Sunday, March 13, 2011

Love and Whatnot

My first day in the real world before I knew any better. 

A friend of mine tried to convince another friend of mine that he had not, let's say, had a drink or too many the night before. What's funny is that he indeed had had a few too many drinks and, as he attempted to persuade her otherwise, began to believe his own lie. I'm not trying to have a laugh about my friends on here, I'm shedding light on one thing or another. 

Why is it that over time, the things that we know not to be true become muddled and mixed in our minds to the point that we start to believe our own lies? 

Considering love, relationships and all that jazz, do our beliefs fall short of reality? 
Let's talk about the romantic narrative - the story that is literally bread into our minds and hearts regarding our apparent 'fervent need for the most idyllic love and romance'. Ever since I was a kid, I've been told that the mommy and daddy fall in love and get married and buy a house and have babies and live forever and ever. Okay, that is totally an exaggeration, but you get the point. I've grown to believe that this sort of relationship is the only kind that is valued. I think that we live the majority of our lives believing that our expectation of this perfect romance is naturally ever present. Why? Because we're told everyday that this is how life is supposed to be, and if we don't have that, God forbid, we are unsuccessful and hopelessly doomed forever. The worst is that it is reinforced by all facets of society. When we're told that we are run by our emotions, that we are irrational, and dependent, we regard it as true, do we not? We most certainly don't want to, but the interesting thing is that we have - and have done so persistently for that matter.  So, you get it, it's bad that we regard this as truth, but what's so bad about the romantic narrative?

The romantic narrative is like rotten fruit: from the outside it looks dazzling and fresh, but one bite will prove that the once promising flesh is not all that it seems. There are so many fictional examples of the ideal romance - the perfectly flawed man, amidst the city that never sleeps, and quite often, involving sincere hatred turned impassioned romance! Sigh. Real men can't keep up and if they can, I'm sorry, but that's just unreasonable. We start to base our expectations of the men in our lives on these dashingly bad boys that we see on the screen. Why can't we have the dashing Gerard Butler like Hilary Swank at the beginning of P.S I Love You?  It's harmful to us and most certainly harmful to our men because, let's get real, this exact man doesn't exist. 

Besides the whole, poor-him-the-perfect-man-doesn't-exist-and-now-I'm-judging-my-boo-on-some-fictional-character thing, there is a lot of damage done to us ladies. To fit the perfect romance, we have to fit the perfect character. Often times societal expectations make us start to question our own sense of self and value. Here we help to create and maintain gender roles because in the simple equation: feminine = dependent = desirable. Congratulations you've just scored yourself a first class ticket on the disappointment train.  

Have we made progress? Unless you think that the tramps, woops, skeezed out at the downtown night clubs are challenging the romantic narrative, think again - they're just being skanks skeezed out at downtown night clubs to get with men because they're trying to be men, but that's a whole other story. Any woman who watches romantic comedies (or participates in any sort of romance phenomenon) and can go home completely loving real men in general deserve serious recognition. It's all pretty on the big screen, but being fabulous doesn't mean that you need to fall in love like in the movies.

We have this idea of what's perfect, but it's really not at all.

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