When it comes to failed adulthood dreams, romantic comedies have a lot to answer for.
They’ve brainwashed us into believing true love is waiting around every corner, spontaneous rain leads to long, lingering kisses (rather than soggy hair and ruined shoes) and stalking is a super cute way to show someone you’re way into them.
Instead of finding your way into a jail cell. Which is where you belong if you pull that crap.
Countless studies and think pieces have long lamented the fact that women grow up programmed to believe the arrogant guy they’re battling at work is really just a big softy at heart. Or that declarations of true love come with a side of fireworks and a flash mob. Instead of the far more regularly used “Hey, Netflix and….?”
Swoon. If only Shakespeare were alive today.
Or there’s the fact that every time we prepare to board a plane, rom coms would have us believe the repentant love of our lives will come hurtling through the airport and sweep us off our feet before we have time to place one foot on the tarmac.
Which, in the harsh light of day, actually seems quite annoying. Could he not have used his words and expressed these feelings at a time that wouldn’t impact your pre-flight bathroom break/coffee stop? Men.
But, by far and away the very worst lie romantic comedies have fed us has nothing to do with moonlit strolls or even air travel. The stakes are much, much higher than that.
I’m talking real estate.
The real supporting character in nearly every rom com starring a Katherine Heigl/Kate Hudson/Insert your blonde actress of choice is not a sassy sidekick, but rather a sprawling chic oasis known as The Dream Apartment.
Apartments with walk-in wardrobes so huge they could house Narnia and still have room for a shoe rack.
Living quarters featuring spacious kitchens outfitted with slick, shiny fridges packed with tubs of ice-cream (for when he doesn’t call, of course ) and cosy, book-lined shelves housing a perfectly curated collection of knickknacks and artworks.
Hell, Julia Roberts was a prostitute whose roommate stole her rent money for drugs, and we’re led to believe even she ended up with a pretty sweet apartment.
If you’re a single woman (or even man), attempting to enter the rental market is akin to having a bucket of ice water poured over you just moments before you get hot and heavy with Matthew McConaughey.
After all, rom com ladies may have 99 problems, but housing ain’t one.
Meg Ryan’s bookstore may be going under and her mystery online relationship is messing with her heart, but she’ll deal with that from the comfort of her tastefully decorated Manhattan apartment, thank you very much.
Katherine Heigl was working in a boring job with a boss who didn’t return her affections, but at least her sizable apartment came with enough closet space to house 27 bridesmaid dressers.
Same goes for Jennifer Garner, who went from 13 to 30 overnight and still manged to wake up in a chic New York apartment all her own. Who cares if Mark Ruffalo wants to hold your hand when you’ve got that couch and that view?
Even Amy Schumer’s 2015 offering Trainwreck , a movie lauded for breaking down barriers and defying the odds of the rom com genre, perpetuated the perfect apartment myth.
It’s hard not to feel a hint of shame when the woman labelled a ‘trainwreck’ can afford a nicer apartment than you, even if you were to cash in your super and or take up a fruitful gambling addiction.
Anyone who survived adolescence on a steady diet of romantic comedies was conditioned to believe two things.
- The man of your dreams will appear when you least expect him. He will be holding flowers instead of weapons. Or a prenuptial agreement.
- You will navigate the crazy world of dating and adulthood from the comfort of your own stylish (and affordable) apartment.
These rom com ladies know how to live (post continues after video).
However, reality is far more grim and there is no boppy makeover montage to get you through ’till the credits role.
Instead of snuggling on your window seat you’ll find yourself sleeping with one eye open, knowing the only visitor to your bed that night will be one of the creepy housemates you met online. Maybe the one you once caught sniffing your laundry.
The love of your life will never be your next door neighbor, or that cute guy down the hall, because you live in a five floor walk-up and by the time you conquer that steep sweaty mountain you’re ready to kill every man, woman and child you’ve ever laid eyes on.
And that glorious makeover montage, the one that ends with you descending a staircase clad in an opulent gown and smiling at your love with sweet expectation?
Yeah, good luck with that, because the only closet space you’ve got is that rickety old clothes rack in the corner of the living space that also doubles as your bedroom. And the kitchen.
And nobody can really use the stairs, because your other creepy housemate once fell through them and was never seen again. May he RIP.
Is this the place you want your future children to be conceived?… I think not.
It can certainly be said that rom coms have spun us a twisted web of lies.
You know what? I’m actually okay knowing my prince charming is probably too busy checking Tinder to bump into me in the street and sweep me off my feet.
But I want my castle, dammit. Preferably with a view.