Romance=Magic

You may have found yourself wondering at some point, “why do so many woman love romantic comedies?”  Lord knows I have.  I’ve even wondered why against all my brain is telling me, why am I smiling at this dopey, predictable and kind of insulting movie?  Romantic comedies have evolved over time, but currently they seem to consist of an adorable woman out of touch with who she REALLY is meeting a gorgeous manly man who somehow teaches her to get in touch with herself in a way she never thought possible thus culminating in their living happily ever after.  It’s so formulaic, it’s so unrealistic, it’s so lame, it’s insulting to both men and women, and yet many of us fall for it against our better judgment.  It doesn’t matter how many times I roll my eyes through out the transparent story when the guy tells the girl that he loves her, I realize that I am smiling like a little girl.  I hate that I do that, but I would by lying if I said I was immune.  

So, why?  Why do normally smart, even happy women fall for this trick of the cinema?  It’s simple, romance is magic for women.  We love magic (hello Harry Potter), we also love easy, happily ever after scenarios and they are a product of magic.  “You had the power to go home all along” is one of the most magical lines of any movie; it is both true and misleading.  It’s true because we all have inside us the power to create the lives of our dreams.  Misleading because it implies that there is no work involved, it’s just a magical pair of shoes.  It’s also why I think “The Secret” was so popular.  A lot of people heard, “all you have to do is wish for what you want and you will get it!”  Just like Dorothy, wish to go home and BOOM, magic shoes that grant wishes.  I always want to ask those who think “The Secret” is simple, “were you not wishing for any of those things before you heard ‘The Secret’?  What’s changed?”  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big believer in magic, I”ve seen in my life and the lives of those around me, but I’m also a big believer in the work that it takes to bring about that magic.  The Secret is all about manifesting the life of your dreams, much like rom coms, the real secret is a lot less “Poof, there it is”. 

Another thing about movies in general is that a lot of us get a vicarious thrill watching them.  That’s why women love to watch Josh Duhamel, Brad Pitt and George Clooney fall in love with us, (aka, Katherine Heigel, Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, etc.)  We not only get to feel like one of those studs finds us interesting and hot, we also get to be interesting and hot!  I think men are put off by them because they can’t related to the guys in the movie because they are purely a female fantasy of what we want men to be like.  Also, men aren’t complicated and women are, why on earth would they want to relive that vicariously for 2 hours?   Men like action movies because the guys are badass and things blow up.  What’s not to love?  I’m not saying that all men only like action movies or that women don’t like them too.  I know many men that I greatly admire that love a good intelligent story too, so do a lot of lovely women that I know.  It’s just that,  let’s be honest, a lot of guys fantasize about blowing things up and a lot of women fantasize about being swept away by a big strong man.  I know that guys also fantasize about other things, but they aren’t as prevalent in mainstream movies as they are in, shall we say, straight to dvd titles.

We also like to feel important and worth the effort because, let’s face it ladies, we put it a lot of effort too with the waxing and the high heels and the exercise, etc.  We like to think that some beautiful man with a brain in his head wants to dedicate his life to making us happy.  That’s an exaggeration, but it’s in there on a subconscious level.  Cinderella was a poor, put upon orphan and she landed the prince just because she had the right shoes (it all comes back to shoes, no wonder we’re obsessed with them.  We were brainwashed from the start.) 

We want to know that Mr. Right was there the whole movie.  We also love to be coddled into thinking that our life is a movie with great music and an even better wardrobe.  Once we meet Mr. Right, everything works out and we don’t have to live with the honeymoon period ending and the actual work that it takes to make a real relationship work.  We also love the magical illusion that when Mr. Right comes along it will be so obvious, well maybe not at first, but there will be no stopping that freight train of love once he’s come into our life.  Movies are just stories to make us feel better about out lives, so what harm does it do to let the ladies soak in a little magic?  None, once the women are grown.  But little girls don’t know how to understand that it’s just a movie and Christopher Reeve isn’t going to travel back in time just to fall in love with you… am I dating myself here?  Okay… Robert Pattinson isn’t going to love you over the thousands of women he’s met the hundred years or so he’s lived as a vampire because all that time he was waiting for you.  It’s nice to have fantasies, but not ones that make the men in the world seem inferior because they are being compared to gorgeous, flawless, attentive 2 dimensional versions of themselves.

Real men are wonderful and interesting and worthy of being on the screen too.  So are real women.  This desire for magical romance is an avoidance tactic.  Putting yourself out there is scary and hard, what if there are no takers?  What if I am so unlovable that I die alone?  I’ll end with a little secret of my own brought to you through some of my favorite Nada Surf Lyrics from their song Concrete Bed, “to find someone you love, you gotta be someone you love…”  Genuinely work on that and you will find magic all around you all of the time.

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