Monday, May 5, 2008
You're Not The Only Quirky Girl On The Block.
I'm not coy about my love of rom-coms. If you take them for what they are and nothing more, they offer, in the words of SarahGo "90 minutes of pure pleasure." After Definitely, Maybe my clit was so swollen with patriarchal romantic notions I had to rub up against the subway pole on my ride home.
That said, there are certain cliches in the genre that still get to me; a classic one brought to mind last night during my viewing of Made of Honor* with my darling El Squiziddo. Patrick Dempsey plays Tom, an incorrigible yet charming bachelor who becomes best friends with Hannah, the only girl smart enough to resist his caddish advances back during their college years. Tom is the classic asshole-- he sleeps with a multitude of hot women, but won't get close to any of them. He creates rules. He won't spend two nights in a row with a woman. He won't take a woman to weddings, funerals, anything that can give "the wrong impression". He definitely won't say "I love you." The only exception to these rules of course is Hannah, his old-standby, his best friend.
The problem with this set-up is that we like Tom. We have to, otherwise the movie would be more American Psycho than 27 Dresses. But in order to get us to like Tom, we have to not mind that he's being a dick to countless females. So the movie excuses Tom's behavior the same way nearly all romantic comedies excuse the behavior of a likable cad: by making the vast majority of attractive women dull, stupid, humorless, and boring. The model he takes to his favorite antique store whines: "This stuff is old and ugly! I want to go to Fendi!" to which Tom retorts, "Why are you talking like a six-year-old?" The tall blond that accompanies Tom to his favorite bakery also whines about waiting in the long line, and is too dumb to understand Tom's rather asinine "Guess what dessert I'm going to order" game. Of course we relate to Tom through all of this because who relates to a bunch of high-maintenance, personality-devoid bitches? What a tough world males live in! Females are just soooooooo blase.
Of course Hannah, the best friend/eventual romantic interest needs to be portrayed as the too-good-to-be-true combination of a funny, dynamic personality and hot-as-hell looker. An utterly unique girl in a sea full of dumb chicks is the only thing that can make Tom change his life and ideas about monogamy. I mean Hannah didn't seem that great or funny to me, she actually seemed pretty effing lame, but this is probably because the script was so bad, and the "cool" chick in romcoms is never really that cool. We just get "indicators" that she's great: All of Tom's macho guy friends are like, "Dude, she's so awesome-- why are you fucking it up?", she laughs at Tom's jokes (omg, she knows how to laugh!), and sometimes, get this-- she is sarcastic.
The girl knows sarcasm. Praise the Lord.
The gross part is that this line of thinking resonates well with women. No one thinks they're boring and high maintenance. Everyone thinks they're the special one, the dynamic one, the "girl worth changing for." It be nice if there were a romcom that featured two awesome people choosing each other out of a sea of other awesome potential mates, just because, oh I don't know, they had, like, a romantic connection? Not just because every other girl is a boring dumb fuck?
Moral of the blog post is: Dudes, we're all hot and awesome. DO I REALLY NEED TO WRITE A SAPPHIC EROTICA ROMCOM TO PROVE TO HOLLYWOOD THAT THERE CAN BE MORE THAN ONE GREAT GIRL IN THE ROOM? Because I'm warning you, I will.
* Shut up. Judgers go to the 6th circle of hell where they are forced to watch Failure To Launch over and over on a loop while waxing Matthew McConaughey's chest.
Posted by Lauren Bans