Friday, February 19, 2010

#36 Our Love/Hate Relationship With Romantic Comedies

Like other single girls I know, I was one of many who saw Valentine's Day this past weekend on appropriately, Valentine's Day.  Apparently there are quite a number of us single girls out there - Valentine's Day opened at number one, raking in over $52 million.  Hollywood hasn't seen numbers like this since Avatard last December!

While I was rather taken by the film (Bradley Cooper!  Eric Dane!  Patrick Dempsey!  All at once!) and thought Garry Marshall created a nice homage to our fair city of Los Angeles, my girlfriend thought it made single girls look like crazy bitches around Valentine's Day.  (Um, because we are?)  Thanks, Jessica Biel!

Single girls have been conditioned to cherish the notion of true love overcoming all obstacles since our Snow White and Cinderella-watching days.  Our first introduction to romantic comedies came in the form of The Princess Bride.  (An easy transition with the princess and handsome hero thing still going on.)  This subsequently led to Pretty Woman, The Cutting Edge, Sleepless in Seattle, and so on and so forth.

Pretty soon, we were mock wailing to friends, "I'M NOT JOSIE GROSSIE ANYMORE!"

For 120 minutes, we sit in blissful ignorance mooning over Hugh Grant or Matthew McConaughey or Ryan Reynolds as they attempt to reunite with their true loves.  And then the GRAND GESTURE!  She is just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her!  And then we cry about it.  WE CAN'T HELP IT!  WE HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED TO DO THIS!  EVERY TIME!  Ugh, it kills me.

Why are we compelled to watch a rom-com on television even though we own the DVD or have already seen it 100 times?  (I never tire of How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.)  Hollywood studios strategically release their shitty films, generally romantic comedies, around Oscar season.  Because they know WOMEN WILL STILL SEE THEM.  How many more commercials do I have to see for Leap Year or When in Rome?  (I have yet to see either.  For now.)

Single girls love romantic comedies because nothing is better than observing two people find true love and live happily ever after despite all odds.  Never mind that they're actors!  Never mind it's not real!

After the giddy initial reaction that overcomes us from witnessing two people fall in love (again, never mind that they're actors and it's not real), reality begins to settle back in and we fall into a state of post rom-com depression. 

We wonder how we will ever find true love if these heroines with the perfect bodies, immaculate hair, amazing apartments, and glamourous jobs are having the same problems we do?  Do they really have the same problems with dating men that we do?  We wonder why all of our life's problems are not resolved in 120 minutes? 

Like, really, Jennifer Garner?  Are you actually going to fall in love with your dead fiance's best friend?  Oh, no, J. Lo!  Just your luck, of COURSE you fall for the groom of a wedding you are planning!  I totally want to trade apartments with somebody in England and fall in love with her handsome brother even though he is a widower and has two daughters.

Most importantly, we hate romantic comedies because they lead us to have unrealistic expectations of men.  And the more we date and the more men we are exposed to, the more we realize how obnoxiously unsettling rom-coms really are.  Where are these guys who will tell us "You complete me" or "You make me want to be a better man"?  When will I tell someone to shut up, just shut up, because he had me at "hello"?

Even the "bad boys" in these films end up redeeming themselves.  The jaded and cynical asshole is really heartbroken over a dead wife or a girlfriend/fiancee who cheated on him.  (With his best friend, of course.)  In reality, are we supposed to believe that men are assholes because it's a defense mechanism against further heartache?  Or are they just simply assholes?

The worst rom-coms are the ones that intentionally manipulate our emotions.  Okay, kill Gerard Butler in the second scene and then have his wife go on some international scavenger hunt without him, given various clues here and there from alive-Gerard Butler only to remind us that he is really DEAD.  My friend was bawling every ten minutes watching that film.  (PS I Love You, for you emotional masochists.)

If my love life were a film, it would be an epic romantic disaster with nuances of horror and comedy.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

#35 The "Friend Box"

I was in sixth grade the first time I was ever "friend boxed."  I overheard the boy I was in love with tell his friend that he liked my personality.  Translation: "I like her but I wouldn't make out with her under the bleachers after school, let alone hold her hand."  In hindsight, I am thanking my lucky stars I was such a late-blooming awkward child (and completely repulsive to guys until just a few years ago, whereas now I am just somewhat repulsive) because this very boy ended up getting some chick pregnant in high school and graduating a year late. 

I just googled him and he's a cell phone salesman now.

You are basically "friend boxed" if the object of your affection is absolutely disgusted by the thought of having sex with you.  "Friend boxing" is an epilogue to the "let's just be friends" speech.  "Friend boxing" works for both guys and girls, but boys find themselves in a "friend box" more so than girls.  (That's because boys don't really bother with platonic friendships.  Please feel free to discuss this amongst yourselves.)

Those who are immediately "friend boxed" include friends' boyfriends/husbands, friends' ex-boyfriends/ex-husbands, the ambiguously gay, the morbidly obese, and creepsters.  Those who are eventually "friend boxed" include those who let their diffidence get in the way of expressing their attraction and those who confuse us with requests to "hang out."  (Seriously, what exactly are your intentions with this elusive "hang out"?) 

Single girls like the "friend box" for its organizational elements.  With all the drama we already administrate on a daily basis, "friend boxes" help us compartmentalize a subject that brings us the most agitation: boys.

But Single Girl 1.0, you say, why bother keeping all these "friend boxes" around?  You'll end up looking like a friggin' storage unit.

As you know, single girls tend to be somewhat narcissistic.  As vainglorious beings, the thing we find better than loving ourselves is having others love us just as much.  This includes the guys we have "friend boxed" and doomed to celibate relationships with us.  We are taking advantage of knowing that they already adore and admire us and that's why we keep them around. 

Yes, we realize having us so close to them, yet never having us close like that tortures them with a sense of (false) hope.  And yes, we are evil. 

Is it possible for a guy to escape this "friend box" marked "chastity" and get into our box? 

Although this idea is practically unheard of, the short answer is yes. 

The long answer is: it depends.  We have different "friend boxes" for different guys.  Some boxes are made of impenetrable steel and welded shut.  Some boxes are made of recycled cardboard and haphazardly sealed with generic duct tape.

Obviously it's much easier to break out of the latter than the former.  And yes, alcohol helps.  Although it's sometimes just a matter of thinking outside the "friend box."

Friday, February 5, 2010

#34 Super Bowl Parties

Much like every other holiday in America, Super Bowl Sunday has lost its meaning.  No longer is it about the spirit of football.  No longer is it about a championship battle on the field between two of the best teams in the NFL. 

Nay, much like Christmas, Easter, Groundhog Day and Valentine's Day, Super Bowl Sunday has been literally commercialized.  What was once a sacred day that revered talent, athleticism and sportmanship has now been preceded by socializing, drinking and watching lingerie models tackle each other.  (Gotta love the Lingerie Bowl.  Or not.)

Frankly, some single girls don't care which team wins, let alone know which teams are PLAYING, because most of us don't even follow the NFL.  After 16 regular-season games and three rounds of playoff games in blissful ignorance, some of us are probably rooting for the team with the cuter quarterback (hands down, Drew Brees despite that weird thing on his cheek) or the better uniform colors.  (Black and gold, or blue and white?  Decisions, decisions...)

Unfortunately, there are still some of us who can't differentiate a touchback from a touchdown, a forward pass from a lateral pass, or a first down from a fourth down.  But single girls still enjoy an epic Super Bowl party for various reasons.

Reason #1: FOOD 
Did you know that next to Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is the second largest day for calorie consumption amongst Americans (according to the US Department of Agriculture)?  Single girls can't count calories very well when we're in a social setting.  Between the beer swilling, handshaking, smiling, and joking, our mental calorie counters can't capture every tortilla chip we chew, every chicken wing we nibble, or every cookie we inhale. 

Super Bowl Sunday is the "calorie Sabbath."  Thus, we do like the 49ers did in 1990 against the Broncos and rack up those (Weight Watchers) points.

Reason #2: TOM BRADY 
[insert swoon here]  He won three out of four Super Bowls (2002, 2004, 2005) - and not just due to his dreamy good looks!  When he's not showcasing his talents on the field, he uses them off the field to impregnate actresses and bed super models.  He is a single girl MAGNET, and I know some single guys secretly have a man crush on him.  Why not call the Super Bowl what it really was those four years?  The Tom Brady Show.

Reason #3: NIPPLEGATE 
Ever since the year of Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction," we have been secretly hoping for another halftime show scandal.  Single girls love a good scandal!

Unfortunately, subsequent performers including The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty (& The Heartbreakers) and even Prince could not deliver the same "controversial" mayhem that ensues when Americans see a pastie on national television.  It was the boob that launched a billion TiVo rewinds!

Some of us may not have much of an opinion on a play when a yellow flag is thrown on the field, but we do like expressing our opinions on the $3 million commercials that air during the Super Bowl.  Those GoDaddy dot com commercials?  Total fumble.  On the other hand, much like the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s, Budweiser generally puts on a solid show.

Reason #5: DUDES, Observing
There is something strangely fascinating with watching men watch sports.  With women, guys often confuse being emotional to being "crazy."  Well, how "crazy" do guys get screaming at their favorite sports teams after a bad play, weeping during a championship win, or sobbing after Brian's Song or Rudy?

We know exactly how Jane Goodall felt while observing chimpanzees in Tanzania.

Reason #6: DUDES, Hooking up with
While his favorite team is scoring points on television, we are hoping to score points with him by saying things like "Not another turnover!   They can't afford to do this at the SUPER BOWL!"  Yes, some fans may care who goes home with the Vince Lombardi trophy, but what single girls really care about is who we could potentially go home with.

Seriously.  With all that talk about "covered tight ends," various "positions," "long drives," and "penetration," how are you NOT turned on?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

#33 Bed Frames

At times when single girls are nestled in our beds, visions of handcuffs and bed frames may dance in our heads...

Yes, certain bed frames can be extremely sexy, but this naughty thought is not the only reason why single girls have an affinity towards cast iron bed posts or hardwood headboards.

Firstly, as much as we like home field advantage, we understand that occassionally our schedule takes us on the road.  And when we are "traveling," we think of hotel rooms with Egyptian cotton sheets, big fluffy pillows, and a nice sturdy king-sized bed.

What single girl doesn't enjoy a good romp in a "big boy bed"? 

On the other hand, there are guys out there who have no concept of such a thing.  These are the guys with pseudo "beds": mattresses on the floor of their bedrooms, and worse, mismatched bed sheets.  If we're lucky, the mattress may be on a box spring on the floor.  The ultimate deal breaker?  A twin-sized mattress on the floor.  With mismatched bed sheets.  (I shudder to think that this actually exists.)

While some may argue that lacking a proper bed can be romantically associated with a Bohemian lifestyle, this is really more reminiscent of the boys we hooked up with in college who smoked pot all day and played video games all night.  (Or vice versa.)

Essentially, a "big boy bed" is what separates the varsity players from the junior varsity yahoos.  And single girls like varsity players.

To explain, something can be said about dudes who own furniture, specifically bed frames with matching sheet sets.  Bed frames are secure, and metaphorically speaking, it means the dude should be somewhat secure himself.  Financially, yes, of course.  But there is also a semblance of maturity, permanence, and stability to owning furniture. 

Those guys with the mattresses on the floor?  These are guys who can lead a nomadic existence and pick up and leave (us) whenever they want (after selling the mattress they probably bought on Craigslist back to someone else they find on Craigslist).  Strange bedfellows indeed.

So guys, you've made your bed.  Now you want us to lie in it?  Just remember that the best way to bed a woman is with an actual bed.