The earliest I recall being upset by romance in a movie was while sitting in the theater watching The Truth About Cats & Dogs at the tender age of thirteen. I’ve always felt more Janeane Garofalo than Uma Thurman*. Looking back, I long for those days, as I was probably more Uma then than I’ll ever be now.
Since then, over these last thirteen years, I’ve seen plenty more tear jerking, gut flipping, heart breaking, laughter inducing, terribly depressing movies. In fact, I can’t get enough of them. But they are so misleading. In real life, the boy rarely gets the girl and the girl rarely find Prince Charming.
Not to mention the dialog in real life is just lame. I’d prefer to have conversations like the characters in Pushing Daisies, rather than the mediocre mumblings I’m privy to on a daily basis.
I find the more I watch these films, the more discontented I become with my own life. The people I deal with become boring, the places I go are bland, and the things I do are banal. I do not feel like I am living so much as merely existing.
I don’t want to meet a guy in a club, make out, and end up in a relationship.
No, I want a “meet cute.”
I don’t want our first date to be a movie.
I want it to be a hot air balloon ride.
I don’t want our first kiss to be rushed or unthoughtful.
I want it to be at the top of Splash Mountain, or during a fireworks show.
I don’t want to get engaged at a fancy restaurant.
I want to get to be proposed to in the evening on Venice Beach, with a fire eating street performer providing ambient lighting…**
Do you see what I’m getting at here? Spending my life watching films like Love Actually, Gigi, and The Notebook, has done nothing but cause unrealistic expectations for all the future milestones in my life.
What did Arthur tell Iris in The Holiday? Ah yes…
Arthur Abbott: Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.
Iris: You’re so right. You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for god’s sake! Arthur, I’ve been going to a therapist for three years, and she’s never explained things to me that well. That was brilliant. Brutal, but brilliant.
And so, I deal. I deal with my superficial expectations. I deal with the let downs. I deal with waiting. Because one day, I will have a meet cute. One day we’ll kiss on an impromptu carriage ride. One day he’ll propose to me after we’ve climbed to the top of Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. And one day, eventually, I’ll be thankful that I didn’t settle for making out with the guy at the bar. Because, like Iris, I need to be the leading lady in my life, and the leading lady never settles for the guy at the bar.***
*Uma merely fits the metaphor here. If I were to pick film actress which I aspire to be like, it would be more of a Katherine Heigl than an Uma.
**To all potential future fiances, this idea is now out of the running. You have to come up with your own creative proposal technique.
***Except in the case of Knocked Up, which hopefully will not be the art which my life imitates…