Sunday, June 07, 2009
Chances are You are NOT the Exception.
Based on the advice in the infamous self help book by by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, the film features an all-star ensemble cast--Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, Kevin Connolly, and Justin Long. Even though his character in the film wasn't my favorite, I'm a big Bradley Cooper fan (based mainly on what I've seen of him on Alias...). Ginnifer Goodwin's character was involved in one of the main storylines and she drove me a little crazy through the first half of the film. It's been awhile since I've been around someone quite so "boy crazy" and "apparently desperate." Yikes.
I felt the storyline between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston's characters resonated the most with me and I would agree with the truths I felt the film revealed about them. Dating for seven years, Beth (Aniston) still held out hope that her boyfriend would one day marry her even though he's said forever, that he didn't believe in marriage. At one point it hits her, the "rule" is he's never going to marry you and she's probably not the exception to that rule. Where it gets dicey for me is this:
1. He could quite legitimately NOT want to ever get married. He might be against the institute of marriage for whatever reason, but isn't that his right too? And if she loves him shouldn't his wishes be acknowledged and considered in this whole relationship. Because society has deemed marriage the "goal," "the prize," "the acceptable life choice," we all believe he is wrong and she is right. And if he loved her, he'd want to marry her. But why must we all follow lock step in that fashion? Nothing is this simple.
2. He could be just not wanting to marry HER. And if they were to break up, he could be married to another woman within the year. THAT happens all the time, actually.
The book's assumption is that number 2 is the most likely scenario and that after seven years you are just living in denial and probably should wake up and get out if getting married is truly WHAT YOU WANT... if it's a dealbreaker for you. And I agree.
But if you can live like that, and accept that you might not get married either way with or without him and if you are happy with him and he with you, why mess that up? Now I can hear a few friends reading this and judging my statements here, either about my take on this film and dating philosophy in general or what they think they know about my personal life in specific. Please don't. All year, I've had to field comments from a colleague who was certain she knew what I want based on some standard in HER MIND. And I had to fight my urge to snap. Instead I simply and calmly tried to explain my theories again and again, as in the manner of girl speaking to brick wall. Lord, people, do NOT presume that what YOU would want in a given situation is what OTHERS want.
What this film really taught me? Don't read stupid self help books or watch films based around them. So much of it is just common sense until it starts to drift off into paranoia and suspicion. I'm not a fan of "games" and the stuff I watched in the film was exhausting. Yuck. It brought me right back to college days and the myriad of hopeless crushes I let take over my brain.
If someone is interested in me, I'd hope he'd just let me know and if he's not, well, I don't plan to waste time mooning over him and wondering. If someone doesn't treat me with the respect and consideration I believe I deserve, then I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I prefer my own company most days anyway. Fortunately, I don't have to worry about any of that.