After watching numerous Saturday Night Live sketches with Mom & Dad, my sister and I developed this obvious and completely non-genius theory: comedy progresses and changes with each generation. The value in the theory was that it allowed my sister and I to explain to our mother, how on earth we could possibly love a television shows like Girls, — and it’s not because we’re freaks — she just doesn’t “get it.” Wrong generation.
But as I watched Stuck in Love last weekend, I developed another theory: Love changes with the generations too. Just like comedy does. And it’s not just the relationship part that everyone talks about- true our parents couldn’t online date. But it’s more than that – our whole love culture is different from that of our parents and that of their parents.
This movie, Stuck in Love, echoes my thoughts on love so accurately, it blew my mind a little. It has Logan Lerman in it, so it’s easy to want to compare it to The Perks of Being a Wallflower. And I have to say, while they’re both indie films about love and family, addiction, death, divorce, suicide, creative writing, secrets….I associate with the characters in Stuck in Love a little more, because it accurately portrays what my friends and I have gone through with our own parents and lovers; and how those experiences have impacted our romantic lives, and our ideals on love.
I firmly believe our ideologies and our actions are two separate things. At least for this generation that I belong to. Both things are equally impacted by the events of our lives, but they’re two different roads.
I think our parents’ ideology and actions were much more parallel – if they believed in romance and love, then they dated with the intention of falling in love. Whereas it seems that our generation is a little backwards. We all so wholeheartedly believe in romance, yet we don’t want the divorce and the heartbreak. While I have high hopes to get married and stay married, I can’t help but notice that my actions don’t support this dream. I can’t even be friends with a guy without some skepticism leaking in. If I truly like someone, (UniverseForbid), then I often run in the opposite direction. My speed fueled by fear. And I know for a fact that I’m not alone in this behavior. I have oodles of girlfriends (and guy friends) easing my cognitive dissonance every time I thwart a lover from getting closer.
This fear is so ubiquitous, that society has used it to turn a profit – thus the Nicolas Sparks Movement: If we fight hard enough against it, then it’s destined to come our way; not only that, but it’ll be better than anything we could have created by behaving like rational adults.
As a result, the boys I date expect me to follow the story line. I’m supposed to fall in love after a span of seven days or less. Wanting time is a sin. If I expect my lover to put in time and energy, then I’m a skeptic, or even worse, a crazy. Not to mention I can’t actually show my feelings or I’m an idealist, or once again, a crazy. But it’s gotten to the point where I look around at my friends and it feels like we only have three options from the start – we can either be a skeptic, a romantic-idealist, or numb and checked out. Which makes it difficult to have an actual relationship.
I wish I had an upbeat ending to this essay. I really want to have one where I exclaim: “Nicolas Sparks was right! Love is all that matters! Even if they die of leukemia / out at sea / in a fire /dementia.” But I don’t have an ending for myself right now. What keeps me optimistic is that, while the the culture surrounding love has morphed, love is still the same wonderful, heartbreaking, passionate, crazy, intense, filling, satiating thing that it was thousands of years ago. All the books prove it. And despite all the tears, it was still one of the best things to have happened to me. All of my triumphs and tribulations wouldn’t have meant anything without him. Getting fired from the worst job of my life, and coming home to yellow roses and champagne – nothing is comparable to the effortless love nestled inside a gesture like that. And that’s all I know right now. How could I not want that again?
Note: This has absolutely no credited facts to back it up. It’s an opinion piece. And I feel entitled to write it merely because this is my blog, I do what I want. Also I’m a 24 year-old, sexually-active-female so I feel like I have some knowledge on this topic.