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A week ago, there was a column on this site titled, Stay Away from Romantic Comedies For The Next Two Months If You’re Single. It was written by the one and only John Duda and he made some valid points, but unfortunately, I disagreed with all of it. As a longtime fan of Duda’s writing, it saddened me because I tend to agree with the majority of his stances on various topics so this was all new for me. By no means am I labeling his column, what some would call, a “Trash Take,” because not only would that be mean and also be patently false. But this is just a case of different strokes for different folks. It’s not my style and I’d like to explain why.
Admittedly, I’m a tad bit biased. I’m a huge Rom-Com guy, and I’m shamelessly open about it. My love for the genre can be traced back to my early adolescence when I watched How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days for the first time. To this day, it remains as not only my favorite Rom-Com but one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s one of my go-tos when nothing else is on and I just want to kill an hour and a half with some cheap laughs and an easy to follow plotline. And it’s totally not because I have, what some mean people have called, an “unhealthy” man crush on McConaughey, jerks.
I have noted, specifically on this site, that I am recently single after having been in a longterm relationship. I’ve had some adjustments to make in my personal life which romantic comedies have aided. It’s been straight binge season for your boy. You name it, I’ve watched it in the last three months: Silver Linings Playbook, The Big Sick, How to Be Single, Crazy Stupid Love. It’s lit! Did I drunkenly purchase That Awkward Moment on iTunes last week? Not rent, but BUY a movie that I’ve already seen? You bet your sweet ass I did. Have I rewatched it a thousand times since then? I’d rather not answer that question, thank you.
As the holiday season approaches, I couldn’t help but think about how this is, without a doubt, the best time to dive head first into this lovely cinematic genre. John (I actually think him and I are the same age but let’s roll with it) was right in stating that they are a painful reminder of your singledom. But I have to ask, what’s wrong with that? Maybe I’m a bit of masochist, but I find small moments of angst to be inspiring and therapeutic. To me, the modern Romantic Comedy provides the perfect build in story arch for self-reflection and possible improvement.
Think about that generic beginning to your favorite Rom-Com. The single guy gallivanting through his fast lifestyle in the booming metropolis he takes up residence in. It’s the ultimate “FUCK YEAH!!!” moment for any single guy or girl who is currently navigating those same waters, and it’s a bit of reassurance that what you’re doing is not only awesome but totally normal as well. Then, at about the 25-minute mark, the single guy comes upon his female counterpart through a meet-cute where they both exchange witty banter that showcases both of their A++ game. You’d be lying to yourself if you don’t say you dream of meeting someone in a similar fashion. You may not actually be as charismatic as either of these leading characters, but in your mind, it’s completely tangible and you may even take some tips for your next Friday night out at the bars. Even if you end up botching a few lines and striking out, it’s better than not trying at all.
As the story progresses, you’ll see a similar formula with very few variances in plotline: There’s a montage of the relationship developing with a bunch of sweet moments and dope ass activities. Now let me ask, who doesn’t love the beginning stages of a relationship? Even if you’re not looking for a relationship at the moment and are relishing in your single life, it’s reassuring to see that life can still be fun once you decide to commit to something serious.
Then there’s the inevitable fallout between the couple at the ¾ mark. You’re reminded that nothing’s perfect and that everyone makes mistakes. Hell, you may have even made the very same mistake as the main character. Even if that is tough to think about, you’ll at least reassure yourself that you won’t do that again as you pour yourself another glass of whiskey to finish before the movie ends. I’m not saying that I necessarily do that, it’s just a hypothetical, guys.
Now we get to the moment of self-reflection for our main character where he talks to either his older and wiser parent or his loose cannon buddy who convinces him that he doesn’t need to be single forever, following that cycle of debauchery he just recently stepped away from. He runs back to the female lead and makes an articulate profession about their love, they make out and roll credits. I won’t deny that it’s corny as shit and unrealistic, but we all knew what we were signing up for when we hit that play button 90 minutes ago. We enjoyed the hell out of the ride and that’s the point. You’ll walk away with a sense of confidence in knowing that you’ll be able to find someone when you’re ready and that someone is out there. Maybe I sound a bit sappy, no wait I definitely do, but fuck it, I’m secure enough in my masculinity to be cool with sounding soft as shit on the internet.
So for the next two months, I encourage all you single readers to indulge in you favorite Rom-Coms. Get crazy with it and discover some new ones; you know, ones made before the early-nineties. When Uncle Ricky is snarkily asking why you haven’t brought a new girl around in a while or when you’re being pestered by your nosey aunt about why your last relationship didn’t work out while you’re passing the yams* you can take solace in the fact that later that night you get to go back to your couch, pour your favorite cocktail, and lose yourself while watching McConaughey and Kate Hudson woo each other for the billionth time.
*And yes, I had to google what yams were, I’m trash. .