I’m eating melted cheese on bread and watching The Bachelorette because when you’re an adult you get to make stupid decisions all on your own, and the lovely bachelorette, Desiree, was telling one of her dates about why she broke up with her ex boyfriend. The issue, Des said, was that he wasn’t upfront with his affections. He wouldn’t tell or show her how he felt. I can understand that.
But then she said, (and I’m paraphrasing), “For example, he wouldn’t say, ‘I love you’ first.” Her date nodded sympathetically.
In a male-female romantic relationship, is it automatically assumed that the man will say it first? Is there something defeatist about a woman saying it before the man does, the same way that it seems odd for a woman to propose marriage to a man? And by the way, why doesn’t the Bachelorette propose? On The Bachelor, the bachelor proposes to one of his two choices at the end of the series. But on The Bachelorette, it’s up to her last 2 remaining choices to propose to her.
I guess the problem is that I’m watching The Bachelorette. Obviously, in “real life” women make those first moves that are traditionally made by men — the first I love you, the proposal — and it’s fine. There’s nothing shameful or wrong in any of it. It shouldn’t matter who says “I love you” first. What should matter is that there is love, and that it’s shared, and present. And yet…
Every major romantic movie we’ve seen has that big moment where the lead male says to the lead female, “I love you” in some grand and/or beautiful way. When he says it, it advances the story. It’s expected.
A woman saying “I love you” first doesn’t mean that she’s weaker, or the guy doesn’t love her as much, or she’s desperate. It doesn’t mean anything like that, and it shouldn’t be grounds for a break-up. So why is it that I can’t think of a single example among my group of friends who said it before her boyfriend did? Maybe because when we saw Princess Leia say it, that handsome dick Han Solo responded with, “I know.” (You don’t have to tell me, “It’s just a movie and actually Harrison Ford improvised that line” — I know.) I haven’t said it first, and honestly I don’t ever plan to. It’s hard enough for me to suggest a restaurant. (Key word though is “plan”. I don’t plan anything and that doesn’t stop life from happening.)
Who said “I love you” first in your relationship? Did it matter?
Photo by Nickolas Muray via Flickr.
I consider myself a pretty savvy lady – I can change a car tire, I have a career that I love most of the time, I can make it an entire night in five inch heels without my feet touching the pavement, and I know how to use a credit card to break into my apartment when I leave my keys at the bar. But, underneath this I-am-a-modern-woman-hear-me-roar exterior lies an unabashed lover of the hater’s favorite movie genre: The Romantic Comedy.
Give me a flight any longer than an hour and I’ll take a Vampire Diaries marathon. Put me on a flight across the country, and I’ll wash the Vampire Diaries marathon down with viewing #726 of He’s Just Not That Into You. It’s not that I don’t realize that the romantic comedy is estrogen laden bubblegum for the brain. It’s just that I really, really like bubblegum.
Last night, Jeremy and I played a game and watched The Myth of the American Sleepover. Except, guys, we’re 30 and 31, respectively. So, what are we doing watching a movie about people (Gah, can’t believe it.) half our age?
Some of the same things that adult women who are reading the awesome Rookie Magazine are doing, I’d imagine. The lore of the American teenager has an accessible romance for audiences well beyond their sweet sixteen. Coming-of-age, is such a blithe concern, in retrospect. Remember when kissing was just kissing and not just a thing that you did on your way to or during the weightiness of sex? Remember when commitment wasn’t about obligation and the realities of sharing a life with someone, but instead about dreamily falling in love?
When do you stop relating to those feelings? Perhaps when you have your own kids? Perhaps when you turn twenty? I supposed it varies, but perhaps you can continue to relate so long as you hold on to a sense of wonder.
The Myth of the American Sleepover is the kind of film that would have inspired in me a cult obsession at 14. Besotted, knobby kneed teenagers running around at night. I related to the all the characters the way I related to Sabrina in Dazed and Confused, a movie I watched probably 50 times.
I started writing this thinking that perhaps I’d aged out of movies like this, because I won’t watch it again and again, not like I would if I was 14. The fantasy isn’t relevant to me anymore. I’ve been kissed. I pay bills. I’ve grown up. But growing up is a terrible reason to forget the charms of navigating suburban streets at night in the rain, french kissing.
Verdict: Well worth a dreamy weekend-watch with a glass of white wine (You’re old enough now!) and a fluffy pillow on your couch. Nostalgia is potent, sweet medicine.
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