrupting someone’s wedding to tell him or her that you love them? Didn’t you realize this before?
I’m going to be on the brink of an anxiety attack standing at the alter waiting for my fiancé’s ex-girlfriend to burst through the doors and announce that she objects our marriage. I mean, couldn’t they have run off together BEFORE we paid the DJ and flew Great-Grandma Ruth in from Tulsa? That is just straight up rude. Who pays that bill? It better not be my parents or me when my fiancé decides to book it to Hawaii with his junior prom date.
Love stories in movies always have to include an element of intense drama which leads regular people to believe that if our relationship lacks drama, jealousy and conflict, then maybe it isn’t really love.
As viewers, we need to remind ourselves that this drama is carefully created for entertainment purposes. No one wants to pay $10.50 to watch two people meet, realize they have a lot in common, agree to be exclusive then go pumpkin picking, the end. We can all just watch that story play out on our Facebook newsfeed free of charge.
My main problem with how love is portrayed in films (and television as well) is that even if we don’t intend for it to, it plants the idea in our heads that the ones who got away will eventually come back to us.
Maybe sometimes they do, but for the most part, when a relationship is over, it is over for good reason and the wisest thing for us to do is to let it go gracefully.
Now just because it isn’t as present in real life as it is in the movies, I wont go as far as to say that romance is entirely dead. Because I am an optimist disguised as a cynic, I will say that it is just in a medically induced coma and I still have faith that it might wake up.
Don’t get me wrong; I have had several boyfriends surprise me with flowers or concert tickets. Those thoughtful gifts do not go unappreciated. What I’m talking about here are the huge gestures seen on the big screen. There are definitely men out there who are amazing partners and do sweet, romantic things for their significant others all the time. You guys are like unicorns. Girls love you, we know you probably aren’t real but we still hope we find you. Way to go and keep up the good work. Please teach your friends your mysterious ways.
When love does come around, it most likely will not look like it does in Hollywood. We are intrigued by movies that keep us guessing, but in real life, real love shouldn’t keep you on a merry-go-round of anxiety and conflict. It will be much more straightforward and honest than that. It also probably won’t come in the form of Zac Efron singing an original song about how much he loves you. Although, I wish it would.
Chances are that I am reiterating a point that everyone already knows. Romantic comedies are basically full of shit and it is important to keep that in mind while watching them.
We can’t base our expectations of relationships off of relationships that are fabricated by professional writers.
But, that being said, if anyone is interested in holding a boom box over your head outside my window, I would be so into that and I can give you my address.