*Written October 24th (my mom told me to publish this immediately after I read it to her; hi mom: love you)
Throughout all of my past romantic relationships, I have told one big, fat lie: “I hate romance/rom-com films.”
The truth is that I actually adore movies- and TV- of the romantic (comedy) genre, I just think they’ve screwed me up on what real love is really like. Since I was in high school and began dating I started waiting for those grand gestures that make romantic movies exactly so addictive. The kisses in the rain in the middle of the street (okay that did happen once when I was like, 16), your shouldn’t-be-but-is-ex standing outside your window holding a boombox playing “your” song, running through the airport to meet in the most impassioned embrace, an unexpected knock at the door after a fight complete with a bouquet of my favorite flowers and some perfectly short exclamation of undying love.
Instead, we get text messages with apologies with few enough characters to fit into a Tweet, overly scheduled talks about how you’re going to make things work, frazzled airport drop-offs and badly timed pick-ups, and well… getting through relationships how every other couple has throughout the entirety of time: with hard work, commitment, and communication.
When I finally figured out that my floppy haired, blue-eyed British love of my life wasn’t going to run into me with arms full of my favorite novels in a bookstore, or that my perfect match wasn’t going to just happen to show up at the film I decided to go to alone then proceed to awkwardly yet adorably spill popcorn all over me, I became disappointed.
Yet I hoped that my Noah and Allie moment was eventually going to happen, even though my mind told me otherwise after years of broken hearts and failed relationships. I forget the parts of the movies where things are really, really crap: when our little heroine is heartbroken and shovelling Ben and Jerry’s into her face, when she’s sobbing outside of the car when here soulmate drives away in his car before he begins rebuilding the house that they were apparently meant to live in together, when she sleeps through her would-be-honeymoon after her fiancé left her at the altar, when she waits by the phone while a perfectly placed tear slides down her cheek. I like to forget the parts that take time and effort, that are painful, the parts where I cry way more than I know I should just because those moments open up jagged wounds of lovers past.
It’s silly, because I have seen what true, real, and very non-movie love looks like and it can be amazing. My parents, my big sister Hilary and my brother in law Ron, my friends The Casanovas (yeah, you guys are incredible and you know it), my parent’s friends…there are so many real relationships that show me exactly what a perfect relationship looks like and it’s definitely imperfect. Why can’t I see those beautiful unions as being enough? I pray that through time, personal growth, and getting to know myself more, and eventually finding the man who will enter into that union with me will open my eyes to the best love there is: the ones you can’t fast forward through, pause, or return to a Redbox. That the small, sweet everyday moments will seem like those saccharine, passionate moments of showmanship.
I’m not going to lie again and say that I’m not going to really, sincerely hope that one day I’ll find that man who can appreciate those romantic grand gestures and realises that those movies make millions because they make women crazy happy and sometimes just crazy and sometimes just happy. But I know I have to remember that those are movies, and just as much as I would love to wield a lightsaber, snuggle a mogwai, and walk into a massive closet filled with Manolo Blahniks- those things are probably just as unlikely to happen as finding my Prince Eric (a la The Little Mermaid). Plus, Prince Eric was actually pretty dumb. I guess I would need more of a Scully to my Mulder, because I would for sure be Mulder in the situation.