If you scrape away a few layers of dry shampoo and sarcasm you’ll find a romantic in recovery. I’ve never been a fan of chick lit or rom-coms and I dislike Disney princesses and all that pink shite intensely. Luckily for me I ended up with a house full of boys. I’m definitely not a ladette though (coining that phrase shows my age). When a romantic film is done right… it kills me, goosebumps, snots and tears. I suppose anything with Ryan Gosling or Ben Affleck in it although that may have nothing to do with the plot.
The first movie to send my teenage hormones into overdrive was The Breakfast Club. When John Bender gave Claire his earring I felt a physical pain in my chest and cried my eyes out. Twenty-odd years of cynicism later and I hope Claire had the sense to get herself to a good college and didn’t end up in a trailer park raring Bender babies. Now that I think of it, she did do that thing with the lipstick, so maybe a career in porn awaited her. Either way John seemed a tad unstable and did come from a line of violent men. Why are these dangerous guys always so attractive to our fragile young selves? Look at Dirty Dancing… Johnny Castle was and is a joy to look at. Oooooh the danger, his clothes are obscenely tight, he smashes his car window with a pole and he sleeps with old ladies for cash and Baby is almost always in awe and slightly frightened of him.
Let’s look at books. I did Wuthering Heights for my leaving cert and was desperately in love with Heathcliff… his brooding dark, gypsy looks and his sociopathic ways. Oh to be loved with that intensity. Wouldn’t it be the height of romance for a guy to open your casket twenty years after your death to gaze at your decomposing face and remove the side of your coffin so that he may lie next to you in death? Actually, that is kind of sweet. I re-read the book recently and found nothing attractive about Heathcliff… Hareton on the other hand mmm. I will mention 50 Shades in passing. I did read all three books and found them, repetitive, misogynistic and frankly boring. Why read all three you ask? They were all talking about them in the canteen in work and I hate to be left out of any conversation, particularly one where we can make the few men in work scarlet.
A lot of teenagers are attracted to self-harming (I know I was), literally and figuratively. These guys were my first loves, aside from George Michael (swoon) and if I was susceptible enough and didn’t have the most gentle Dad ever to look up to… could I have ended up as a submissive? Living my life out as someone’s gimp?
On the flip side, there was always Michael J. Fox and Andrew Mc Carthy if you liked your guys clean and wearing a gilet. The only danger from these guys was the possibility of one of them turning into the worst excuse for a werewolf ever or hanging out with their “not dead” boss!
Back to romance… Valentines is a crock, I’m not into it, it’s the week after my birthday and I would rather die than go to a restaurant and gaze into my husband’s eyes as everyone else around us competed for cutest couple yet spent their time taking selfies and tagging themselves. The last time I dipped my toe in that particular pool, I left a blank Valentine’s card to myself on the kitchen table and told himself to fill it in which he duly forgot to do. That makes him sound like an awful asshole, but he’s not. He once bought me an easel when I said I liked to paint (I never used it). He taught me to drive without throttling me. He changed my maternity pad when my waters unexpectedly broke in the Rotunda. He tells me I look better with weight on and I don’t need make-up when I know for a fact that I look like boiled shite without it. That’s romance. When you have three boys under seven and you’re at a stage when you don’t apologise for farting and pee with the door open, romance is in the ordinary.