The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Susanngians: Romantic Comedy Only Disappoints in the Real World

3 min read


After an active effort to avoid all things romance this Valentine’s Day—I ended up watching “Yellow Submarine” and eating a double cheeseburger in my PJs on Saturday night—by Sunday afternoon, I thought I was ready to brave a chick flick.

I was wrong.

After a matinee screening of “He’s Just Not that Into You,” I’ve come to the conclusion that my ex-boyfriends aren’t to blame for my repellent bitterness: Hollywood is.

Disney has left me disenchanted and Hugh has Granted me little success. Is it just me, or is Meg Ryan mocking us with her girlish giggles?

Chick flicks are porn for women. This is a thesis common among youth pastors, sociology textbooks and Oprah. Starting with “Snow White” and “Cinderella” when I was a little girl, popular culture has given many girls a “white knight complex;” the idea that one day, your one true love will sweep you off your feet and you will live happily ever after. We are asking to be disappointed.

Disney movies and romantic comedies have set an absurdly high standard for relationships, giving women an unrealistic expectation about love. It’s just like how men respond to pornography, only with slightly less exposed nipples. The dialogue is about the same quality too.

“He’s Just Not that Into You,” was supposed to be an anti-chick flick. Like the book it’s based on, it was supposed to be a Valentine for single women everywhere, sending the message that it’s better to be on your own then waste time with a guy who doesn’t treat you like the fabulous hottie-pants you are.

While the self-help book offers a promising philosophy, the movie version throws away any “it’s okay to be single” mentality by coupling everybody off at the end. Why do they always have to do that?

While I’ve spent the past few days ranting about “He’s Just Not that Into You’s” predictability, I’ve begun to wonder whether I really would have liked the movie better if it had a realistic, unhappy ending. I’m pretty sure I would have hated it just as much, if not more.

Per usual, I’ve taken art too seriously. Maybe I shouldn’t base major life decisions on whether Sandra Bullock can date her boss. Chick flicks are mindless entertainment, not scripture. We love happy endings precisely because they are so unrealistic. Sometimes it’s okay to be cliché; it’s even comforting.

So I will never have Scarlett Johansson’s cheekbones. Matthew McConaughey will not take me on a bra-less motorcycle ride across the Brooklyn Bridge. Richard Gere will not help me kick my high class prostituting ways.

And I’m okay with this. Only by pressing pause on my cinematic romantic fantasies will I be able enjoy the gorgeous arguments and morning breath that make real-life relationships worth having.
Someday my prince will come. And if John Cusack doesn’t end up standing outside my window blasting “In Your Eyes” on a giant boombox, I’ve got back up. On a special edition DVD.

John, Paul, George and Ringo will always be into me.