Hannah Star Your Life Isn't a Romantic Comedy

Disclaimer: If you’ve ever chased after a lover about to board a plane, proposed to someone via jumbo-tron, or broken up someone’s wedding at the last minute because you knew it wasn’t true love, this article does not apply to you.

A man approaches a seated, head-phone-wearing woman who is working on her laptop. They are each somewhere between 25 and 35. They talk for a minute or two, and she blushes during the whole exchange. They share names, and then he departs…or so you think. Ten minutes later, he returns to present her with a gift: a glass of water with an origami paper flower twisted into the top of the green plastic straw. “If you open up the paper, you’ll see my e-mail address,” he says. “I hope I didn’t rip it when I was folding it. You should add me on Facebook.”

What if I told you that this exchange occurred within the context of a peppy romantic comedy starring Justing Timberlake and Mila Kunis (because I guess Justin Timberlake is like, an actor now)? Totally cute, right? Makes you wish someone would do something as romantic as Starbucks origami for you, right?

Now I’m going to let you in on a secret: this was no onscreen Adam Brody love fest. This was real life. I watched as it really happened, observing stealthily from my chair in the corner of my local Starbucks. And let me tell you, it looked anything but totally cute. In fact, my first reaction was “wow, that guy was a total creepy weirdo.” And that, folks, should begin to tell you why your life is not, will never, and cannot ever be anything like a romantic comedy. I’ll elaborate on a few reasons why:

You’re not good looking enough.

If it had been Adam Brody approaching Headphones Girl in Starbucks, I imagine she would have been decently turned on. Starbucks origami would have been perfectly complimentary to Adam Brody’s dorky-yet-sexy appearance. He would have flashed her a super cute, shy Seth Cohen smile, and moments later the credits would be rolling and Adam Brody and Headphones Girl would be lying in bed post-sex, giggling about the day they met over a folded-up Starbucks straw wrapper.

But ‘twas not the case that day in Starbucks, and ‘twill not be the case for you. When origami man approached headphones girl, headphones girl looked completely unreceptive to his advances. This was probably due to the fact that he was wearing a sleeveless T-shirt, had tacky tattoos down his arms, leathery tanned skin, and was kind of sweaty. The conclusion: if you don’t look like a romantic comedy star, you can’t get away with doing the things that the stars do on screen. And even if you did have the Adam Brody sexy nerd appeal, there’s still the major obstacle of women being paranoid about sexual assault. We’ll get to that later.

You’re not good enough at sex.

You know what makes me crazy? When romantic comedies have those flawless sex scenes that may as well have come out of a Harlequin romance novel. Take Love and Other Drugs, for example. When Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal’s characters fuck for the first time, their sex culminates in both characters simultaneously sharing a mind-blowing, sensational orgasm.

Give me a fucking break. First of all, the sources I’ve read suggest that only 12 to 25 percent of women orgasm during intercourse. Not only is it unlikely for a woman to climax during sex, it’s even less likely for it to happen the very first time she sleeps with someone. And even if she was able to orgasm during sex, it would require fifteen to forty minutes of continuous clitoral stimulation – a far cry from the speedy thirty seconds that it took Anne Hathaway. Sorry people, but forget what you’ve seen in the movies. Women just weren’t designed to be rapid-fire orgasm machines. Unfortunately.

In the eyes of society, you’re a rapist.

It’s been programmed into our heads since kindergarten: don’t talk to strangers. Don’t get into strangers’ cars, even if they have candy (actually, especially not if they have candy). Stories of abduction (like Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard) continuously taint the news.

The result is that women, particularly in North America, are positively terrified of interacting with strange men. They interpret any contact, including common courtesies like door-holding, as sexual advances. “That man asked to borrow my map; I said no because I like, didn’t want to get raped!” I remember one of my friends saying on our trip to Greece. You see what I mean?

But somehow, this prevailing societal norm gets thrown out the window in most romantic comedies. Let’s look again at that cinematic gem, Love and Other Drugs. Because it’s set in Magical Movie World (where everyone at a bar just orders ‘Beer’), Gyllenhaal’s character meets women for the first time and instantly has them falling head over heels for him. The second he presents the receptionists with flowers for example, they’re ready to bend over backwards to help him advance his business.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t feel particularly inclined to do favours for strange men who flirt with me. I would feel even less inclined if they presented me with gifts like flowers. Or origami.

Hopefully I’ve made it clear why your life will never be anything like a romantic comedy. While it may seem nice for men to drive you across Ireland (see Leap Year), silently profess their love to you under the guise of Christmas carolling (see Love Actually), or make you climax a bajillion times during sex (see every romantic comedy with a sex scene ever made), those things are actually pretty unusual, and often really creepy, in real life. So the next time you feel inclined to enclose a love note in a paper plane and throw it across Starbucks to the cute bookworm in the corner, just...don’t.   

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