"That's your problem - you don't wanna be in love. You wanna be in love in a movie." - Rosie O'Donnell as Becky, Sleepless in Seattle
Folks everywhere seem to have strong opinions of one kind or another on how technology is changing us. We're thinking less because we have Google on our phones. We're talking less because we have Facebook on our computers. We are spending less to support entertainment because we have YouTube downloaded into our brain stems (it's going to happen any day now, I'm telling you). And we hear our inner critic at more of a shout because we're comparing ourselves to celebrities the Internet made famous.
This quote from the indomitable Nora Ephron reminds us that we had unrealistic expectations for our own lives long before smartphones and reality television. Watch enough films and you're bound to start judging the people around you just a little more harshly. How dare our co-workers have pores yet no witty dialogue to offer?
I AM NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD STOP WATCHING MOVIES.
Perish the thought, my friend.
I'm just saying that we might need to recognize that technology and media are not the enemies they're made out to be. It's how much we allow ourselves to wallow in them that's the challenge we need to face and overcome. Granted, the dopamine hit we get from things like Facebook "likes" mean that our lizard brains are being overfed and we risk becoming lizard people, but isn't that all part of the evolutionary process?
As for "You wanna be in love in a movie," I've seen far too many people settle for less than awesome. I'm not saying you should expect Tom Hanks to be waiting for you at the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day, but I've heard some pretty vicious fights and ugly name-calling between people who claim to be in love. And I don't just mean a petty squabble over someone loading the dishwasher incorrectly (you know who you are). I'm talking about the kind of fight that has one person mocking their SO's weight because they know that's a direct hit to their deepest insecurity, so that person lashes out with hateful comments about impotence.
That's not love. And that's certainly not love in a movie, unless the film in question is What's Love Got to Do With It?
I'm just saying that it's possible to reach for the stars without overreaching. At a bare minimum, you should be able to tell the person you're sharing home and hearth with that you're unhappy with how you look and you're afraid they're going to leave you because you have love handles. You should be able to share that anxiety without having to worry about how that fear will be thrown back in your face someday soon. Say, after they catch you reloading the dishwasher.
The flip side of that coin is that you have to be willing to listen to what your partner has to say with compassion and not visualize yourself being handed ammo to reload a gun. If they tell you about the time they took home a girl they had a huge crush on and Mr. Happy failed to stand at attention, you have to make the appropriate empathetic noises without ever laughing or making jokes and, for God's sake, don't ever tell anyone that story. Sharing that story is a huge sign of trust. Prove yourself to be trustworthy.
Even a character in a movie would know to not tell anyone else that story.