I’ve always pictured my life as a movie -- a romance, if we’re being completely honest. And certain films have overinflated my expectations.
I guarantee some of you have also contemplated how you would meet “the one” in that undeniable meet-cute, film-worthy way, or what song would play during your first drunken sexcapade. (I always thought it would be The Weeknd.)
Surely, we are all guilty of imagining our lives as more grandiose than they are.
None of my relationships, if you can even call most of them “relationships,” have been by the book or even worthy of a cute, “this is how we met” retelling.
Most ended indifferently and focused a bit too much on the physical aspect, if you follow my strong innuendo. Romantic entanglements tend to be messier and far more complex than any rom-com has ever understood or shown.
Attempting to find someone worthy of your attention, when so few people can detach from their cellphones, is treacherous, to say the least.
Here are the ways rom-coms have ruined my idea of romance, and most likely yours, along with the films to avoid (or watch a 1,000 times, your choice):
Online dating isn’t an easy way to meet worthwhile people.
“Because I Said So,” “You’ve got Mail” and “Must Love Dogs”
Unfortunately, online dating isn’t a laughing matter. With the deluge of dating apps available at our fingertips, we’ve stepped into a harsh reality where appearance is the currency.
Apps like Tinder and Grindr litter every smartphone, and are a playground for secret weirdos.
Only one in every 50 messages is worthy of a response because most only request naked pics and lack proper grammar. Be cautious; people have lost their ability to judge what’s appropriate to say to a stranger.
Love at first sight is a lie.
“Shakespeare in Love” and “Moulin Rouge”
However, lust at first sight is very real.
We’ve all had those moments where our bodies instantly react to the mere sight of someone. Those are our hormones gearing up for a good ole bedroom romp, not the beginning of a 50-year marriage.
I solemnly believe we can’t love someone until we know him or her. And I mean, actually KNOW. Knowing someone's eye color and hidden tattoos isn't enough.
If you met him yesterday, it ain’t love.
Casual sex isn’t a relationship starter.
“Friends with Benefits” and “No Strings Attached”
Waking up next to someone you don’t remember from the previous night is hardly a solid start to a relationship. Most of those hungover mornings will be spent questioning your standards and drinking abilities, not planning a future with your bedfellow.
The friends-with-benefits arrangement has become standard fare in rom-coms, but those 3 am booty calls rarely include Thursday dinner dates.
Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis may have pulled it off, but we are not them. Have as much wild and forgotten sex as you want, but don’t be expecting much more.
Hidden motives don’t a relationship make.
“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” "She's All That" and “10 Things I Hate About You”
Dating a person to make someone else jealous, to fulfill a bet or to get closer to someone else is never a good idea. You also won’t end up with the person caught in the middle of your duplicitous scheming. Isn’t that obvious?
Hiding your intentions until your lies explode in your face is a quick way to rack up restraining orders. Most conversations lead nowhere, but a hidden agenda ensures it.
Terrible first impressions don’t usually lead to future dates.
“How Harry Met Sally,” “What’s Your Number?” and “Silver Linings Playbook”
I may be speaking for myself, but if I dislike you right away, there is a slim chance I’ll want to see you again. And you definitely won’t be touching my “areas.”
Hate sex is a thing, for some, but a relationship based on a terrible first impression is usually headed for disappointment. First impressions are part of the game, and if your opponent plays poorly, it’s time to move along and find another playmate.
Leave the assh*les behind.
Cute, accidental first meetings don’t happen.
“Notting Hill” and “Before Sunrise”
Surely, we know that stumbling across a soul mate in Starbucks is unlikely. Your hands won’t brush theirs reaching for the same book, or for that soy vanilla latte with an illegible name scrawled on the cup.
Nowadays, we are chatting up potential candidates on apps, and only meet when we’re certain or drunkenly hitting on strangers in bars.
I blame the lack of spontaneity in modern dating on the “just talking” phase of a relationship. That whole aspect is bullsh*t.
Just be together or don’t; it’s simple.
Reconnecting with someone from the past is a crapshoot.
“Along Came Polly,” “A Lot Like Love” and “13 Going on 30”
Past lovers, old friends and random people from high school don’t offer a better chance for success. Reconnecting with someone tends to prove that you were right to end things.
People don’t truly change, and yes, that means your ex who liked to sleep around (and probably still does). No, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but friendships disintegrate for a reason, whether it's lack of interest, common ground or past conflict.
If you don’t remember attending high school with the person shaking your hand, there’s a reason.
Although, if he is looking like a large “babe soda,” you should take a long sip.
False identities don’t lead to commitment.
“The Wedding Planner” and “Maid in Manhattan”
So many rom-coms peddle the concept that pretending to be someone else works and everything ends well. I’m here to say that’s FALSE.
This can be as small as giving a fake name at the bar. Even if I wanted these people to love me, I wouldn’t respond if anyone texted asking for George (my alias).
Pretending to be a gorgeous marine biologist who lives on the coast when you’re unemployed and living at your dad’s house won’t fly. If you want fantasy, try porn.
Lies don’t breed lasting relationships.
“The Proposal,” “Hitch” and “While You Were Sleeping”
I’m guilty of lying, and I bet so are you.
Lying is easy, but terrible: a deadly combo. Once you’re proven to be a liar, it’s hard to overlook that.
Our minds immediately think, “If he’s lying about where he’s been this weekend, was someone else with him?”
Unfortunately, cheating and lying go hand-in-hand. Lies breed a distrust that can’t always be fixed. So I advise honesty, in most cases.
We don’t always notice the amazing person in front of us.
“Clueless,” “Jerry Maguire” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral”
I wish I knew someone who had fallen madly in love with their best friend from high school. Then this whole cliched nonsense could be true -- perhaps, one day.
Until then, we will all continue to overlook the nice person loitering behind us and focus on the assh*les and crazy people in front of us.
However, if that nice person wants to be noticed, a little confidence never hurt anybody. Step in front and make him or her notice. No one has ever died of rejection, but nice people do finish last if they don’t step up to the plate.