Dearest M.,

This is oldish news, but it is so ripe!  In December, the BBC reported on a study that suggested that Romantic Comedies thwart healthy relationships because they lead people to the false expectations:

They found fans of films such as Runaway Bride and Notting Hill often fail to communicate with their partner.

Many held the view if someone is meant to be with you, then they should know what you want without you telling them.

Kimberly Johnson, who also worked on the study, said: “Films do capture the excitement of new relationships but they also wrongly suggest that trust and committed love exist from the moment people meet, whereas these are qualities that normally take years to develop.”

Stories of ideal love are part of storytelling, but I wonder if these have more weight on the cultural psyche because we all secretly believe we are living our own movie (a la’ Hugh Grant in About a Boy), whereas in Regency England, Jane Austen knew she was writing fantasy and so did her audience because it was less common to dream the impossible dream as your own?

Or I wonder if it is that modern audiences like tales of mastery in compressed time (the hero that is instantly an expert in martial arts, the spy that can handle any situation and speak 7 languages, the stable perfect union that only took one magical cup of coffee to complete).

And to your recent post about aging…I referenced So I Married an Axe Murderer to my class.  Total silence.  I felt aged, as in cheese, as in women who shop at Talbot’s, as in the student teacher that took over my 7th grade class and wore two skirts at the same time (I think she was going for a petticoat look).  And then I thought of all the women I know that are older (and hipper) than me, and calmed down.  It’s not that I’m old. It’s only ten years between me and the class.  It’s just that I’m uncool.




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