Genesis 3:16

I might be a bit late in realizing this, but after some thought I’ve finally come to the conclusion as to why chick flicks are so bad. No, the reason is not that they lift up unrealistically high expectations of love and relationships, in fact I would argue that they set the bar fairly low.

Correct me if I’m wrong (seriously, correct me!) but it seems like most girls (that like chick flicks) like romantic comedies or epic love stories because in the end the male romantic interest decides that this girl is “what I’ve been living for, all along…”; he is in fact, merely a tool (in multiple senses) to fulfill the viewer’s own desire for someone “who lives only for me.”

All machismo-for-machismo’s-sake aside, I believe that men are justified in feeling discomfort at seeing these written-for-women male characters on screen. We feel uneasy because we know almost intuitively that nobody wants to be that guy; and be honest, no girl wants to date that guy.

Written characters have the unique advantage of having no real past. Hints at past events throughout the movie aside, their lives pretty much begin with the opening credits. Thus, the male lead has an almost unlimited amount of time and energy outside the bounds of the movie to have built up the funny quirks (but never full on weirdness) and charms that so captivate the audience before meeting our main character and overcoming her barriers as well, with wit and unrelenting ‘love’. In fact, his infatuation and ‘genuine love’ makes many of his otherwise creepy actions forgivable and even endearing; but ‘watching someone from afar’ is in almost all cases (and for almost all reasons) undeniably strange in real life.

Let’s do a thought experiment. Our script begins with a handsome and brilliant neuroscientist/journalist/musician/playwright winning awards and accolades and at the peak of his professional life, when he meets a young aspiring neuroscientist/journalist/musician/actress(?) who has great respect for our man.  Needless to say he falls deeply and madly in love. They have some sort of conflict and they break up. Which situation makes for the better romantic story:

1) Our man becomes depressed, stops eating and working, watches her hail cabs in the rain longingly from across the street and eventually either: (a) confesses his undying love for her and they make up or (b) writes her a long letter about how life is no longer living and takes his own life for sorrow (really, it doesn’t matter which one of these happens).


2) He tries to mend the relationship, it doesn’t work, he heals for awhile then goes back to researching/writing/doing whatever it was he loved before, moves on and has kids and lives his life like everybody else does.

The point is that Hollywood romances are merciless. We would rather see a person die dramatically “for love” than to take hardships like a well balanced individual and — God forbid — move on.

I find it hard to believe that women truly want the type of guy they see in those stories. How can we fail to see that once the man takes up this new position on life, he ceases to be the man who we (the audience) were rooting for? That he becomes a shell of his former self because he acquiesces with our demands that he reduce himself to some lackey, trailing behind the object of his love on a leash, sensitive to every whim? What woman thinks herself so large as to be able to satisfy fully every need and desire of a whole other human being? I hope none of us is that proud.

It seems suspicious to me how many of these stories end in an implicit (if not explicitly stated) “…and they lived happily ever after!” right as our protagonists share a long-awaited kiss, or as the screen fades to black at the end of the announcement of marriage. The chase is over! Now they can settle down into the happy contentment of domestic life, no more of that crazy and fretful wondering and horrid singleness!…

But isn’t this all a well orchestrated trick? Isn’t it precisely at this point that the real work (yes I said it, work) of Love begins? When the dust settles on our happy couple will they survive through the traps and snares of daily life? Or will our friends be tossed into the heap with our dissatisfied Anna Kareninas, Humbert Humberts and countless other victims of reality?

I believe, and so I’ve been told, that there is only one Love (that is, Love Himself) that we can really set up our lives around. And the image of romantic love as not a self-contained and self-sufficient interaction between two people, but as an expansive adventure with some one by your side, that leaves room for real Friendships and community and Communion and Truth and Joy just makes a lot more sense and is a lot more desirable to me than pretty much anything I have seen in even the best of chick flicks. But it’s not like I really know anything about this topic anyways…


~ by justinhong on April 28, 2009.

One Response to “Genesis 3:16”

  1. good post bro. i just found out what your blog was and i want to read like everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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