I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, but I’ve never quite found the right words. Don’t get me wrong, I love a rom-com as much as the next 20-something girl, but that doesn’t mean I can’t see some fundamentally problematic elements of every gal’s favourite genre. Having watched my fair share of these and developing something of a love-hate relationship towards them, I feel that I’m qualified to point these out and now’s as good a time as any…
Rom-com rule number 1: There are fundamentally two types of men
Essentially, the entirety of male-kind can be split cleanly into two convenient categories. The first is the conventionally handsome, too-good-to-be-true and always dick-ish love interest turned mortal enemy. The second is the loveable and sensitive poet/ musician/ best friend/ nice guy who always ends up getting the now incredibly insecure girl after she’s been totally screwed over by exhibit a, the archetypal fuck boy. There are slight exceptions to this clean split though – sometimes there’s a ridiculously camp and stereotyped gay best friend thrown in for good measure (see: Stanford in Sex and The City)
Rom-com rule number 2: There are fundamentally 8 types of women and though they’re all insanely different, friendship groups combined of two or more of these categories just work
Now, whilst the range of female “types” are slightly more diverse, they can still be classified into one of the following categories:
- The drama queen – See Cher in Clueless.
- The wing woman – basically the friend who never gets the guy (or anything else really worth attention). I.e. Gretchen (Mean Girls), Ali and Lisa (apparently the names of Amanda Seyfried’s friends in Mamma Mia) and any of the other (often) nameless plot devices you can think of.
- The emotional wreck – Gigi in He’s Just Not That Into You is the perfect example of an insecure, desperate wreck who actually has way more going for her than she thinks.
- The career woman – The classic example here is Miranda in Sex and The City. Although, spoiler alert: she gets the guy eventually (not Mr. Big, thought. No one wants a Mr. Big). I also always think of Cameron Diaz and Katherine Heigl in any movie ever.
- The perfect wife – anyone that Leslie Mann ever plays (although she totally fits into the emotional wreck category most of the time too).
- The hot girl in the coffee shop – because women don’t need names or personalities, as long as they’re attractive and make a great cappuccino.
- The psycho-bitch – kind of like Kat in 10 Things I Hate About You. Of course the psycho-bitch is always won over by Heath Ledger in the end.
- The loner/ the “quirky one” – I always think of Allison from The Breakfast Club here. The loner/ quirky one/ actual normal human being always ends up being “beautified” with a hairband, by removing her glasses or just generally changing one teeny thing about her appearance that actually would make no difference IRL.
There are probably more that I’ve missed, but the important point to remember is this: girls, all you have to do is take off your glasses, seek the advice of your token gay bff and get the boy – then you’ll be a real life princess. Promise.
Rom-com rule number 3: All relationships end in a happy ever after
Whether the credits start rolling over a perfect couple walking into the sunset or the movie ends with a peaceful reconciliation of two warring lovers, there is always a happy ending to every relationship. Obviously, because that’s exactly how it happens in real life – correct me if I’m wrong.
Rom-com rule number 4: The “nice guy” always wins
I can’t even sarcastically say this is true in real life. Not only does the archetypal “nice guy” not exist, even if he did, he would rarely win. Not for long anyway. Because a relationship is not based on pandering to one party, pining after someone for your entire life or picking up the pieces after the “mean guy” has done his mean stuff.
Rom-com rule number 5: All women live in beautiful townhouse apartments in Manhattan and all men live in super on-trend studio apartments with exposed brick etc. etc.
Oh, how I wish this were true. Unfortunately, those ladies in the early/ mid twenties living alone in the city will not have the money to even consider the rent on these properties, let alone buy them. Ditto for the guys.
Rom-com rule number 6: There are only 3 career paths open to men
- Broody, dive bar musician/ artist/ creative soul who miraculously has the best clothes and apartment etc.
That is it. Think about it.
Rom-com rule number 7: Romantic declarations are pretty much the norm and grand gestures make everything better
Because who needs a conversation with their partner to work things out, amirite?
Rom-com rule number 8: it’s totally normal to have multiple men fighting over you
I know I have men falling at my feet every day because my life just happens to be like that. Not. I don’t think I’d know what to do if this were the case. I just know I’d be stressed and I definitely wouldn’t be happy about it.