Yes, I pretend to viciously gag when the male lead in a movie does something unrealistically romantic. Yes, I throw pillows at the TV when the couple reunites and kisses as the credits roll. Yes, I hate how Hollywood portrays romance, and I make no effort to hide my disdain. Recently, my roommates had a front row seat to my reactions towards romantic movies, and shockingly, I received some backlash.
It all started when we were watching “Easy A,” and I was managing to only make occasional hostile remarks and sarcastic quips. I withheld complete outbursts entirely, which is pretty significant if you know me. The end of the movie is what did me in.
I don’t want to ruin it for you, but you could probably have guessed that the movie concludes with a romantic gesture and resolution of every conflict in the plot. As the final scene plays out, I watch as my roommates swoon, stick their bottom lips out and say, “Awww.” Unable to restrain myself, I dramatically throw a pillow at the TV while shouting, “That’s just not realistic at all! I just don’t understand. How are y’all buying this?!” If you would have seen the darting looks they gave me – you would’ve thought I had just exposed a homicidal plot. Glaring in awestruck horror, my roommate Madison turns to me and says, “Well, aren’t you just a cynic.” She pauses and shifts her head to the side, saying, “Do you need a hug?”
No, I didn’t need a hug. I needed some realistic screenplay and maybe a little less judgment. I explained to them that I am not a cynic, but rather, a realist who would love for a movie to portray reality instead of idealized romantic fantasy. Yes, I know it’s just a movie and movies aren’t necessarily supposed to reflect reality. A good fantasized story sells. However, so many people watch romantic movies and say things like, “Oh, why doesn’t that happen to me?” Or, “Why can’t my boyfriend be like that?” Or, my personal favorite: “I want that!”
People, if you keep watching romantic movies and pining for those scenarios, you will always be disappointed with your actual love life (or lack thereof.)
An aside: I should mention that I realize not all romantic movies have a sappy ending. I would love to give a huge shout out to “La La Land” for restoring my hope in cinematic portrayals of love stories. “La La Land,” is a work of art that tells a beautiful story about true life. So, thank you.
Since it has nothing to do with me, I shouldn’t care about other people’s relationship expectations, right? I don’t want people I care about to be consistently disappointed when they have no real reason to be. I want people to know that just because a date doesn’t look like a movie scene, doesn’t mean it’s bad or boring. It’s normal and it’s real life. We should be able to enjoy the little and simple things in relationships instead of holding out for something bigger and better. Trying to live up to Hollywood expectations puts unnecessary pressure on yourself and any potential relationship.
I expect people to fail or screw up on occasion. But that doesn’t make me a cynic. It makes me in tune with real life. Failure and mistakes are normal. They’re beautiful, and sometimes even funny. Working through imperfect relationships can teach so much. Taking a chance can be rewarding. Things don’t always happen the way you always dreamed, but hey, that’s what makes life so fun. It’s unpredictable, it’s crappy, and then it’s not.
Enjoy the ride.
Photo Credit: Andi Risk