Just like sex in porn is not very realistic, the same can be said for love in films or TV. Rom coms are just entertainment not education.
Rom-coms are popular and I guess they can be funny – though I’d rather watch Die Hard tbh. However when it comes to learning from them about love and relationships it’s a bit like learning about how to have sex from porn.
Same old story
Just like porn they follow a very familiar structure almost every time. Boy meets girl (let’s face it) – they nearly get together in the first half hour – something happens so they don’t get together – they don’t talk about it – one person gets in a huff because the other isn’t talking to them – something happens – it’s getting towards the end of the film – there’s always some running involved – one person says they love the other person – they say they love them back – they kiss. They all live HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
Love is different in the movies
Real life has moments like at the end of films but that’s not where things end, it’s actually where things begin. Just saying ‘I love you’ and someone saying ‘I love you’ back isn’t love in itself. Love is a process and it’s often quite small and everyday as it involves chatting about stuff, making each other tea, sending *hugs* and generally being kind and communicative. It also involves ups and downs both for individuals and for the relationship as a whole.
Just saying “I love you” isn’t love. Love is a process of lots of small everyday things – this would be a very boring film.
If we imagine what might happen after the ‘happily ever after’ ending of a film it might be more like – they see each other for a few more times – things are good for a couple of weeks – they meet each others friends (they’re a bit annoying) – they watch DVDs together – one is annoyed that the other doesn’t like Star Wars – they start to get a little annoyed by each others habits (farting in bed, leaving pubes in the bath, lounging around in their PJs all day) – one starts to get a bit bored – they talk about what’s wrong and talk about how to make it work. That might be a terrible film but it is more realistic.
You vs rom-coms
Rom-coms can be fun to watch but if we compare our own experience of love to how they show it in the movies it can be a bit depressing (like comparing ones penis size to a porn star’s). I watched ‘When Harry Met Sally’ the other day and it made me feel miserable until I remembered IT’S NOT LIKE REAL LIFE.
Just as porn makes great sex look easy, rom-coms make great relationships look easy too. But love and loss can be hard.
It’s very tempting to fall back onto these stories. Love is hard work and it’s complicated. We’re all trying to work this stuff out for ourselves: even sex and relationships educators. Looking to rom-coms is very comforting because they make things look really easy. However when we watch them we can be hard on ourselves and the people around us for not matching up to this “why isn’t life like in the MOVIES *sobs*?”
Can you recommend any rom-coms that are a bit different?
© Justin Hancock, 2015