Jamaija Rhoades | Staff Writer
Photo Credit: Unsplash User Frank McKenna
As a hopeless romantic, I can easily admit that watching romance films and allowing myself to become encapsulated in love stories has heavily influenced my expectations and perceptions about falling in love.
I just knew my foot would “pop” when I got my first kiss (The Princess Diaries) and that if I tragically lost my memory in a car crash, my future husband would do everything in his power to help me remember the love we once had (The Vow).
Constantly viewing these images of men performing grand gestures to get the girl of their dreams created this expectation that if a guy was interested in me, he would go out of his way and manage to knock me off of my feet. Needless to say, this has never happened. At most, a guy has called me fine, asked for my number and that was that (not even slightly romantic).
Romantic films tend to give off the idea that love at first sight exists and that true love can overcome all obstacles. I have found myself in situationships trying to fight through every obstacle thrown my way because I always thought if we liked each other, we would both be willing to fight through anything.
I believed that distance could not hold us back, and as long as we communicated, we would be able to keep it pushing and eventually fall madly in love. I can only blame my warped mindset on the simple fact that my DVD collection is overflowing with romantic films.
Although these films are great, they unintentionally create unrealistic expectations for love and leave many of us disappointed and unsatisfied in relationships.
“I’ve been obsessed with romantic movies for as long as I can remember,” said Kendra Phillips, a Hampton University health science major from Columbia, Maryland. “After watching these movies, I went into relationships having high standards because the idea of a perfect relationship was always depicted in these movies.
“Romantic movies do a good job of making relationships look easy, and most of the time, they have a happy ending. That’s not always realistic, in my opinion.”
As whimsical and enchanting these love stories often are, we eventually realize that love is not as easy and magical as it appears to be on the big screen.
“Romantic movies have definitely impacted my expectations, in terms of staple romance movies where everything is idealistic,” said Kailah Lee, an HU journalism major from Richmond. “Over time, you learn the true grit of love and romance, and how complicated and messy it can get.”
“I can’t speak on behalf of everyone because each person is going to have a different effect, plus romance movies are so much more enjoyable when there is a good outcome. But a lot of times, we think our stories are going to pan out like in the movies, and you just have to write your own book. It’s best to live and love organically.”
Of course, I am not expecting anyone to stop watching romantic films. Instead, to save all of us from a little disappointment, we should tread lightly while watching these films.
Love does exist, and romance is not dead, but we do not live in a world full of Noah Calhouns (The Notebook) and Darius Lovehalls (Love Jones). If we stop expecting every man we encounter to embody any of these characters, we would be a lot less disappointed when they do not live up to our expectations.