When your Life Threatens to Turn into a Romantic Comedy, Run the Fuck Away
If you read this blog, you know that I have a particular talent for getting myself into, just, a shitload of unusual situations. Few have been more exhilarating than the time I felt my life turning into a Romantic Comedy.
Some friends of mine were moving, and thus threw a party at their house to give away a bunch of stuff they didn't feel like packing or storing. It was a weird and wonderful party idea, wherein we were straight up encouraged to five finger anything we saw that we liked. Among the many of my friends and acquaintances in attendance was Colombian Eggplant, whom I had met only once before, about a year or so ago, yet remembered with absolute (and uncharacteristic) clarity.
It had been an anniversary party for these same friends, and I clocked this tall, dark drink of agua from across the room, and worked my way over to talk to him with utter smoothness (j/k I am not smooth). We had quite a heavy flirt, him impressing me with all types of sexy science smartness and his impish smile, me impressing him with my Spanish speaking, and various other elements of my sparkling personality, probs. After 20-30 minutes of preening and smiling at each other, he drops in super casual that he had a girlfriend. So I back right off him, thinking that was the end of that forever, shit happens nbd, and move right along with my life.
Hence, I devoted almost zero effort to talking to Colombian Eggplant at party numero two, until basically the thing was over. He came and sat next to me, and buoyed by the booze or I don't know what the hell all, we fell right back into the flirty rhythm we'd had the night we met, talking only to each other, (rudely) ignoring all the other people at the party just like in those scenes where they cut to the couple standing all alone on a deserted street, or empty room, etc. while in fact all sorts of busyness swirls around them.
As we are leaving he turns to me and asks if I want to still hang out, and it is pretty late, and a Sunday, but I say sure. So our movie continues, as we sortof wander around looking for some place open where we can get a beverage. He grabs my hand and we walk around with our fingers interlaced, which I never do, and it is a whole montage of movie moments, including
-walking at night on mostly deserted streets while agressively and imbecillically bantering
-attempting to sneak into places that are obviously closed, most notably the whisky bar at the Watergate, which makes it double-count for the "making the city a character trope"
- me trying to drag him across the street, him pulling me back by our joined hands, pressing a broad palm to the small of my back, kissing;
-stopping me to stare deeply into my eyes and say some intensely romantic shit that naturally makes me laugh at him, and mock him to his face, because that shit is SO absurd and false-feeling, but he is eating UP my sass, in addition to my externalizing most of my internal monologue and all the other weird shit I am gleefully doing; and though when he speaks this nonsense drivel at me I giggle at the top of my lungs, I am also somehow swallowing it whole.
I have never felt a more acute sense of surreality. It was powerfully, inexhorably intoxicating. It encourages me to lean into the fantasy that those movies create. I find a stray piece of paper on the ground, pick it up, and read aloud from it, to our mutual delight. It is utter nonsense, but neither of us care. He offers to drive me home, and when we get there I ask if he wants to come in for a last drink.
Duh, obviously we bone.
But when we get to pillow talk, reality picks up its hammer and starts to tap tap tap against the candy coating.
I had noticed already that he was Catholic, he wears a largish crucifix, which would have been kindof hard to miss even if it were small, as it's the only thing he leaves on when he strips off. Plus, at one point while we were fucking his Jesus totally dropped into my mouth. All the way in there. Like had JC not been on a chain it would have been a choking hazard. I found this HILARIOUS, and considered making a bunch of "well, this wasn't they type of three-way I had in mind, and also, ask first, maybe?" jokes, but my mouth was full of Messiah, so I refrained.
Anyways, turns out homey is not just casually Catholic, or culturally Catholic, but SUPER Catholic. He proceeds to describe the sex we have just had as a "sin" and claims he is going to need to go to confession to report this deed. I nearly suffer whiplash from the speed with which I spin move out of little spoon position to face him and be all,
He reaffirms his desire to describe our boot knocking to The Lord in order to be issued forgiveness for it. We embark on a long conversation the gist of which is I refuse to fuck him if he is going to regret me; he attempts to convince me that that's not how it works, and he can both enthusiastically want to bang and feel like it's wrong simultaneously; I point out that is exactly what I'm talking about trying to avoid; he tries to reassure me that it's cool; and around and around we go until eventually I allow myself to be convinced because I like him so much and I am fiending for another taste of that euphoria I felt coating my mouth until Jesus jumped in there. And so we make a date for Friday
We spend basically the entire weekend together, with the exception of a brief 8 hour period on Sunday. Over the course of this period I am subject to the gale force created by a roller coaster of moods and emotions, because Holy Fucking God is Colombian Eggplant a Drama Queen. Perhaps I should have known to expect this, as it stands to reason that such a human as naturally falls into the patterns of and routinely enacts (as this was his normal MO and not something special for le moi) the tropes of romantic comedies would be a devotee of Drama beyond all measure, and ain't nobody got time for that.
Also you know what the problem with living a Romantic Comedy is? They are not actually that great. Often, they are narratives that use the woman as the fulcrum on which to leverage some needed change in the dude, allowing for a resolution that brings him closer to self actualization, and her closer to the altar. Take Two Weeks' Notice, one of my favorite RomComs, for example. Hugh Grant's character is a selfish, spoiled, entitled man-child, whose fuckboyness Sandra Bullock suffers all movie long, as he systematically disrespects her time and consistently refuses to consider how his actions might impact her character’s happiness. It is only when faced with the prospect of Sandra Bullock peaceing the fuck out on him that Hugh Grant agrees to grow the fuck up and accept, in the most modest measure, accountability for his actions; at last permitting SB’s character to fall into his arms, to her (and my!) deep delight. The only change we get for our heroine is a reduction in her standards such that she agrees to settle for this type of treatment. What a steaming pile of dogshit!
Allow me to (possibly) ruin some of your other favorite movies by asking you to consider them under this lens of woman as mechanism for change in the man:
-Forgetting Sarah Marshall -When Harry Met Sally -Notting Hill -Jerry Maguire -Sabrina (I could continue, but you get the drift)
Many of our most beloved RomComs still follow the patterns and structures first encoded when the concept of the Novel was created in the 18th century: the good are rewarded, the evil punished, and the virtuous earn themselves a happy ending, which is always an advantageous marriage. Ever wonder why we get so many stories about Rich Dicks falling prey to the charms of an impoverished, but irresistible woman, whose affections they eventually win by submitting themselves to a slight -ever so slight- Dick Reduction? (see also: Pretty Woman, Love Actually, 50 Shades of Goddamn Gray, probably) This is why.
Undeniably there is something pleasing and comforting in revisiting a well worn and ingrained cultural trope, and I am sure I will continue to surrender many, many of my dollars for just such movies, many times, in future. Because despite everything I just wrote, I love them. But still. This is not a good way to live.
If you try it, you may find yourself in a relationship with a man-child who needs to use you to complete his journey towards becoming a man-man, and that, my friends, sucks ass. RomCom Eggplant may, for example, invite you over to his house with every intention of ignoring you, and when you are like, what the hell, man, he will say, I had a hard day and that makes me just want to clam up and be all introverted, but you make me feel good when you are around me, so I trapped you in my home. When you point out that it kindof sucks for you to be ignored all night and why the fuck didn't you just reschedule if you needed "you-time", he will whine about it, and claim his self interested motivations are justification. Then when you point out he is being a selfish asshat and demand he never do this to you again, he will moodily mumble some sort of agreement and then go off and sulk about it.
That sound fun to you? Hell to the naw.