E.run with a bunch of flowers instead of a ticket with a bunch of flowers to an airport guard, shouting, “Get out of my way, I have to move her to Paris!” Believe me, you are on a one-way trip to Headlock City. Tried to play Peter Gabriel at full volume outside the window of your loved one in a built-up area? Welcome to this rake through your neck, mate. Are you considering doing sex work to meet the romantic millionaire of your dreams? I mean, you have marginally better odds than on Hinge I guess …
As we approach the first Nando’s-free Valentine’s Day in living memory, you might think that a night in a pair for a selection of Richard Curtis’ most socially cleansed moments could make for the perfect closing Valentine’s Day, and even the sex life that makes a boring was-it-Thursday-died again? death last September. But don’t be fooled.
Romcoms is a cinematic Tinder scam. Seething, Coldplay-soundtracked masses of fantasy, lies and bad decisions populated by stalkers, game players, power freaks and perverts – some of these weirdos would literally fuck a mannequin if it came to life. Worse still, they are designed to make your life feel unutterably mundane in order to better sell you their impossible dream. Mimicking their gestures of impulsive fervor is more likely to get you dumped, segmented, or tagged than blissfully married, and if you use them to set your standards of romantic idealism, you will be condemned to a life of frustration and unrealized perfection. People fart. They just do it. Get used to it.
Much of the mean romcon’s insidious coverage is an inevitable by-product of his medium. No one has ever spent £ 15 to watch an online date go quite well, a solid bond, everyone gets along with the others’ friends and, aside from a few touch and go offers on a flat, everything closes nicely at Aldi Cava at a grand wedding of 20 grand near Basingstoke. No, rom-coms require the central couple to overcome a relationship-threatening drama – scorching affairs, tumultuous rows, breakups, meltdowns, one of them being a mermaid – to finally realize their love is forever.
The last time one of your friends told you their relationship was “dramatic”, you instinctively knew they meant “he’s cracking,” right? And that relationship eventually fell into place on an ice rink in Central Park Snow PatrolChasing Cars, are wandering roads all the way behind him? Or did you last see him in a Crime watch photo-fit as she spent the past six months trying to repurchase all of her clothes on eBay?
Still, the happy ending is an irrefutable truth of rom-com (otherwise it’s classified as a ‘howler’), so the twisted ideal has been established for generations that the path to true love must be turbulent. That opposites attract, people fundamentally change for love and cold hearts can be influenced by grand romantic sayings. It is what continues to forgive us the unforgivable, clinging to the last frayed threads of hopeless relationships, and singing to people in public. It’s what forces us to gently back out of engagements by explaining that at the time you had to say yes, you were on stage with The killers
You also don’t have to dig too deep to find a torrent of inappropriate behavior by the average romcom. 1995’s Ignorant involves Alicia Silverstone connecting with her stepbrother, while romantic obsession, almost always portrayed sympathetically as long as the character is male (obsessed women are more likely to be portrayed as crazy or dangerous), regularly strays across the line into total stalking. Cameron in it 10 things I hate about you learns French so that he can pretend to be a teacher just to get close to the object of his affection, and with a darker soundtrack There’s something about Mary in fact would have been Sleeping With The Enemy: The Bloopers
Let’s not forget the downright terrifying Mark van Love actuallyNot only has this man made obsessive films about his best friend’s wife, he also comes to her door on Christmas Eve with a number of signs expressing his love for her. Not only dangerous, but also stupid. The normal reaction when you are told that Christmas carols are at the door is to say, “Oh, that’s beautiful, I need to go and listen, they sound so well rehearsed they can put this out professionally on cassette, I mean they’ve got even brought a string section … “
A 2016 study found that heroic depictions of “persistent chase” influence behavior in real life. “We are more likely to adopt any behavior or values if they appear to lead to a positive outcome,” said author Julia Lippman. The Atlantic Ocean“And what could be a more positive outcome than being with the woman of your dreams?” The article also cites the case of an Indian man who escaped a stalking conviction in Australia with a legal defense based on the fact that men in Bollywood films often win over indifferent women by “persistently pursuing” them. Doesn’t look so innocent now, eh 50 first dates
Romcoms are working to make fairytales look believable, using their escapist nature to make improbable scenarios seem perfectly reasonable – there’s nothing a 21-year-old New York philosophy student finds more romantically appealing than a shortsighted neurotic sage cracker on the wrong side of 50, right Woody? But it’s vital that they are considered fantastic as any non-lethal psycho or Hugh Grant with a cockney accent. It’s not a good idea to send all your savings to a debt-saddled online suitor with a Nigerian bank account, because You’ve got MailIt’s not okay for junior truants to fly unaccompanied across America to meet an adult they’ve never seen before, because, well, officer, Sleepless in Seattle
It’s okay, though, for true love to run smoothly. Your love life is not inadequate or unworthy because you are not struggling with mental health issues, no one is engaged to the wrong person or in a coma, you have not fallen for the prime minister, and at no point has anyone inexplicably had a false ABBA song in your face. Don’t allow Hollywood to set you impossible romantic standards and make your amazing life feel incomplete. Lie back for Requiem For A Dream instead this Sunday, and count your blessings.