In my last post, I talked about Romcom guys — those men who are romantic and emotionally available and will do anything for you… and other totally creepy things. They’re the guys who seem great to start and will say sweet things and you’ll think, ‘he likes me! He really likes me!” until he turns into the male version of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and all of a sudden you’re dealing with this mess: (serious spoiler alert!)
But it’s not only Romcom men who are a misguided byproduct of Hollywood hype. We’re taught to want and to expect very specific things that are both unrealistic and actually unwanted when it comes down to brass tacks. So what exactly are these confusing characters from the silver screen?
The Damsel/The Princess
This is most commonly found in Disney movies (obviously). I mean the early ones, not Frozen, which is adorable. Now I’m sure you’ve heard tons of crap about Disney princesses and all that, but here’s one more.
The Princess is taught to expect a man who will be her prince charming, a man who will bend to her every whim, catch her from falling trees, and save her from poisonous apples and evil stepmothers. The prince will traverse the kingdom to place a slipper on her dainty foot and will sweep her away and live happily ever after. He will treat her like the princess she is and will go to any lengths to make her happy.
What does this mean in dating? It means good luck sister.
Princesses expectations are so far-fetched, they’re completely unrealistic. I suppose they could find a fair match in Romcom guy, but these Princes are expected to have no desires of their own. Think about any of these old-school Disney princess movies. Does anyone give a crap what Prince Eric wants? Or Prince Charming (who literally is so irrelevant he doesn’t even have a name? His sole purpose is to sweep Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty off their feet. Wait… are all these princesses dating the same guy??) The Princess would probably be better off hiring some sort of butler, or finding herself a sassy gay friend.
The unfortunate man who finds himself face-to-face with a Princess can expect a girl who demands a lot. She’ll want him to do things for her all the time, like slay dragons for her and help her fill out her taxes. She’ll be really affectionate and clingy, but she probably won’t put out. And the girl’s gonna have issues. Think of all the therapy that comes with being locked in a cupboard or living with a heptad of dwarves.
The “Whatever” Guy
This is the guy who just wants some space. You’re smothering him. C’mon. Just leave him alone. God, why do you have to be so annoying?
(the first 0:50 is all you really need for the gist)
This is what girls expect from men — a lazy guy who loves them and leaves them, who under-appreciates them, and will “tuck and roll” for some space at night. He just wants a night for poker with the boys, and it would be nice if you’re there when he gets home. Or not. Whatever. But if you’re home, make sure there’s a cold beer waiting.
The Mental Person
This girl is cuh-razy. For real. She’s clingy, she wants to be around guys all the time, and he just can not get a night off. She wants to snuggle. She wants PDA. She wants “things.” And she will probably gift you a love fern.
The mental person is the woman who will cut the faces of your exes out of all your pictures. She’ll probably hack into your Facebook and make your profile pic that totes adorbs selfie you two took at the grocery store in the dairy aisle. And she’ll definitely snoop through all your shit. Like, all of it. No really, everything.
This guy comes in many different forms. But no matter the form, you will never be good enough for him. You’ll be too dumb for him, too fat for him, or too dull for him. He’s looking for a smart, intellectually stimulating girl. No wait, a chill, relaxed, sporty girl. No, no… a fun fun fun party girl who’s really into her sexuality. No, someone super laid back and easy going.
Whatever he’s looking for, this guy is a certifiable asshole. He wants you around, but then he’ll let you know the 30 reasons why you’re not quite what he’s looking for and how you don’t meet his standards. But no honey, it’s not worth trying because even then you still won’t meet them. But it’s cute that you asked.
This guy might have lots of ambition, whether it’s stocking up on his poppable polo shirts or creating Facebook. He probably talks fast and wears Axe body spray. And while girls actually kind of hate the Douche, they date him anyway. It’s still unclear why.
So these are my Hollywood stereotypes. I’m sure there’s a lot more. But now what’s the reality of the situation?
Of the guys I’ve met, 100% of them have told me they like to cuddle. Literally every man I’ve met has said they want to cuddle. And when I look at online dating sites, every guy I’ve seen has said it is “unacceptable” to them to date someone who doesn’t cuddle. I know I posted about this before, but there’s such a stereotype associated with affection that I have found to be categorically untrue through my own adventures in online dating.
And girls are not always clingy and materialistic. Most girls I know don’t care about gifts or stuff. I know I don’t. What am I going to do with some picture of two kittens holding hands or some scarf you bought me that is lime green with orange stripes?
Guys aren’t all assholes. I have lots of guy friends who are sweet, caring, hilarious men who don’t ditch their ladies and who don’t talk down to women (or anyone). Of course, they also have girlfriends who don’t mind if their men spend some time with their boys or have some alone time.
We spend so much time putting people into categories (I’m guiltiest of all!) and a lot of that is based on movie roles and what we’ve come to “expect” from society. But why shouldn’t we find someone imperfect and ridiculous, but also kind of amazing? Why does everyone have to play a role?
Why can’t we all just be exactly who we are?