I was one hell of a romantic growing up- a mini Romeo. I remember always having a crush on some girl, leading all the way back to Kindergarten. I would write them notes in class, share my lunch, pick them flowers- basically all the things that you imagine a preteen Casanova doing.
Where did I learn all these little tricks of love? From the many different love movies that we now label as chick flicks.
I loved watching chick flicks when I was younger. The intense love that all of these movies would inevitably end with taught me that that was what love was. That that was the way that love was supposed to be- intense, passionate, an emotional rollercoaster of sorts.
I didn’t realize the issue with these movies until I got older and fell in love for the first time myself. It turns out that everything that you see portrayed in these movies, from love at first site, all the way to the stable and unchanging feeling of love that these movies make us believe to be possible, is complete and utter crap. I know what you’re thinking… Poor bastard- had his heart broken and now he is taking it out on the world.
No. Whether or not I’ve had my heart broken in the past is irrelevant. The fact is that the way Hollywood love flicks portray love makes us create standards that are impossible to maintain.
Let me give you a few examples from some of my all-time favorite chick flicks. The Notebook- still one of my favorite chick flicks of all time, but completely unrealistic. So you met a girl, had an amazing time, but you were separated.
What do you do now? Well, obviously, you spend the next 10 years building yourself her dream house just in case she happens to return and decide: I know I haven’t seen you in ages, and that basically at this point I don’t know you anymore, but let me break up with my fiancée that I was happy with and move into this house that creepily resembles the house I have always dreamed of.
What did we learn from The Notebook? That to be in love, you need to be obsessed. You need stop living your own life and hang onto something that, in reality, will never actually happen. You try doing what Noah did and let me know if your flame from a decade ago ecstatically jumps back into your arms or if rather you figure out that you wasted 10 years of your life on a ridiculous obsession.
How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days- another good one. Guy meets girl, girl tries to get rid of him as soon as possible, guy chases her until he gets her- basically the gist of it. The twist is that neither of them actually gives a shit about the other.
That is, until after torturing each other and making each other’s lives a living hell; then they fall in love. What are we to learn from this story? That lying to each other, making things difficult for each other, and using each other for personal gain will lead us to love. Oh, but its soooo cute… the love fern… Fuck the love fern. Fuck Hollywood for making us believe that love ought to be built atop of lies and deception.
The biggest problem I have with all of these movies is that they all end exactly the same way- Happily Ever After. What relationship in the history of Ever has ended Happily? If a relationship ends, how can it be happy?
Relationships are living, changing, growing things- just like each of us is. These chick flicks all end at the moment when the guy finally gets the girl. What happens after that? Hollywood would like us to believe that that is all- it’s the end of the story.
Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. In real life, problems don’t stop appearing after you fall for someone- in fact, more and more problems seem to arise. You get on each other’s nerves, you have to adjust your habits in order to be able to live together in the same apartment, you have to try not to have a mental breakdown every time it’s your turn to get up in the middle of the night to change the babies diaper.
If you can do all of this without killing yourself or your partner, and with a smile on your face, then congratulations- you have found true love. Love isn’t as simple and immutable as chick flicks make us believe.
It’s different for different people in different situations. What I believe to be love won’t be the same thing as what you believe it to be, and that’s fine. Love isn’t something you find- it’s something that you create.
Paul Hudson | Elite.