(What is the “Meet Cute” and how is it ruining our idea of modern romance?)
We’ve all seen it before in movies.
Jack meets Jill in a zany, adorable, planets-aligned, universe-destined first-time meeting that sets the tone for the relationship and the rest of the movie. In Hollywood, this is known as a “meet-cute”. A current example being how George met Peppy in The Artist, but more classic references include Jonathan and Sara in Serendipity, or Ted and Mary in There’s Something About Mary. To be entertaining, movies have to capture your attention in the grandest way possible. But how much does Hollywood ruin our idea of modern romance by planting these expectations in our head?
The truth: You’re more likely to meet your future mate like Tom and Summer in 500 Days of Summer: Guy sees girl, guy is too shy to talk to girl, guy pines, guy comes up with excuses to protect his ego, guy bitches out. If you don’t have the luxury of repeated contact like Tom and Summer, then your only options to pursue are Facebook or the stab-in-the-dark known as Craigslist’s Missed Connections. Sure, everyone would love to have that perfect “meet-cute” with his or her other at the dog park, when leashes get tangled and you both fall down laughing, but how likely is this to happen? There’s nothing wrong with meeting at a coffee shop, a bar, or through an online dating service. That is, as long as you’re okay with it.
We put so much emphasis on the start (courtship) and the eventual finish line (marriage), that we forget about the process that is the middle. You know, the actual love part. It’s always, “How did you meet?” and “How did he propose?” focusing on the how instead of the why. How about he just came up and said “Hello,” or he just plain asked: “Will you marry me?” Not everything needs to be dressed up with a suave pick-up line or a Jumbotron. So put your guard down and stop waiting for the cinematographer to give you cues. Take direction of your own life’s movie; but bear in mind, your budget is crap, the lighting is going to be shit, and each of your actors is a complete fucking head case.
You have to realize that movies and books are just escapism and not reality. Not everyone has the pecs of Daniel Craig, not everyone has the curves of Salma Hayek, and not everyone is going to meet on the same 1912 cruise ship called the Titanic. Movies aren’t reality (neither is “reality” TV for that matter), so don’t compare them to your life or you may drive yourself to a sadness and depression that only Haagen-Dazs and a couple of shitty vampire novels can “cure”.
So you have a decision to make, what do you want more? Lower your expectations and not be lonely another Friday night, or wait for your prince/princess perfect and that adorable “meet-cute”?
Me? I’m still holding out for when she and I grab the same organic, local free- range, hemp-soy-peanut butter at Whole Foods, then break out into a Bollywood dance number.
[Photo: The one and only Eiffel Tower in Paris, France]