The College Girl's Guide to Rom-Coms

It's no secret that I'm a romantic. I mean, I've written about how romance novels aren't guilty pleasures, and, just a handful of weeks ago, I wrote about how Someone Great is the best rom-com of the year. I love love, whether I'm reading or watching it. I know I'm not alone; 2019 and 2018 have been the years of the rom-com Renaissance. With all these new releases, you might be wondering where to start. But as a rom-com aficionado, I'll be sharing a guide on how to traverse the booming rom-com genre.

  1. 1. Know the Tropes You Like

    If you don't know what tropes are, tropes are essentially recurring motifs or themes within a genre. There are a ton of tropes in the rom-com genre. We have friends to lovers (When Harry Met Sally), enemies to lovers (The Proposal), fake dating (To All the Boys I've Loved Before), serendipitous couplings (While You Were Sleeping) and more. A good way to initiate yourself in romantic comedies is to watch movies that follow your favorite tropes. If you're not too sure what your favorite tropes are, think back to some of your favorite TV or movie couples. Take a look at Gossip Girl, for instance. If you liked Dan and Blair together, you might find yourself drawn to the enemies to lovers trope. Did you love Serena and Nate together? Then, best friends to lovers might be the trope for you. Think back to your OTPs, and try to find other pairings that fit those themes.

  2. 2. Watch the Classics

    Sure, us college women might have been born in the late '90s to early '00s, but it's always a good idea to watch the classics. Even if you know your favorite tropes, go back and watch the '80s and '90s movies that captured the hearts of millions, and still do. Pretty Woman is iconic and launched Julia Roberts' career into the stratosphere. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are staples in the rom-com genre, and you'll be sorely missing out if you don't watch Sleepless in Seattle or You've Got Mail. If you don't know where to start, simply google the best romantic comedies - there are tons from which you can choose.

  3. 3. Don't Throw Away Your Feminist Values

    Just like it's no secret I'm a romantic, it's no secret that I'm also a steadfast feminist. There are going to be times when you are watching a rom-com, and you cringe at the strict gender roles and rampant heterosexuality present in some of the movies. Always be cognizant of the values a romantic comedy perpetuates. If a romantic comedy is rubbing you the wrong way, just shut it off and try another one. Like every other genre out there, there are going to be some gems and there are going to be some duds, and sometimes we just have to sift through them all.

  4. 4. Netflix is Your Best Friend

    Streaming services have picked up on the fervent demand for romantic comedies. Netflix, in particular, has been crucial in bringing back the rom-com to all our screens. If you ever tire of the classics, I highly suggest queuing up Netflix. There are definitely some duds in there - please, do not watch The Kissing Booth or The Perfect Date - but also some shining gems, like Set it Up, About Time and Ibiza: Love Drunk. The world is your oyster, and by oyster, I mean Netflix.

  5. 5. Don't Forget the Late '00s

    Sure, when I think of rom-coms, my mind immediately goes to the 1990s. But there were some adorable rom-coms that released when we were growing up. We might have been too young to watch them at the moment, or maybe they went over our heads, but the rom-com was still strong, back when we were in elementary and middle school. Think 27 Dresses, The Holiday or Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Heck, even Shrek can be considered a rom-com, albeit an animated one. A hot take, I know.

  6. 6. Embrace the Bittersweet

    Out of all my tips today, this might be the hardest one to swallow. I'm a sucker for a HEA (happily ever after), but rom-coms are also inundated with bittersweet endings. I won't be giving you any recommendations for this point because, um... spoilers, but there are a slew of rom-com endings that will leave you happy and sad at the same time, à la Kacey Musgraves.

There you have it, a guide to the rom-com. I hope the movies warm your heart, make you tear up a little and leave you smiling by the end. If you're not too sure where to start, I recommend any of the movies I mentioned and linked within the post! Here's to some happily ever afters!