Romance is not always a comedy

Nicole Fano

Valentine’s Day is this weekend and it’s the holiday when many couples think they should celebrate their love with red roses, Godiva chocolates and a romantic dinner. Regardless of personal feelings toward this commercialized holiday, many women still feel the pang of jealousy as they watch Kate Hudson, Amy Adams, Rachel McAdams and Kate Beckinsale win the man of their dreams. So is this “love” we see in the movies something we should all hope for? Nonetheless, every romantic comedy teaches us rules that we should and shouldn’t follow.

Rule #1: Find your leading man. It would be so much easier if Matthew McConaughey, Patrick Dempsey and Brad Pitt were walking around campus every day. Maybe we should take a lesson from Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack in “Serendipity.” Instead of reaching for the same pair of gloves, perhaps in the bookstore you and a cutie will reach for the same exact book, and the rest will be history. It’s too bad that when it comes to dating, nothing is that easy or serendipitous.

Rule #2: Don’t fall for someone off-limits. In typical romantic comedies, the main character usually falls for the person they’re not supposed to. Falling in love with your best friend’s girlfriend or boyfriend will most likely never work out in your favor. Mary (Jennifer Lopez) fell in love with her client’s fiancée in “The Wedding Planner.” Steve (Matthew McConaughey) felt the same way and dumped his fiancée just before their wedding. Although the saying “you can’t help who you fall in love with” is true, it would be much easier if you could help it.

Rule #3: Don’t bet on love. Many romantic comedies feature a plotline where the main character accepts a bet in order to see if he or she can make someone fall in love with him or her. In “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” Andie (Kate Hudson) bets that she can date Ben (Matthew McConaughey) and then provoke him to break up with her by making classic dating mistakes. Likewise, Ben accepts a bet that he can make any woman fall in love with him. Of course that woman just happens to be Andie.  Eventually their secret intentions are exposed, but their love after just 10 days is strong enough to overcome the lies. Trust is a major factor when it comes to real relationships. Entering a relationship with ulterior motives will surely lead to splitsville.

Rule #4: Don’t become desperate. When you first become interested in someone it’s normal to be giddy and excited.  The key is knowing the difference between excited and crazy. In “He’s Just Not That Into You,” Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) scares away a countless number of men because she is desperate to find love. After Gigi throws herself at Alex (Justin Long) and gets denied, Alex realizes he is really in love with her. In the real world of dating, once permanent damage is done, the possibility of a relationship becomes nearly impossible.

Rule #5: Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Other classic romantic comedy plotlines feature characters who change themselves in order to win their love interests. In “Hitch,” Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) coaches Albert Brennaman (Kevin James) on how to be more desirous to women. In the end, Albert ends up with the girl of his dreams (Allegra Cole) because he was himself. This is one rule of dating that always stands true, even in the movies.
It is no secret that Valentine’s Day is that time of year when either you gush at the thought of love, or you become nauseous at the very sight of a couple. Whether you spend this holiday with a boyfriend, girlfriend, family, or friends, make sure you cuddle up and enjoy a romantic comedy without taking it too seriously.

Photo credit: Columbia Pictures