According to this study, It's actually pretty easy. Australians are so damn sensible: A recent poll of 1,000 Aussies found that the perfect world found in most chick flicks just makes us feel like crap when real life doesn’t live up to big-screen expectations.
I mean, we’ve all been there. Even when we know it’s dumb to compare a real, three-dimensional guy with the fictional version on-screen, sometimes as the lights come up, we look to the guy at our side and go, “Why can’t your dialogue be written by Nora Ephron?”
So here's a guide to some mushy moments -- and how you can decode a more realistic response, thereby saving your guy some grief and yourself some embarrassingly elevated expectations!
Movie: Sleepless in Seattle
Moment: Bill Pullman, upon being dumped by Meg Ryan, smiles sweetly and tells her to go ahead and be with the mysterious guy from the radio rather than sticking with him and the relationship they’ve both committed to.
Realistic Response: “What? You bitch!” Then he calls your mom, and she gets mad at you, too.
Your takeaway: Hey, maybe this relationship does need to be ditched -- better to a tepid first marriage/divorce if you can. But don’t you go thinking it’s easy to dump a dude, even a nice one! You need better skills than Meg Ryan if you’re going to pull an “it’s not you, it’s me” on Valentine’s Day.
Movie: Sixteen Candles
Moment: Jake shows up with a birthday cake on Samantha’s bday and says all the right things before smooching her across the top of the flaming candles (taffeta is fireproof, right?).
Realistic Response: Jake would be totally weirded out by the whole birthday thing and would wait a few days. Alternately he’d show up with a stuffed puppy-dog holding a plush heart that said “Happy Birthday.” No cake. But it would still be a sweet gesture!
Your takeaway: Don’t shit on the plush puppy. It thinks it’s Jake Ryan’s birthday cake. It really is the thought that counts.
Movie: The Princess Bride
Moment: Buttercup realizes she loves Wesley when he says “as you wish” like nine hundred times.
Realistic Response: The real-world version of “as you wish” is an absent-minded “yes, dear.” Still want to hear that? Didn’t think so.
Your takeaway: You want a guy with a mind of his own. Because you might feel powerful for the first couple years, but after a while, Mister Henpecked is going to lose his appeal. Life is boring without an equal partner.
Moment: “Give me your hand. And close your eyes. Go on.” And then she’s flying over the ocean!
Realistic Response: “Open your mouth and close your eyes. Go on.” And then you’re eating a gummy bug!
Your takeaway: Most guys can’t literally make you fly or lift you off the ground. If they can, chances are good that your feet will eventually crave the earth again. Make sure your moments of ecstasy are balanced with real-life respect -- or you might find yourself constantly on your toes, walking on eggshells. (God! Sorry. Got carried away with the metaphors.)
Movie: The Notebook
Moment: “I wrote you every day for a year! It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over!” Rainy smooch.
Realistic Response: “I wrote you every day for a year!” “Oh. You did? Man.” “I know! Hey you want to see some snapshots of my kids, because I’m not a weirdo codependent who sat around for seven years waiting for an unattainable romantic ideal?” “Sure! Let’s be Facebook friends!”
Your takeaway: It’s telling, to me, that one of the comments under a clip of this scene on YouTube says, “Why can’t real relationships be like the ones in Dear John or The Notebook? Ahhhh!” Real relationships CAN be like -- well, they can be heart-rending and romantic and last till death (or Alzheimer’s) do us part. But you have to be willing to take the long stretches of boredom, fighting, or just plain hard work in between the rainy smooches. If your marriage lasted 138 minutes, it’d probably look more like The Notebook. (Actually, mine looks more like Funny People, but who’s counting.)
Movie: Notting Hill
Moment: Julia Roberts comes in and pretty much begs Hugh Grant to take her back.
Realistic Response: Sorry. If you want someone back, you might have to make the first move instead of sitting on your hiney in your bookshop. Dork.
Your takeaway: There’s a lot of sitting-on-your-hiney and moping in these movies. Then the object of desire shows up with all the perfect words! That’s an awful lot of pressure. Ditch your desire for a specific script and look for the meaning behind the words that actually come out of your partner’s mouth.
You get the idea. I don’t mean to crap on your fave films -- go ahead and enjoy them if you want. But if you find yourself irritated with your partner because he doesn’t live up to the on-screen Hugh Grant, please keep in mind that the off-screen Hugh Grant got arrested for getting a BJ from a streetwalker and count your blessings. Okay?
What’s your favorite romantic comedy? How about your favorite real-life romantic moment? Which was better? Tell us in the comments!
Image via Amazon