Monday, January 6, 2014

Truths I've Learned from Romantic Comedies


As everyone knows, Romantic Comedies are completely realistic and utterly true-to-life. I'm very glad I've taken the time to learn from them, because despite the fact that my entire life has failed to conform to the reality that I've witnessed, these movies have had a huge impact on how I see the world.

Truths I've Learned from Romantic Comedies:

1. If I argue with a guy literally every time I see him, and listening to him talk just makes me want to bash his head in with a tire iron, we're probably destined for each other.
2. The more awkward and fraught with disaster the first meeting is, the more likely that he's my soul mate. (This is very good news for me.)
3. If a guy pushes me away, it is for some noble reason. I should keep loving him despite what my friends say. They are dumb and know nothing about love.
4. I can win an international dance competition against career professionals if I put in three solid weeks of training and fall in love with my dance partner. Being in love counts for more than actual skill, and all judges know this. Ditto figure skating.
5. In order to learn any new skill, it's absolutely necessary for a guy to put his arms around me. I should just expect this. 
6. It's okay to leave a healthy, committed relationship to a steady, hard-working prince of a man as long as the new guy I've met is super cute and instantly understands me better than people who have known me my entire life. (Bonus romance points if I meet him on the weekend of my own wedding.)
7. You can treat a guy however you want. If he loves you, he will put up with it.
8. On a related note, guys don't have to treat me well to win me. As long as they make a grand, romantic gesture at some point, all will be forgotten.
9. If a guy acknowledges that he doesn't deserve me, the joke's on him. That actually means that he does.
10. Sustaining any sort of injury is romantic. Ditto getting sick, ditto being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, ditto dying of cancer (during which time I will maintain my toned arms, carry 5% body fat, keep a full head of hair, and by some miracle the treatments I'm taking won't make my face swell up like a ball of dough. If my hair does fall out, though, that's okay too, because I will look really good bald.)
11. Spending a long time being separated from the one I love due to poor life choices, guilt, and/or misunderstandings is more romantic than maintaining a healthy, mutually-supportive relationship. Heartbreak always trumps contentment, because only after heartbreak comes real appreciation of love. And don't tell me that people who haven't torpedoed their own relationships know more about love than the rest of us. Because that's just ridiculous. 
12. It is possible to fall in love with a stranger during the course of a day.
13. It's okay if the person I love treats everyone else he knows like poo. As long as he's "different" with me, that's what counts. 
14. It's possible to change my significant other. The good news is that if he loves me well enough, change will come easily. 
15. The minute I've given up on true love is when I find my true love. So, really, why is everyone bothering to exert all this energy to find love? All you have to do is give up! That's the magic of love! (You're welcome.)
16. It is okay to lie a lot as long as I have a good reason. It actually makes me really noble. 
17. Likewise, it's okay if the man I love has lied to me about literally everything, including his own name. I still know the "real" him. (I know this is true because I kissed him, and that felt more real than all of his lies, so it's okay.)
18. As long as I have a really good reason for doing it, sneaking into a man's house or office in the middle of the night to steal something from him or spy on him isn't creepy or stalkerish at all. It's totally safe even if he's a virtual stranger, so don't worry about that. Also, he won't realize I'm there no matter how much noise I make accidentally knocking things over. (If he does happen to find me crouching in his closet behind his suits, though, that's okay too, because he will just think that I'm quirky and adorable. If he pretends to be mad at me, this is also a good sign -- see #1).
19. If a man compromises his principles to be with me, I should feel honored rather than humiliated, and this shouldn't make me worry about his integrity. At all. 
20. I will know when it's time for us to kiss, because the music will change.

I don't know what I would do if I didn't have the Truths of RomComs to fall back on. 

When life doesn't make sense, when I meet perfectly nice men in quirky ways and they don't ask for my number, when I meet creepy men in ordinary ways and they do ask for my number, when I fall and break my ankle and fail to meet a young and handsome medical student, when I realize that I must attempt to read a man's signals without a soundtrack to guide me, I do not despair. I remember that RomComs are real; therefore my experiences must be anomalies. The exceptions that prove the rule. 

I'm kidding, of course. 

My life is comedy, yes, but it's not a romantic comedy.

It's a real, actual life, full of high stakes and real consequences.

We all know that this list is full of terrible advice, and none of us in our right minds would buy into it. 

Would we? 

But let's say - just for the sake of argument - that some of this advice were valid. That some of the twenty items on this list were actual principles of romance.

Even if any of it were remotely true, would we care? 

It's important to remember that we're in the market for love, not just romance, and we're aware that there's a difference between the two. 

Love is the main course. Romance is the side dish. Love is the food. Romance is the spice. You need food before you can add spice.

Here's what RomComs get wrong, but I hope that you get right: 

Romance doesn't lead to love. Love leads to romance.

Romance raises the blood pressure and sends a pleasant swooping sensation through the stomach, but those reactions are temporary. 

Real love abides. 


Real love requires compassion, honesty, risk, effort, time, sacrifice. It is an abasement of self for the benefit of the one who is loved. It requires no sweeping, grand gesture, but instead fills every day with thousands of small reminders of this singular theme: you are loved.


Grand romantic gestures mean little if they are not backed by daily reminders of consistent, supportive love. Remember that God's plan to redeem us didn't just include one grand, sweeping gesture. Christ did come to die for us, yes, but the Grand Romance is based on much more than that one dramatic act. We're sustained day by day, hour by hour, and moment by moment by his abiding love. 

This is the pattern he's given us to follow in all relationships, romantic or otherwise.

Don't misunderstand me. I am not opposed to romance. Romance isn't evil and marriages are certainly no better by virtue of being dry and static, in the same way that food is not inherently more nutritious if it's lacking in flavor. While I don't think pepper is evil, I wouldn't want to sit down and eat a bowl of it. I like my pepper well enough, but I like it sprinkled in proper proportion on my food.

In keeping with last week's scheduling advice of putting the big things in first, let me encourage you to worry first about the main dish. Once it arrives, then you can worry about which spices to add in what quantities.

This is where RomComs get it wrong: They try to convince us that the spices are the meal

They also tell blatant lies about life, families, morals, cultural stereotypes, and the dynamics between men and women. 

But everyone already knows that.

...............right? 

Coming Soon:

*Truths I've Learned from Action Movies
*Truths I've Learned from SciFi
*Truths I've Learned from Korean Dramas

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