During breakfast I watched the last bit of “You’ve Got Mail,” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. I’ve never seen the movie, but my husband, Jon, had. He wanted me to see the end of it, so I did. It was charming and romantic, and made me think I might want to watch the movie from the beginning, but it also made me think of questions.
Has your real life romance ever been influenced by a romantic comedy film? If so, which one/s? Do you think that any romantic film reflects anything close to real life? If so, which one/s?
The above was what I posted on my FaceBook. I got a lot of responses. People shared some truly wonderful, real life romantic stories. They suggested other films that they thought were more realistic. I admit that the only films that people said was more realistic, or said something real to them, that I’ve seen were, “When Harry met Sally” and “Love, Actually,” but others oft mentioned were, “P.S. I love you,”; “The Notebook,” and “He’s Not that into You.” But most responses said that romantic movies weren’t real enough to impact real life, or worse yet, they felt they set up such high expectations that it spoiled us for real live romances. Several felt that women were especially negatively impacted so that no real man could live up to the fictional version. Some shared that they had found the love/s of their lives and lost them far too early. Everyone was so generous with their sharing that I felt I had to answer my own questions.
First, no romantic film has ever unduly influenced me. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of romances in any form, never have been. I’d rather read mysteries, horror, fantasy, science fiction, nonfiction especially history and biology. I’m more an action adventure movie person, but there are a few movies that have romantic meanings for me. “Lake Placid” is the first movie that I saw with other friends that my future husband, Jon, was part of the group. The first movie just the two of us saw as friends was, “The Mummy” with Brendan Fraser. One reader on my FB page sited “The Mummy” as the kind of relationship they thought was hot and full of chemistry, no arguments from me. The movie, “The Mexican” with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts was on every TV in every hotel the year we had our honeymoon and first toured together, so we watched it a lot, in pieces, but we still have affection for it, even though it is a disaster as far as romances go, and no way should the main characters have survived, let alone lived happily-ever-after. Jon and I share two favorite romcoms, “Nottinghill,” and “The Holiday”. (Both movies were mentioned in answers on FB, but not a lot.) Those two movies are on our short list of, I’ve had a hard day and I just want to smile for awhile. I’ll add, “Bell, Book, and Candle,” as one of my favs, but I think it’s not the romance angle, but that it’s the only movie I know that is about publishing, the holidays, writing research, magic, and has Jimmy Stewart, and Kim Novak in it. Do I think any of the movies we like are a good blueprint for real romance? No, they’re fiction. Real life is messier and far less logical. Fiction must hold together and make sense, real life doesn’t have to do any of that.
How did Jon and I meet? He’d loaned out a copy of Guilty Pleasures and the friend hadn’t returned it. He mentioned it at a bookstore where the clerk knew me, and mentioned that I was going to be at a local science fiction convention. He could get the new copy signed. (The clerk would eventually be the writer, Rhett MacPherson, and a member of my writing group, The Alternate Historians). Jon drove himself to the convention, and got me to sign my book. We also would talk for two hours in the hallway with the Green Room just feet away. We talked about literature, science fiction, horror, movies, science, history, philosophy, music, and found in each other minds quick enough and esoteric enough to keep up with each other. It set up a pattern of how we would interact for years to come. We never had trouble finding things to talk about. No, it wasn’t love at first sight. First, we know he was seventeen when we met, because he’d just gotten his driver’s license. I was twenty-nine, married, and one of his new favorite writers. I would learn years later that he had trouble talking to girls, but he never had trouble talking to me, because he didn’t see me as a “girl”. The age difference, my martial status, successful writer, all of it meant he didn’t see me as datable so he didn’t have to be nervous around me, which meant I got to see Jon at his best, and would spend years puzzling over why he wasn’t more successful at dating girls near his own age. I would give him dating advice, or assure him that yes, that girl did like him, for years. I was his friend, I wanted him to be happy. Neither of us saw the other as a potential date, let alone as a potential spouse. In fact, if you’d told either of us back then that eight years later we’d be dating, nine years later we’d be engaged to be married, we wouldn’t have believed you. That we’d be celebrating twelve years as a married couple – we would have laughed in your face. When we met I thought of Jon as this young kid, then my friend, but far too young to date. We were just friends for eight years, and even then it took us a long time to realize we were more. Most of our mutual friends figured it out before we did.
For those keeping track, I was married to my first husband for sixteen years of traditional monogamous marriage. It just didn’t work for me and I vowed never to marry again. Six months later, marrying Jon sounded like a good idea. How and why this change? Yes, love, lust, and that great friendship base, but honestly Deity intervention. I’m not really kidding, Jon and I can’t remember who proposed and who accepted, because we turned each other down multiple times. We both had issues with the age difference, and both had scars from previous relationships, and those pesky personal issues, so thank you, God and Goddess, for helping us work through it all to get to the happy place we are now. Plus therapy, because Deity helps us & then expects us to do our work to make it all work out.
Rereading the above I realized, though it doesn’t sound like a romantic comedy it might reinforce the ideal of finding that one true love if your life & everything magically works out perfectly. Yes, I talked about Jon & I doing individual therapy above, but I just want to be clear that isn’t the be all, end all of our story.
Jon & I just celebrated our third anniversary of dating our girlfriend, Genevieve. I am also seeing the other man in her life, Spike. We are polyamorous, which means to love more, & have been most of our marriage. So, for us it’s not about finding that one perfect love, but being open to the possibility of finding that special poly group to love, whether it be a threesome, a foursome, or a moresome.Posted by LKH at 9:32:38 am on January 14, 2014