There’s no denying our absolute, undying love for chick flicks. They’re perfect when we’re looking to laugh, cry, plot revenge or just daydream of the love that is yet to come. But while we sit on our couches with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, envious of the romantic lives our favorite characters live, we may be soaking in some pretty crummy advice.
Despite their glamorous wardrobes, their perfectly timed comebacks and their ability to always live happily ever after (no matter how many times they lie, cheat and deceive!), our rom-com role models are seriously damaging the way we look at love, lust and everything in between—they’re not even ugly criers! So to help you uncover what’s legit and what’s a phony big-screen fairytale, we’ve re-watched all our go-to movies and uncovered the lessons you shouldn’t be taking from your favorite chick flicks.
The Myth: Being dumb is super cute!
We’ll be the first to admit that Cher Horowitz’s life is downright epic. Her clothes are almost too chic for words, not to mention her fab-u-lous computer program that organizes her entire wardrobe—she was so ahead of the times! But step outside her walk-in closet, and there’s not much else going on in this girl’s head. She doesn’t follow standard traffic laws (“I totally paused!”), doesn’t keep up whatsoever with current events and advocates showing a whole lot of skin to get a guy. But it all totally works out for her and boys are tripping over themselves to get close to the—dare we say it—ditsiest girl in Beverly Hills. Because, when it comes down to it, the dumber you are, the more likely the boys will come running.
The Truth: Have beauty and brains.
You can have it all! Just because you’re gorgeous (and you totally are!) doesn’t mean you have to play down your smarts. If you’re the next Einstein, go ahead and flaunt your theory of relativity, cause your mind is one sexy thing that you need to show off. And even if you’re not a complete brainiac, that doesn’t mean you can’t work what you’ve got going on upstairs. Guys love to hear a girl throw out big words, test his opinions and just understand simple safety rules.
“I dated this girl who didn’t want me to know she was smarter than me,” says Sean, a recent grad of Penn State. “I went around thinking she was average and kind of dumb for about two months until her friend let it slip that she had a 4.0 and decided not to go to any of the Ivies she got into. Obviously we broke up, but even when we were together, I always felt like she was kind of plain and boring academically. I would have loved to ask her to help me with my calc work!”
Beauty only goes so far, but your brains are what will make him fall for you. Because, let’s get serious: you wouldn’t want to have a conversation with a guy that’s dumber than rocks, so why should he? (Bonus: you’re really not helping the whole girl power movement if you don’t show a guy up here and there with your killer smarts.)
The Myth: Your relationship status is more important than the guy himself.
It’s BFF versus BFF. Liv and Emma face off as they compete for the coveted date at the Plaza for their perfect weddings. After a blue dye job, calorie-laden cookies and a tequila-filled spring break video, the two have essentially discarded their fiancés in pursuit of planning the most epic day. Although Emma’s marriage crumbles before she can even say “I do,” the BFFs-turned-enemies look at their relationships as a gateway toward diamond rings, Vera Wang gowns and champagne flutes. They’re essentially not tying the knot in the hopes of happily ever after, but rather to fulfill their childhood dreams of getting married. To them, it’s the wedding that matters, not necessarily the groom.
The Truth: Be in the relationship because you want to be with that person.
Everyone knows that girl who’s always in a relationship. She dates a guy for two years, breaks up with him and then a week and a half later, she already has another guy on her arm. She’s that girl who just always has to have a boyfriend so that she can say she’s not single.
But that’s not how relationships should work. In college, there’s no rush to tie yourself down to guy after guy just to avoid using the word single—you should only change your Facebook relationship status (which is the only serious love, of course) if you legitimately want to be with someone. For a majority of Emma’s storyline, she shacks up with her boyfriend just because she wants companionship, but she’s also willing to take that from anyone. Don’t couple up out of desperation and distant dreams of what the relationship could be. Focus on the guy, and everything else will come later.
John Tucker Must Die
The Myth: You can turn the player into a good guy.
John Tucker goes through girls quicker than most of us can finish off a Snickers bar during that time of the month. Every hour it’s a new leading lady for this popular jock. But in walks Kate, and it’s suddenly as if no other female has ever existed before. All of a sudden, the guy who had his hands up one girl’s shirt while simultaneously making out with another girl (without the two knowing!) is down for a monogamous, committed relationship. The player has been transformed!
The Truth: He won’t always change.
Listen up, collegiettes: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Despite our best efforts, there’s no switch you can flick on and off inside a bad boy’s brain. You shouldn’t actively pursue someone you know is trouble in hopes of being the girl who can change him: it’s a waste of your time.
“I had a crush on this guy for so long. Not to quote Taylor Swift, but I knew he was trouble,” says Jamie, a junior at University of Delaware. “That didn’t stop me, though. I had this idea in my head that I could be the one girl that he fell in love with and [make] him into this wonderful, committed guy. Needless to say, it totally didn’t work out. I found out he was hooking up with me and two other girls. I would’ve never known by the way he acted, but he was a player and had this game down pat.”
What Women Want
The Myth: Guys are clueless about girls, and they don’t really care.
Nick is absolutely and completely ignorant to the wants and needs of girls until he suddenly gets electrocuted and can hear all our thoughts and our deepest secrets. Basically, it seems like he’s got what every guy wants—a firsthand look at what we expect from our man. For the first time, he’s totally knocking it out of the park when it comes to his love. He knows where you want to be touched and what you want to talk about. His character single-handedly proves that guys a) don’t care about us but pretend to get it, and b) are just kind of dumb. Luckily for Nick, he uses his newfound superpower to score big time.
The Truth: Guys aren’t that stupid and they are trying; cut them a break.
One minute we’re on cloud nine, and the next we’re hysterically crying, asking our boyfriends why he doesn’t get what he did wrong. To put it gently, sometimes we can be a little bit irrational with a side of crazy and an extra helping of dramatic. But that’s what keeps it fun—he never knows how we’re going to react next. Or, does he?
It all depends. It takes time for anyone to get know us, find out what makes us tick, learn what makes us smile and decipher what triggers the waterworks. Obviously, from the get-go he’s not going to know all of this, but if you cut your guy some slack here and there, he’ll catch on and understand you better. Hello, he just needs to get to know you. If you realize your boyfriend isn’t a bumbling idiot and he’s just trying to figure you out, you might find a whole lot of happiness around the corner.
The Myth: You should give up everything for The One.
Elle had the life. She had friends who were obsessed with her and a crazy awesome social calendar, and she was totally going places with her fashion merchandising major. But then her boyfriend broke up with her, and it all went downhill from there. She threw away the final months of her senior year to prep for the LSAT, and after she aced the test, she followed him across the country to Harvard Law School (Not exactly what she originally planned on doing with her life, right?). Fortunately, her quarter-life crisis and major life detour found her in the arms of another hot academic, but what are the chances of that actually happening? For all we know, Elle could have been the next Rachel Zoe.
The Truth: You should come first.
Yeah, yeah, we know: you have to think about both people in the relationship. But that’s not exactly what we’re talking about here. At this point in our lives, we’re too young to base our futures entirely off of someone’s plans. Think about it this way: you spent four years of high school working toward college, and four years there working toward your future. Do you really want to push that all aside in favor of someone else’s dreams?
So if your boyfriend doesn’t get into the same university as you, it’s not always the end of the world. You can make long distance work if you try. But you can’t give up on your top school for a guy that may not be your boyfriend come graduation. The same goes for after college. When you land your dream job in New York and he gets his in Los Angeles, there’s absolutely no reason to deny the offer because of him; you’ll always wonder what could have been.
The Myth: He’ll always wait for you.
Noah loves Allie and Allie loves Noah. (If only it were that easy.) When Allie leaves for the summer, Noah promises to hold onto their dying romance. Long distance gets in the way, and when Allie assumes Noah forgot her, she moves on with her life. But Noah, who continues to write to her every day, clings to the past and still hopes for a future with Allie. Years go by, and Allie is engaged to another man. Yet Noah still waits for the day when they’ll finally reunite. And, in true tearjerker fashion, they do. Their reunion is the most epic in modern-day rom-com history, solely because Noah refused to sway or move on in the least bit.
The Truth: He won’t wait forever.
Unfortunately, our lives are most definitely not like The Notebook (sorry to break the news there). When you meet a guy in college, he won’t stick around for years, or even months, waiting for you. And when you finally do decide to come his way, if it’s been too long, he’s not about to drop everything (and every girl) just for you.
But that also works in the reverse. Let’s be real: it’s the 21st century, and we move way too quickly to stay hung up on one person for too long. If you like a guy, let him know. If you don’t, let him know. It’s not fair to leave him hanging forever (or a few weeks), and he probably won’t stick around waiting for you to make up your mind about your feelings.
Sex and the City
The Myth: Over-analyzing will help you make better romantic decisions.
Carrie Bradshaw is the queen of overthinking things:
“In matters of love, do actions speak louder than words?”
“Soul mate: two little words, one big concept. A belief that someone, somewhere, is holding the key to your heart.”
“Do we need to go the distance to get close?”
Every guy, every kiss, every wink and every breath gets analyzed by Carrie. She spends her days scrutinizing the actions of every male that has ever come her way. In life, she ends up second-guessing almost all of her moves, and she can’t help but shake the nagging feeling inside that something isn’t right. Although in the Sex and the City movie she ends up married to the guy she chased for six TV seasons, her brain never stops questioning. No decision is made on the spot; rather, it takes her hours to go over every possible route this choice could create. It works for her on TV, but in reality? Eh…
The Truth: You’ll have more fun living in the moment.
When it comes to matters of the heart in the life of a 20-something, going with your gut is often a great decision. Instead of overthinking the little things (“Would it be weird if I asked him to formal because he looked at me funny yesterday and he could be uninterested?” “What does his ‘hey’ text really mean?!”), just go with what you want to do. This is the time to have fun and learn from your mistakes. Obviously, you shouldn’t go around hooking up with just about everyone, but if you feel like letting loose once in a while, a pro/con list followed a 45-minute discussion isn’t necessary. Don’t worry about the future; just live for now and you’ll be much better off.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
The Myth: Love happens right away.
Within 10 days, Andie and Ben somehow went from hating each other to falling madly in love. Despite the fact that she acted a little on the psycho side and he hung on just to win a bet, the two ended up bonding over a day spent on Staten Island. And the rest is history. A magical almost-two-weeks of fighting, crazy antics and a dead love fern brought them their happily ever after.
The Truth: Relationships take time.
You see a guy and, most likely based on his physical looks, you’re in. Totally and completely obsessed and can’t stop thinking about him, right? Well, that’s lust at first sight; definitely not love. Love is knowing someone inside and out and understanding them better than they know themselves. For some, love comes quickly, but for others, it takes time. Yet, no matter the case, it definitely won’t happen within 10 days (unless, of course, you’re on a deserted island with no on else to entertain you).
So don’t freak out when the fireworks don’t go off after a week of texting. You’ve got to experience life with someone (e.g. a frat party, an all-night cram session, a hungover Sunday) to really get to know him as a person enough to actually fall in love with him.
So, collegiettes, the next time you’re seeking your Ryan Gosling, Jesse Metcalfe, Chris Noth or Matthew McConaughey, think again before reenacting what you’ve seen on the big screen. Sure, the credits roll and everyone is all lovey-dovey, but these fictional characters’ lives are far from reality. Like Ryan Gosling would ever build you your dream house by hand? Keep dreaming. Your chances at happiness are significantly higher once you forget your favorite chick flicks!