How The Notebook Has Ruined Me

It hadn't been a particularly awful day, but all I wanted do was forget about work, the family drama and the guy who wouldn't call, get into something comfy and watch a movie I've already seen a hundred times. Chuck the phone in a corner so I wouldn't check all the texts/Facebook/Twitter/emails I wasn't getting. I needed a bottle of wine. I needed Ryan Gosling.
I needed The Notebook.

He barely opens his mouth when he talks, but he always says just the right thing. He wants to dance in the street at midnight. You can run and jump into his arms and he will catch you. If you're a bird, he's a bird. He wrote to you everyday for a year and you've never felt nor seen someone fall in and make so much perfect love.

The Notebook is the quintessential chick flick, a genre defined by as "A film that indulges in the hopes and dreams of women and/or girls. A film that has a happy, fuzzy, ridiculously unrealistic ending."

The Notebook, like many of it's its romantic chick flick cousins, has all necessary ingredients that have taught me what "real love" looks like:

  • Rich girl and boy from the wrong side of the tracks
  • Passionate love at first sight, followed by misunderstanding
  • A makeout scene involving a piano
  • Kissing in the rain
  • Flashbacks, montages and voiceovers
  • Parents/best friend who are against it because of a dark secret from the past
  • A happy ending

I love this film and most chick flicks, but I also think movies like this may have ruined me. Under their influence, I now expect a formula for my romantic life. I expect to be the beautiful girl with bangs, a quirky personality and a hidden talent, maybe for ice sculpting or horse whispering. I'll have a dream job with a terrible boss and very little pay, but somehow a huge apartment and great clothes. And my hair will look perfect when I wake up in the morning so I can go off and greet my funny sidekick and wacky family members.

As for my true love, it will begin at first sight, probably during the summer at either a fair, farmers market, book store or really swanky bar. He will just know I'm "the one" and he will pursue me relentlessly. He will have feelings and deep thoughts -- and be able to verbally express them. He will surprise me with unrealistic random acts of romance. All important moments in our relationship will have a soundtrack to accompany them.

Whenever I'm sad and bad things happen or we go through our inevitable breakup (so we can be joyously reunited later), it will start to rain. I have a good idea about how I should slide down a wall when I cry after we break up and how I'm supposed to look out the window at the rain.

When we get back together, it will be because of a stereo held high playing our favorite song. Or he will come rushing in to stop me from leaving on a flight, stop the taxi, stop the wedding and/or fly across the world to bring me back home where I belong with him.

And then we will live (everyone say it with me!) "Happily ever after."

But all these things aren't real. They are fairy tales fed to us by Hollywood and Nicholas Sparks and Disney and dreamy Ryan Gosling and his gang of handsome, brooding hotties. Real life is messy and complicated, and men are rarely waiting for you for seven years, building your house of dreams. They rarely act how you hope and my hair is always beyond hope in the mornings.

Ironically, when my real life romance falls short of these dreams, I turn right back to the movies that created my monster for comfort, feeding into the evil cycle.

But I think it's okay to watch them, knowing they represent a non-reality, but hoping that there will be a guy out there for me so moved by my awesome that he will want to dance in the street, sing me a song, write poetry or whatever it is that makes a great romance for the two of us. He doesn't have to be perfect, or Ryan Gosling (if only), but I know that, one day, I'll be making great memories of an amazing love with someone who is totally for me.