We have all seen the part of a romantic comedy where the two main characters discover that they were meant to be together. Typically, one of them (usually the male) does something extravagant or meaningful to prove their love for the other person.
Be it holding a boom box up outside a girl's window or sweeping her off her feet and off into the sunset on a stallion faster than the wind itself, men in movies have been known to proclaim their love for women in ways that would almost never happen in real life. While I love a good chick flick now and then I think it is time we all take a step back and examine how these things could go. To do this, I have broken it down into three components of romantic action: the serenade, the "What are you doing here?", and, my personal favorite, the inside joke.
Part One: The Serenade
Whenever this happens on TV or in a movie I swoon. I mean, come on! A guy showing up at your house late at night, tossing small pebbles at your window, and then playing or singing a song for you is pretty romantic! However, while I am swooning, I can't help but wonder how perfect it all is. Now, when I say "perfect", I don't mean the "Why isn't my life like that?" kind of perfect, but instead I'm talking about the "That's a little TOO perfect" kind of perfect. What if she had been asleep? In the bathroom? With another man? There are so many ways that this proclamation of emotion can go wrong. Just once, I would love to see the girl open her window only for the boy to realize that he has the wrong house. Don't get me wrong. When Darren Criss's character on Glee sang to the guy in Gap, my inner girly-girl fainted from an overdose of attractive and when he was shot down I wanted ot grab that guy by the long, blond hair and yell "YOU JUST GOT SARENADED BY DARREN FREAKING CRISS! DO YOU REALIZE THAT I WOULD GIVE ALMOST ANYTHING TO BE IN YOUR SHOES RIGHT NOW?". It is just that I think if someone tried this in real life, they might be not-so-pleasantly surprised at how it might go.
Part Two: The "What Are You Doing Here?"
This is where one of the two people in the relationship shows up somewhere to see the other person. Be it their place of work, their apartment, or the corner they walk their dog by every day, I find this move adorable, especially if the place is outdoors and it is raining. No matter where this moment takes place, the person being surprised almost always asks "What are you doing here?" when they spot the other person. While this is also a common expression in horror films, romantic comedies take it to a whole new level by using it to emphasize that the person who is doing the surprising is going out of their way to a place where they would never be in order to see the one they love. When I watch these scenes, I often think about what would happen if the person being surprised called in sick, went to run errands, or didn't walk their dog that day. You have to wonder how many people have tried to immatate this move and instead found themselves in an empty office or on a vacant street corner.
Part Three: The Inside Joke
When someone remembers something you say, it is pretty thoughtful. This move typically is used in the funnier movies. What happens is this: one of them makes a joke about something (in this case, let's say that the girl said she loved both cats and dogs and wished there could be an animal that was a magical combo of both) and the other one applies it to their show of love (the guy goes to the store, buys a stuffed cat and a stuffed dog, takes them apart, and makes them into two different cat/dog combos and gives them to her). To anyone walking by on the street, a grown man standing outside a house holding a bizarre, hand-crafted stuffed animal with the head of a cat and the body of a dog would seem very strange. However, to the person receiving the gift as well as to the viewer of the movie, it seems like the most romantic thing in the world.
I am just going to say that, for the record, I absolutely love a good chick flick. I love seeing the romantic gestures, the awkward situations, and the moment when the two leads begin to develop feelings for one another.
This makes me think about what movies would be like when applied to real life. If we took the actions and behavior of people in a movie, but did not determine what would happen next, we would have very different results than those that are projected onto the silver screen. We might see a guy with a boom box in the middle of the night pulled over by cops for disturbing the peace. Rather than having people go about their daily lives as the two leads act very strangely in public, they might get yelled at by an old lady on a bench or given strange looks by passers-by.
Evaluating romantic scenarios like this does not diminish the feeling I get when I see Jack holding Rose at the bow of The Titanic or when I hear Humphrey Bogart tell Ingrid Bergman that they will always have Paris. Instead, it makes me appreciate them more. It makes me value every moment of romantic bliss that takes place on the screen. So many things have to go right to have the two leads share the perfect romantic scene that you can't help but think that they were meant to be together; that they were meant to share that brief moment in time.
Louisa, I hope, nay, I know that someday you will find the male lead to your very own love story and I cannot wait to read your next post.
Happy Endings to All,