So, you get to a point in life where you think, hey, I’ve been dating awhile and I just keep dating awful people who are bad for me, I wonder why? Then you start thinking about your favorite movies from childhood and the messages you’ve internalized! It’s amazing what a little emotional distance can do!
Beauty and the Beast- a beautiful village girl enters a monster’s castle to plead with him to release her father, and submits to her own incarceration, putting up with his temper tantrums and violence as he tries to force his way into her room, and then breaks up his own furniture. She eventually falls victim to Stockholm Syndrome and falls in love with her captor. Once she proves her love is true, he is revealed to be a prince! This teaches us that if you have patience and love a bad person enough, he will become a good person. This could also be why women still feel hopeful about corresponding with online dating profiles with no pictures. Perhaps he’s a prince or a celebrity! If he doesn’t have a picture up, the truth is that he’s either married, ugly, or both. What are some lessons we can take from this?
- Don’t trust people who wear too much velvet.
- Don’t date guys who have kidnapped any member of your family. No, not even a cousin.
- Rich doesn’t mean nice. Some might argue that it never does.
Grease- Two young attractive people meet over Summer break, fall in love, and then when they get back to school they’re worried that if they date, their friends won’t think they’re cool anymore because she is a “soc” and he is a “greaser”. They spend the WHOLE SCHOOL YEAR pining for each other, and at the end they put on different outfits in order to meet the expectations of the other person, and then they appear to die, as they get into a convertible and their car drives into the clouds. Lessons:
- Date who you want. It doesn’t matter if your friends don’t like their jacket.
- You don’t have to change to be loved.
- Don’t have unprotected sex with Kenickie, or anyone really.
Breakfast Club- Some really weird pairings here. Athletic, motivated Emilio Estevez falls for emotional basketcase Ally Sheedy because she wears her Holly Hobby underwear on the outside and ties a sock in her hair. She’s a compulsive thief and liar and he has daddy issues, and the greatest thing they have in common is their twin suicidal ideation. Molly Ringwald’s character falls in love with Judd Nelson’s even though during the eight hours they’ve known each other, it’s clear that he’s an addict, he’s a pre-abuser (he’s been abused, he reacts with violence), he sexually assaults her under a library desk, and he’s a compulsive cheater (showing her photographs of women he doesn’t think are worth being faithful to). At the end of the movie, Anthony Michael Hall is not partnered with anyone because he is a clean-cut nerd with the best prospects for college and a good life. Lessons:
- Don’t respond to negging! Judd spends the whole movie either calling Molly a slut or shaming her for having rich parents or telling her she’s a jerk for putting her lipstick on without using her hands, and she just can’t keep from attacking him in a broom closet.
- If someone can’t get through an eight hour detention without getting high, maybe don’t date them. That’s someone who’s gonna drink the rubbing alcohol in your parent’s bathroom to get through Thanksgiving.
Some Kind Of Wonderful- In this film, Eric Stoltz plans a dream date for a woman he has barely spoken to and only loves for her appearance, and when at the end of the date, she turns down his gift of extremely expensive earrings, he feels that she is being a real a-hole. In retrospect, if a man with whom you had exchanged few words offered you a gift he bought with his college fund, you’d also wonder what he thought he was giving to, or getting, from you. It’s a super weird gift.
- If a guy has a best friend who’s a girl and they hang out all the time, that girl is already probably in love with him, even if she dresses like a demolition derby driver.
- If someone plans an elaborate first date to try to win your love, and isn’t happy just to meet and talk over coffee, it’s probably a desperate attempt to paper over their own insecurities and trap you into something!
Pretty Woman- ok, it’s a cute retelling of Pygmalion/My Fair Lady, in which a street prostitute becomes a trophy wife, which is the same thing but in longer pants. She gets an emotionally distant workaholic with no family ties, and becomes a kept woman- that’ll be fun in marriage counseling! “Hey, I think our power dynamic is screwed up.” “Why is that, I wonder?”
- When a man buys a woman, it’s like buying a car- he’ll trade her in eventually.
Just remember that romantic movies are a fun fantasy, but many of the relationships depicted in them are a real nightmare!