The Romantic and The Real World

It’s cold here in Kansas City. Last night was the perfect weather for a bonfire, s’mores and flirting with a random looking at you through the flickering flames. I, however, am a native Floridian and it was a little too chilly for me to stand outside next to a fire barely giving me enough warmth to keep my fingers from going numb. Instead, I decided to curl up on my couch, wearing my elf-like knitted booties, wrapped in my green fleece blanket, with my dinner and a movie. My pick, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The Kiera Knightley version, not the torturous 5 hour BBC Colin Firth version. As a Janeite, I am aware that the one I choose is not accurate to the novel. There is a lot about Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy that is romanticized. However, it does cause heavy sighs, tummy flutters and floaty swoons; and what more can a girl ask for?

Half way through the movie one of my roommates came home and decided to plop down on the couch and watch the movie with me. I loved it because we both have seen this numerous times and so we spent the remaining time giving commentary on all the scenes as they were unfolding. All was right in the world until the last scene of the movie. Of course, it’s the scene with the most feels. The culmination of the journey, the point in which the characters and the audience find resolution. I spent this sweet moment laughing and consoling my roommate as she writhed in agony over this fictional scene that she desperately wanted to happen to her in real life. I kid you not, at one point she was upside down, sliding head first off the couch. She was half hope, half agony (Let the reader understand).

At one point, she was reasoning with herself out loud about these swoon worthy moments. Her argument is that she knew that she couldn’t base all her romantic ideals on movies like the one we were watching. That life has a lot more going on than one feet sweeping moment after the other. However, she wanted to believe that there were times, though rare, where things like this could happen. Moments when a guy, who is genuinely in love would spew an epic monologue that could make any girl weak in the knees, complete with grand gestures and confessions of undying devotion. All I could do was smile and nod.

I have had this discussion or debate with myself numerous times. The results are usually based on whatever is happening in my life at the moment. That says a lot. A truth is supposed to be resolute, not subjective; so I am probably the last person who should be giving advice about this. On one hand I figure that if these stories can be conjured up that there has to be some point of reference, some example to help it along. Yes, there is fluff added and we only see an ounce of the whole journey, but still, somewhere in the world, at certain points ridiculously romantic things must happen. These are the very things that inspire the stories that fill the pages of our books and the movie screens at our local theater. As soon as this thought crosses my mind, it goes into devil’s advocate mode. It could just be that people write or create the moments they want to see happen, the things that don’t really exist. Both ideas take a certain amount of faith to believe.

Then there is the other hand. The one that holds the real life experience. In my life I can number on one hand instances you might deem movie worthy moments, and that’s stretching it. So, what do I say to my roommate who is teetering between heaven and hell, looking for something or someone to push her toward the “right side”? My response is to say nothing really. How can I sway her to any side, when I’m not sure which one I’m even on? Maybe the point is that there is no side, but a balance. That we shouldn’t be the pendulum sweeping back and forth and never steadying; but rather, we need to find the middle and settle there.

The thing that struck me most was that she is a true picture of every woman I know. There are so many women who have no idea what to do with the desire they have burning inside them. The desire that goes unfulfilled as they endure disappointment after disappointment. The desire that causes them to make decisions based solely on their need to see that well inside them touched. Ninety-nine percent of the time these decisions are irrational and unwise, with heartbreaking consequences. That does little to deter them from carrying out this behavior time and time again, all because of this consuming thorn in their side called hope. It’s the thing that will keep them holding on, against all odds and in the face of impossible circumstances. Even if it’s false and barely hanging on by a thread. Why? because the thought that something so extraordinary could happen to them is like a drug; and the alternative is too depressing to consider.

Is this insanity? The same behavior over and over expecting a different outcome. Is it a noble pursuit that will bear good fruit for your suffering? What do I say to these woman in their emotional swirls? What do I say to them in their bitter rants? Where is the balance? the line. Is there even a line? The universal thorn in women’s side. The curse going back to the Garden of Eden, “Your desire will be for your husband.” I’m pulling out all the stops here. Whatever the case may be, it’s time we either lay it to rest or start seeing some results.

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