We live, whether opinion considers it a good thing or not, in a highly media-obsessed world. The things we do, the thoughts we have, and the paths we take are all influenced to one extent or another by media. Newspapers, social media, blogs, TV, radio-the need to have someone else doing our thinking for us has never been more prevalent. Can this be a good thing, and can it work in the case of movies *specifically the rom-com* in guiding interpersonal relationships?
The short answer is, I believe, a simple “no.” Romantic comedies operate on tried and tested clichés that have little to no currency in the real world. You might take them into the dating arena, with the image of a Richard Gere or Drew Barrymore delivering the planned dialogue still fresh in mind, but honestly, things are not going to go as planned. The following ten examples of such clichés and their potential real-world pitfalls explain exactly why.
1. Worlds apart. The ultimate classic rom-com cliché: a gutter rat or street girl comes to the attention of a classy sophisticate of the opposite sex. As they fall in love, the lower class individual attempts to raise their game to fit in, but fails miserably and is made fun of by the silver spoon circuit. In the final moments, the sophisticate spurns their peers to declare their undying love, and the two ride off into the sunset. All well and nice, but there’s no way this would happen in real life. Not usually, anyway.
Where there’s such disparity between the way two people have been brought up, no matter how initially charmed they are by the other’s alien manner, eventually the novelty will fade away. Opposites can attract, but taking someone to the opera who’s cursing and swearing at the top of their voices, or going to a rough downtown pub accompanied by a cravat-wearing dandy is not a recipe for relationship success!
2. The bumble. The hallmark of a certain Mr. Hugh Grant, the bumble is that endearingly charming way he has of stammering his way around a subject and coming to the conclusion with surprisingly effective aplomb. For anyone thinking of trying the same stunt to impress a potential soul mate, I have one word of advice: don’t! Sounding like you’re suffering from a severe psychological illness is not considered attractive *not now, not ever*, and you’re less likely to receive a smoldering kiss than a cold shoulder.
3. Love and hate. In so many rom-coms, you get that relationship between two feisty, outspoken types who appear to hate each other, but are secretly and slowly falling in love. In the end, they kiss during the apex of a particularly violent argument and never look back. Romantic bliss to the end of their days.
However, if there’s someone with whom you really don’t get on, and the rom-com has convinced you this might therefore be the partner of your dreams, think again. Lunging in with a kiss during a vitriolic verbal exchange will result in embarrassment, humiliation, and a possible trip to the police station.
4. Always there. The perennially supportive friend who secretly holds out hope of a romantic conclusion is another stock cliché of the rom-com. However, waiting for a friend to notice your extra-platonic merits is unlikely to secure you anything other than feelings of desperation, disillusionment, and bitterness.
5. The quirk and the jerk. This refers to that rom-com trope where there’s something a little unusual about the object of someone’s desires. A free-living hippie chick, a charming serial adulterer, or a charmless misanthrope. In the movie, the straight player, at some point, either manages to ensnare them or save them, depending on the type.
In real life, however, please give this cliché a pass. Do you really want to end up with a quirk or jerk just because you saw a movie where it happened to turn out well? They are annoying, irritating twerps, and you’ll be driven insane by them within three hours of the first date starting. Get real, people!