Rom Coms and the Single Girl: What Romantic Comedies Have Taught Me

Rom coms have a lot to teach us about love and life and we girls (and guys) navigating the dating world would do well to listen.

Romantic comedy writers have the story arc down to a science. Girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, boy lets girl down, then boy wins girl back. If you’re a gal (single, dating, or hitched) chances are you’ve seen a rom com or two and been suckered into blubbering at the end (we’ve all been there!). And no matter how many times your guy friends make fun of you for watching these chick flicks and therefore declaring yourself a very hopeless romantic, you know deep down inside that you do not have a skewed idea about love. And you don’t. On the contrary, rom coms are good for us, girls! Here’s why. (Guys, you can learn from this too!)

First off, the leading lady’s clothes are always on point. The story’s heroine never fails to remind us that it is always good to look your best because you never know who is coming around the corner or who is going to be giving you the up and down look. Remember “Devil Wears Prada”? Making an effort when it comes to your appearance does not go unnoticed. Heck, Miranda Priestly might even be jealous. I’m not saying change yourself for anyone or go overboard (and that’s not what the rom coms mean to tell you either). I’m saying work to look presentable at all times, it gives you confidence and others will view you as well-kept and polished (and maybe even worthy of that trip to Paris for fashion week!)

Rom coms are good for us, girls! (Guys, you can learn from this too!)

Romantic comedies teach us to go for the nice guy. Sure Josh Bryant is hot stuff in “Princess Diaries” but the real “foot popping” kiss comes from the stable, non-player, best friend, Michael. Mom and Dad always say “fall in love with your best friend” and rom coms are on your parents’ side. (Granted, rom coms also teach us to run very fast in the other direction when a guy asks you to give him a foot massage).

Rom coms don’t want us to be easy. The girls that are throwing themselves at the guys are not the ones the guys are bringing home to mom. Take “Confessions of a Shopaholic” for example. Yes the beautiful, British editor of Successful Saving, Luke, is momentarily entranced by the tall, blonde Allette editor who fake-trips in the elevator so that he’ll come to her aid. In the end though, the girl Luke really wants is Rebecca Bloomwood, the girl who makes him think. He is in the love with the awkward, gyrating fan-dancer who inspires him to be better than he thinks he is, who is good at what she does (she’s a kick a$$ journalist), and who’s confident and content with her independence. He wants a woman with her head screwed on straight.

“Romedies” show us that the guy can and should run after us. Yes, this is the 21st Century and in a world of Tinder and sexting it seems like anything goes, but a little chivalry on the male end goes a long way even now. Women want nothing more in love than be pursued, to feel wanted. Rom coms remind us that us girls can drop hints of our affections but the guy needs to go the other 3/4 of the way. In “27 Dresses” part of the reason the sexy wedding announcements journalist is sexy is because he pursues Katherine Heigl’s character and because he is persistent about it. That is attractive! (Just as long as it’s not creepy.)

If I could pick one film genre to watch for the rest of my life, you have my answer. Romantic comedies are light, witty, and as Amanda Peet’s character says in “Something’s Gotta Give,” (another brilliant rom com and one of my favorites), rom coms are “soulful when you don’t expect it.” (Peet is not referring to rom coms when she says this line, but it seems fitting nonetheless). There are always going to be naysayers who steer very clear of chick flicks and leave the second you’re about to turn on “Hitch.” But these films have a lot to teach us about love and life and we girls (and guys) navigating the dating world would do well to listen.

In a world of Tinder and sexting it seems like anything goes, but a little chivalry on the male end goes a long way even now.

How to Watch a Rom Com The Right Way

1. Gather some girlfriends (3–5) for a girl’s night. All should be on board with a good cry fest (tears of joy welcome too!) Also, just a tip, it’s more fun (and guilt free ;)) if you’re all single. No boyfriend wants to find out you were virtually cheating with Channing.

2. Take a vote on which rom com to watch (as much as you want to see Matthew McConaughey shirtless, this is a democracy).

3. Order in. Pizza or Chinese, please. And switch it up, eat pizza with chopsticks and Chinese with your hands.

4. Eliminate distractions. Turn off your iPhone. The real world can wait an hour and a half. Who wants to think about real life and real men anyway?

5. Take breaks as needed. Pause the film for bathroom breaks or to bring out the tub of ice cream and four spoons (oh, and the tissues) after Ry Gos says he’s written you 365 letters (you are living vicariously through Rachel McAdams, let’s face it)!

6. Watch through the credits to make sure you don’t miss an added segment like the end dance scene in “When in Rome.” Trust me, you want to see Josh Duhamel cut a rug.

7. Turn your phone back on. Check Instagram. Then, with your newfound confidence for taking love by storm, text your best guy friend. He won’t respond, but hey, it was a nice effort. And then remember everything you learned…let him run after you.

If you are alone for the night, queue up a few films (yes, you’ll need more than one) and snuggle in with your cat. Follow steps 3–7 just as before, only this way, you won’t have to share the ice cream. Just make a vow to yourself to go to hot yoga tomorrow and press play.

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