I was eight years old the first time a boy told me he loved me. It was my first “boyfriend” Michael. We were talking on the phone during a tornado warning because I was really scared. When I said I had to go, he said “okay. I love you”. To which I responded “Don’t say that. It’s weird.” and hung up the phone. The relationship didn’t last much longer. No boy has said the words “I love you” romantically to me since.
I should preface the rest of this post by saying that I believe in love, and I certainly hope that one day I do find love. But I really really can’t stand (most) romantic movies. For some reason I find myself liking older romantic movies (Princess Bride, An Officer and a Gentleman, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, etc) a lot more than the ones that are coming out post 1990. I think the biggest example would have to be The Notebook. I first watched this movie because I wanted to see why everybody loved it so much. Keep in mind I was 14 at the time. By the end I could hear my friend sniffling like crazy and I was just laying there thinking “can I go to sleep now?”. I mean it was a good movie, don’t get me wrong. But there was just something really off putting about it that I couldn’t figure out. Since then I’ve just kind of avoided watching romantic movies that weren’t classics. Then a few weeks ago I was watching Armageddon with my family. At that time I’d only seen the last 15 minutes of the movie.There is one scene in the movie, a fairly famous scene I believe, when the crew is leaving to destroy the meteor. A.J (Ben Affleck’s character) is saying goodbye to his girlfriend/fiancé, Grace (Liv Tyler). and he starts singing to her and then everybody in the area joins in and it’s just this really gushy scene that made me feel extraordinarily uncomfortable. I was reminded of how I felt when I watched The Notebook six years prior. So I set out to discover why I felt this way about these movies, and why I couldn’t bring myself to like the modern romantic movies that most girls my age were in love with.
There are already a few beliefs I already have about love:
- I don’t like women who change themselves completely for a man
- I don’t like when women bastardize the use of the word love romantically
Taking these things into account I’ve come to a few conclusions about why I don’t like these movies. When it comes to the classics, as far as I can remember, the leading woman hardly changed her personality for the man. She was composed, strong, mostly level headed. These are women I can relate to. Their stories were not about changing themselves but simply finding a way to fall in love with the man of their dreams. And they fell in love hard, but not fast. Which brings me to bullet number two. As I was growing up, I had many friends who used the word love in a romantic way so much it rendered the word meaningless. One friend had a new boyfriend about every month and every single time she would fall so in love with him. Not only would she completely change her personality for him and would leave all her friends in the dust. And I kind of feel like the women in today’s romantic movies are the same way. Not so much that they have a ton of boyfriends, but that they just fall in love really fast and are willing to give themselves up to this person so quickly. I could never see myself doing that and I really think that is a huge reason I don’t like these movies.
I think it’s the combination of these two things that made that scene in Armageddon so uncomfortable for me. The love between A.J and Grace seems a bit faked. I felt that the actors didn’t do a good job of proving to me that their characters were in love, so when that part of the movie came on it seemed forced. And that, I believe, is why I was so uncomfortable.
So now we come back to the anecdote that began this post, and why I often joke about dying alone. Like I said, I’m not willing to change who I am as a person just to suit somebody else, no matter how in love I am. And I refuse to throw the word love (romantic love, I mean) around like it means nothing. Sometimes I worry that I’m never going to find a guy who will want me as I am right now, unwilling to change. I’m also worried that I’m going to always find a reason not to be in love with somebody, or hold back from being in love as to not seem like some kind of fool who’s only goal in life is finding a man.
All this being said, if you are in love with somebody and completely happy with them, I am happy for you. Simple as that.
Happy Valentine’s Day.