Just Because You’re a Bird, Doesn’t Mean I Am

As the taxi pulls around at Columbus Circle, the young woman with long brown hair and piercing blue eyes, looks out the window. When the car comes to a stop, she steps out, her Louboutins leading her way, tosses her hair around and a panoramic view of Manhattan flashes in her stare.

She struts to her high-profile, wildly successful job where she has the corner office, and men answering her calls for her. Her day is filled with important meetings, entertaining lunches, and calls from best friends who are slightly more neurotic and ridiculous then she is. Although, she has her little quirks, has a hard time letting go, and organizes her life to the ultimate degree. Though she may not realize it (or she actually might), her life lacks meaning and she often spends nights tucked away in her fancy apartment in a doorman building…wondering what piece of her existence is missing.  Those who know her best would call her high strung, and someone in her family, a mother, a grandmother, or an aunt twice-removed tell her she needs to just relax.

But of course, she can’t. That is – until she meets him.

This is a guy who she doesn’t like. A man who doesn’t fit into her checklist of required qualities to be dating material. He doesn’t work in her five-year plan or into the space of her heart she’s reserved for love. In fact, he is everything opposite of what she ever wanted. But of course, he’s smitten. He sees her and instantly falls in love with all of beauty and all of the flaws that define her. And even though he as some shady past or a past love who stole away his heart (making him a player of course) – he knows he will overcome it to win this gal’s admiration. This is his woman, after all.

But before he can claim her, something happens.

She is transfered somewhere else. She’s forced to pick her career. He completely screws up. She finds out a secret that makes her question everything. He won’t commit. She can’t believe he is actually different from every other guy. He can’t man up. The love that changed both of them, just isn’t designed by the fates…

…until it is.

He makes a grand gesture or she flies half-way across the world to be with him. She gives up her career for the Harry Winston or he goes back to school to make her satisfied. They both pack up everything they own and move to Africa. Nothing else matters, all other situations and issues are solved, because even if it’s hard, it is all worth it as long as they have the love they share. Of course, they live happily ever after, until death do they part, in perfect bliss and matrimony.

Why, oh why, are all romantic comedies the same?

My friend, S, and I spent an evening in with greasy street meat (but so good!) and two girly chick flicks. Now sometimes, there are no better nights then the ones you spend with a friend you can talk to and not feel guilty about eating food that you know is going straight to your hips. Somehow, if you eat it with someone else, it doesn’t seem to count. Right?

The movies had different leading stars and were set in opposite ends of the world – but the message was exactly the same. And really, the path it took to get from hating-the-dude to loving-the-dude was identical. The women were both highly organized and particular and the dudes, laid back and chummy. But yet, the girl broke up with the seemingly ideal man who she was dating to be with the guy who was from a completely different league then her. That is, once she whipped him into shape and forced him into a grand gesture.

I can’t say a man has ever performed or thought up a big hoopla to win me back, but I have to wonder: why do movies make the public display of affection and admiration, so alluring? Does a relationship have to have struggle and conflict and fights to make it work? Does a woman have to leave to make a man realize he absolutely needs to have her in his life? And, if we do happen to want to give a dude a second go-around – does he really have to do a grand gesture to get our heart strings back in tune?

Is it really about the love letters and the flowers and the chocolates or remembering initimate details that makes us swoon for a man? Do we need to have that drama and that dazzle to leave us dazed and confused, but ultimately – madly in love?

Maybe I’m coming from a place of inexperience or I haven’t read enough romantic novels or watched enough boy-wins-the-girl comedies, but I don’t believe true love should be that complicated. Sure, I know relationships take work and they don’t magically morph into something perfect when situations require compromise and change. However, I’m under the belief, that if after months of trying or weeks of crying and questioning - sometimes a relationship is more work than it’s worth. When it stops being supportive and progressive, loving, and passionate - and starts becoming nothing but a hassle, a harm, and full of  arguments that go on for six-week periods, what’s the point?

I don’t want to be with a man that I have to push to the limits to make him realize he has something good when he has me. I don’t want to have to leave to make him want to stay. I don’t want him to have to think of some beautiful, romantic, gesture that makes me weak in my knees and forget any hostility I ever had towards him or the relationship. I don’t want to be won back, I just want to be The One for him. It isn’t about being completed or about a dozen tulips and a marching band playing “I Want You Baby” as a man cascades up stadium stairs. There isn’t always a boombox outside the window or a single glove on Wollman rink, 10 years after we first met.

I don’t believe that life is like a romantic comedy and I certainly don’t think we should ever measure up men to the characters we see flirting with their leading ladies on the silver screen. Because real relationships may be messy and dramatic, but they are not prescribed by the directors and producers who play on our desire for true love to make millions. Because, as love addicts, or what I’d like to call, hopeful romantics - we will always stick around to the end so we can get a glimpse at a happy ending.

But in reality, that happy ending doesn’t always involve breaking up and getting back together, fighting and making wild monkey sex afterwards – sometimes, it is just about the simplicity of being together. About two people who share the same affinity for events, culture, travel, morals, and values.

So maybe I’ll stop living vicariously through the love stories I grew up watching and continue to rent and go see in the theaters. While I do love seeing the good rejoice over the bad and the guy and the girl finally finding each other – what I love more is thinking of the reality of a real relationship.

One that is about two people who want the same things, and while they may disagree - they never have to declare they are a bird because there partner is a bird. I mean, really?

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