How romantic comedies have screwed up my world view

I pray every day to run into a guy like Ryan Reynolds in Starbucks. Enough said.

Among all the movie genres, romantic comedy is my favorite. Anything produced after 2000, you name it, I’ve seen it. Same thing goes with anything with Jennifer Anniston in it (except for Friends. I hate Friends).

As much as I love rom-coms, I hate how they have built up this unrealistic fantasy in my head. Not that I still long for a Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling look-alike to sweep me off my feet (but that will be super nice if it does happen), I still long for that kind of romantic drama. I think I can safely say that women of my generation grew up watching romantic comedies should share one or two of the following beliefs or romantic fantasies:

1. We should be clumsy because our Mr Right will find it cute
Example: Confession of a Shoperholic
99% of the time, the female lead in a rom-com is clumsy. She always gets her high heels stuck in the manholes or accidentally spills her coffee on the man standing next to her in the elevator. Instead of having unsympathetic passersby ignoring her, a cute guy always comes to her rescue, and instead of asking her to pay for the laundry, the guy is super cool with the spill and even offers her a handkerchief to get the stain off her face. The girl leaves an impression on the usually serious, high power guy so when they run into each other again, he will ask her out and they will live happily ever after.

2. Your Mr Right won’t think you are a slut even if you sleep with him on the first date/casually

Example: Friends with Benefits
Contrary to reality, guys in rom-com always gets emotionally attached to the female leads even if they started out as players. Both parties initially think it is just a one time fling but fate always brings them back together. The man realizes how special the (clumsy) girl is and goes to great lengths to win her back. Also, waiting outside someone’s apartment is never creepy, seriously.

3. Every successful single woman is fooling herself if she thinks she is happy
Example: The Proposal
In no way can a single woman be truly happy if she doesn’t have a hot boyfriend. She might have sworn off guys, has a successful career, has a walk-in closet full of Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermes and Jimmy Choo. But how dare her to claim herself happy and content? When a man comes along, she notices that everything she has been striving for means nothing. Suddenly the idea of being a housewife baking muffins no longer seems so bad. She would trade everything in the world for having his babies.

4. You can date unemployed or underemployed guys / aspiring artists / drug addicts, and you will never have to worry about your bills
Example: Knocked Up
Forget about what your parents told you about finding a good guy, bad boys are so much more fun and sexier. No wonder nice guys always finish last. In most rom-coms, the seemingly nice guys are often revealed to be jerks or just get trapped into the friend zone. As long as a guy loves you enough, he will change into a nice guy. It’s perfectly fine to first screw a man and mold him into what you want.

5. When you walk away, the guy will follow

Example: every movie
They don’t get rebound sex or forget about you. Even if they seem to be okay, they are not. He no longer thinks sex with other women is all that great. There is no taste in his food. Guys’ nights are overrated. He would exhaust all means to find you, as if he doesn’t need to submit his form for annual leaves at work, even if you are in Congo. When he does find her, they will make out in the center of an intersection in downtown NYC or Chicago and all the cab drivers will be totally okay about that. Don’t be a hater.

6. Everyone can afford big lofts in major cities even if they are in their 20s
Example: every movie set in NYC
Come on I live in Hong Kong, so I know what is like to make ends meet in an expensive city. Apparently in rom-coms everyone does okay financially, they have these fancy apartments and go on dates in nice French or Italian restaurants but you never see them work. How nice is that? The successful male lead doesn’t have to work over time and has all the time in the world to devote to the female lead. They can make pancakes in the morning and cuddle for as long as they want. Their boss won’t get furious even if they have been missing all morning.

There are plenty more distortions I can name but I will save it for next time because my Mr Right may well be attracted to me through my writing for the next blog post.

Girls, can you think of any more cliche scenarios?


About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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