Love and Relationships According to the Movies

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At twenty-three, I’ve never had a boyfriend for some reason or another. Of course, for someone like me living in the country, you don’t have many options and most people at my age have other priorities like school or career. Yet, I’ve had guys who were interested in me as well as had my own crushes but these were few and far between. But even in the best of circumstances, something usually goes wrong. Still, though I’ve never really been in a dating relationship in my life, I know enough about the subject to figure out that romance in the movies doesn’t necessarily hold to the real thing in very obvious ways. And in some cases what could be a gesture of true love in the movies can translate as disturbing behavior in real life or even get you arrested. So here is a comprehensive list:

1. Women always have to be pretty and young to get the guy while men don’t need to be either. (There are plenty of ugly and older women who do find husbands and have longer marriages than many Hollywood celebrities. Also, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and looks only go skin deep. An attractive woman may have more options but her looks won’t necessarily guarantee that she’ll find true love or happiness or even make a good partner. Not to mention, most men usually marry women close to their own age anyway even in their thirties. So if a woman is still single and in her 30s, it doesn’t put her in a relationship dead zone. Still, almost every actress you see portrayed as a love interest is a young and attractive actress while the guy doesn’t need to be so.)

2. No woman is happy with a man who isn’t less successful than she is. (Though there are some women who do go after so-called “alpha males” most women would rather be with men who love and respect them for themselves as well as are nice people in general. Financially, most women are more concerned with a guy’s relationship to money than what he makes. More marriages have ended in divorce over poor money management than lack of income. Besides, these days most women aren’t really looking for a man who can financially provide or support them anyway. A financially trustworthy beta male will do just fine.)

3. A woman’s career success will hurt her relationship with her man. (Many guys may not be comfortable dating or being married to someone more successful than them, but most of them will try and learn to adjust. Sometimes a woman’s successful career can help her in relationship or perhaps save her marriage. Plenty of men are happily married to women more successful than they are. And there are plenty of famous examples of successful women having happy marriages like Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Mitchell, Annie Oakley, Nancy Pelosi, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, and the list goes on. So, ladies, despite what Hollywood says, career success won’t cost you your man, in most cases. And if it does, then he probably wasn’t good enough for you to begin with or you just got too caught up in it which could happen to men, too. Also, a lot of career women lose their men but not always because of it.)

4. A damsel in distress will fall in love with the first guy who rescues or tries to help her while he reciprocates her feelings. (If this was true 100% of the time I bet male rescue workers, cops, and medical personnel would have girls and women swarming at them. Though this might happen sometimes, for many people, saving others is their job and a lot of them usually already have a significant other or a family while others may not make good partners to begin with. Those who are rescued may also have a significant other as well. Still, no one should expect these people to fall in love with them or vice versa. Being saved from danger doesn’t lead to romance most of the time, especially if the rescuer is an obese cop with a wife and family.)

5. Hooking up under the influence is a good way to meet someone. (A drunken hookup with a stranger may be a good way to have an “accident,” yet it’s a terrible way to meet someone, especially if it’s the future co-parent of your child who may be the unexpected result of such encounter. For one, the stranger you sleep with may have issues with alcohol, which isn’t a good sign at all. Second, drunken hookups aren’t 100% consensual since anyone intoxicated is in no condition to give any consent. So having sex with someone who’s drunk is will less likely lead you true love and more likely to jail as a sex offender. Even more so if roofies are involved. Yet, in movies, drunken hookups seem to happen all the time and no one seems to feel violated and no one gets arrested. Drunk sex in real life just don’t work that way. So if you see someone who’s drunk, don’t have sex with them because it’s rape.)

6. Women like men with plenty of sexual experience while men prefer women with none. (Sexual experience is mostly irrelevant in relationships and while there are many who marry as virgins, there are plenty who don’t. So having pre-marital sex isn’t going to hurt anyone’s chances, as long as it’s in a monogamous relationship, even if it doesn’t lead to marriage. And there’s nothing wrong with being a virgin either, even if you’re a guy. However, having a sexual history like Casanova isn’t an attractive quality for either sex. Of course, we all know the kind of stigma against women having pre-marital sex and slut shaming so I don’t have to go into detail. Yet, women don’t really like players either, at least as husbands anyway and for good reason. After all, what woman wants to marry a man who may have a bunch undiagnosed STDs and a closet full of paternity suits? Nobody.)

7. No matter how much of a jerk he is, if he’s charming, handsome, likeable, and dresses nice, chances are he’ll end up with the leading lady by the end. (Of course, Cary Grant from His Girl Friday comes to my mind for no matter how much he tortures Ralph Bellamy to get Rosiland Russell back, you just can’t hate the man. And Cary Grant was such an awful person in that movie like trying to get his ex-wife’s fiance arrested with a hooker. Still, no guy can get away with all that in real life no matter how irresistible he is.)

8. No matter how crazy she is, if she’s pretty, fun-loving, rich, and/or sweet as can be, chances are she’ll end up with the leading man by the end. (In this, I’m talking about Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby who basically acts however she pleases like stealing other people’s cars, teeing off on other people’s golf balls, and shanghaiing Cary Grant to Connecticut with the help from a leopard named Baby. She also takes his clothes as well as make a further mess of things sometimes by accident and sometimes not. And all in a span of two days with one being a day he’s set to marry someone else. Nevertheless, she ends up with him in the end and they live happily ever after while the brontosaurus skeleton just falls apart {then again, brontosauruses never really existed}. Still, in real life, she’d probably get away with at least some of her antics anyway since she’s rich, but I don’t think most guys will pick a girl who puts them in a possible life-threatening situation. Girls who do that usually get restraining orders.)

9. Love means never having to say you’re sorry. (Most bullshit relationship advice ever. People who love each other always say they’re sorry when they’ve been wrong. It’s common courtesy, dammit!)

10. If you love someone, don’t give up the chase even if the object of your affections repeatedly rejects you and/or is seeing someone else. If you persist, chances are he or she will fall for you eventually. (This is only okay if you’re fully aware that the object of your affections is actually interested in you. In this case, your love interest is only rejecting you as a way of playing hard to get or other reasons so persistence isn’t going to hurt you, which he or she will encourage. And the person will let you know if he or she is into you {which won’t be hard to figure out}. However, this is the only scenario in where persistence  is okay since it’s giving what the other person wants, even if he or she’s going to reject you anyway. Yet, if you’re not sure the other person is interested beyond reasonable doubt, best not to persist, especially if he or she is seeing someone else. Yet, if you think you have a reasonable chance, it’s all right to ask again, but if he or she rejects twice without showing any apparent sign of interest, best leave it be. Everybody falls victim to mixed signals now and then. But if the other person has made it clear he or she isn’t interested and/or is with someone, don’t press it or try to do anything to get him or her to fall in love with you. In fact, repeated persistence in this situation won’t help your chances and may result in a restraining order or other law enforcement action. However, Hollywood keeps perpetuating this myth.)

11. It’s only natural for nice guys to feel entitled to date women they want, especially if they’re willing to be their friend and treat them with respect. And if their desired women reject them for someone else, it’s their fault. (Sure some nice guys may finish last in the dating world but a guy who feels entitled to any girl he wants just because he’s nice to her isn’t a nice guy. He’s just another kind of asshole and complete phony only pretending to be nice to get into a girl’s pants. Genuine nice guys aren’t like this. Sure they may be flawed but a genuine nice guy is a decent person who treats everyone with respect and doesn’t feel he needs a prize in basic decency. Also, a genuine nice guy respects women’s decisions even if they’re not in his favor or suit her best interest. And they don’t befriend women in order to date or sleep with them either. Real nice guys don’t care if they finish last.)

12. Women are drawn to bad boys, especially younger women and teenagers. (Of course, the Hollywood “bad boy” archetype who girls tend to be attracted to doesn’t win girls just by being bad and doesn’t really turn out that bad to begin with. For instance, James Dean’s characters in East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause are troubled teenagers with serious issues at best but turn out as fundamentally decent people. So maybe it is true to some extent that girls like the bad boys, just as long as they’re attractive and aren’t total jerks. However, there are plenty of bad boys out there who aren’t attractive and aren’t so nice. And by “bad,” I mean like criminally inclined, not good as friends, maybe not too mentally stable, abusive/physically violent, might have trouble keeping a legal job, and will more likely interested in the physical {sexual} aspect of a relationship than anything else. And probably not concerned with fidelity either. So even if the bad boys get the girls, they’re more prone to divorce, prison, or a restraining order. So to say that women want bad boys is to be badly mistaken in some ways.)

13. The love of/for a good person can reform someone who’s bad. (Well, maybe loving another person can make someone terrible not seem so bad but it’s not going to him or her change right off the bat if at all. In most relationships, if they were bad people when you met them, they’ll be bad when you marry them. And most people who believe this have a good chance of getting divorced, filing for a restraining order, as well as other legal actions.)

14. It’s all right to sacrifice everything for the one you love (like your career, friends, values, and/or sense of identity.) If your beloved doesn’t like a certain thing about you whether it be in appearance or what not, change it. (Really? How many movies have I seen this in? Look, this has been done time and time again in both Grease and Vertigo and such notion is utterly full of crap. Sure love requires some sacrifice but you shouldn’t be willing to sacrifice everything you hold dear for another person’s love. No one is worth that. And if your partner is unsatisfied with a certain aspect of yourself {that isn’t a problem}, just tell him or her to accept it or leave it. Those who truly love you, will usually accept while those who leave it didn’t really love you in the first place. Love may entail sacrifice and growing up to some extent but you should also think for yourself, too. Don’t sacrifice or change everything.)

15. Stalking, withholding sex, kidnapping, forcing yourself, isolating your beloved from others, exhibiting high levels of jealousy and possessiveness, breaking and entering, exhibiting controlling behavior, threatening with violence, and other forms of abuse are acceptable relationship behaviors. (For God’s sake, some of these things will earn you a prison rap sheet or restraining order. Oh, why Hollywood, why do you portray such behavior as romantic? It’s not!)

16. It’s perfectly all right to marry someone you’ve known for less than a month. (Happens a lot in movies before the 1960s for two reasons. For one, the wretched Hays Code and a quick elopement is probably the most acceptable way to get the couple having a sexual relationship {unless if the plot revolves around having an out of wedlock baby which in this case, the bio dad will be killed, lost, reunited with family, or having to assume care over a kid he didn’t know he had}. Second, helps drive the plot faster since most movie couples rush to the altar quicker than couples in real life. However, a whirlwind romance is something that shouldn’t be advised even if he or she is The One and you two are perfectly compatible. No need to hurry, just wait for a few months or even a year to make sure you’d really want to spend the rest of your life with this person. Let me just say that an unmarried couple living for 5 years is less likely to get divorced than a couple who’ve gotten hitched after knowing each other for like an hour.)

17. Playing hard to get will surely land you the object of your affections. Being open and forward about your feelings may cause the other person to lose interest. (Maybe, but please don’t make it impossible and don’t go too far, don’t hurt the other person’s feelings, and don’t give the other person unnecessary crap. And if the other person knows you’re playing hard to get and doesn’t like it, you might want to stop and admit it flat out. And even if you do, the other person will probably not lose interest and may even be happy you did. Also, playing hard to get may have a tendency to backfire since it might cause the other person to pass you aside in frustration, be deeply hurt, assume you’re not into him or her and move on, decide persistence isn’t worth it since you’ll reject him or her every single time regardless of feelings, may be afraid to ask again in fear of rejection, or even lose interest in you. Honestly, you don’t want to go too far with it.)

18. When things don’t work out in a relationship, run to the nearest airport where your estranged partner will realize his or her mistake minutes before the plane takes off, jump into a taxi, and despite post 9/11 security provisions will make it to the gate to stop you from taking your flight and profess his or her undying love for you. (You’ll be gone by the time your true love makes it to the gate, especially with the post 9/11 TSA provisions. If you don’t want your estranged partner to leave you forever, call before he or she ever decides to board that plane.)

19. To begin a stable relationship with a person who is ready for commitment, interrupt his or her beautiful ceremony to another person and declare your love. Running away with them also helps. (Sorry, Benjamin Braddock, but ruining a wedding is the last thing you want to do, even if your beloved is marrying someone else. Besides, calling off a wedding is emotionally harrowing and those who experienced this may need time to sort out their feelings before embarking on a new relationship. This is especially true if one of the couple dies before the wedding. If you want to declare your love for someone who’s marrying someone else, declare your love for him or her before the wedding, preferably when the wedding is in the planning stages. If he or she’s planning to marry in a Catholic Church, you’ll have at least 3 to 6 months time when the banns are posted so don’t waste any time.)

20. Becoming accidentally pregnant by a relative stranger will result in you bonding and falling in love with the person who knocked you up and inevitably you will have the family of your dreams. (Jesus Christ, Judd Apatow! Look, ladies, just because the guy may be your kid’s biological father doesn’t mean you should marry him. And just because he fathered the kid doesn’t mean he should raise it with you. In fact, he may not be a good partner to you or a good father to your kid. It’s said unplanned pregnancies outside of marriage are probably the single biggest way not to guarantee a happy ending with that person. Besides, you or the other person may already be married anyway. Still, a great stepdad or no dad is better for your kid than a shitty biological one.)

21. Some hookers have hearts of gold and are very much relationship material. (I’m not so sure about that, Richard Gere. What I can say is that though there may be some hookers with hearts of gold and that it’s possible to find true love with a prostitute, doesn’t mean pursuing a relationship with one is a good idea. Of course, many prostitutes and johns use condoms but many of them do have their share in STDs. Is true love with a hooker worth getting something like Hepatitis A-C, genital herpes,  crabs, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and AIDS? On a side note to parents, if your son ever thinks of being involved with a hooker, please get them the HPV vaccine or at  least talk to them about the possible risk. Still, anyone who’s been in a high school health class can tell you that pursuing a relationship with a prostitute is a bad idea.)

22. Good sex cures all relationship issues. (Good sex be important in a relationship but it’s not going to save it if you or your partner are unsuitable for such a relationship or downright abusive, especially if he or she’s anything like Stanley Kowalski.)

23. If you want your love back, do a grand romantic gesture like secretly filling her office with roses or standing in the rain with a boombox. That way the object of your affections will realize that he or she loves you, too. (This may seem romantic in movies, but in real life, this comes off as desperate and pathetic, if you’re lucky. If not, then actively deranged, idiotic, or obnoxious. This is especially a bad idea if he or she’s not attracted to you in the first place. In this case, you’re just wasting your money and don’t understand how relationships work in the real world. And if he or she doesn’t like you, chances are the object of your affections will be filing a restraining order or be calling the cops. If he or she does like you, then perhaps you should try something called talking or spending time with that person, especially if you make that grand romantic gesture. If you don’t make any effort to spend time with that person or communicate or try playing hard to get, you might risk breaking the other person’s heart.)

24. If you’re dating a terrible person, it’s okay to have a once in a lifetime romance in a random hookup with a stranger while on vacation. (Well, it’s not like Kate Winslet had any choice marrying a complete bastard but still, hooking up with Leonardo DiCaprio is probably not a good idea. Then again, at least she wasn’t like Paul Henreid doing the same with Bette Davis and he was married with two kids. Then there’s An Affair to Remember where you have Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr hooking up despite both of them being in a relationship with someone else who aren’t terrible or even make them unhappy. Still, even if you’re in a terrible relationship with someone, cheating on him or her while on vacation is perhaps the worst dating advice of all time. For one, it can lead to STDs, unplanned pregnancies, or paternity suits. Vacation adultery isn’t a good idea at all. Bad enough hooking up with a random stranger while single.)

25. Dressing up in drag might make you attractive to people within your own sex. (That is, if you’re in gay bar or pull off the disguise convincingly. Still, though I could believe Charles Durning’s attraction to Dustin Hoffman’s Dorothy in Tootsie, I can’t see how any straight man would hook up with Jack Lemmon  or Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot. Really, they don’t look any more like women than John Cleese wearing a dress and wig.)

26. There’s nothing illogical with making the life altering decision to spend the rest of your life with a total stranger who doesn’t know exist. (Really, Meg Ryan? Flying across country to be with the one you love is one thing, but a life-altering decision nevertheless. Flying across country to meet a total stranger you hear on the radio who doesn’t even know you exist? Are you out of your fucking mind? Not only is it stupid, it’s also dangerous and basically makes you a stalker.)

27. Women are man crazy hellions with a ticking biological clock and urge to rush in a committed relationship with a man. (Some women don’t want to get married and/or have kids while others are lesbians. Also, no, real women don’t act like women in romantic comedies. Really? Hollywood, I may love romantic comedies {when well done anyway} but please don’t portray women like this. It’s sexist, honestly. We’re not all wedding or baby crazy bitches or obsessed with clothes or shopping.)

28. It’s not creepy to have feelings for a stepsibling or an adopted sibling. (Just because you’re not blood relatives doesn’t make it less creepy. Besides, I don’t know if the latter is legal.)

29. If your love interest is gay, you can always win them over and get them to switch teams. (Uh, no you can’t unless they’re bi. But, do you really want to go there?)

3o. When men get into a relationship, it’s usually to get into a woman’s pants. (Really? Sure some men may be perverts, but there are plenty of guys who actually want to have a relationship with women and like them as people. Not to mention, a lot of them have emotional needs to and many actually want to get married. Seriously, Hollywood, most guys don’t really want to remain single all their lives.)

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One response to “Love and Relationships According to the Movies

  1. How much of these ideas about relationships do we absorb from movies, books, and society and don’t realize it? I bet a lot- despite ourselves!

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