What I’ve learned from rom-coms

Your favorite movie trope may actually teach valuable lessons

Georgia Bernbaum, Opinions Editor

I love romantic comedies. It’s true. I love all the cliches, the big makeover scenes, and the final kiss you’ve been waiting for the whole movie.
Yet, somehow I’ve become a bit ashamed of my obsession, especially in front of guys. When asked about my favorite film, I feel like I should say something that shows I can be the “cool girl.” I can be the girl that likes car chases and sword fights, not cheesy chick flicks. But, in all honesty, I’d much rather watch “Sleepless in Seattle” any day than “Transformers.”
Not only are rom-coms a great escape from real-world problems, but they teach us valuable lessons. Allow me to list a few.

1. Friendship is key.

A classic, “When Harry Met Sally,” demonstrates how love doesn’t always occur at first sight.
In fact, Harry and Sally originally couldn’t stand each other. Sally (Meg Ryan) believes Harry (Billy Crystal) is narcissistic, and Harry thinks Sally is too stubborn and uptight. Major deal-breakers.
But years later, after they have each experienced dramatic heartbreak, the two former enemies meet again and quickly become friends.
This film shows how important it is for two individuals to like each other before they learn to love each other. Personally, I’d like to imagine that the person I choose to marry and I are going to be friends.

2. Never change who you are for someone else.

“10 Things I Hate About You” is arguably one of the best rom-coms, partly because no matter what others say, Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) refuses to change who she is.
Kat reads feminist literature and listens to angsty rock music. She is rebellious and unapologetic, causing her peers to refer to her as “scary.”
Kat refuses to conform or sacrifice her integrity to please others, even her father. As one of her many iconic lines goes, “you don’t always have to be who they want you to be.”

3. Choose people who support your dreams.

In “The Devil Wears Prada”, Andie (Anne Hatheway) works at the prestigious Runway Magazine as assistant to the editor-in-chief. Her boyfriend, Nate (Adrien Grenier), ridicules her for working in fashion and not being a “serious journalist.”
Nate gets increasingly resentful about how much time Andie spends at work. But, although Andie’s work environment could arguably be considered toxic, this is her dream. The least Nate could do is support Andie instead of making her life more stressful. In short, your partner should be your biggest cheerleader.

4. And, lastly, placing bets on relationships is usually not a good idea.

“How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days” uses one of the most overdone rom-com tropes: betting on a relationship.
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” “She’s All That,” and “The Proposal” all involve some sort of bet, whether it’s to make an ex jealous or score a promotion.
It is a wonder any of these couples ended up together at all. I don’t know about any of you, but if I found out my boyfriend had placed a bet on me, I would end things immediately (even if he is Matthew McConaughey).
A relationship built on lies is a relationship destined to fail.
The thing is, most romantic comedies only depict the falling-in-love part, not the moving-in-together-meeting-her-parents-filing-taxes-together part.
Everything that happens after the meet-cute may not be as exciting for a screenwriter, but it is equally as important in real life.
A good partner should be your friend first, love you unconditionally, and value your goals. Find someone who values you for you. A good partner should be more like a Harry and less like a Nate.
So, in honor of Valentine’s Day coming up, cuddle up with a friend or significant other and watch a few rom-coms. Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.