A recent survey suggests that we might expect our lives to mimic unrealistic on-screen romances
BY LIZZIE PLAUGIC
Turns out that Peter Gabriel lawn-side serenade in Say Anything probably did influence what you’ve come to expect from romantic relationships. A survey of 335 undergraduate students (71% female, 29% male) from the Midwest showed that, while the effect of watching romantic movies on how you view love is not as strong as you might expect, it’s still there—especially for participants who watched these movies “in order to learn.” This admittedly strange group was more inclined to expect an idealized version of a romantic partner, i.e., someone who is basically flawless. Interestingly, the study found no differences in responses between men and women, meaning we’re all guilty of looking around during a thunderstorm for someone to make out with.
Veronica Hefner, assistant professor at Chapman University, who conducted the study, said, “It’s not what you watch, but why you watch.” Those most influenced by romantic comedies were those who looked to the films as examples of romance; they brought a belief that Hollywood depicts reality to their experience. So if you’re watching Love Actually with a pen poised and lined paper surrounding you, maybe take a step back and reconsider. Maybe watch Dog Day Afternoon instead.
All this lovey-dovey talk reminds me of a rom-com compilation (a rom-com-com, if you will) we put together two years ago, which helpfully instructed our readers how to make Katherine Heigl fall in love with them. The technique goes a little something like this: (1) Make Katherine Heigl hate you (2) Display potential value so she’s vaguely interested (3) Sit back and wait for her to make out with you.
There you have it, folks. And if that wasn’t stimulating enough for you, Heigl’s newest movie, The Big Wedding, comes out next week and from the trailer it looks like you’ll have plenty of romantic fodder.