Six Reasons Rom Coms Are Not Your Friend
I’m pretty sure I’ve always thought love at first sight was total baloney. Same for the soul mate principle, and knowing immediately when you’ve found “the One.” I’m not sure why I never subscribed, but even as a child, it seemed contradictory that my mother was telling me someday, someone would love me for my personality (for the record, I was a really cute kid, even though that statement seems to imply I was born with a hunchback), while Wesley was busy rescuing Buttercup even though she seemed like a total… shrew. This is not to say that I didn’t love the Johnny Castles, the Frank Farmers, and the Wesleys of my childhood, just the opposite. In fact, I’m pretty sure I nearly broke my back falling off a log while trying to imitate the balance scene from Dirty Dancing. But the truth is, as I’ve grown up, broken up and moved on again, I’ve come to realize a few hard truths about love, relationships and sex, and very few of them seem to live within the narrow confines of the romantic film genre.
1. Drama is not your friend. Women who have dated jealous, angry or slightly psychotic men will tell you – it’s exciting and addicting. At first, anyway. And then, it just starts to wear you down. Constantly living in a heightened state of emotion is exhausting. It’s all fun and games when you’re first dating, because it’s thrilling that someone is willing to cause a ruckus on your behalf. But when your partner has given the evil eye to your waiter, the busboy, the coat check girl, and the dog around the corner, all because they were “staring” at you, it’s not exciting anymore, it’s time to think about moving out and on, and dating someone who isn’t stuck in high school. And also considering a restraining order.
2. Domesticity is not as boring as Paul Rudd makes it out to be. Many romantic comedies have a married friend who wants their buddy to score with endless streams of hot chicks so they can live vicariously through them. But going out to bars gets old, just like everything else and that kind of chase gets just plain pathetic at a certain age. So when going out and getting hammered stops being fun, it’s both exciting and kind of a let down to realize you’ve settled in to domestication. Sometimes making a great meal, or having your couple friends over for dinner, or even sitting on the couch and watching Family Guy with your man, is more exciting than getting drunk at the local watering hole, because now you’re not trying to wrangle someone into believing you’re the One by showcasing your random sports trivia knowledge. Does anybody else know that Wilt Chamberlain slept with more than 20,000 women? I do.
3. Ruts happen. It’s true that couples who’ve been together awhile have lulls – sexually, emotionally and any other -ally you can think of. Being with the same person day after day gets monotonous and, for lack of a better word, normal. While this is a fact that long term relationships can’t escape, movies also forget the wonderful moments that only occur when you’ve been with someone for an eternity – the dance your husband does when AC/DC is playing or the way you nearly pee yourself EVERY time you see the camp scene of Blazing Saddles – these pieces define who we really are, and it’s rare that we share them with a new lover or friend because it takes time to gain the kind of trust needed to reveal our inner selves. Those moments only come after the blush has faded and the sun is up and your significant other has just farted.
4. Sex isn’t always an intimate candlelit affair, or 76 trombones leading a big parade. Sex is just sex. It’s not the pinnacle of a relationship or the only way people know how to connect with one another. If sex is the only way you can communicate, it’s time to rethink this relationship. Sex is obviously an important piece of any romantic relationship, but putting it on a pedestal makes it less real, less awkward and less fun, and, in the words of Ben and Jerry, if it’s not fun, why do it?
5. Bad boys won’t change for you. Love isn’t the magic wand you wave over someone’s baggage and suddenly they’re fixed and ready for a relationship. Save yourself the heartache and your friends the earache of having to listen to you cry your heart out when you find out I’m just so, soooo right. And run away from that guy on the motorcycle with the tear drop tattoo as fast as you can.
6. Love is hard sometimes. And I don’t mean hard in the way that someone made you sit in a corner until your boyfriend came back from vacation to save you. I mean in the full-of-doubt, what-am-I-doing, what-do-you-mean-I-can’t-have-sex-with-anyone-else, ugh-he-left-his-dirty-gym-clothes-on-the-bed-again, I-hate-that-ratty-tshirt kind of way. The kind that doesn’t ever really go away, because love.Is.Hard. Figuring out if you’re really in love is hard. Figuring out if you want the sames things is hard. And compromising when you find out you don’t always want the same things is even harder. Hard doesn’t get fixed by a man coming with roses in a white limo to apologize for mistreating you, and looking mournfully out the window won’t bring him back if you screwed up. Hard is living day-in and day-out with your partner’s flaws staring you in the face, and loving them anyway. I learned that from Harry and Sally. Obviously.
Image from http://champagnegoggles.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/romantic-comedies-lady-champagnes-not-laughing/