I’ve always thought that romantic comedies set unreasonable standards for real life relationships. But I have to say that I was pretty surprised when I read that rapper R. Kelly also felt the same way. His thoughts:
“As the film credits started to roll, I couldn’t move. I burst into tears. People walking past me patted me on the back, trying to console me. ‘The Notebook’ was beautiful, and I was crying because its hero and heroine had died together. But I was also crying because I remembered a Valentine’s Day — when a helicopter dropped a rainfall of roses — that had come and gone … My marriage had died. And there was nothing I could do to bring it back.”
Look, romantic comedies are great. The Notebook is one of my favorite chick flicks. Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling should be together in movies and in real life, always. But The Notebook and other romantic comedies do relationships a disservice. While you’re waiting for your Southern gentleman to write you a love letter every day for years, you’re missing out on that real guy who sucks at expressing himself through letters but will treat you with respect and loyalty.
If you’re waiting for Shane West to build you a telescope like he did for Mandy Moore in A Walk to Remember, let me tell you something: It ain’t gonna happen. But it’s okay. If you set your sights less on telescopes and movie characters and more on real dates with real guys, odds are that you will be pleasantly surprised about what you may find. You might just encounter someone who will take you to that restaurant you’ve been dying to try, and who will sit at home and watch bad TV with you when you’re sick.
Male leads in movies are great. They’re handsome, romantic, and always know what to say. The problem is that they’re this way because someone wrote those lines for them and someone else did their hair and makeup perfectly before they filmed that movie you’re watching. Unfortunately real people are more unpredictable and also more prone to break outs and clothes that don’t match perfectly.
You don’t need to lower your standards just because you don’t have Nicholas Sparks writing your life. You just need to adjust your expectations. Not every guy is good at sappy monologues; say the “six different smiles” one from Win a Date with Tad Hamilton for example.
But he can still listen, care, and love you. Not every guy will play music from a boom box outside your window, or kiss you over a birthday cake after your family forgets about your birthday. Your dates will sometimes go horribly wrong and he may burp in front of you, these are things you don’t see in movies. But working through issues and annoying quirks makes real life relationships more interesting and multifaceted than the relationships we watch on TV or in movies.
Don’t accept a less-than-perfect relationship, but understand that you’re dealing with a real person. You can’t script his lines for him or make sure everything unfolds perfectly. And that’s good, because then life would be boring and should probably end in under two hours. Be flexible, appreciate the relationship and the person for the positives, and work through the negatives.
About the Author
Lauren Levine is a freelance writer/blogger and recent college grad. She writes a blog about post-college life called Life with Lauren and contributes to several other sites including USA Today College, Lifetime’s The Conversation, The College Crush, and Glass Heel. She loves Bethenny Frankel, reading (and re-reading) a great book, and iced coffee at any time of the year.