It’s a Friday night. Your friends are all calling and texting you in a last-ditch effort to convince you to come to that party with them. But you’ve already made up your mind: you’re staying in and hanging out with your boyfriend. What your friends don’t need to know is that by “hanging out” you mean watching ABC Family’s rerun of The Notebook, and by “your boyfriend” you mean Ryan Gosling. It’s no secret that we all sometimes wonder how the men in movies can seem so perfectly perfect when a lot of our latest male interactions entailed that drunk Frat Star who attempted to booty call us. However, what we sometimes don’t consider—especially while we’re busy wishing our lives more closely resembled that of the leading lady of our favorite rom-com—is that most relationships in movies are entirely and completely unrealistic, and really not always as great as they seem. From the time we watched our first Disney princess movie, we’ve been conditioned to think we deserve something that is actually incredibly unreasonable. Most collegiettes are guilty of doing this sometimes, so there’s definitely no judgment here! But it’s important to remember that the majority of the time, romance can be a lot more fun and exciting when you stop playing by Hollywood’s unrealistic rules! A lot of what the movies convey to us about love is just flat-out false. So, here they are: the most common love-related lies that movies tell us.
I only followed you home because I love you.
First of all, I want to talk about one widespread movie concept that really irks me: nothing done in the name of love can be creepy. There are way too many teen love movies and romantic comedies that perpetuate this idea. Listen ladies, this is simply untrue! Just because a boy says he loves you doesn’t mean it’s okay for him to sneak into your bedroom through the window every night to watch you sleep (that’s right, I’m looking at you, Edward Cullen). In no situation would this be acceptable in real life! Any normal person would have this boy arrested immediately, especially if he claimed he was only doing it because of his undying love for her, as that’s generally referred to as being a stalker. But no, Bella just decides to take this in stride and accepts it as perfectly normal behavior and as an action that only proves Eddie’s love for her. And what about when Noah blackmails Allie into accepting a date with him by threatening to jump from a Ferris wheel? In real life, that would be a definite red flag and not the best start to a relationship. Even a scene that seems cute when you’re watching it, like the one when Mark secretly professes his love for his best friend’s wife in Love Actually, can be something that is actually a big no-no. Imagine how awkward of a situation he’s creating for her in the future! Watching a girl allow a guy to act creepily towards her in a movie can lead us to believe that a man acting creepy in real life is acceptable. The truth is you should never let a guy act in a way that makes you uncomfortable just because you think he likes you. There are always lines and boundaries that should never be crossed, and if they are, it should be a deal-breaker.
But he’s my Prince Charming!
So remember when I mentioned those Disney Princess movies? Well, turns out they tell us one of the biggest love lies of all. It’s a classic Disney scenario: girl meets boy, they fall in love, girl gets into danger, boy comes to save her and they live happily ever after. Whether it’s Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty or Snow White, we’ve seen it countless times. Although the danger you’re in might not be as literal as your evil stepmother trying to poison you or a scorned fairy cursing you to sleep for 100 years, you still shouldn’t depend on a boy to save you from your life’s troubles. I can promise that you’re not going to end up very happy if you’re always relying on the male species to solve your problems for you. That kind of dependent relationship always ends up dysfunctional. It’s the 21st century; don’t act like you’re a damsel in distress! You should be able to be happy on your own before you commit to being in any serious relationship. No one wants to be that girl who can’t function without a boyfriend. Even if your boy seems to be the best boyfriend ever, you should try to maintain a certain level of independence. It’s good to know that you can be happy on your own and while doing things by yourself.
All sex is good sex
Nowadays, in most movies with a PG-13 or higher rating, there is at least one sex scene. And one thing that is true about the majority of these scenes is that regardless of the two participants’ levels of experience, where and when they’re doing it or any other extenuating circumstances, the sex is awesome. Obviously this makes sense to do in Hollywood, because who wants to watch a sex scene between their favorite leading couple in which absolutely no sparks fly? I mean, imagine if Rose suddenly decided that the car below deck on the Titanic wasn’t doing it for her and she just wasn’t really in the mood – kind of kills the whole love story, right? But real life can be extremely different from this (first and foremost because we can’t all have young Leonardo Dicaprio as our partner). In all seriousness though, most movies give us incredibly unrealistic expectations of what sex is like. They hardly ever depict it as awkward, unsatisfying or uncomfortable. So, if you’re worried that something is wrong with you because you don’t feel the magic every time you have sex, you definitely shouldn’t be! There are going to be times when the physical chemistry isn’t there, or your roommate comes back unexpectedly while you’re in the throes of passion, or you discover that sand actually will get EVERYWHERE if you try to do it on the beach. In fact, the awkwardness is completely normal, so you should really try not to compare your personal experience to a scene that had to be filmed 12 different times before it was deemed acceptable. And sometimes, “awkward” sex can be even better than perfect movie sex. If you’re able to laugh at the mishaps together, it can be a lot more of a personal and fun experience.
The so-called grand gesture
And now for the grand finale, the biggest lie of all: if a boy doesn’t make some grand gesture to win your heart, then he doesn’t care about you. It happens in way too many movies to keep track of all of them, but I’m sure we can all easily think of quite a few. Realistically, there are very few guys out there who are going to stand outside your window blasting a Peter Gabriel song from their boom box, declare their undying love for you mid-rainstorm or insist that you take the space on a door that could easily fit two after your ship sinks in the middle of the freezing ocean (yes, I’m truly still not over this). It’s unreasonable to expect such things! Movies often depict these grand gestures as the best problem solvers in relationships. Your love shouldn’t be based on some grandiose dramatic gesture, but rather on the relationship as a whole and how you two work together to resolve your issues.
A real relationship is about communication and compromise. If you and your honey are going through a rough patch, you should talk about it to work it out. Refusing to accept that most men are never going to do something like this is a quick way to end up very disappointed.
So, next time you’re out and that cute guy you’ve been eyeing starts a conversation with you, try not to compare him to the idea of a “perfect man” that Hollywood has put in your mind. If it ends up turning into a relationship and he turns out to be a good guy who respects you, loves you and is willing to work on something that is creating tension between you two, then that should be enough. While it’s always going to be fun to moon over the perfect man in your favorite chick flick, it’s also important to have reasonable and realistic expectations when it comes to your real relationships. But it’s also still okay to pretend you’re Mrs. Ryan Gosling every once in a while.