Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Finding Perspective

I can’t help but be infatuated with the main characters starring in romantic comedies.

From the classics “When Harry Met Sally” and “You’ve Got Mail” to a recent hit like “No Strings Attached,” there are so many instances in which I find myself wishing my romantic interest would organize a massive flash mob to woo me (“Friends with Benefits”) or stand outside my bedroom window with an old boombox (“Say Anything”).

But let’s get real.

Kissing in the rain isn’t as comfortable or hot as it looks—I’m looking at you, “The Notebook.”

In my current relationship, I tend to mock the typical situations romantic interests find themselves in these movies. It’s almost absurd.

There’s always the “love at first sight” with the airy soundtrack playing at bed-level. Why are we staring at each other so intensely? It’s creepy. Let’s stop.

And why is there someone always rushing to the nearest airport—and of course it’s raining—to reassert his or her undying love? If anything, I’ll shoot him a text reading “Love u, ’k? Call me when you land.”

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What I find problematic about romantic comedies is that they are all filled with eerily similar plots and two-dimensional characters. People tend to see themselves in those characters, believing that the same fairytales will happen to them.

I, unfortunately, used to be one of those people.

I used to think I would bump into an attractive stranger in a breezy cafe that sold fair-trade coffee and he would spark up a hilariously witty conversation. We would then exchange numbers and, fast-forward a bit, live happily ever after.

When I first met my boyfriend, I made myself go into our first date not expecting anything. I forced out all the thoughts accompanied with cutesy tunes that so many romantic comedies featured.
I willed myself not to feel disappointed if he didn’t have some grand gesture planned at the end of our date. Wouldn’t that be a tad bit creepy for a first date?

In a way, the typical tendencies of romantic comedies had somehow snuck into our date anyhow.

We had met at Le Pain Quotidien in midtown Manhattan when the waitress sat us down and had us orders drinks only to inform us that that restaurant-style cafe was closing in 10 minutes.
With an immediate inner panic, I thought this was just the beginning of the imminent disasters to come.

We left and walked a little bit. Again, unlike the beloved movies, no magical sparks flew between us; although, I definitely kept sneaking looks at him. We settled on Johnny Rockets. I imagined the worst of the worst—maybe a roach would surprise me in my scrumptious cheese fries or he’d find an animal hair in his strawberry milkshake.

But all went well.

Throughout our date, I frequently lost myself in the moment, listening to his amusing anecdotes and the seemingly ever-changing expressions change on his handsome face.

We had conversations just a hint beyond small talk as we walked back to the subway station, exchanging platonic goodbyes. We didn’t share some fluttery, magical kiss.

I didn’t have one of The Smiths’ mellow hits (“500 Days of Summer”) playing in the background.

And that was fine for me. It was fine because it was real and wasn’t staged. Forget the expectations, live in the moment and, if you really have to satisfy the need, play a poppy romantic song after the date.

Email Reggianie Francois at web@cardinalpointsonline.com

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