I’ve been thinking about love lately.
As you do.
Specifically I’ve been thinking about why so many women get sucked into the notion that True Love – the sort with capital letters and everything – should be hard work. That the more tears are shed, and sleepless nights wasted, the better.
Should love hurt?
If we look at books and movies and TV, it’s not a sunny outlook. Love’s a bitch, isn’t it? And usually, the ones being bitch-slapped by Love are women.
Take Bella and Edward. Or Buffy and Angel if you’re a bit older – it’s the same story, with different actors, let’s face it. She’s a young girl, he’s a vampire who’d like to kill her. It’s not hard to see how that relationship might tip over into the self-destructive.
Then there’s Joey and Pacey. Or Felicity and Ben. Or Blair and Chuck. Or Rory and Jess. Or Johnny and Baby. I can keep going all day if needed – my knowledge of trashy media is almost without limit *proud face*.
It’s always the same old story – girl falls for boy, boy turns out to have ISSUES, which result in girl being sad a lot of of the time, but girl hangs on in there until boy is almost entirely reformed, and they can live happily ever after.
Is this really a good message? Shouldn’t Blair really have dumped Chuck the first time he slept around, and just left it at that? Shouldn’t Bella really have decided life would be more fun without killing herself to be with the man/vampire she loved?
I know, I know. It’s romantic. You can go all the way back to Chaucer and see that romance has always been about the quest. And there have to be obstacles, or it’s not a quest. But when do the boys get a turn at bashing their shins as they try and get over the hurdles?
Take this scene between Veronica and Logan in Veronica Mars.
Logan is the leading man in this season. And why not? He’s drunk, sleeping with one of his friend’s stepmothers, facing a murder charge, has punched pretty much everyone Veronica knows, and has recently admitted supplying the drugs that led to our heroine being date-raped.
SUCH a catch.
If you can’t see the video, the conversation goes something like this:
Logan: I thought our story was epic, you know? You and me.
Veronica: Epic how?
Logan: Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined, blood shed. Epic. But summer’s almost here, and we won’t see each other at all. Then you’ll leave town and… it’s over.
Logan: I’m sorry. About last summer. If I could do it over.. .
Veronica: Come on. Ruined lives, bloodshed? You really think a relationship should be that hard?
Logan: No one writes songs about the ones that come easy.
I get it. Really, I do.
When presented with a kick-ass soundtrack, mood lighting and soulful eyes, it’d take a stronger woman than me not to think, however fleetingly, that all the bad boy needs is someone to take care of him. And I know from bitter experience that most woman have one or
five two self-destructive, tortured relationships in their past.
But it bugs me that the stories are so one-sided.
Can you think of a single popular TV show where the hero waits patiently while the Bad Girl sleeps around, breaks the law, disgraces herself repeatedly and then – after all that – realises she just wasn’t looking for love in the right places?
The boy equivalent of this story is She’s All That, where the boy accepts a bet to take the nerdy girl to prom, gets to know her, and decides (brave little soldier) to overlook her shortcomings – which are basically being smart and independent. Thank goodness, though… prom comes around, the girl lets down her hair and puts on a slick of lip gloss and it’s all, Why Miss Jones, you’re beautiful!
I’m going to petition for a re-write of The Breakfast Club where Molly Ringwald tells Judd Nelson where to stick it, keeps the diamond ear-ring, and teaches all her friends that trick with the lipstick.
Who’s with me?