Hollywood really set girls up with some impossible expectations about relationships, eh?
Thanks to Walt Disney and a lifetime of romantic comedies, all girls secretly hope Prince Ryan Gosling will come riding up to their apartment complex and scale the brick wall with a rose in his teeth and a boombox playing Peter Gabriel held high above his head. He’ll then deliver a passionate speech about why they belong together while a swelling indie score plays in the background. She’ll cry. They’ll kiss. Everyone applauds.
Sorry gentlemen, modern women consider these grand gestures as the norm for relationships. Y’know. Because it is completely normal to scale the fire escape or serenade your gal in the middle of New York City. Because it is completely reasonable to write your girl a letter every day for a year, get no response, and not be delivered a restraining order.
We have found seven unfortunate examples of infamous grand gestures that make girls wish they lived in the movies … and why those grand gestures wouldn’t be so grand in real life.
1. Show Up at Her Sister’s Wedding
As Seen In: Sixteen Candles
Why Girls Love It: The cutest boy in school tracks down awkward 16-year-old Molly Ringwald, whisks her away, and is the only one to remember her birthday. He also rescues her panties. So … there’s that.
Why It’ll Never Happen in Real Life: It’s her sister’s wedding. What woman will find it romantic when a guy takes her away from her sister’s once-in-a-lifetime wedding? That’s like rolling up and saying, “Hey girl, you sure look pretty in that bridesmaid dress. Wanna ditch your maid of honor responsibilities and take a ride in my Porsche Twin Turbo? I’ve got cake…”
2. Hold a Boombox Outside Her Window
As Seen In: Say Anything
Why Girls Love It: He loves her! He’s willing to stand with a boombox playing Peter Gabriel outside her window! It’s romantic! It’s desperate!
Why It’ll Never Happen in Real Life: First of all, you’ve got to be awkwardly geeky while still having the arm strength to hold up that boombox for the entire 5:32 of “In Your Eyes.” And what happens when the song’s over? You sheepishly pack up your boombox and walk away as the entire neighborhood stares. Awkward.
3. Show Up At Her Door and Hold Up Flashcards With a Secret Message
As Seen In: Love Actually
Why Girls Love It: He wasn’t being mean all these years; he’s just in love with her. He thinks she’s perfect. He brought a boombox to pretend he’s a group of carolers. How thoughtful!
Why It’ll Never Happen in Real Life: Does anybody else find it a little creepy that he’s in love with his best friend’s wife? And he only filmed her face during the wedding? Then he shows up at her door and orders her to lie to her husband? Dude’s got the makings of a grade-A stalker.
4. Sing to Her in Front of the Whole School
As Seen In: 10 Things I Hate About You
Why Girls Love It: Heath Ledger slides down a lamppost, hires a marching band, and leads two portly security guards in low-speed pursuit … all while singing and dancing to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”
Why It’ll Never Happen in Real Life: No one will ever be as charming as Heath Ledger. No one. Besides, we’re pretty sure the school marching band isn’t going to learn an entire song with choreography just because the rakish bad boy wants to humiliate himself for the school maneater.
5. Race Through the City to Confess Your Love on New Year’s Eve
As Seen In: When Harry Met Sally
Why Girls Love It: After 12 years of knowing Sally, Harry races through the city just to tell her just how much he loves her with a witty speech that recounts all the reasons why, including such romantic sentiments as “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out.”
Why It’ll Never Happen in Real Life: You will never arrive five seconds before midnight. You will be horribly out of breath and ridiculously sweaty if you just ran through Manhattan. You will never be able to deliver an eloquent-yet-charmingly-neurotic speech on the spot. And if you’ve known someone for twelve years and you’re just now telling her you love her, she’s not going to confess her reciprocal love. She’s going to flag you with the “But I just don’t think about you in that way” card.
6. Give Her a Library
As Seen In: Beauty and the Beast
Why Girls Love It: Belle loves to read, so Beast gives her an entire library. Because who doesn’t have a spare library in their castle?
Why It’ll Never Happen in Real Life: If a woman wanted an aging, ugly man who’ll never let her leave the house—one rich enough to give her a library or a closet full of Christian Louboutins—she’s not a romantic; she’s a gold digger.
7. Climb a Rickety Carnival Ride and Threaten a Girl to Go Out With You, Write Her 365 Letters, Build Her a House, and Die With Her
As Seen In: The Notebook
Why Girls Love It: It’s Ryan Gosling. It’s Ryan Gosling doing every romantic thing ever. It has also caused an entire generation of women to think of themselves as an Allie just looking for her Noah. Except that there are no Noahs. Why, ladies? Because Noah is crazy.
Why It’ll Never Happen in Real Life: Think about it: Noah threatens suicide on a ferris wheel to get Allie to go out with him. He believes that transforming a rickety old plantation into her dream house will lead her back to him. He insists on living at a nursing home to be with his dementia-addled wife … and unless Noah smuggled some arsenic into the nursing home, the two just happen to magically stop breathing at the same time.
Look, gentlemen. You don’t need to recreate movie magic to get your heroine to fall into your arms. Just plan something sweet, something unexpected, and something you know she’ll love … and she’ll leap into your arms faster than you can say “The Notebook.”