In my life, I’ve loved a lot of people. I’ve also been lucky enough to be loved by a lot of people.
What is a conventional love story? Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl, boy and girl live happily ever after? That’s certainly the story that 98% of romantic comedies teach us. Either that or one of them dies at the end (although generally those movies are less comedic).
I’ve never had a love story like that. I’ve never had that kind of love at all. Unless “spineless girl pines for boy she’ll never speak to” is a fashionable new branch of romance.
A great deal of my time has been spent wallowing in the woes of my sad, sad love life. I feel as though that’s a pretty normal rom-com “girl” thing to do. I mean, Drew Barrymore did it in Never Been Kissed, and then she got Michael Vartan in the end, which is a spectacular end to an almost comically depressing story. But is that really conventional? No, she was a journalist masquerading as a high school student who ended up falling in love with her teacher – not exactly the most banal of circumstances. Even our “conventional” love stories are still pretty atypical. You want to know why? Because conventional love stories are boring. My parents, for example, met in a textile engineering graduate program, fell in love, and got married. I don’t see anybody making a movie about that. I mean, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t watch it even if they did. It sounds like it would include a lot of science, which I’m not very good at, nor do I particularly enjoy. But that’s not the point. The point is that the love stories we hear about on the news and watch on TV are all unconventional. That’s why they’re so beautiful and fascinating. That’s why people pay attention.
Unconventional love seems exciting. I’ll admit that it would be a pretty incredible story if I were dying of cancer and became romantically involved with my oncologist, or if I fell in love with the subject of my magazine article while trying to scare him away from me (I’m looking at you, Kate Hudson).
But those stories also kind of suck. I mean, for one, I don’t want to get cancer. That seems like a pretty big downer, and I don’t think I could seduce anybody if I were bald because my head is very oddly shaped. But even in Never Been Kissed, Josie had a seriously horrific high school career. I loved high school, and I would not choose to go through that even if I knew I’d get Michael Vartan at the end (although I might seriously consider it for like a second because that man is insanely attractive). Somehow, the situations are always dramatic, scary, or sad, even if they’re downplayed in a sort of comedic way.
So maybe I wouldn’t watch a movie about my parents’ relationship. But I would choose a love like that over a lifetime with Matthew McConaghey’s rock hard abs. Not everything about them is conventional, obviously, because nothing is ever exactly the same in any two relationships. But while my parents have been married for almost 26 years, nobody bothers showing you what happens after the couple makes out for awhile and the credits roll. Give me convention. Give me stability. Give me unconditional, unwavering love. No games, no unrealistically witty banter, no unethical situations. I mean, I guess if it turns out that way, so be it. I like a good story as much as anyone, especially since I would love to write about it. But I don’t care if there isn’t some wacky situation or overdramatic proposal. Just give me real, 24-karat, genuine love. And I’ll be beyond happy with that.