Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hollywood's "random attraction" plots annoy me

Pet Peeve #3,498: Movies in which the protagonist and his/her romantic interest "fall in love" for no apparent reason, with no attempt at character development.

Okay, here's the thing. I've seen so many shallow romantic comedies/dramas that seem to have main characters only because a movie without main characters is pretty stupid. There is no character development at all. And the male and female leads "fall in love" at the end of the movie simply as a plot element, with no basis in reason or even emotion. It just happens because that's what you expect to happen when you have a male and a female lead in a movie.

I want to watch a movie that shows a glimmer of understanding about how actual relationships work... how actual, flesh-and-blood people fall in love. Movies seem to base "love" on nothing more than a basic attraction and circumstance.

Love isn't a plot element, just something to be tossed around for the sake of a heart-warming story.

I've seen very few movies that have the characters fall in love because they are compatible, because they have a lot in common, or even because the complement each other. In fact, it's usually the opposite. So many Hollywood movies thrive on pitching "opposites attract" themes. People who "fall in love" against their better judgment, against their initial gut reaction to another person, against all odds. It makes for a great "love conquers all" story, but when I see a movie with this theme, it leaves a huge, gaping question in my mind.

What happens after the initial "attraction" fades?

It's no secret that opposites attract. But mere attraction isn't enough. A love that is going to last past the final credits has to be based on more... on reality... on compatibility and commonality... on commitment and a consistent choice to practice love.

Perhaps this is much too much of a rational approach to love for some people. It probably wouldn't make a very popular movie.

My fear, though, is that with the Hollywood idea of random attraction so prevalent, how will anyone learn to move beyond this shallow, vague notion of love?

Sure, there are aspects of love that are irrational, passionate, desperate and emotional... the butterflies in the stomach, the trembling fingers, the rapid breaths, the overwhelming sensations... all these things are important components of the romantic portion of love... but if these feelings aren't grounded in something solid, that love is a helium-filled balloon that will disappear into the clouds. It will end in heartbreak and devastation. You have to have a foundation, or the shifting sand of life will crumble the love you tried to build.

Perhaps it's impossible to make sense out of something so deeply rooted in the heart. But I choose to attempt rationality (or at the very least, level-headedness) in the arena of love. The mind and the heart must be trained to cooperate, to coincide, to co-habitate. To separate the two is to accept a false dichotomy.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I'll write you poetry
Set to a melody
Set to the beating of your heart
And maybe then you'll see
I can be the one who brings the dimples to your cheeks
The one who illuminates your dark.

I've always been somebody's weakness
Tonight I want to be somebody's strength.

I want to know what makes you bleed
And what's behind each breath you breathe
I want to know the color of your soul
I want to know what makes you laugh
And what's behind each dream you have
I want to know what makes you lose control
I want to count the freckles on your skin
And visit every place you've ever been
I want to add your world to my own
And know you like you've never been known.

And if you want to know me, too, tonight
That's all right
But my green eyes will be your kryptonite
And I will show you all of me
And all my insecurities
But you will have to let me be your weakness
And you will have to reveal all your flaws
And you will have to open up your heart and let me in
Because only in your weakness will you recognize my strength
And I'll go to any length to prove
Your secret's safe with me, my love
Your secret's safe with me
And together, in the dark tonight, we will be

Need vs. love

We've all seen it, and many of us have probably been a part of one at some point in our lives. Yes, I'm referring to the clingy couple.

The clingy couple is comprised of either one insecure party and one self-assured party or two insecure parties. I'm not sure which couple is worse.

I've been clingy and insecure before. There was a time when I would get upset if my significant other didn't let me know where he was every minute of every day. There was a time when I felt the need to be loved, not for love's sake, but for my own selfish validation. There was a time when I would have accepted any attention from anything male, and I would have gone to great lengths to be admired and appreciated.

That is all in the past (or at least I hope to God it is.)

The main thing I've discovered about clingy-ness and insecurity is that it's about as attractive as a pile of compost. It's repulsive. It's needy. It's like having a puppy follow you around all the time just hoping to get a pat on the head once in a while. It's annoying.

I choose dignity and self-respect. I refuse to succumb to the urge to constantly and pathetically call, text or instant message whoever is currently on my mind. I choose to believe in the old adage, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder," and the slightly newer one, "How can he miss me if I won't go away?" I choose to find validation in myself and pride in my accomplishments, rather than in the opinions of others. I choose to be careful with my heart and not give it away to every masculine bipedal creature I encounter. I choose to think with my brain and not my vagina. I choose to look beyond the masks of others and see who they really are. I refuse to put on a facade, to pretend to be something I am not. I refuse to try to be what I think someone else wants me to be. I choose to surround myself with people who want to know me for who I really am. I choose honesty. I choose patience. I refuse to be desperate. I choose to be me.

And whatever will happen, will happen. I'm tired of pretending to fall in love just because someone thought he fell in love with me. I want to fall in love because I'm in love.

But before I fall in love, I need to be sure of myself... I need to be a complete, 100% individual -- all by myself. I don't ever want to fall for that 'puzzle piece' nonsense. I'm not looking for someone else to make me whole.

If I'm not a complete person on my own, no one else will ever be able to complete me. Too many miserable people believe that a 'soul mate' will fill a hole in their hearts and in their lives to make them happy, but they miss the opportunities around them every day to be happy with themselves.

If you're not happy alone, you won't be happy with anyone. Happiness is a state of mind, a choice the heart makes, not a sudden change in relationship status. Happy has to be me first and we later.

As far as I can tell, I think one of the keys to a good relationship is to want to be together... not to need each other.

I don't want to need anyone, and I don't want anyone to need me. Need puts a lot of pressure on a person. Need says, "Don't mess up, my well-being and state of mind depend on you." Need is clingy. Need is desperate. Need is not love.

Love is much more accepting of people's flaws because love isn't using another person as a feel-good potion. Love says, "I want to be with you because of who you are, not just because of how you make me feel." Love is independent. Love is strong. Love is unconditional. And that's why love lasts.

And because of that, true love is rare.

And because of its rarity, true love is worth waiting for and worth living for.