In 2009, Fox Searchlight Pictures produced a movie called 500 Days of Summer. The plot of this movie seemed incredibly simple and outright cliché. Boy meets girl completely “out of his league.” Boy falls in love and chases girl. Then after an hour and 30 minutes of on-screen hard work, boy finally gets the girl and gets married and everyone lives happily ever after! This movie was surprisingly different. There was no happily ever after because, unlike all the other romantic pop culture bubble gum movies, the boy didn’t get the girl. When I first saw this movie, it was such a novel idea to my teenage brain. I had grown so accustomed to happy endings that the idea of a movie not having one made me feel ripped off. It was here that I realized that there might be a problem with how as a generation we have been taught about *relationships.
Think about the statement “And they lived happily ever after” which populates the ending of all children stories about love. From the day we learn to read and begin to watch movies, Disney infests our minds with the ideal to a point where it becomes reality in our eyes. At first this is not all that bad because the purpose of this statement is to shield children from all the heartbreak and chaos that may come with a relationship. But now the problem is that WE ARE NOT CHILDREN ANYMORE. It’s time somebody sat us down and had a talk with us. It’s time they explained the turmoil within the beauty, the hard work necessary to achieve the rewards and the discombobulation found in the harmony of every relationship. One of the biggest propagators of this fantasy relationship ideal is Hollywood. Every movie nowadays over-glorifies relationships to make them appear as some life-changing monument that everybody absolutely needs in their lives. This is a possible reason for the rise in failed relationships in our society. I feel that the consistent portrayal of relationships in such a manner places extraneous pressure on individuals to enter into relationships without fully considering who it may be with.
In a perfect world, everyone would first earnestly establish a friendship with everybody they meet and allow the friendship to blossom into a relationship on its own. Unfortunately, patience never got us anywhere fast so everybody rushes to enter into a relationship. So when the other person objects to such a notion, they feel they have wrongfully placed into the horrific “friendzone”. An apparently “terrifying” place to be with someone because being friends is God-awful when that person doesn’t want to have sex with you.
I’m most definitely not contending that every time there’s a rerun of He’s Just Not That Into You on TBS someone is motivated to get married on the spot. But imagine the theories you develop about the nature of relationships as a teenager when you consistently see Adam Sandler marry the girl next door even though she is way out of his league and he is 36, living with his mother and only talks to zoo animals.
All I’m saying is that marriage was and perhaps is a socially accepted stage before the inevitable death. But if we expect to remain in a committed relationship until death with a partner, wouldn’t a relationship with them demand that they be our friends, and perhaps the best of our friends?