It’s a staple of rom-coms. The romantic intervention.
Some well-meaning twenty-something sits across from her best friend, clasps her hand, looks her straight in the eye and tells her she’s been going solo too long. There’s often a winsome co-conspirator hovering expectantly in the background to lend support.
“Girlfriend. You gotta get back out there.”
So what’s this “gotta” shit about exactly?
I’ve noticed it so much lately. Seen it on TV series — even good ones — as well as movies. You’d think this was a chapter of Modern Romance 101. “The Friend Who Hides From Love.” Riiiiiight.
I’ve gone a few rounds on the romance-o-rama and had more than my share of wine- and pizza-fueled girlfriend heart-to-hearts — “Why hasn’t he called?” “Am I too aggressive/needy/choosy/neurotic/opinionated/serious/frivolous/slutty/prudish/fat?” etc. — but no friend, best or otherwise, has ever told me I needed to start dating again.
For the sake of full disclosure, I went through an epic, two-year dry spell without a single date. And no one upbraided me for it! Of course, this was LA, and it’s hard to find normal guys there. (My roommates weren’t getting any action either. Their cats had more sex than we did. The only hookups among our little group were thanks to one roommate’s late-night visit to a sex club. I’m not naming names, but the girl dressed in clubwear and vintage coral pumps running down the middle of the street in pursuit of a departing taxi at 3:30 in the morning — after having almost wimped out on the plan — wasn’t me.)
This line of thought brings to mind a few more rom-com staples.
The meet cute. Never had one single meet cute in my life. A great-looking guy did come up to me in a grocery store once and strike up a conversation … he wanted to know if I knew this girl he was interested in — I did — and asked me how he should approach her. I nicely told him he was on his own. Asshole.
The job that sounds low-paying yet has tons of X-factor (like production assistant at a TV station or junior editor at a fashion magazine or being the voice of a radio call-in show). I should BE so lucky. I was a temp.
The downtown apartment with wood floors and high ceilings decorated with a quirky assortment of “found” objects. That careless-yet-stylish look is supposed to suggest those objects were found at low-rent antique stores, sample sales or maybe Goodwill — because while our heroine can’t afford the pricey stuff, she is Effortlessly Chic and Creative (note the job) — but more likely they were “found” at ABC Carpet & Home or Modani. Our apartment had wall-to-wall shag carpet, a table but no couch, and linoleum in the kitchen … aaand we lived in East Hollywood, the polar opposite of glam.
The gorgeous girl who has no love life. That one’s as old as the (Hollywood) Hills. Some favorites: Katherine Heigl in Killers and 27 Dresses, and Keira Knightley’s mom talking about her like she’s the plain daughter in Pride and Prejudice.
The gorgeous girl who’s a career powerhouse but can’t get a date for Friday night. A subset of the previous staple; I always loved this one. Probably because I sucked at both. Think Cybill Shepherd in Moonlighting and Helen Hunt in What Women Want.
The annoyingly unnecessary makeover of the already gorgeous girl (from Julia Roberts, Rachael Leigh Cook and Debra Winger to Sandra Bullock, Meg Ryan and Anne Hathaway, this is classic) because the dumbasses in the movie can’t tell she’s a babe without the flashing signs and arrows of more makeup, a new hairstyle, contact lenses and a great outfit. Seriously!
The schlubby guy with the babe. I really, really hate this one. Schlubby guys across the country have learned from movies that they needn’t “settle” for anything less than a ten. See Paul Giamatti in Barney’s Version (not just one, but three beautiful wives plus a smokin’ hot one-night stand) or Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny. And lest we forget: As Good As It Gets, Knocked Up, She’s Out of My League and Charlotte and Harry in Sex and the City. Think I’m all wet on this one? Switch the genders in each scenario and we’ll talk.
One or two pairs of Louboutins and a La Perla bra in the closet (My friends and I bought everything on clearance, including shoes and bras; labels like Louboutin and La Perla didn’t even live in the same universe as the clearance racks we could afford).
And finally: The chasing or moment-of-truth scene at the end, when he realizes he can’t live without Ms. Awesome and WTF possessed him to think he could? and he runs/skydives/jumps on a horse/jet skis/hails a cab to her party/taxi/wedding/airplane/fabulous new job in London to beg her forgiveness and spend the rest of his life Making It Up To Her.