My Happily Ever After Isn’t Cool Anymore, Part I
When I was growing up I dedicated my heart, with reckless abandon, to the idea of finding my soul mate. 10 years old little-me wistfully read books of old — the legend and the myths- the testaments they told about how every soul is divided into two parts. We were one half, and the other half, our counterpart. Some day, both parts would meet and, just like that, they would live happily ever after. Then…I grew up.
Romance and intimacy somehow became awkward. We had our big love and we got hurt. That love was crazy, selfish, passionate and it ended in disaster. We want to know we wont be hurt like that, and so,we go the safer way, the less crazy less romantic way. We settle for the hope of sharing some food and laughs for some time; after which the logical path is to co-exist and save some cash to later commit to standing each other’s company for better or worst.
In parallel to being a hopeless romantic, I’ve also described myself as feminist. This sometimes raises eyebrows and half smiles. Women look at me skeptically, thinking maybe I’ve grabbed a phrase I know little about. That I am being dramatic, that I’m being too much. Men will take it as an indication that I’ve abandoned the “team” — some may think I’m using it as a bad pick-up line. And, of course, I started describing myself as a feminist just about the time the media gave up on the term and moved on to something else. Probably Kim K, whatever.
I’m a feminist and I’m a romance lover. These two are not mutually exclusive, and anyone who tells you something different knows nothing about romance. Or feminism.
I was reading an article suggesting that Jack wasn’t real. The theory suggests that he was just a figment of Rose’s imagination, a heroic figure that she needed to conjure in order to survive her relationship with Cal and, spoiler alert, the ship’s sinking.
The article got me furious. Jack is real ok?!! And while we’re at it, there was enough space on the door for both of them, but the problem was not size it was weight. geeeez.
The article got me thinking about the last romantic movie or rom-com I’ve seen, or the lack of. Could it be that romance in the media is dead?
How in the name of Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts did this happen?
As in an Agatha Christie novel, there are many suspects. Adults blame teenagers, who aren’t interested in any romance that doesn’t involve some guy in some capes with some power. Women blame men who think they’ll lose sperm-count if they buy tickets to any movie with a whiff of chick flick. Still others simply argue that as a culture we’ve simply stopped believing in love.
Linda Holmes said: “What’s most profoundly wrong is the terrible, mean-spirited scripts that are getting made, that are making people feel justified in using ‘rom-com’ as an eye-rolling insult, and we’ve got to stop that first.
Stop saying ‘chick flick’ like it’s ‘pile of rotten meat’ and stop saying ‘chick lit’ and ‘chick book’ and ‘chick movie’ and anything else that suggests that love stories are less than war stories, or that stories that end with kissing are inherently inferior to stories that end with people getting shot.’’
Hollywood created tons of rom-coms that were exactly that — two souls finding their counterpart. Elizabethtown, Garden State, Almost Famous, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, etc. But Hollywood being Hollywood fell short. They created female characters that were too damn good to be true. They were nothing like us. They didn’t remind us of us, our friends or our exes.
Thanks to female icons like Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham whose rom-coms are all about women still trying to get their shit together. We might be entering the Golden Age of funny, romantic films that are for women, by women. These films feature women who are unapologetically themselves, flaws and all. These films don’t create caricatures, they instead break down any misconceptions about how a woman should act.
Maybe this is the moment in the evolution of romance and rom-coms where the heroine and her muse, split by contrivance, realize that they should get back together accepting her with all her flaws.
Maybe my happily ever after isn’t dead. Maybe.
BY LÉA ELBI