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Great Expectations

So my soon-to-be ex co-worker Stacy (remember her?) recently brought my attention to this little article.

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.


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.


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.


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I feel like and you and I could write a great ‘He Said, She Said’ blog about dating and relationships and all of that jazz. My conclusion for this is based on two things:

1.) I am a boy. You are a girl. Perfect, we have the gender divide taken care of.
2.) In the time we have known each other we have been through relationships together; well…more so me than you. You basically continued into a successful relationship and I have moved on from one, to another, to another…you get the gist. But in that time we have solidified an understanding in regards to how we each perceive the ‘relationship’ world and the parts that ‘are’ played and ‘need’ to be played.

I haven’t read the actual article you replied to because I figure I’d get into a tyrant ramble as well because…well…I have a personal disliking to many things ‘FOX’; especially they’re “news.”

But I am on board with you. Rom-Coms can benefit and hinder. I will admit. I am a guy, and I like some Rom-Coms.

My personal perception of them. I don’t look for them as a message telling me that a woman is going to “demand” a great grand gesture all the friggin’ time; but it acts as inspiration of finding my own grand gesture towards a romantic act. No, I’m probably not going to learn how to play ‘I’ll be there for you’ on the guitar (though I do know all the lyrics). But maybe I’ll make you a mix-cd (or MP3 playlist for your iPod) if you are going on a road trip.

Shoot…I may just post a response to this in my own blog…this is getting too long…


Go ahead and write a post. :) Women really don’t expect too much – unless getting flowers “just because” is considered too much. BUT, if you DID learn “I’ll Be There for You” on the guitar, it would really give you a great edge. Just sayin…


Great post – thanks for bringing it to my attention on my blog.

I think you make really good points here, and I agree wholeheartedly that romantic comedies may make us expect some romantic moments and sweet gestures, but I don’t think they ruin us entirely. The only thing that I worry about is how we expect relationships to develop because of romantic comedies. Do we expect some sort of drama in the middle, the guy to overcome some sort of hurdle or obstacle to win our love, and then we have that romantic moment at the end? Do we expect that every real, lasting romantic relationship will be the result of some sort of crazy situation – a bet, as in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, a fake relationship to make yourself look better in front of your boss, like in Picture Perfect? I think romantic comedies might lead us to believe that relationships can’t come normally – gasp, meeting a guy at work or in class, him asking you out, you having a good date. No crazy dramas. Nothing to overcome. Normalcy. Building of friendship, and love. No one running to the airport to catch someone before they leave. That just doesn’t always happen – or probably doesn’t happen that much at all! And, it can make romantic comedy lovers sit around and wonder why their relationship is so boring. And wonder if you are missing spark, intrigue, something.
Anyway…. wow… wrote a lot here. Maybe I should write a post about this sometime :) Thanks for sharing this article and your thoughts!


Well, I was mostly being sarcastic in response to that ridiculous article. :) But you make a great point – maybe these articles do set us up for disappointment because, in their own strange way, they leave us craving drama!

Huh. I never thought of it that way!


I think girls are just as likely as guys to go overboard. What I mean is, if a guy does a romantic gesture for someone he thinks likes him, it’s often considered creepy/stalker-ish/bad, whereas a guy who does the same thing for a girl who likes him, well, kudos to him! But how does he know which was she feels? I’ve never in my whole dating “career” had a woman tell me how she felt before I attempted to do something to show her how much I like her. And for every girl that’s accepted my gestures, there’s been a dozen more who’ve thought I was creepy. Which then makes me feel bad and less likely to try something the next time around, for fear of hurting my feelings again.

On the other hand, girls who watch romantic comedies – my ex-wife included – can sometimes come to expect certain things that are supposed to be romantic gestures, not chores. If I didn’t do certain things – and I rarely knew what those things were – she would be upset. And if I did, it was expected of me already.

I guess what I’m saying is: girls, if leaving you little love notes hidden around your place is the same as taking out the trash, you’ve gone too far. Guys: if you can’t think of something simple and fun and expressive of your love – think playlist of your/her favorite songs, a candlelight dinner, etc – then perhaps your just not that into her after all.


You know, I hadn’t really thought of it from a guy’s perspective (for obvious reasons). :) But you’re absolutely right about the conundrum guys face, where if the girl doesn’t like them, they’re considered creepy. You just can’t win, can you?!


Mmm.. I didn’t read beyond “So please don’t take the following rant as guy-bashing.” Its sorta like how I wake away when someone says, “I’m not a racist but…” cuz I know the following words will be racist and I’d rather not hear it. I did read the comments. Still have yet to find the answer to the big question I’m looking for… -keeps looking-


That’s funny, because I don’t take comments seriously when they say they didn’t read the whole post. So kind of the same thing!

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