Before I go into my analysis, I just want to say that I’m proud of the fact that we have male and female readers. Even though Erin and I are a couple of chicks, I like to think we’re throwing something out there for everyone. So please don’t take the following rant as guy-bashing. It’s not. I love guys. Some of my favorite people are guys. Truly.
What follows is stupid-article bashing. And while I don’t think Erin and I intend to frequently use this blog as a forum for debate, I’d love to get your take at the end – male or female. Just don’t be too mean. Oh, and please excuse my overzealous use of quotation marks.
RELATIONSHIPS VS. HAPPINESS
First, I’d just like to say how much I love the fact that Fox News decided to write an article called, “Romantic Comedies Can Damage Your Relationship, Study Says” and then file it in the ”Sexual Health” section of its website. Now I don’t tend to frequent the Fox News website, but if I did, I think I would head on over to the “Sexual Health” section to look for articles about how often I should get a mammogram, or how to get rid of the crabs that happened in Vegas but did not, in fact, stay in Vegas as promised.
What I would not expect to find is a whiny fluff piece about how romantic comedies (aka. “rom-coms”) are horrible for relationships because they provide a “warm and fuzzy feeling [that] can adversely influence our [womens'] view of real relationships.”
So are they saying our view relationships should be cold and abrasive?
I’m already confused.
Dr. Gabrielle Morrissey, director of the so-called study and apparently a ”relationship expert” states, “It seems our love of rom-coms is turning us into a nation of ‘happy-ever-after addicts’.”
What’s this, Dr. Morrissey? We shouldn’t hope for happiness in our relationships? And if we do, then they must not be real? Then why are we wasting our time with them? If we didn’t expect relationships to be happy, we’d probably never seek them out. Picture it: women wandering listlessly through the streets looking for a bit of chocolate or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s while men casually stroll by asking them to step into an alleyway every now-and-then.
Never expecting happiness in a relationship? Sounds pretty miserable to me.
The article explains that the study shows these rom-coms lead women to have unrealistic expectations of their partners – outrageous things like wanting their partners to buy them flowers or get down on one knee to propose.
Okay, Fox. I totally could’ve bought your argument if the study showed women were suddenly expecting their men to learn guitar, write them a love song, and serenade them in a courtyard in front of a bunch of strangers ala “A Lot Like Love.” (Great rom-com, by the way.)
But chiding women for expecting a couple of nice gestures along the way? Are these seriously high expectations? Come on. We don’t need to watch romantic comedies to want our partners to do something nice for us. Geez, I’d hate to think what would happen if women asked men to swallow.
Suddenly a little boom box action isn’t looking so tough, is it?
In all fairness, Dr. Morrissey goes on to state, “Real relationships take work, and true love requires more than fireworks.” Really. Because it took an “expert” to tell us that. Of course relationships take work. Maybe work like… I don’t know… thoughtful gestures? But wait. They already said those were unrealistic expectations.
The thing that irks me most of all is her use of the term “true love”. It seems to me that someone who believes “real” relationships should not be “warm and fuzzy” has no business using a term as goopy as “true love”.
That phrase is a little much even for me, and I’m a known sucker for romantic comedies.
FAIR AND BALANCED
There is a key argument missing from this entire story. So, in order to make sure Fox can stay on top of its whole “fair and balanced” motto, I’ve decided to write the second half:
Forget how rom-coms will make us silly, impressionable, doe-eyed women unrealistically expect our horrendously lazy and selfish bastardly man-children to occasionally buy us flowers or get down on one knee while proposing. The nerve.
Most women understand what’s realistic and what is not.
Unrealistic expectation? Probably.
Unrealistic expectation? I hope not.
And in this day-and-age, this works too:
But the other argument this study didn’t reveal is the unrealistic expectations these movies give men about women. Here are just a few:
- We don’t sleep in our makeup.
- If we do, we don’t wake up with it still looking as fresh and perfect as it did when we first applied it. Instead, it would be smeared all over our face and our pillow. Oh, and our hair doesn’t curl itself in the middle of the night.
- We don’t discuss men while sitting around together in our bras and panties. (And if we did, we certainly wouldn’t tell you about it.)
- Sometimes we fart.
- We’re not going to freak out if you talk to us like grown-ups. Avoiding confrontation isn’t “cute” or “charming” and in the end, lying about something is going to tick us off way more than you telling us you just want a night out with the guys.
- Many of us talk about sex more often than we talk about relationships.
- We have hair. Hair that social norms require us to shave, wax, chemically burn, or pull out by the roots much more thoroughly and frequently than you. It’s a pain, and sometimes we’re going to get a little lazy.
- I can’t think of a single one of us who would mistake you-know-what for hair gel. And if you run across a woman who does, you might want to run the other way.
So that’s that. Guys, just because we’re out there watching these movies doesn’t mean we expect our relationships to be full of grand public gestures of your undying adoration. But do we appreciate thoughtful gifts or kind words? Sure, probably as much as you!
Relationships are work and they do require open communication. And to that effect, maybe the rom-coms are on to something. I think most men and women understand that. Problems arise when we get lazy and start taking our partners for granted – when we stop doing nice things for each other just because we don’t want to take the time, spend the money, do the work.
I am certainly not a relationship expert. The hubs could attest to that. But some things are pretty straightforward.
The bottom line? Guys, no matter how many romantic comedies we watch, women won’t expect you to base-jump off the top of the Empire State Building to prove your love - as long as you don’t expect us to wake up in the morning with fresh breath and flawless eyeliner.
And that, my friends, is compromise.