The other day, I was watching one of the more interesting and brutally realistic movies that I have seen in the past few years. The movie was Blue Valentine, and it chronicles the inevitable demise of a relationship that should have never formed to begin with. While there are many fascinating aspects of this movie that I would love to break down and analyze, today I would like to focus on what I believe to be the most interesting quote of the movie.
I feel like men are more romantic than women. When we get married we marry, like one girl, 'cause we're resistant the whole way until we meet one girl and we think, I'd be an idiot if I didn't marry this girl she's so great. But it seems like girls get to a place where they just kinda pick the best option... 'Oh he's got a good job.' I mean they spend their whole life looking for Prince Charming and then they marry the guy who's got a good job and is gonna stick around.
As I heard Ryan Gosling's character utter these words for the first time, a grin slowly formed on my face. I had an instant flashback to the hundreds of times in my life I have heard women say to their female friends, "Well, he's nice. And he has a good job. I guess go out with him again." One year later, cue the wedding bells.
Call me crazy, but I am a big believer that a romantic spark should be felt instantly and powerfully. There is nothing romantic about a less than overwhelming date eventually turning into a marriage.
As I began to zone into my own little private world, as I often do while watching movies, I started thinking to myself just how much truth this Blue Valentine quote seems to hold. Let's start with examining the human nature of men. No matter how culturally conditioned men are to believe that marriage is the natural path, our bodies are counter-intuitively programmed to seek out as many partners as we can find. It isn't that our nature wants us to be sleazy, hurtful people. Its nature's way of ensuring that we survive as a species. We may not act on these urges, but they will always be there. Any man that tries to convince a woman otherwise is blatantly lying.
But what happens when those of us who are not lonely, and do indeed have options, find that perfect woman? We give up all of our natural urges and try to fight them for the rest of our lives so that we can be with this woman, because we know she is the one, we will never find better and the reward of being with this person outweighs the sacrifice.
Now that is romantic. This notion is more romantic than bringing flowers home on a Friday afternoon, remembering to buy a forced Valentine's Day gift or recalling some small insignificant detail of an anniversary that was spent years ago together. (Something I discussed with matchmaker Neely Steinberg in our last debate.) There is nothing more romantic than sacrificing ones human nature for the person he loves.
Now lets bring the conversation back to the choices that women make. As the quote points out, many women spend their entire lives looking for "the one," only to settle for someone who is merely good to them, or for someone who can provide as they get older in age. I suspect that many women reading this article have done so, although they would probably not admit this to themselves. Before elaborating any further, let me be clear. I am not saying that women who settle down with men who are good to them and provide for them are not happy. I'm not saying that their husbands are not great guys. I'm not even saying that these couples are not in love with each other.
But what I am proposing is this: Are these men the Prince Charming that they have spent their whole life looking for?
Do these men understand and connect with them in ways that no other men in the world would ever be able to?
My skeptical side says that most women do not wait out the arrival of their "soul mate." I would hypothesize that much of this likely has to do with fear of the aging process. An age is reached where the woman begins to tell herself some variation of "Well, I am getting older, I may never find exactly what I am looking for, and all my friends are already married which is kind of depressing, so let's give this a shot." In addition, the deadly sound of the biological clock ticks grows louder and louder in the background with every year that passes by, making the fear grows even stronger. Fear eventually takes priority over true romance.
Which raises the question as to whether or not waiting for the right guy is worth playing Russian roulette with the possibly of never having a family. These are life-altering decisions that force many women to "settle" as opposed to waiting for "the one." I can't say I necessarily blame women for going down the path of settling.
Regardless of whether or not endlessly waiting for the right guy to walk into one's life is the right or wrong decision, there is nothing very romantic about women who settle for men that are "good to them," "have nice jobs" and "won't ever leave." It may be nice. It may be sweet. It may even result in love. ut when it comes to romance, us men win the overall battle.
So ladies, men, let the debate and ruthless arguing begin...