How to Stop Being Single and Get Ready to Mingle: The takeaway from rom-coms

Romantic comedies (rom-coms) can sometimes feel like hour-and-a-half-long emotional journeys. They get you sucked in and attached to the characters to the point of having to pause the movie when a huge romantic gesture happens in order to collect yourself. And while they can be great to watch with your date or with your fellow single friends, some say they impress their viewers with something more than the “aww” factor, and this something isn’t always good.

Anne Kennedy Brady’s article “4 Lies Rom-Coms Tell You About Love That You Need to Ignore” claimed rom-coms create misconceptions about romance. Using “50 First Dates” as an example, Brady said rom-coms can present heterosexual relationships as something that must be maintained and sparked by the man alone. She argued that real life relationships need to be worked on by both parties. She also said love is something that usually takes time to build. Most people don’t fall as hard and fast as the pair in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” People also can’t just jump from relationship to relationship, it isn’t healthy to cover up a broken heart with a new relationship like the girl from “The Holiday.” But most of all, the guy you love won’t always show up when you need him. No one is Mark from “Bridget Jones’ Diary.” The person you’re dating is human too.

Seija Rankin’s article “The Psychology of Romantic Comedies: What Are These Movies Doing to Our Love Lives?” featured studies done by Tinder on what girls want in a man. Tinder’s on-staff sociologist Dr. Jess Carbino found “people refer to their desired relationships in the context of popular films.” She also found women can sometimes be unwilling to compromise on the ideal partner they see on the big screen. Consistent to what Brady noted about women relying on men to spark relationships in rom-coms, Carbino said women tend to wait for men to talk to them first on the app. Julia Lippman, post-doctoral fellow in the University of Michigan’s department of communication studies, said younger people who have little experience in love are easily molded by the ideas they see in rom-coms. It’s no wonder then that the young, college-aged students using Tinder lean on rom-com norms.

Interestingly enough, The Idle Man’s article “4 Reasons Guys Should Watch Rom Coms” claimed rom-coms could have great effects on men. The Idle Man said rom-coms could help men develop their romantic side because it shows them what women want. According to them, this meant boyfriends that understand small things matter too and usually actions speak louder than words. They also said playing rom-coms is romantic in itself, since it will make your date think you have a bigger romantic side than you might actually possess. They also claimed it could teach men “life (girl) lessons,” which seems to include the concept of don’t judge a book by its cover and women want Hugh Grant, not the guys from “Die Hard.” They also found rom-coms can actually be funny.

“It may not be your obvious ‘Jack Ass’ funny, but it’s relatable funny,” The Idle Man article said.

This sort of relatable humor appeared to be a plus for the guys at The Idle Man, since the relatable can help them understand how to approach problems, like being friend zoned, in real life.

So maybe the best takeaway from rom-coms is that, unless you’re a man who doesn’t know basic life lessons or what women want, they should be watched, but not taken to heart.

If you have any questions or need any dating advice, feel free to contact me at rebecca.l.maher@uconn.edu. I’m positive other people are facing the same romantic problems as you, and would love to hear an answer.


Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rebecca.l.maher@uconn.edu.