Thursday 8 December 2011

The Romantic Gesture

November 19th-December 19th 2011 is Rom-Com Season at Kid In The Front Row.

Once upon a time a king gave a feast
and there were all the most beautiful
princesses of the realm. Basta, one
of the guards, saw the king's
daughter: she was the loveliest of
all! And he immediately fell in love
with her. But what could a poor
soldier do compared with a king's
daughter?!...One day he managed
to meet her and told her he couldn't
live without her. The princess was so
struck by the depth of his feeling
that she said to the soldier 'If you
will wait a hundred days and a
hundred nights beneath my balcony,
then in the end I'll be yours.'
Christ, the soldier ran off there and
waited! One day, two days,
ten, twenty... every night she looked
out of her window, but he never
budged. Come rain, wind, snow, never
budged! The birds shat on him and the
bees ate him alive! After ninety
nights he was gaunt and pale and
tears streamed from his eyes but he
couldn't hold them back. He didn't
even have the strength to sleep any
more. The princess kept watch... and
on the ninety-ninth night, the
soldier got up, picked up his chair
and left!

This is the stuff that wrecks us, as human beings. We watch movies and we buy into the romance. Imagine what would happen if you waited outside a woman's house for a hundred days? Jeez, I get to her house ten minutes early and she'll read into it as me being 'too keen.'

Movies are insane. 

We're all romantic, all of us. And we all want the big loves and gestures. It's just that we don't want them in real life, we just want them in the movies.

At some point, we buy into the nonsense. We act on it. The big gesture. It doesn't work! Some people say it does work, but then two years later they're staring at their lawyers, waiting for the divorce to be finalized. 

So we play the game. The game of disinterest. The game of mild romance. We're a generation of mildly romantic people. We'll buy someone a pencil, as a gesture, and then immediately snap it in half just in case they think we're being 'too romantic'. 

Your instinct is to give someone the world. You remember that feeling? You were seventeen and you gave someone a present that meant the world. They took the present but they let you go. 

But we need it. We crave it. That's what makes the movies so enticing. 'Cinema Paradiso' is my favorite movie. I buy into the romance. But in the real world, you don't get an Ennio Morricone score and you don't get the girl chasing after you; you just get a text saying "Why the fuck did you stand under my balcony for a hundred days you freak!?"

WHAT ARE WE MEANT TO DO? How real are movies? How romantic is life? How real is real life? How romantic were people BEFORE movies? What are the boundaries? The cinema has forever fucked up everyone's chances of ever being happy. 

My new theory: Anyone who is TRULY happy in a relationship doesn't love movies. And anyone who truly loves movies is alone, miserable, and about to watch a DVD. So for all of us who are alone and miserable, at least we are here together. And that, after all, is what love and togetherness are all about. Actually, that's too romantic, don't read into it! Don't stop reading my blog! It's not meaningful at all! I didn't mean to over-romanticize, I'm sorry! 

Care to share?


  1. The reason the big gestures don't work in real life is that we're conditioned to believe that nobody is as romantic as in movies. Therefore, when someone does something insanely romantic, we ignore the romantic part and focus on the insane.

    I agree that movies give us unrealistic expectations of what a relationship is like, but they also give us unrealistic expectations of what real life is like. In movies, newspapers columnists live in spacious Manhattan apartments and have designer wardrobes. In movies, a divorced couple can remain close friends. None of it's real.

    Anyway, now I'm depressed. Thanks. I'm going to watch a DVD now and live vicariously through the happy people.

  2. Is it weird that this made perfect sense to me? No? Okay.

    I love Cinema Paradiso. I saw it for the first time in college and one day my husband watched it with me when we were dating because letting me choose the movies despite how much he DIDN'T want to watch them is about as romantic as he gets. I cry almost every time.

    He prefers "Malena."

  3. I feel like you ripped this directly from my brain. Well, maybe not directly because I doubt I could be quite as eloquent as you. This is something that I've thought about at length and I've come to a similar conclusion. However, I think that if you do go for the insane romantic gesture and you find that she doesn't run away immediately, then you've got a keeper.